Lifest 2016 was an evangelistic and humanitarian outreach held January 30 – February 8, 2016, in the cities of Ouanaminthe, Haiti, and Dajabón in Dominican Republic. These two cities share a common border near the northern coastline on the island of Hispanñiola, but are separated by language and culture. Buena Vida was the Spanish festival in Dominican Republic and FestiLavi was the Creole counterpart in Haiti. A team from Reid Saunders Association, Next Generation Alliance members Andrew Palau and Dave Luben of Luis Palau Association, and John Andrus and Vic Murphy of Action Sports Outreach joined forces with Pastor Harry Thomas of Creation Festivals, Josh Brewer and Alan Greene of LifeLight, Bob Lenz of Life Promotions, members of Christ the Rock Church, Wisconsin. Working together they were able to form a highly effective team that ministered to some of the most needy people of Haiti and Dominican Republic, impact local churches, and see a large number of people come to Christ.
Eight days of ministry and logistics were organized by Brett Butcher and Ruth Daniels of Reid Saunders Association, Pastor Fernando Ruiz Fleming from Dominican Republic, and several local pastors in Haiti. It is well known that Haiti is currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of its population living under the poverty line; and out of those, 54% live in dire poverty. Although 80% of the population professes to be Roman Catholic, nearly half of the Haitian population still practices voodoo.
We believe it is more successful to work directly with the regional churches and pastors to create long-term partnerships and build up the churches. Strong, healthy churches will provide a community structure and be able to minister to the people long after the American team has left. The churches and pastors were excited about the spiritual transformation and growth they have witnessed in their communities. Church leaders have been trained to integrate new members, and teach and disciple all of the individual believers generated by this evangelistic endeavor.
Team members, by their acts of service and personal testimony, proclaimed the truth and hope found only in Jesus Christ. They ministered to physical needs through personal prayer, distribution of clothing and personal hygiene packets, and five days of free medical clinics. Two citywide festivals incorporated music concerts, dramas, kid-zone activities, BMX bike demonstrations, and entertainment for the whole family. There were outreaches to fourteen schools, two prisons, orphanages, city parks, and numerous churches. The spiritual and physical needs in this region are sometimes overwhelming, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ and humanitarian aid we delivered brought hope to the long-suffering populations of Haiti and Dominican Republic.
During the eight days of outreach, a team of 60 believers ministered to more than 900 patients in the medical clinics, handing out medicine and eyeglasses, delivered 700 packets of personal hygiene supplies to prisoners and children in poverty, and distributed 543 articles of clothing. The Gospel was presented to an estimated 70,000 people in schools, prisons, orphanages, churches, and throughout the four main festival events. Nearly 12,000 people made decisions to follow Christ. Praise God!
Reid Saunders Association is excited to be a partner in this cooperative effort that brought together so many individuals, medical personnel, evangelists, and Christian ministries. We rejoice in the compassionate acts of love, the willing servanthood, and spirit of unity displayed by all team members. There was truly an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in these two countries and a great harvest of souls for eternity!