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Faith in Action International Missionary Tom Braak Will Be at UMC-Dunes' "Christ-Inspired Christmas" | Arts & Culture

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Faith in Action International Missionary Tom Braak Will Be at UMC-Dunes' "Christ-Inspired Christmas"
Faith in Action International Missionary Tom Braak Will Be at UMC-Dunes' "Christ-Inspired Christmas"

GRAND HAVEN, Mich., Nov. 11, 2011 -  Tom Braak, founder and missionary with Faith in Action International (FIAI), based in Verrettes, Haiti, will make a special appearance at the upcoming "Christ-Inspired Christmas" event on Sunday, December 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at United Methodist Church of the Dunes (UMC-Dunes).

UMC-Dunes is located at 717 Sheldon Road in Grand Haven.

Braak's appearance comes fast on the heels of a land purchase near the FIAI mission headquarters.  The transaction includes the purchase of 1.5 hectares (about 3.7 acres).  It will pave the way for Braak to expand the mission's outreach.  Braak hopes to increase the number and scope of pastoral training seminars for Haitian ministers plus agricultural training for Haitian villagers.  The land is purchased in the name of the Methodist Church of Haiti.

"We are very fortunate that several churches in Michigan, as well as other states, have supported the FIAI mission through their generous donations and their pastors' involvement in mission trips at our site.  We look forward to having more pastors come to Haiti to train these local ministers so they can do their jobs more effectively," said Braak.

In October two pastors from First Reformed Church in Grand Haven and one pastor from South Lyon, Michigan traveled to Haiti to participate in a mission trip set up by Tom Braak.  The three pastors co-facilitated a pastoral training seminar at the FIAI mission in Verrettes.

The Michigan pastors worked alongside local Haitian translators to train 120 Haitian ministers and lay leaders from 60 churches situated in the most remote regions of the Artibonite Valley above Port-au-Prince.  Some of the Haitian ministers walked between six and eight hours along rocky roads and rough terrain to attend.

Pastors in training received books and Bibles, were introduced to Bible storiesand scripture readings, learned sacred songs to use during their church services and discussed methods for administering the sacraments.  The seminars were held in a rented facility and chairs also had to be rented.  Cooks were paid to do the afternoon meal.

"One key concept the Haitian pastors were curious about and discussed in depth with the Michigan pastors was the process for baptizing people," said Braak.

The upcoming "Christ-Inspired Christmas" event at UMC-Dunes will feature numerous social service agency representatives staffing booths and providing information, crafts from their organizations, plus methods for gift giving to help provide assistance to needy persons locally and in foreign countries.

Braak will have FIAI gift cards available for persons wishing to assist the organization with its numerous outreach efforts.  Items that are purchased will help give a hand up rather than a hand out.  Persons will have several options to support the purchase and dissemination of

  • Books and Bibles for church leaders;
  • Buck goats;
  • Water filters to help stem the cholera pandemic;
  • Supplies and training materials for Haitian farmers;
  • Supplies and training for Haitian church pastors

"We are making plans now for the next pastors' conference and training seminar here in Haiti.  It will be held in February 2012 in Verrettes.  We have reached out to a Presbyterian church in South Carolina and we are hoping their ministers can join us to provide this much-needed training," said Braak.

Braak's return to Michigan will include appearances and speaking engagements at UMC-Dunes, Saint John's Episcopal Church, the West Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association and at a donor event at Two Tony's in Spring Lake.

Founded in 1999 by Tom Braak, FIAI is a Christian, grassroots organization whose goal is to tangibly express God's love to people living in impoverished communities in the Artibonite region of Haiti.  Braak was born in Marquette, Michigan and felt God's call to become a missionary in Haiti.

The focus of FIAI is in helping Haitian villagers and families.  By working with local farmers, FIAI helps the people organize themselves to identify, prioritize and solve local problems.  They also provide solutions others have successfully used elsewhere, encouraging Haitian people to test the ideas and adapt them locally to increase economic stability and sustainable development.

Anyone interested in receiving further information should contact FIAI's administrative office at 616/843-5133 or writing Braak at:  FIAI, P.O. Box 171, Spring Lake, MI  49456.  Visit the website at www.faithinactionint.org and the Faith in Action International Facebook page.

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