There are 2,187 miles between Lagossette (Haiti) and Willmar (MN), the location of the 2 COTP offices. According to Google Earth, this distance hasn’t changed in the past 5 years, or in the past 50 years for that matter. Physically, the gap between here and Haiti remains unchanged. However, for most of us Haiti feels further away right now. The physical gap may remain the same, but the emotional and relational gap seems to have grown.

The past 5 years have been incredibly hard on the people of Haiti. They have watched as their President was assassinated, their elected officials left office without an election to fill their seats, gangs have taken over much of their capital, thousands left on visas and their communities face wave after wave of crisis. From our seats in the US and Canada, we struggle to relate. We’ve never lived through something like this so it just feels far away. We don’t expect to be in that spot so it is hard to connect with those who are. Over time, it is natural for these connections, these relationships, to fade. Development is a word we use to describe the relationship connections that build a ministry like ours. The past 5 years have created a Development Gap at COTP, and for many other ministries in Haiti. No doubt it impacts our income at COTP, but it is far more than that.

Our ministry thrives on these relationships, between people in Haiti and people in the US and Canada. These relationships are more than simply driving donations. They encourage and sustain us. They make us better as a ministry and encourage us to grow. They are essential. When we talk about the development gap, we are not only talking about the space between Haiti and North American stakeholders. Rather, we are also talking about the gap in our collective desires and abilities to pursue such relationships. It’s not something that happens overnight, but rather over a longer period of time. We saw this gap more clearly in 2023, and realized the negative outcomes associated with this gap.

There is good news 🙂 God hasn’t stopped moving in Haiti. In fact, there are reasons to believe that He is more active than ever in the midst of the challenges in Haiti. We are seeing local leaders rise up like never before, fighting for the future of their Nation and their communities. We are seeing families fight to stay together. We are seeing churches turn to prayer and Kingdom answers in new and profound ways. God is present and moving.

We also have plans in 2024 to try to bridge this gap, for all of you and for those in Haiti. You see, we believe that the power of these relationships is mutual. God uses COTP to do work in Haiti, and in communities in North America. I can testify to this, because I’m a life transformed by the people of Haiti and the work of COTP. We want you to be blessed and transformed as well through a renewed relationship with COTP and Haiti.  Here are some ways we hope to do that in 2024:

Fresh Faces in Development:  Our development team isn’t a sales team. They are people who play an active role in pursuing our mission, and believe that connections with people like you are what drive success. We are adding some fresh, but familiar, faces to the team in 2024:

  • Alysha Warman: Many of you know Alysha as a House Parent and as our On-campus Care Manager. As we discussed her future and COTP’s needs, we decided with Alysha that a shift to Development would be a great use of her gifts. As our Marketing Manager in Haiti, Alysha will work to help connect our program leaders and needs to North American stakeholders in very specific ways that drive our mission forward. She will also be on the ground to host volunteer groups in 2024!
  • Stephanie Bhullar:  Another familiar face, Steph and her husband, Roni, served with COTP for nearly 5 years as house parents and as leaders. They moved back to the US in 2020, and have been blessed with 2 children since then. However, they continued to feel the connection to Haiti and COTP. Steph will be joining our team part-time as our Partner Coordinator from the US. In this role, Steph will work with individuals and organizations in the US to drive deeper relationships and explore solutions to sustain and grow our impact in Haiti. Steph will also coordinate volunteer groups on the US side of things.

Being Present: So much of a relationship is the ability to be present. Relationship isn’t a status, it is a series of lived moments together. We want to be more present with you in 2024. We want to be more present in your spaces and we want you to join us in ours. Here are some ways we hope to be with you:

  • In your churches, homes and communities: We believe you are connected to COTP for a reason and we want to explore that by learning more about each of you (your passions, your needs, your hopes).
  • In Haiti: We want you to take a trip to COTP. We are planning volunteer trips for 2024 and we want you to prayerfully consider taking a trip back soon.
  • Online: We want to connect over zoom, and all other forms of media. We want to share what God is doing in our lives and through COTP, and we want to hear how He is at work in your life.