Jason & Amanda Stoltzfus and their family have been serving in Haiti since 2010. They have established many relationships with the local people over the years and as a result; they have tremendous influence in their community. With the conditions in Haiti, there is an overwhelming amount of “need” that is difficult to comprehend. Since they can’t help everyone, they have made a commitment to invest time, talent, and treasure into people that are willing to help themselves instead of simply looking for a handout. The approach to empower people has developed a healthy respect within the communities they serve and allowed local leaders to catalyze these projects and impact their communities for long-term growth.
They are focusing on (2) communities in this season. All fundraising efforts will be focused on these (2) communities and allocated as necessary to empower next steps in each area of influence.
Jason hosts a daily fitness program for young leaders that are seeking to discover a greater purpose in life. This consistent time together allows them to connect, foster relationships, establish disciplines, encourage each other, and activate them as leaders in the context of their day to day lives. The group has 25-30 participants and continues to grow. The next step in their vision is to construct a small building that will allow them to engage more young leaders and activate them to impact their families and community.
There are many people stuck in cycles of poverty in the local community. As the Stoltzfus family develops deeper relationships, they are able to discover which situations are opportunities to empower people instead of being detrimental to their spiritual growth. Having a secure home is often the first step, as a result, they partner with them to construct a simple yet very nice home which allows them establish a healthy and safe environment to move forward. The homes are typically for widows or others that have shown good character but simply haven’t had the opportunity to take their first step out of their current situation. The pace is determined by the depth of relationship so they typically construct 2-4 homes per year. The average cost is 5-6k per home.
3. Children’s Home
A childrens home originally located near Port-au-Prince needed to relocate as their area was no longer safe due to the civil unrest that continues to grow in Haiti. After about 6 months of searching for a solution, they connected and collaborated with the Stoltzfus family who were able to find a secure home in their local community. They safely moved the (43) children and (6) staff to the home in March 2023. The staff is responsible to care for the children and manage the home on a day to day basis. However, the Stoltzfus family continues to provide support for the staff, including managing all construction projects necessary to further develop the home to better accommodate them and accomplish their overall vision.
Bwa Pikan Community
1. Roofing Project
In 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused devastating destruction over a large portion of the Tiburon Peninsula in Haiti. While many people received aid and support, the people living in the more remote mountain villages were largely left to fend for themselves due to the logistical challenges of reaching them. The only access to the villages is via a footpath through the mountains which requires an intense (7-10) hour hike. The hurricane destroyed their thatch roofs which lead to children getting sick and even dying due to being in the open elements. When Jason first heard about their situation, he hiked in to see it himself, and his heart was moved. The Roofing Project was born which consisted of the local people installing new wood frames for homes and teams of energetic men (many from PA) hiking in with tools and supplies to install metal roofs on these homes and display God’s love for these incredible people. A team of local leaders took extreme ownership for each phase of the project and rallied their community to hike the metal and supplies in on foot, then meeting the teams to help them hike in with their tools to install the roofs. The project came to close after we covered a huge area in the mountains and the bulk of the accessible areas. The collaboration of donors, teams, the Stoltzfus family, local leaders, and community members resulted in approx. 565 homes being built throughout the Bwa Pikan community. More importantly, deep relationships were formed and the local leaders were empowered. This opened the door for the Microfinance Project.
2. Microfinance Project
Now that the relationships have been formed, we desire to empower them to become more sustainable long-term. They are hardworking people that rely on their agriculture projects to survive (both food and selling their product). Their gardens are typically on steep mountainsides, and they often work together for the labor-intensive projects. Their biggest challenge is saving enough of seed for the next growing season while still having enough food to sustain them. Another major challenge is receiving a fair market value for their product; as it is an 8-16 mile hike to town. Therefore, we launched this microfinance project to empower them to purchase more seeds to expand their crops and provide a reliable outlet for their product so they can receive fair market value.
We partner with local farmers; each receives 100.00 worth of seeds that is to be repaid after they harvest the crop. They are assigned in groups of (6) farmers so they are accountable to everyone in their group; this is to promote them following through with repaying their loan after harvest. Jason has assigned a Haitian leader (Lagoute) to oversee the project and he implements the framework and educates the farmers (sustainability, best growing practices, etc.). He typically spends 1 week per month building relationships with the farmers, visiting the gardens, and ensuring everyone is accountable for their loan. We are taking it one crop at a time and need to ensure everyone remains accountable before committing to the next crop. We are consistently amazed at the work ethic, gratitude, and lifestyle of these amazing people!
The first several phases have been a tremendous success (other than 1 season of historic drought) and the long-term vision is to continue empowering people through loans for beans, yams, and livestock. The farmers understand the loans for each season must be repaid in full before we commit to the next season and expanding to more farmers. Therefore, we continue to expand the project as Jason and Lagoute discern and implement. We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of this work and continue to see the Lord’s faithfulness in this community!
There is a local church in the community that serves their community well. However, they desire and welcome the opportunity for discipleship and leadership development. With the relationships that have formed through the roofing and microfinance projects, we are now collaborating to send short-term teams to the church to facilitate next steps of growth for the local leaders and community. Check out our upcoming trips for the next opportunity!
How can you help?
Investing resources to empower leaders in the communities is a great way to have long-term impact!
Online Giving click here
PO Box 62
Intercourse, PA 17534
**NOTE: All checks and online giving are tax-deductible and year end receipts will be issued**