Haiti 2012 The Hope Of a Nation

In 1791 Saint Dominque was the richest European colony in the world making many French wealthy through gigantic sugar plantations and coffee-producing estates. But With a new nation being born just to its north Revolution was in the air in a country that would become known as Haiti.

A half million slaves who were the driving force of this enterprise started doing a head count and realized they were not only considerably stronger but outnumbered their owners by 15 to 1. Those are overwhelming odds by any ones standards and certainly a confidence booster when planning a revolt. The slaves from Africa combined forces and overthrew their euromasters and sent them packing.

Over 200 years later this nation born from freed slaves is the 148th least developed of the worlds’ 179 countries. The average annual salary is $240- about 66 cents per day. 50 percent of the population lacks access to potable water and barely 10 percent uses electricity. For those 10 percent that have access to electricity it goes off every day for several hours.

What you see on the ground is a nation in the throws of poverty. There is no public garbage service and so it is strewn around everywhere. There are piles of it, mountains of it, rivers of it and streets of it. There were literally streets that seemed to be paved with it. An interesting juxtaposition against a heaven whose streets are paved with gold.

This nation of former slaves was built on the backs of a people who had no idea what it meant to be free. How could they? As slaves it was not in any interest of the owners to educate their property Thus it was that a half million men women and children with no education, no resources and several options for gods set out to form a nation.

With no formal training, many of the former slaves retreated to the nation’s interior where they farmed small plots with little outside investment. They settled into subsistence farming techniques that continue to this day. It’s those very farming techniques that have played a huge role in stripping the land and have prompted an ecological crisis. In a year like 2007 when 4 major hurricanes blew through it is cataclysmic.

It is has been said that Haiti is the first nation that was ever established by a group of former slaves. This is not entirely true. Israel holds that title. Israel had been living in slavery for 400 years under the brutal Egyptian government. Like our brothers and sisters in Haiti, Israel was the economic engine for the prosperity of their owners.

When you consider this it begins to make total and perfect sense why one of the first things that God would do is to park Israel in the desert and give them The 10 Commandments. It comes into focus why God would tell them to farm the land for 6 years and every 7th year to give the land a break. (Lev 25:1-2) It makes sense why He would take the time to tell them to go outside the camp and bury it when they have to go to the bathroom (Deut 23) It’s clear why He would tell them to stay away from certain foods that we know today have the dangers of carrying disease. (Lev 11)

It wasn’t a God trying to set up some sort of cosmic buzz kill system but rather a merciful God that knew what it would take for a people to coexist in a new land. It makes you wonder if Israel would’ve found themselves in the same condition as Haiti if God hadn’t taken the time to give them education.

Many experts believe Haiti is not beyond hope. It has a relatively small population and is in a stable region. Post earthquake there is well over a billion dollars in foreign aid immediately available that could be invested in hospitals, schools, health care, electrical systems and vital infrastructure. And yet that isn’t happening.

John Currelly, an agronomist with the Pan American Development Foundation in Haiti says “If you had covered these mountains 100 years ago with high-producing fruit trees and various other perennials, this country would still be richer than Canada. Haiti is extremely productive and has a tremendous recuperative capability … The land itself, if left alone, comes back very quickly.”

But the land has never been left alone. Its riches once fueled an empire, just as poverty now powers its collapse. And so what to do?

The government has failed dramatically if not spectacularly. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a sense of hopelessness when I first arrived. How could these people in this country ever thrive? Billions of dollars of foreign aid in the past decade, a UN force visible everywhere that operates on a $580M annual budget and the direct involvement both militarily and internally from the United States have not helped. Where is the hope?

At the risk of sounding cliché, it’s in Jesus. More specifically it’s in Jesus IN you and I and our brothers and sisters in Haiti. I had been asking where is God in the face of such suffering but the proper question is “where is the Church?” When I looked in that direction I see hope manifested in a man like Gerald Lafleur who leads the church appropriately called Restoration Ministries.

I see hope in Pastor Rodrigue who along with his wife open their home to bring shelter and safety to single moms escaping abusive relationships and children with no parental care.

Sebastian (is sponsored by Bucky and Kimmie Elliot through Restore Haiti) is being taught principles like giving and mercy and love.

Farrah (sponsored through Restore Haiti as well) is being taught that her body is her property and to break the cycle of single mothers with children from multiple fathers who will never marry their mothers.

Vlo (sponsored by Philip Peters through Restore Haiti) is being taught to be a man to not get a woman pregnant and walk out on her.

Dashka (sponsored by Theresa Swain through Restore Haiti) is being taught that abstaining from sex outside of marriage is the ONLY guarantee they have of not contracting an evil disease such as HIV/ AIDS.

They’re not only being fed physically but spiritually as well. These well fed children will grow up, and it’s my belief that they will grow up to be part of the revival that awaits Haiti.

This is all being done in the confines of a local church in a local community. It’s all being done because of folks like you and I. THE Church, made up of believers all over the world, are coming together and bringing real hope to this ravaged nation. It will only be done if all of us will man up, do our part, stand a post.

Jesus, when He sent out the 72, told them to pray for laborers. He said that the laborers are few. Living in Nashville where there are 1,000 churches that’s kind of a foreign idea. Coming too Haiti I see exactly what He was talking about.

There truly are too few laborers. Perhaps you would join me in praying Jesus prayer. Perhaps you are the answer to His prayer.

If you’re not already involved with what we’re doing through Conduit, I would ask that you prayerfully consider getting involved. We have trips coming up this year to Haiti, Togo, And India. Maybe you’re not a going laborer. But a sending laborer. And you can sponsor our work this coming year.

Email me at darren@conduitmission.org if you are interested Ina trip. Or http://www.conduitmission.org if you’re interested in donating financially. We are so honored to have those of you who have already partnered with us. And excited at the possibilities of who God is nudging in our direction.


Give A Dam?

On Christmas 2004, a quarter of a million people died in a Tsunami in South Asia. Just a few months later in Kashmir and earthquake killed another 80,500 people. And just a few months after that, Hurricane Katrina would kill 1836 people right here in the United States. Along with the death was a swath of destruction and suffering that would last long after for the “lucky” survivors.

I didn’t really do much because.. well.. I didn’t give a damn.

Actually that’s not entirely accurate. It wasn’t so much about giving one, as it was building one. I had built a dam. 

In the book of John Jesus said that rivers of living water would flow from with in us.  A river. When water is flowing, moving, it creates oxygen in the water. Oxygen, the most basic requirement of life. A river full of life.

I had inadvertently reduced my Christianity to a set of policies, programs and procedures. If you were an unbiased third party looking in on my life you would have concluded that Jesus had become man, lived a sinless life, died a brutal death, resurrected on the 3rd day just as the scriptures foretold so that I could go to church and build a successful company. My entire identity as a believer was wrapped up in my career and church programs.

I had a company. I had clients. I had youth ministry. I had used these things as building blocks to contain the Spirit as opposed to outlets for Him.

The key evidence that the Holy Spirit is present isn’t tongues or prophecy, it’s Love. Paul makes this clear when He says that Love is the Fruit of the Spirit. Jesus told us in John 15 that He had called and ordained us to bear much fruit. My lack of response for those around me going through suffering that I couldn’t imagine, was a lack of love, a lack of fruit, and a lack of the Spirit.

I dammed what God wanted to do through me.. and I had dammed it with? Me.

I lived behind the seeming safety of a dam that I had slowly built up over the years. Don’t get me wrong, behind every great dam is an awesome lake. Great for entertainment, fishing, boats, and fun. If you live near the lake or come to the lake you can enjoy it. If you live downstream, you’re dammed.

But I started having this nagging feeling. Is this it? Is this what Jesus came for? I’m at church almost every time the doors are open, I even sit in the front row and underline stuff in my bible. I was clearly missing something.

In 2007, while watching Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie on CNN talking about the work they were doing in Burma, India and other places on behalf of people in abject poverty. I sat there thinking.. man If I were rich I’d totally do what they’re doing. Maybe when, some day if, something I had said to myself before. But for some reason, that night, that time.. it was different. I realized, what kind of a jerk do I have to be to see and know what’s going on in our world, and do nothing. Jesus at that moment awoke a possibility in me.

Holocaust Survivor and Author Elie Weisel said “the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.” And there I sat there in a stagnant pond of my own indifference. But that night, something changed in me. I didn’t know what I would do, I didn’t know what to do, but I knew that “nothing” wasn’t the right answer.

From that moment Conduit was born in me. And over the next few weeks I began to ask myself a lot of questions. What if we could provide a simple pipeline to transfer resources from people with plenty to people in need. A pipe, it’s simple, no moving parts, yet serves a profound purpose. Could it be that simple?

That same year, Conduit became it’s own 501c3. We were about to find out.

We didn’t realize it but what we had done was open the floodgates ; the ones the Lord spoke of in Malachi. The floodgates, speaking of water.. so much that we couldn’t contain it. We’re not designed to be a reservoir, we’re designed to let it flow on through us. The idea being conveyed isn’t so that it pours over the sides and makes a mess all around. Rather that it will be plenty for us as we turn on the faucet for those downstream. All these years, I had read Malachi and connected the floodgates in Malachi with financial blessing. But water is never a picture of money in Scriptures. On the other hand it is very often a picture of the Holy Spirit.

In 2007 we saw just over $12,000 flow through Conduit. The next year it was over $30,000. In 2009 It was over $60,000 and then it came rushing over $260,000 in 2010 and as of December $243,000 so far this year. To date $611,000 in cash donations have gone through Conduit. This doesn’t include the value/ cost of in kind donations of airplanes, fuel, supplies, medical equipment, etc that has gone through.

And soon, it wasn’t just our money it was our talents, our abilities, our time, all flowing through the Conduit. It was the Holy Spirit that was moving like a rushing river and the financial gifts were just part of the flow. We were using our talents, our gifts, our creativity, our lives. All flowing from places with plenty to places in desperate need.

It really was a perfect picture of the life that Jesus had called us to. Streams, creeks and tributaries of His Spirit; Mostly young singles, college kids, and married couples coming together and giving the gifts, talents, financial rivers joining together to create a larger, more capable river.

Those streams bring life all along the path that they cross. Life beside the stream, life inside the stream flowing until it encounters another stream, and then another river, and soon the streams have created a much larger more capable river.

When disaster struck Haiti, we were flowing with what would ultimately be over $200,000 in financial aid, and tens of thousands of dollars more in medical, food, and other in kind donations.
When a Tsunami struck in Japan we were flowing with almost $10,000 in supplies sent through Samaritan’s Purse.
When a flood destroyed much of Nashville, we were flowing with work crews, with tens of thousands of dollars, with weeks of rebuilding.

When tornadoes struck the southeast we were flowing with truck loads of supplies and aid for the victims in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee

The Conduit has flowed to Togo, Africa. It has flowed to Uganda, Africa. It flowed with Ben Holeton spending months in Haiti overseeing our building projects there. It is flowing to India with Eric and Tisra Fadely and their 4 children who are leaving in the very near future to oversee the work of Sarah’s Covenant Homes in India. (working with special needs orphans)

The Mississippi River starts not far from where Shannon’s dad lives in MN. And it’s a small, tiny little river. But the further it goes, the more rivers, creeks, join up, and by the time it reaches the gulf it’s a massive force of carrying life to the people all along it’s banks and far beyond.

Which describes what conduit is becoming. Conduit flow has quite literally been an agent of change here and around the world. In Mon Orge, Haiti. Voodoo priests shutting down their businesses. Single moms finding hope in Christ and not in the next man to come along. Dozens of weddings as marriage is not only taught but celebrated.. In short, the entire community is changed from the inside out. And then those new streams, creeks and tributaries are joining to make the river even more capable.

When you build a reservoir. You’re building a lake. You can have all kinds of fun on the lake. But no matter how far you go, you end up where you started. Jesus offer was to follow Him. A lake denotes recreation. A river on the other hand; that’s for adventure, for discovery, for.. LIFE!

He told the woman at the well that she would never thirst again. It’s not a promise of everything going smoothly, that there would be no suffering, that there would be no risk or no danger. But it was a promise that we could, like Paul, say we’re content. we’re fulfilled

My hope is that you’ll join in with us. In assuring your life is fulfilled. That you never have to experience the dryness that I did.

And why consider bringing your abundant life with ours? With conduit?

Why Conduit? We’re nimble. We ramp up quickly. When disaster strikes we can and do move very quickly. When the Tornado’s struck the Southeast our first truck was on the ground in 24 hours. When the floods hit Nashville we were out in waist deep water rescuing people and their valuables while the rain was still falling. 95% of the money that has come in the past 4 years has gone straight to the projects on the front lines.

I’m excited to tell you one more reason .

Historically our ability to raise large sums of money has come from our relationships with the Millennial generation through social networking. Research has shown that this generation will give on average only less than a hundred dollars a year, and that they are significantly more likely to donate if there is a matching donation involved.

That’s why tonight we are very excited to announce the launch of www.doubledonations.com

We are providing an opportunity for their smaller streams of revenue to join with larger revenue streams through doubledonations.com Your gift tonight will be doubled through our $10 army over the next year.

Our goal is much larger than $50,000. We want to awaken the possibility in the hearts of the millennial generation to the power of giving,

And this is what we hope to awaken tonight in you.

So tonight I’m asking you to not give a dam, but to consider removing your dam if you’ve built one up. And if you’re already someone who has experienced this abundant life, to consider joining your stream, creek, tributary or river with our river. As you bring life to those in front of you already, and then joining with ours bringing life to many more down stream.

My challenge is to have conduit born in you. To have this dream come alive in you like it did me.

So tonight my hope is that your rivers, your tributaries, will connect with Conduit. That the rivers in your heart will be opened up. And together we can bring life to a world in need.



Majed El Shafie At Conduit

Imprisoned and tortured in an Egyptian prison for being a Christian, Majed now travels the world fighting for and defending those who are marginalized, tortured, persecuted for their faith.


If Time Were A Groupon

Time has really come to fascinate me lately. If I’m on Earth, and it’s 7pm Central Time. What time is it on Jupiter? If time is measured by a rotation of the axis of the earth, then what time zone would Mars be?

Einstein proffered in his theory of relativity that at the speed of light, time ceases to exist. Which makes a lot of sense since the scriptures tell us that God is light. With God there is no time. It’s eternal now. Peter would say it this way. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.

He created time. He doesn’t need it, doesn’t have an iPhone calendar ap.

I used to think of it as a tool for us, but these days I’m thinking of it more as a gift or an investment.

It’s been said that “time heals” and that is so true on so many levels. When a loved one graduates to Heaven, it’s extremely difficult in the first days and weeks. Then as time passes it gets easier. There is often times a guilt associated with this. However, if God created time, and then uses that time to Heal us, it’s really OK to receive that gift without guilt.

It’s not only a gift, but an investment he has made in us. Much like the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Each of the men got only so much of it. And while the master was away, each of the servants were expected to invest what they had of it.

The average lifetime being 75 years, the average life gets 657435.958 hours. That’s the average investment he will put into each of us. But, it’s not the amount of time we have been given, rather it’s what we do with what we have.

The financial metaphor is woven throughout our language when referring to time. We spend time, save time, invest time. In the Bible God would tell us to “redeem” the time. When I take a groupon to the business, I give it to them in exchange for something else. I am “redeeming” that coupon.

Each minute I get, every day, I am redeeming it. I’m turning it over in exchange for something else.

I’ve started taking this very seriously. If you’ve been through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace you know about budgeting your money. Spend every penny on paper before you actually spend it.

I’ve started looking at my calendar ap, not as a schedule, but a budget. I am spending it on paper before spending it in real life. It’s been a process, and an adjustment.

It has shown me where I am wasting time. It has revealed to me that there are things in my life that have to go. I only have a certain amount of minutes in the day and when the schedule is done, it’s done. There are things in my life I spend too much time on. It’s like over paying for something and having buyers remorse. There are things I spend too little time on. Not like I got a good deal on something and I’m excited. But that I paid far too little and it cheapens it.

I haven’t gotten it all figured out yet. I’m struggling with the sabbath piece. Where does that fit? It was included in the ten commandments alongside of don’t murder or steal so it’s clearly something that I need to focus on. What do I give up not as an act of obedience but what do I give Him as an act of worship.

The time with my wife, that has to be a priority. Quality and quantity are the same things when it relates to time with kids. I want to find the balance to that as well.

And ultimately what I want is when I stand before the Lord that the investment he has made in me. The 655,000 hours I might get, that I can present that back to him with an enormous return.

Ephesians 5:16

David Whetstone Speaking at Conduit “I Wish Christians Would Die”

David Whetstone, our man on mission to Togo Africa recently spoke at Conduit. It’s amazing what a combined 12 months sleeping in a tent in Northern Togo Africa will do for the Holy Spirit quotient in your life. Every Christian should listen to this.