From Rural Haiti to Eastern University

March 14, 2019

I grew up in rural Haiti. As a child, I attended church with my mom, but I didn’t really know God. All of that changed on February 20th, 2010 – a day that I will never forget. I had been living on my own since the January 2010 earthquake that made it unsafe for me to live in my mother’s home. I often slept on the roof of my aunt’s house. On other days I stayed with friends. But on this particular afternoon, I heard a young preacher share the gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that awakened my spirit. I accepted Jesus as my Savior and became a new person. I got involved with various ministries, such as Shoe Shine (cleaning people’s shoes on Saturday to invite them to church), Kids Club (using donations to feed children a hot meal and share the word of God), and Movie Night (using movie night as entertainment for the community to discourage them from visiting illicit clubs).

Berdy and the boys from the orphanage shining shoes.

While I enjoyed each of these ministries, my favorite was working with children. I became a translator for mission teams and received donations from American churches who witnessed the impact my friends and I had on kids. With these funds, we were able to continue the meal programs and began teaching English and Bible studies. Last year, God called me to open a home for eight boys, ages 6-11, who used to live in the streets. He led me through all of the things that go into creating a loving home: raising money, purchasing a house, hiring staff, and much more. My goal as a mentor to these boys is to provide health, security, and education so that they may grow up to do the same. I want to mobilize disciples that will conquer Haiti for God and help our country to rise out of an economic and spiritual crisis.

I believe that faith is the greatest gift. In Haiti, I didn’t sit idly by and wait for things to improve – I learned to discern God’s call and act on faith. I taught myself English because my clothes were too dirty to sit with others in a free English class in the village. I got occasional work as a translator. Little by little, I found myself on a path. I am not too dirty now to sit with students from different countries and cultures, receiving an education in the United States. God made this possible because he has a plan for me. Today in Haiti, more than 90% of the population is unemployed, and 85% live on less than one dollar per day. Even though I now live in the most powerful country in the world, God has called me to one day leave all that I could have in America to return to Haiti to make a difference. And, I trust in him and his plan – he has brought me this far.

Berdy JeanMary and children he helps serve in Haiti.

Berdy and children he helps serve in Haiti.

I have many ideas to bring change to my homeland, to alleviate suffering and grow disciples, but I know that I need skills and strategic planning to accomplish my vision. Nothing is too big for my God. I hope I can learn to be able to teach what I have learned to young men in my country who do not have the opportunity to attend college. I visited Eastern University for the first time this fall and immediately fell in love with the Christian community and commitment to leadership development in ministry. And when I saw that their Economic Development studies focus on undeveloped areas, I knew that God had led me right here.

I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to be a Campolo Scholar at the Campolo Center for Ministry – to learn from these leaders and be a part of something that is bigger than me.