Nehemiah Worship Chapel is the church on the NVM compound in Haiti. And there is something exciting happening at the church. Young people are showing up every Friday at 3 in the afternoon and look forward to coming each week. What can create such enthusiasm? Brigade! This is a wonderful youth program being conducted in churches around the world. Some have characterized it as a "Christian Boy Scouts." However, it is quite different and so much more powerful.
|Marching in a Brigade Day celebration|
On June 10th of this year the Brigade program celebrated its 47th anniversary in Haiti. And on January 18 of this year the Brigade program started at NVM. On September 9 there is another celebration. It will mark the 39th year that young ladies have been involved in the program in Haiti.
The Brigade ministry in the United States and Canada is for boys and young men. However, in Haiti it has been expanded to include young women and girls. However, the mission is the same. The mission of Brigade is to build godly men and women for tomorrow. And this mission is accomplished by:
• Training, equipping and encouraging men and women for ministry in general and ministry to young people specifically.
• Empowering men and women to use their gifts, talents and experience to teach the truth of God’s Word with insight and enthusiasm.
• Encouraging young boys and girls to grow in Christ-likeness through relationships with godly leaders, through fun Bible-related activities that are exciting and relevant to them, through applying Scripture to daily life, through opportunities to serve Christ together, and through memorizing God’s Word.
• Discipling young people for Christ so that they develop mentally, physically and spiritually to become better members of society and strong members of God's Kingdom.
• Providing good role models through positive Christian adult relationships.
At Nehemiah Worship Chapel nearly 200 young people show up each week to be involved in the program. It started just 6 months ago and the momentum is building. Clerice Attis is the Brigade commander. Speaking of the programs impact and purpose, Clerice says, "The Brigade program helps train kids to come to Christ and see God as the source of living water for others. The program is based on the Bible and focused on Jesus." Clerice goes on to discuss the physical aspects of the program. "The young people also do marching drills and play games such as soccer and basketball. These physical activities help them think more clearly." And finally he makes mention of the social and intellectual aspects of the program. "The social aspects of the program are also important. The kids are learning how to cook, sew and how to act around others. Being respectful is important. For example, they learn how to act when invited into a home and are eating a meal around the table. And finally they receive help with their schoolwork. Tutoring is available for math, grammar and social science."
And Clerice has help. Since its start, nine adult leaders have joined the ministry. The local committee is a board of leaders from the church. Pastor Pierre is the Brigade president and he serves with eight others to make up the board. Then there is the Brigade committee who work directly with kids. Clerice is the Chief of the Brigade and he works with six assistants. The assistants work directly with students in small groups. About his leaders, Clerice says, "They are my right hand! I could not work with the kids without them. We are offering ongoing training and seminars to improve our skills."
|Clerice leading a Brigade meeting|
|Small group sessions at the meeting|
|Having fun playing a game|
Here is what one student says about Brigade. "This is a new thing for me and my friends. We are excited about the program. We are memorizing Bible verses. We learn one each week. And we are learning new songs. They are teaching us about the importance of education and how we can be better leaders for our country. And learning to be respectful to each other is important. I am not more important than others. As I draw closer to Christ I learn how to treat others and be respectful. This is especially important with older people and our parents."
And here is what one parent had to say about Brigade. "Since being involved in Brigade, my boy is more respectful and definitely obeys better. They treat others better and even give the Brigade salute to each other. He tells me that the 3-finger salute means Jesus comes first, others second and me last. That is a good thing!"
Please be praying for this exciting new ministry. It is making a tremendous impact on the lives of the young people here. This program will contribute to their personal development and it will develop future leaders. Pray that these young people grow up to be the future leaders of churches in Haiti and in the country itself.
|Getting ready to play soccer after the Brigade meeting|
And there are ways you can help. If you are interested in discovering how, contact Clerice Attis directly. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serving on your behalf in Haiti,
Jim & Cheryl Warner