I have put together the following information to answer some of the questions folks have had about my upcoming extended mission trip to Haiti. Thank you for your prayers for me and my family during this time. If you’d like to donate to support the ministry of Supply and Multiply, you can do so by clicking this link. If you’d like to contribute to the costs of my six-month mission trip, just follow the same link and designate “Spears” on the memo line of your check or in the PayPal comments line. All donations and contributions are tax deductible. Thanks again.
What is Supply and Multiply?
Supply and Multiply is a 501(c)3 ministry that empowers the Body of Christ in Montrouis, Haiti, creating jobs, ministering to the least of these, and promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ through direct evangelization and compassionate care found in the love of Christ. The ministry’s guiding scripture comes from 2 Corinthians 9:10 – “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (ESV)
Our ministry philosophy is based on three principles:
- Provide a blessing through evangelistic and compassion care ministries to directly elevate and bless an individual or group of individuals.
- Provide employment through the activity generating the blessing.
- Provide community empowerment, engagement in ministry, and general elevation.
These philosophies permeate the ever-expanding work of this organization in Montrouis, a large town located on the coast of Haiti, about an hour and a half north of the capital city of Port au Prince. What began in 2014 with the simple idea of providing food and care for a few elderly residents of that community has grown into a network of interrelated ministries whose heart remains compassionate care for the elderly, a group that faces particular challenges in Montrouis.
The median age in Haiti is 22.6 years, according to The World Factbook, published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which also lists the average life expectancy at 63.8 years. With a high percentage (32.81 percent) of children and a comparatively low percentage (5.01 percent) of people living to be 55-64 years of age, those who do live to the age of 65 or older can find that they have outlived most of the family members who might take care of them. Lacking the social nets that we have in the developed world, aging Haitians can be stuck without the resources to take care of themselves.
In Montrouis, Supply and Multiply has built two Matthew 25 Houses to provide shelter, food, clothing, medical attention and spiritual and emotional support for elderly citizens who have in some cases literally been taken off the streets and brought to live there in security. They are fed well, clothed and cared for in these homes. When they pass away, we pay for their funerals through the generous donations of a funeral home in Suffolk, Va.
We also provide monthly food deliveries to 12 elderly citizens who are still able to live in their own homes safely, and our staff nurse visits those in-home-care patients on a regular basis. Long-term and short-term missionaries make a point to do so, as well, praying with them and spending time with them so they will know they are loved.
As the ministry has become established in Montrouis, Supply and Multiply has expanded its reach into the community in ways designed to support the core ministry of elderly care. A small fishing ministry provides a boat for a fisherman from town. He splits his catch with the Matthew 25 Houses, taking the remainder for his family and to sell at the market; the blessing of the fish is thus multiplied several different ways. Similarly, we have multiple agricultural sites where pigs, rabbits and chickens are raised and plantains and other produce are grown, with the fruits of those efforts then split between the farmers and our elderly residents. The feeding program ensures that our residents, our in-home clients, our staff and their families are well fed in a place where food insecurity is a huge problem.
We have built or are in the process of building 12 simple block homes for staff members and their families in partnership with a Realtor in California, and our Haitian director informs us when he discovers a housing need for a family to whom we minister or when one is identified within one of our partner churches in Montrouis.
All of the work is done by Haitian staffers who are on the Supply and Multiply payroll and by Haitian contractors we hire. We employ security guards, a nurse, cooks, cleaning personnel, translators, drivers and others, and we have committed to them as part of their reimbursement for services to pay for their children to attend school. That newest part of the program has resulted in 37 children receiving an education that would have been out of their reach otherwise.
Finally, one of our translators has started weekly Bible clubs with children in the community. Alex is a smart guy who gave up the chance to work in accounting at a nearby resort for Port au Prince’s elite in order to minister to children and the elderly through Supply and Multiply. God has great plans for him, and I hope to lay the groundwork for some of those plans to come to fruition while I am in Haiti in 2018.
Roles of missionaries
In keeping with Supply and Multiply’s objective that the ministry be self sufficient and sustainable in terms of the actual work done in Montrouis, we seek to empower our staff to do that work with or without the presence of American missionaries. Our Haitian director is in charge of all the facets of ministry there, communicating with our founders, Chris and Christina Surber — and through them, the board of directors — to ensure that the organization’s mission stays on track through the day-to-day decisions. We hire Haitians for most of our building projects, rather than sending Americans to do the work, thus providing wages for citizens there and boosting the economy through the purchase of materials, as well.
Our short-term teams — last year, there were a half dozen or so week-long trips by teams ranging from 12 to 20 American visitors — come alongside our staff to spend time with the elderly, conduct health checks in the community surrounding the Matthew 25 Houses, hold vacation Bible school with children in the area, do street ministry in Montrouis and help with projects to improve our facilities (in addition to the Matthew 25 Houses, we lease space for housing for short-term missionaries and have recently completed construction of three small apartments for long-term missionaries within one of the Matthew 25 compounds).
We have had several long-term missionaries in place at various times during the past couple of years, and their projects have ranged from expanding our agricultural programs to teaching our Haitian staff how to speak English to helping to launch the Bible clubs. Again, the aim is toward sustainability, so in each case, we have worked to mentor our Haitian staff members toward the goal of being able to continue this work even after the missionaries return home.
My ministry plans in Haiti
One of the things that has become clear to us while we have ministered in Montrouis is a need for mentoring and pastoral care for our staff and for our residents. We require that they be plugged into local churches, but we sense a need for a greater level of spiritual engagement within the context of the ministry itself, especially in light of the goal of sustainability. Therefore, one of my primary jobs while in Haiti will be to provide in-country pastoral support and direction within the ministry. I intend to help develop and lead regular discipleship- oriented Bible studies for the staff, and I hope to be able to raise one of them up to continue those studies when I am gone.
Connected to that need is a broader one that is evident in Haitian society as a whole: men’s ministry. In previous trips, I have led men’s fellowship programs aimed at discipling young male followers of Christ, and I will be working to make those programs a regular part of what Supply and Multiply does in Montrouis. This is a direct response to the Great Commission, in which Jesus called us to “go and make disciples.” Our mission, as followers of Christ, is both evangelizing the lost and making true disciples of the saved.
Jesus also called us to love one another, and that brings me to what might be the most exciting long-term plan we have right now: building (or renovating) a structure that can be used as a community center, where we can provide a safe place for teaching the Bible, conducting English classes, offering regular medical clinics and providing recreation for children and adults in the area we serve. One of my duties will be to begin the planning process — identifying and (potentially) securing properties, organizing contractors and the like — for that facility. I have included here a breakdown of what we think the costs would be for such a facility for informational purposes.
Finally, I must say that I am excited for the opportunity to simply share life with my Haitian brothers and sisters in this ministry and to spend quality time with the residents of our Matthew 25 Houses and the others we serve in the community. We have found that simply sitting with these elderly friends enriches their lives, and it brings great joy to those of us who have taken the time to do so amidst the many duties and distractions of short-term trips.
My seminary plans
During the spring semester for DTS, while I will be in Haiti, I will be taking nine credits toward my needed 63 for the Masters of Arts in Christian Leadership. Since all of these courses are online-only (my residency requirements will be met with other hybrid classes I am taking now and upon my return to the U.S.), my only needs are for good internet service and fuel to run our generators. If things go well on this trip, I would hope to return in 2019 for a similar length of time to continue the work and earn credits toward the internship portion of my degree requirements.
The MACL degree should position me to do a variety of things upon graduation. Currently I believe God is leading me to pastor a church, and this degree would make that a possibility, at least for a small church. However, I have three to four more years of study, and I am leaving room for God to move me in another direction. The MACL — along with my experience in Haiti — would be a good foundation for taking a paid leadership position in another mission organization, and it would be useful if I were to wind up back in the private sector, though the leading to some form of direct ministry seems evident today.
Thank you for your interest in this ministry and in my seminary plans. I pray that God will bless you as He has me. As I take the next steps in this journey, I ask that you pray for me, as well. Pray that God gives me the ability to focus on my studies here and in Haiti, that he comforts my family and me during our separation, that he removes obstacles from our path and that he continues to send people like you to encourage us along the way. Most of all, please pray that He — not I or any of us working in this ministry — is honored and glorified by the things we do and say.
Spears Haiti mission trip budget
- Vehicle shipping/customs $2,700*
- Flights $650 a flight x 2
- Visa $50
- Health care
- HERO ambulance membership $108
- Haitian hospital insurance/emergency evac insurance $532
- Cholera vaccination $50
- Printer $100
- Internet $200
- Haiti cellphone $20
- USA health insurance $300
- Food $300
- Water replenishment $50
- Generator gas $100
- Cooking propane $50
- Travel to/from Port au Prince $50
- Laundry $65
- Security $20
- Monthly total — $955
- Men’s fellowship $200
- Haitian staff pastoral care $200 (purchase Bibles)
- Community center
- Site acquisition $1,000
- Construction $500
- Monthly power $100
- The ministry vehicle listed here — a pickup truck — has been donated and will be filled with supplies for me and for the ministry. The cost here reflects shipping and customs fees. The truck will then be used by the ministry and remain in Haiti after I return to the U.S.