Pastor’s Conference – Potino, Haiti: June 20-24

First of all, we want to thank you for your many prayers over the time of the conference. If you had been praying for a time of clear Biblical teaching, attentive & interested men, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, you may praise the Lord with us for answered prayer!

Philip Rudolph and Jim Kelly (elders from our home congregation here in TN) arrived in Port-au-Prince late on Saturday evening, June 18. We spent a very hot night in P-au-P at a guesthouse. The next day when we were ready to leave, we found out that one of our two interpreters had mistaken the dates for the conference and thought they were the following week! But thankfully, though there was some delay in our departure, he was still able to come with us, and we were so thankful for that!

Travel up the rough trail went well, and we arrived safely in Potino on Sunday evening. Michael set up all of his audio and recording equipment Sunday night, and the rest of the set-up was completed Monday morning. Michael was able to get good sound and video recordings of the whole conference. Lord willing, we will be making those available in other areas of Haiti as well.

The first session on Monday morning began strong with hymns, prayer, and anticipation. Then, a time of sound, Biblical teaching, you could just see the men drinking it in. Biblical exposition is not commonly found in Haiti, often personal opinions and traditions obscure what the Scripture really says. They have been taught certain things all of their lives, and everyone else thinks the same way. If you could only see their excitement as their hearts and minds are taught by the Word of God, and they realize new truths. It’s a privilege to be able to sit there and witness the Lord working!

Philip taught on Worship. The concept of “worship” is very misunderstood in Haiti. Many or most think it has to do with singing & getting worked up, dancing, and yelling. Philip was able to show from Scripture what the definition of worship really is. How does GOD want us to worship? What should worship look like in our meetings? How should we prepare to worship? He answered these questions and many more during the sessions throughout the week. Worship is the state of the heart before God and is voiced through the channels of singing, praise, Scripture reading, prayer, preaching of the Word, and is in conformity to His will and command. Worship is words; it is giving back to God the truths He has already given to us.

Jim taught on Systematic Theology. He showed how you can take any verse of scripture or any Biblical truth and divide them into one of seven categories: The study of God, The study of Christ, The study of The Holy Spirit, The study of man and creation, The study of Salvation, The study of the Church, and The study of the things of the last days. He gave an overview of each point using many Scriptures and helped them practice dividing the truths found in any verse into the different categories. He showed them how to organize and understand the way they work together and then how to teach these truths to their home congregations. He used a puzzle to illustrate how all of the doctrines of Scripture fit together perfectly, but, you must have and understand all the pieces in order to get the whole picture. If you only hold to some of the truths of scripture or do not understand some of them and how they work, the puzzle will not fit together and it will be a scrambled mess. He taught them how Systematic Theology helps you piece all the truths of scripture together and keeps you from ignoring any of the doctrines of the Bible.

The last session of the week was going late. The men were asked, do you want to stop now or finish this topic? The vote was unanimous, “keep going”! It didn’t matter that they each had a 1-4 hour walk home in the hot afternoon sun. They had the rare opportunity to be taught and they were loving it. Thank you each again for your prayers and support that make these conferences possible. God is so good!

Here are some pictures from the week:








A letter to our friends…(with pictures!)

Dear Supporters of Aid for Haiti,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     September 25, 2014

There are times in your life you anticipate an event for a long time. Sometimes the anticipation is not realized, sometimes it is. But when the anticipation is exceeded, the blessing is so special. It is a time that blesses, challenges, and changes you for the rest of your life.
I had an event from September 6 to September 13 that will forever be considered a great blessing of my life. For several years I prayed and wanted to go with a good friend, Caleb J. Trent, to Haiti. He goes to Haiti several times a year, mostly for medical clinics in the mountains of Haiti where there is a tremendous need.

First my work prevented me from going, second it was my wife, Chung’s, health. Last week I was blessed by being able to go to Haiti for eight days.

While I had seen on television and read of the conditions in Haiti, it was much different than I had anticipated. I had been in Asia in the 1960’s and had seen poverty. What I saw in Asia did not come close to the poverty I saw in Haiti. The average wage for a laborer or field hand is around $5.50 USD. The interpreters we had are paid about $15. We saw some boys, ages 12-15 working at the school for food to eat. Haitians spend about 70% of their income on food. I saw children begging on the streets. It was truly humbling to sit during our meetings with my iPad, realizing it was worth as much as some earn in a year.

I saw shanties like I could never have imagined. They were about 6 x 8 structures made from scraps of wood and corrugated metal. I saw families living in cloth tents that were given to them at the time of the earthquake in 2010. There is no sewage disposal system. All water has to be filtered.

Education is making headway. The pastor of the church we were at said that 10 years ago the children in his area could not read. Today most can read and speak a few words of English.

I had an opportunity to go to the mission base of Aid for Haiti, a non-profit organization. This is a small group that is primarily supported by its board members. There is no administrative overhead. All funds go directly to helping support medical clinics, pastor training, and the two Americans, Michael and Virginia Rudolph, a brother and sister, who live at the mission base which is under construction.  They spend a good portion of their time helping the teams who travel to Haiti. They live 14 miles off the main road. It takes two hours to get from the main road to their mission station. The two Americans are living on faith in their God and have no guaranteed income.

Currently they do a variety of things. Michael has EMT training and was the director of a clinic for several years after the earthquake.  He translates for teams that come. He has been blessed with the gift of learning Creole; he is able to speak Creole without an accent. Michael also spends much time going to the airport and driving the teams to where they are going to minister. Travel in Haiti is slow and difficult. Michael is also blessed by being able to solve problems that come up; he fixes and maintains all of their equipment. Michael is getting married in January.

Virginia has recently returned to Haiti. She had lived in Haiti in the past and then returned to the States for about a year before returning to Haiti to live indefinitely.  She is a LPN. She will be spending the next few months learning Creole as she continues her ministry.
The team I went with was led by Phillip Rudolph, the father of Michael and Virginia, a very gifted teacher. Dr. Caleb Trent was the other team member who is also a gifted teacher. The purpose of the trip I went on was to conduct a seminar for pastors and elders. I think it was the tenth seminar they have held. Phillip and Caleb taught on a number of doctrinal issues. I spoke on my reflections of being an elder for thirty years and some promises of God that I was blessed with during the last four years.

One might ask why the need of teaching. The answer is, the church in Haiti has very little in the way of education. Many of the men in our group do not have a high school education. They also have very little in the way of literature to learn from. We have commentaries, books, etc. They have nothing. The Bible they have been using is very poor. They have just received a new translation of the New Testament which is good. The Old Testament is so poor that in places the chapters and verse numbers do not match the correct verse. It was not uncommon for men to come to each of us between meetings and ask questions as they look for answers from the Bible. They are eager to learn. They have not had the opportunity. It is an understatement to say the need of teaching is great.

It is easy to form an opinion of Haiti as being a very corrupt country, which it is. It has been pictured as people desperate to get on a rickety boat to try to make it to America for a better life much like my Irish ancestors did. Haitians are also stereotyped as being lazy and not willing to work hard. But that was not what I was blessed to see. I was blessed by not only being able to teach men who wanted to be taught, but also of meeting men of integrity. The only reason these men took a week from their normal activities was to learn the Word of God. I met men who want to serve God and are doing it in the best way they can. I met men who wanted to take up the command of God to serve and shepherd the flock of God. At previous seminars men walked three hours each way, daily, to attend the seminars.

While we were going up on the mountain on September 8th and I was looking out over the mountains enjoying the wonderful creation of God, I remembered that 50 years to the day was the day I met my wife Chung. It brought tears to my eyes. Two young people met, got married, had children, got saved and have tried serving the Lord. As I was thinking about Chung I thought about how pleased she would be for me to be serving the Lord in a new and exciting way.

I asked Michael what their greatest material need is. He answered that they have a need for a portable generator. It costs around $1,000 – $1,500. They need it because they travel to places that have no electricity. When I was there we had electricity at best eight hours a day. In rural areas there are places where there is no electricity. Electricity is critically needed for medical clinics and the teaching seminars. Currently, they have had to rely on borrowing a generator. Not only did the person who was supposed to bring it come late to the meetings, but it did not work. Michael worked through the evening to fix it so we could use it the next day. If you would like to know how to contribute to this, go to or contact me directly.

Someone asked if I would go back and help again. It could very well happen, in the will of the Lord. There is a real need. In the near future there will be a medical team going. Perhaps in the fall there will be a marriage seminar. Next year there will be other pastor’s seminars.



Pictures from the pastor’s conference in Fond Doux, Sept. 2014


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Fond Doux Pastor’s Conference 2014


Young women's health class
Young women’s health class
Left to Right: Larry Sherraden, Philip Rudolph, Dr. Caleb Trent, Michael Rudolph
Left to Right: Larry Sherraden, Philip Rudolph, Dr. Caleb Trent, Michael Rudolph
Philip, Virginia, and Michael Rudolph
Philip, Virginia, and Michael Rudolph

Pastor’s Conference in Potino, Haiti (July 7-11)

Pastor’s Conference Potino, Haiti July 7-11

Teachers: Jim Kelly, Philip Rudolph, and Dr. Philip Sutherland

This was AFH’s ninth Pastor’s Conference in Haiti!   What a joy it was for the teachers to return and note the growing maturity and continuing love of the truth in the men who have been attending.  These men are familiar faces now, friends, and dear brothers in Christ who love and worship the same God, and who have also been changed by His amazing grace.  It is the hunger for God’s Word produced by this grace that causes these men to take time away from their regular duties to listen, take notes, ask questions, and learn more about our wonderful God and how they can better teach and communicate the Scriptures to their congregations and schools.  There were about 74 men in attendance this year. Some of the men who attended walked 3 ½ hours one way each of the 5 days of the conference.  Imagine leaving before dawn, walking over mountains to spend a day learning, then walking 3 ½ home to catch up on regular work and prepare for the next day.   God bless their dedication!

The theme of this Pastor’s Conference could be summed up in the phrase, “Preach the Word!”.  Pastor Philip Rudolph opened the conference with a message to the pastors on their mandate to “Preach the Word” from 2 Timothy 4:2.  Pastor Jim Kelly taught an entire series on the subject of preaching. Many of the pastors and teachers in attendance have never learned the basics of how to prepare a sermon and effectively communicate. Jim was able to share with the men the importance of being faithful to the context and meaning of a passage, how to prepare an outline, how to use logic to make meaning flow, and the principles of delivering a message with authority and passion.  He lifted up a high standard for these brothers, not only in words, but with the example by which he himself spoke.  He also emphasized continued communion with God – that it is His Spirit which guides us in all truth.

Pastor Philip Rudolph taught on the origin of Scripture – he spoke on the history of God’s Word, how ancient manuscripts were preserved and translated, and how for centuries Bibles were hand copied word for word until the printing press was invented, etc.  The consistency of these thousands of manuscripts is one way to demonstrate the veracity of Scripture.  He was able to show them photos of the ancient manuscripts, and gave details on how and when they were found.  He also covered the days of the Reformation and the tremendous impact it had on our history because of the emphasis on Scriptural knowledge and study.   All this information was absolutely fascinating to these Haitian men!  I don’t think we realize what we take for granted here in the States and the blessing of our education and common knowledge.  When we consider the differences though, it is easy to understand the amazement and enthusiasm with which they learned.

Dr. Philip Sutherland’s series was on the Characteristics of God.  He gave solid Scriptural teaching on God’s holiness, justice, sovereignty, omnipotence, etc.  God’s character is not limited to what our own minds conjure Him to be, neither is it our intellect or ideas that define His goodness, love, or justice; He is the God of the Bible, He is GOD! He is set apart from His creation, self-defining and self-determining.  There is neither time nor space to cover all Dr. Philip spoke on, but learning about and understanding God’s attributes as revealed in Scripture is life changing, and these foundational truths will go with these men the rest of their lives.

Pictures from the conference below!

A panoramic picture


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Pastor’s Conference in Fourby, Haiti

Time: January 18-21, 2014

Place: Fourby, Haiti (Near Jean Rabel)

Team Members: Philip Rudolph, Glen Yoder, Michael Rudolph, two Haitian translators & the local coordinator


 On Friday morning, January 17, Philip, Glen, and Michael were packed, and leaving Port au Prince for the north!  This trip was highly anticipated for 2 years now by the pastors and leaders in Fourby, Haiti.  The journey from Port au Prince to Fourby in nice weather with “good” roads is approximately 9 ½ hours (with a stop for supplies).  On this trip the team was pleased to find that the roads were passable, though there were some pot holes large enough to drive a truck into, and the dust was 6” thick in some areas. 🙂  However, they did not have breakdowns or get stuck, which was a huge blessing.

Let me give some background and information on Fourby, Haiti…

haiti map jean Rabel

Fourby is about an hour south of the larger region of Jean Rabel.  This area is one of the poorest regions in northwestern Haiti.  The community of Fourby itself is very isolated, and the poverty extreme.   Approximately three years ago (in 2011), AFH had their first pastor’s conference in Fourby.   Shortly thereafter, some leaders and pastors from this area requested that AFH return to teach them further from the Word of God. They stated that they had a list of 70 men interested in attending another conference for pastors.   Since then, Michael has been contacted by these leaders numerous times, and was told that these 70 men were still eagerly waiting!  God provided AFH with the financial capabilities, as well as other open doors to make it possible to return this January.

Friday evening, the team arrived in Fourby – freshly coated in dust!  They set up the projector, prepared the meeting building for sessions, and got their living area arranged for the next several days, then went to bed. This was no luxury suite – there were 5 men with all their supplies in about an 8′ x 10′ room, and that made for very crowded quarters! 

Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday each had 3 sessions plus a question and answer time, with Philip and Glen preaching through translators.

Glen is from Kentucky; he is an elder in a sister church to Philip’s assembly in TN.   Philip has known him for 14 years. Glen was in Haiti with a work team in 2013, and he agreed to go along to help teach at this pastor’s conference.  He very quickly adapted to teaching through a translator. His series on “The Man of God” focused on character qualifications and abilities that are required in order to be effective as a leader.  At one point while he was teaching about the various duties that need to be performed by leaders in the church, he began to pull balls out of his pocket and juggle them, to the delight of the men!  While he was juggling, he told them that while they’re fulfilling their task as a teacher, they must also fulfill it as an example; and while they are teaching and being an example, they must also be guarding against the dangers from outside the church. A leader must not drop the ball in any area. It was truly an electric moment, and he was able to reach their hearts through his demonstration and teachings.

Glen preaching

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Glen and Pastor Bono

Philip taught eight sessions answering the question, “What is the Gospel?” He was able to cover this subject in depth, beginning with man’s responsibility to God as his Creator and reckoning with His holiness. They covered the subject of man – who he is as a sinner, and his separation from God. They looked in depth at the substitutionary death of Christ as the answer to the guilt and sin of man.  They concluded the sessions with man’s response; “…repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:21


One of the highlights of the conference was the level of maturity found in the men.  This is AFH’s 9th pastor training week. Usually there are younger men that attend, if there is room.  However this time, it was middle aged and older men, which added a universal maturity and wisdom that is typically uncommon for such a large group. This gave the teachers the opportunity to dive into deeper issues and levels of teaching.  Another highlight was simply the fact that attendance to the sessions was nearly perfect – the men were faithful and so interested in all they could take in.  Such commitment was a huge blessing and encouragement to the team!


These men were noticed between sessions talking about what they were learning, going over their notes, and discussing Scripture. The older man is a deacon and he was explaining more about the lessons they had covered.

Voodoo is deeply ingrained amongst the people in the Fourby area.  The local church has faced some persecution, especially during its beginning years ago as the Christians were starting to step away from the traditions of their community. When they began to build their first meeting house – they would plant and set the first poles of the building into the ground. During the night, someone opposed to them (probably the witchdoctor’s cronies) would come and tear them out, ruining their day’s work and preventing building progression. This event took place a number of times.  Pastor Bono had some people tell him that if he doesn’t stop trying to have a church there, they would put a spell on him and kill him.  But he was determined to press on, and said he didn’t care about their threats – he had to move ahead.  He said that actually, all the men who tried to put a spell on him died within a year.

On this trip to Fourby, the local elders from this assembly requested to have a meeting with Glen, Philip and Michael. They explained that their church separated from another larger denomination some time ago.  They felt it was time to get away from the hierarchy type of church government that they were a part of; that they were being controlled by a denomination rather than the New Testament.  When they were a part of that denomination, they did not have the liberty to pursue their responsibilities as a local church separate from the organization that was over them. They have a vision to be completely under the headship of Christ and His Word.  So they asked for Glen and Philip’s input on a few issues. For one thing, they are having problems with the Haitian government not recognizing them as a registered church. This means that they cannot provide birth certificates or wedding certificates for individuals in the congregation.  Philip and Glen were able to encourage them to be patient and continue on.  They were also able to speak with another friend of theirs to help get permission for this assembly to be a local, New Testament church, and hopefully become recognized by the department of religious affairs in Haiti.  Please pray for God to open doors so that this could happen.

These are some of the primary people who helped make the conference possible – food/lodging/translating/local coordinating.

Wednesday morning, the conference was finished and the team headed south to Port au Prince to fly home the next day.  They are excited about what God did in Fourby, and ask that you join us in prayer for the men who were able to study the Word of God with them. Pray that God would use what the men discussed and learned to further His kingdom for His glory and honor.  The men that attended the conference actually come from many small communities in the Jean Rabel/Fourby area.  They have the potential to impact many people, by God’s grace.  Pray that they would be able to effectively communicate truth and God’s Word in their homes, assemblies, and schools. Pray that God would open hearts as people hear the Gospel and the truth of the Scriptures.