There are a crazy number of people in our church who have a connection to Haiti in some way. They’ve visited, have family, sponsor children, adopted, and supported missionaries from this little country.

And although our people’s connection to Haiti was a factor in making a partnership with CPR-3 a reality, it wasn’t the focus. What struck us most impressively about CPR-3’s church partnership proposal was the long-term relationship that (we hoped) would naturally flow out of constant communication, encouragement, learning and sending teams to the same place and the same people over and over again. We were looking for something sustainable and long-term and this partnership offered it.

During our first trip to Haiti, we were thrilled with the pastor CPR-3 had matched us with. His heart oozes, in the most beautiful way, for broken and hurting people around him. The passion you’d see in his eyes, as he explains his dreams for offering these lovely people hope and a future, would make you want to follow him wherever he’d take you. He is a tremendous mix of heart and head and we feel honored to be in partnership with him.

Partnership is an elastic term with CPR-3. As someone who thinks linearly and appreciates boundaries, I found this to be frustrating at first. But the longer we enjoy this growing partnership, the more I appreciate the room to dream about and personalize it. Those things add a huge level of “buy in” and excitement among partners and CPR-3’s coaching approach is incredibly helpful and not overbearing. They act as a conduit in partnership and play an integral part in the health of what’s going on.

You should know about our favorite part of this partnership. It’s the village of Canaan and the precious people there. Canaan is a city in Haiti that has grown exponentially since the earthquake. Most of the people living in Canaan today were personally impacted by the earthquake in 2010 and have relocated, some by choice, some because the Haitian government sent them there. Electricity and running water are needed but hardly guaranteed. Driving on their unpaved roads, barely missing potholes the size of an extra-large cheese pizza (it’s my favorite food, okay?) as we slowly bump our way up a hill in a tap-tap, peering into the distance, every kind of poverty imaginable is seen. Tents as houses, “grocery stores” with 5 items to choose from, barefoot children, swollen bellies, empty eyes. These are the broken and hurting people Jesus talks so much about. I could reach out my hand and stroke the hair of a little boy or smile back at an old woman, amused to see a “blanc” (white person), but if we don’t extend Jesus’ hands and smiles and teachings, our work here is futile.

We are humbled that God has given us a partnership with other believers in another part of His world. We are ready to give and learn and grow and see God work in impressive ways, just as He always does. The time to breathe life is NOW.

Jamie Koser is Mission Point Community Church‘s Mission Coordinator. She has been on two Movement Trips to Haiti through the church’s partnership with Canaan.