Meet Geftay and John or Why People Give

Mark Oestreicher has gone on trips with Adventures In Missions for years. Most recently he has been working with AIM in Haiti and he recently wrote this post on the work he is doing with AIM. He allowed us to re-post it. The original article can be here.

I think I miscalculated something. Please hear me on this: what I’m
about to explain is not an attempt to guilt anyone or manipulate. I
thought about how I should write about this, and realized that my blog
isn’t about spin, and that I should just say what’s on my mind. So here
it is, my miscalculation…

I thought it would be super easy to raise $35,000 for AIM’s Church-to-church program. I think (and thought) it’s such a unique and
revolutionary approach to long-term help for Haiti. And I think (and
thought) people would be quickly “in” on helping finance that kind of
thing, particularly when the funds we were trying to generate are for
the express purpose of providing the salaries of a few Haitian church

But, man, I miscalculated. so far, our efforts have brought in a
total of about $750 (plus a $3500 offering taken at my own church a week
ago), even though we’ve had tens of thousands of blog readers and radio
listeners hear about it. Some of our team think people in the US have
“Haiti fatigue”. That may be true; but I’ve been very pleased with the
response to the church partnership program in terms of interested
churches (this was the very successful part of our trip there this past
week). I can already tell that the
partnership my own church has formed
will be transformational for
both churches. So, I’m not completely convinced it’s a “Haiti fatigue”

What I’m wondering is: Did we talk about it in the wrong way?

I was (finally) reading Half
the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
the plane ride home sunday (iIbought the book on kindle back when it
came out, but my wife short-cut me on it, and it fell out of my ‘to
read’ cycle). The authors mentioned, at one point, research that shows
what people are more likely to give to: the research showed that people
will give to a real person who’s story moves them much more than they
will give to a program, even if the program is very promising in terms
of impacting the lives of hundreds or thousands. And it struck me:
we’d talked about the concept of church to church, and how it will bring
sustainable change in Haiti; but we’d failed to tell the stories of the
few church leaders we’re hiring in Haiti to run it.

So, let me introduce you to Geftay and John, two of the three (the other is Samuel, but I didn’t get to know
him as well). Geftay and John were two of our translators on our first
trip to Haiti in February. but now, on this return trip, they are
basically the Haitian hands-and-feet (and heart!) of this program. They’re amazing young leaders, with big hearts and ready smiles. they
love the church and their country, and they’re 100% committed to
standing in the middle of God’s kingdom flow, God’s restoration work in Haiti.
Every day, Geftay and John are working long hours, meeting with Haitian church leaders, discerning needs and hearts. they’re the guys
who are able to give us the insight on which pastors have a heart for
their communities (rather than a heart for building their own kingdoms). They’re leading discipleship groups of Haitian pastors. They’re
providing leadership for work sites (for groups coming down to help). They have shown absolute integrity, and have proven that they’re not in
this for their own gain.


At one point on the trip, I had a chance to chat casually with John. He told me why he’s had to postpone his wedding: he can’t get married
until he has a place to move with his future wife. But the house he was
in the midst of building was destroyed in the earthquake. so he’s
starting all over again (though he doesn’t currently have any money to
do so).
Geftay is an architect, who is putting his training into the
service of God through his work in the church to church program. Both
guys lost the jobs they had due to the earthquake (as pretty much
everyone in Haiti also did – this is one of the most significant
problems there today, resulting in a complete lack of resources for
basis life needs, like food). but they’re not involved in the church to
church program merely because they need employment — this is missional
stuff for them. I get the sense that they would do it whether they were
being paid or not.

Here’s my sense of Geftay and John: both of these guys will be key
leaders in the Haitian church over the next decade (or more). Both of
them are clear-minded leaders, but with humble hearts. They’re
value-driven, passionate and articulate, but they listen more than they
talk (a leadership trait I often lack). They understand suffering at a
deeper level than I ever will, and bring that compassionate leadership
to every interaction (whether with a Haitian or an American).

It wasn’t until we were halfway through our week there that i
realized that Geftay and John (and Samuel) are the three Haitian church
leaders we were trying to fund with this giving project. For me, the
whole thing moved from a great concept to a wonderful personal story.

So, again – no manipulation or guilt from me; I’m not interested in
using those tools and, I think this is probably the last time I’ll ask
here on my blog. But, if you’d like to support Geftay, John and Samuel, in their desire to connect Haitian churches with non-Haitian
churches, for long-term restoration in Haiti, here’s the
Geftay, John and Samuel are paid $10/day. they work 6 or 7
days a week, every week. If you give $10, you can cover a day; or $30
will cover all three of them for a day. Give $60, and you’ll cover one
for a week; $180 covers all three for a week. or, go big: about $300
covers one for a month; or $900, all three of them for a month.
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