Our Haiti Partnership Grows Deeper
Faculty of STEP with Tim Cho, Pastor Dave Hyatt and Pastor George Davis
By Lyndsay Byler
Beyond the Walls
“I felt humbled by the overwhelming gratitude and hospitality of the Haitian people and look forward to further involvement with STEP,” Pastor Dave Hyatt said after a trip to the island nation in early September.
Pastor Dave, along with Pastor George Davis and Tim Cho, a lay team member, were there to participate in a spiritual life conference with the faculty of Hershey Free Church’s Haiti partner, Séminaire de Théologie Évangélique de Port-au-Prince (STEP), a seminary in Port-au-Prince.
Their overall goals were building relationships with faculty and encouraging them as they invest in the lives of their students.
Wadestrant Jean Baptiste (Wawa), president of STEP, explained that the seminary’s vision is to implement a discipleship-centered approach to their academic programs. With this vision in mind, George, Dave, and Tim led discussions on the life of Christ and on Jesus’ model as a disciple-maker and a servant-leader. In recalling these discussions, Wawa noted that “everyone left with great determination to start doing things differently; the Lord showed up!” During the STEP opening ceremony, President Wadestrant and the academic dean spoke to the student body about the spiritual life conference and the commitment that was made to serve the students differently this year. One faculty member said, “We never had a retreat like that before, one that is this challenging and deep.” Wawa reinforced that. “Now the STEP faculty needs to apply what we have learned.”
Pastor Dave is encouraged and challenged by the Haitians openness to “examine their own practices, and ask ‘how can we be better at making disciples?’” He described a highlight of the conference as the moment when one of the senior faculty suggested that the faculty and seminary leaders engage in foot washing with the students.
Pastor George also feels a deep appreciation for this faculty’s determination. The faculty is well-educated, and their skills are marketable in more lucrative parts of the world. However, they are committed to see how they can be more effective in bringing positive change to their home communities. Pastor George valued the “extremely invigorating environment” at the retreat.
“We are learning together,” he said.
Tim Cho is reminded that “the gospel is still on the offense.” He exhorts the congregation at Hershey Free Church to know that God is impacting the international community through our church body. The congregation’s giving “supports missionaries all around the world who are living out the gospel…we are part of a bigger purpose around the world.” Tim also said that he would like the congregation to know “that we have solid, God-fearing leaders leading our church. It was an honor to spend time with George and Dave, and I am truly privileged to be a part of Hershey Free Church.”
STEP President Wadestrant Jean-Baptiste will be speaking in all three worship services this Sunday, September 21.