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Even Tough Guys Need a Home

09.28.16
by Crossworld
in Construction and Maintenance, Disciple-making, Salvation-baptism, Haiti, Story
A gang wanted nothing to do with Christians ... until they saw this.
HAITI — Emmanuel had been living with his wife, mother-in-law and two boys in a house built from tin, sheets and tarp. More than five years after the 2010 earthquake destroyed his first house, he still had no means to rebuild. Even a small rainstorm soaked all their belongings, and they couldn’t receive family or visitors — a cornerstone of Haitian culture. They survived day to day … but nothing quite equaled the dignity of having a permanent house to call home.
 
Crossworld worker Mason heard about Emmanuel’s situation, and he joined some students from the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Port-au-Prince (STEP) to build Emmanuel’s family a new house. Each day, the team gathered at 6:30 a.m. to pray before heading out to work alongside Emmanuel’s family.
 
Emmanuel and his family had waited more than five years, but after just seven days with the STEP team, they had a new house. They stay dry when it rains, and they’re proud to invite people to their home. More than that, because of the love they saw and heard, two family members decided to trust Christ that week.
 
And the good news keeps going. Family after family around the STEP campus received a new home, and eventually someone unexpected noticed.
 
“You’ve been building many houses for people here,” said Jhonson. “But what about my people just down the hill? Will you come to help us rebuild, too?”
 
Mason could hardly hide the shock on his face. The neighborhood down the hill belonged to one of the most powerful gangs in the city and didn’t have the friendliest of histories with the Christian seminary. But Jhonson, the gang leader, actually invited them.
 
“Of course,” Mason replied, wondering what he just committed the group to.
 
The first morning arrived and the team met at 6:30 a.m. as usual to pray — this time a little more fervently. They headed down the hill and, as usual, they worked alongside the family and friends — this time a mix of murderers, escaped prisoners and thieves. As usual, they shared conversations about politics, culture and the Bible — but this time the people they talked with carried automatic weapons. As usual, the family heard and saw the love of Christ, but this time no one decided to believe in Him … yet.
 
“Thank you for coming to help my people!” Jhonson said on the final day. “We want you to come back and keep working here.”
 
For Mason and his team, there’s no shortage of houses to rebuild and no shortage of people with whom to share Christ. Before, there was only hostility between the two communities; now, the invitation is now open for relationships in this neighborhood. With each home that’s rebuilt, its residents move a little closer to the hope that Jesus offers.

Italicized names were changed to protect identity.

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