by Lindsey Klyn, marketing manager for MH4H
It’s not often someone chooses to drop all the conveniences of life in the U.S. to move to a third world country, but Spencer natives are starting to change that trend. In August 2013, Heather Brown moved to Haiti to serve as a development coordinator with Many Hands for Haiti (MH4H). Now, Spencer natives Craig and Christi Gabhart are making a three year commitment to serve as the spiritual and organizational development directors with the same ministry.
The Gabharts intend to move to Savanette, Haiti this coming June. For over a year, MH4H had been looking for an American couple with spiritual maturity and plenty of life experience to serve as mentors for their Haitian staff. Recently, that search ended with the Gabharts.
“We are extremely excited and humbled to have Craig and Christi joining our team in this capacity. I’ve known them since 2006, and their heart for the Haiti ministry is deep and sincere,” said Tim Brand, executive leader of MH4H.
The Gabhart’s passion for Haiti began on a short-term mission trip to the Pignon area back in 2006. In 2013, they joined this passion with their work, as Christi began serving as the store manager for MH4H’s secondhand store, Many Hands Market, in Spencer, and Craig began serving as a MHM volunteer.
Craig commented, “It feels as though God has been placing the pieces of our lives together, and now He is saying quite directly, ‘You are ready to start.’”
While in Haiti, the Gabharts will oversee the development of MH4H personnel in Haiti, with a special focus on spiritual development, leadership equipping, and organizational development. The couple will come alongside this non-profit’s mission of “making God real in a broken world.” Established in 2009, MH4H envisions a Haiti where people and organizations work together to make a difference in the culture for Jesus Christ, unleashing God-given talents and resources to meet the challenges of the day. By joining Americans like Craig and Christi with Haitians, MH4H believes a better future is not only possible but attainable for the country and people of Haiti.
MH4H’s Haitian base exists in the rural area of Pignon, where they do work in whatever ways God leads. This includes building schools, improving homes, feeding the hungry, providing clean water, developing jobs, educating Haitians academically and spiritually, and much more.
The ministry has several programs established in Haiti. One such program is called Thrive for 5 where children ages zero-five get a free meal five days a week, have access to free healthcare, and learn about Jesus. Another program, Sewing Hope, teaches grown woman how to sew, so that they have a marketable trade that can help provide for their families. MH4H’s elementary school, Pella Christian in Pignon, has 200 students currently enrolled. Most of these students attend school thanks to a sponsor back in America.
It will be difficult for the Gabharts move to a different country away from their family, friends, and home in Spencer, but they feel confident that Haiti is where God is leading them next.
The Gabharts state, “Today, we stand confidently at the threshold of this assignment, each with fifty plus years of preparation, ready, knowing God has said, ‘Go.’”