Sharing Jesus through Film in Haiti

12/09/14

The backpack opens up like Mary Poppins' bag of tricks. Inside is a solar-powered projection system with everything Marc Antoine needs to show the JESUS film to the students: a screen, projector, and sound system. 

 
Marc Antoine Michel, COTN’s Haiti country director, has been looking forward to this. The school he chose to visit today is in Nan Saline, a desperately poor area of Haiti. The building is bare-bones, just long wooden poles for structure, recycled tarps for walls, and tin for a roof. The solar-powered kit is designed for places like this, where reliable electricity is non-existent.
 
             Marc Antoine has been involved with this school and the struggling community of Nan Saline for years.
 
A Venture Team from Orlando raised the funds to purchase this equipment and bring it to Haiti as part of their trip. Jeff Lander, COTN’s spiritual care director, hopes to be able to send this same equipment to each of the countries COTN serves.
 
Getting to see a movie is a real treat for these children. They watch as a white screen is hung up and the projector is leveled. As soon as the movie begins, the children get quiet. Parents from the village gather outside and watch through the open door.
 
When the film ends, Marc Antoine stands up. He begins by asking simple questions like, What are the names of Jesus’ parents? When students answer correctly, he lets them choose a composition book, toothbrush, or toothpaste for a prize.
 
Marc Antoine helps one of the quieter students answer a question.
                                   Marc Antoine helps one of the quieter students answer a question.
 
                                                             Toothbrushes are good prizes!
 
Then Marc Antoine gets a little more serious. “How many children this morning believe Jesus loves them?” he asks. They listen as he begins to explain the human need for salvation. He speaks simply but he doesn’t sugarcoat the truth. 
 
“Everyone needs hope to live,” he tells them. “Everyone needs to know the answers to why they are here, where they will go when they die. These are hard questions.”
 
Marc Antoine explains salvation to the students. “When you are thirsty, you take water,” Marc Antoine tells the students. “If you are hungry, you eat. If you want to be forgiven, you must accept Jesus.”
 
“It’s not a game,” he continues. “It’s for your life. It’s not something your mother can do for you or your father can do for you. This moment you have to do this for you.” Marc Antoine invites any students who want to accept Jesus to join him. After several students make their way up front, he leads the school in prayer. 
 
The mood quickly changes to celebration. With the help of another pastor on guitar, Marc Antoine leads the children in an enthusiastic rendition of “Big House” by Audio Adrenaline. The children sing as loud as they can and Marc Antoine shows them how to do the arm motions with the lyrics. The students love it. 
 
“Children have a lot of value in Jesus’ eyes,” Marc Antoine says.
                                        “Children have a lot of value in Jesus’ eyes,” Marc Antoine says.
 
Marc Antoine is passionate about sharing Jesus with children. He left his career in the Haitian National Police years ago after he realized God was calling him to be a youth pastor. “For the children, God has particularly called me to bring joy and hope to the hopeless,” he says. “Wherever I go, I feel connected with children. To me each child is a child, no matter his nation, color, or language.”
 
He requested the projector equipment and the JESUS film from COTN because he saw children were struggling to understand who Jesus is. “Children are visual learners,” he explains. “When they can see what you are talking about, they have a quick assimilation.” Marc Antoine wasted no time showing the film to the children in COTN’s sponsorship program as well. They really enjoyed it and several of them prayed with Marc Antoine at the end. This equipment has already proven its great value. He’s already looking forward to the next time he can show the film.
 
Before Marc Antoine leaves the school in Nan Saline he says goodbye to the students. “Next time when I ask you if you love Jesus, I want to see you put two hands up,” he says to them with a big smile, raising his arms. This is an afternoon the students won’t soon forget. 
 
You can help Marc Antoine and our staff share God’s love with more children. Give now to the Spiritual Care Fund!