Celebrate Jesus of Haiti
Dear Friends of Celebrate Jesus of Haiti,
God has given me the privilege of assuming the leadership of Celebrate Jesus of Haiti from its founders, Jerry and Sonja Dickherber. We talk on a regular basis about the mission. They are an amazing couple and I honor them for their hard work, faith, and miraculous provision to establish such a good work in Anse A Galet, Haiti. I spent twenty days on LaGonave in January to meet the visiting teams, help the local leadership at the mission, and most importantly to keep the good work that Jesus began moving forward by His power.
I was a pastor in St. Peters, Missouri, for ten years. It was there I met the new overseers of Celebrate Jesus of Haiti. During that time I met the Kassebaum family, Don Sr., and sons Don, Denver, Derrik, and Darin. Personal relationships are important to me but also to the heart of God. I Corinthians 12 teaches us how each member of God’s body has a unique relationship to every other member and together we make up the body of Christ. I was honored when the Kassebaum family asked me to join the leadership team of Celebrate Jesus. Their request happened as a result of trust and relationship formed over many years. From the time I said “yes” to this high calling of God, I have come to realize how many friends of Jerry and Sonja’s are also friends of mine. God builds bridges through his people by His grace, and that has enabled this transition to be relational. We continue to grow as He brings us together to use our gifts and talents for His glory. If you have been to Haiti to minister alongside Jerry and Sonja or in any capacity in the U.S., you are encouraged and welcomed to continue to participate in what God is doing there.
The transition of ministry leadership is going very smoothly. The local team, led by Pastor Joaquim, was trained in the principles of leadership by Sonja and Jerry. They have continued the daily operation and caring for the mental, physical, and spiritual needs of the people God has sent to them.
Three teams came in January. Dr. Paz continued his dental ministry now in his third decade. Hundreds of people received dental care. Church of the King mission team, led by Dr. Louie, provided medical and dental care, fed many village families, worked on construction projects, and evangelized in the Saline Flats. Twenty-five people received Christ and 3 were baptized in the sea. The Boedeker family built a beautiful basketball court in remembrance of their son, Jake, who is now in the Presence of Jesus. Though soccer is the prevailing sport on the island, the children and youth quickly got the hang of basketball and the court was in continual use from the moment it was completed. We appreciate all of you who have given your prayer cover and financial support over the years. This amazing work of feeding and educating children, medical and dental care, and teaching them the life-changing Word of God would not have happened without the love God put in your hearts for the people of Haiti.
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Here are some of their stories in their own words:
From Dr. Jerry Paz
Newness always has its own trepidation. A mixture of excitement and fear. You just don’t know exactly what to expect. The Paz dental team this year encountered many new experiences. We had much difficulty and confusion arranging our small mission plane to the island. In addition, we were to have new mission hosts this year. We learned just before we left that the mission cistern was dry. This could have been a serious setback to operating a clinic. God is a good God. He cares for his children. He called us to serve His needy ones in Haiti. You know everything worked out. God took care of everything. Thanks to the care and diligence of Derrik and Pastor Jim, all of our needs and comforts were covered. We really missed having Jerry and Sonja there. They have been an essential part of all of my missions to Haiti for 25 years. Not having them there was like missing a family member. There will always be something that just can’t be replaced. Pastor Jim and Pastor Joaquim made the transition so painless. Pastor Jim was very supportive and attentive, and Pastor Joaquim was so helpful. He even opened his home to us when we needed more space. I believe God made all the hills and valleys level for us through these two pastors. This was a very successful mission trip. We treated about 400 people in 5 clinic days. During this time three people accepted Jesus and were baptized. We praise God! We thank God for the systems and hard work Jerry and Sonja did to establish Celebrate Jesus of Haiti. Pastor Jim tried to keep everything running just as Jerry and Sonja had done previously. We even had our same helpers and cooks. It was like coming back to our home away from home. God bless our dental team: Dr Jerry, Barb, Dr Steve, Jeff, Amanda, and Linda. Please pray with me for continued success for Jim and Teresa Zilinsky.
From Deb Boedeker
This was an emotional trip for our family but an important one. On the night our son left for Heaven we had decided to build a basketball court in Haiti in Jake’s honor. Five of us made our plans. When we learned that Jerry and Sonja would not be joining us we almost cancelled. It wouldn’t be the same without them. But God told us to go anyway and we obeyed. We missed our dear friends alongside us, but we gave and received love from so many dear Haitian friends and their little ones. We received blessing upon blessing for being there. It was an amazing trip.
From Sonja Dickherber
Jerry and I were delighted by the reports from the January teams and the excellent way Jim, Derrik, and Pastor Joaquim handled the big responsibility with multiple teams. Things broke down and didn’t go as planned but everything was handled decently and in order. The leadership team is well, the Haitian people are well, and all is well. This has been a big change for Pastor Joaquim’s life, but he is God’s man for the ministry in Haiti and he handled the transition perfectly. Celebrate Jesus of Haiti would not be at the point it is without this man, and we praise God for him and all the Lord continues to do among the precious people on LaGonave.
The new mailing address for donations or other correspondence is:
Celebrate Jesus of Haiti
PO Box P.O. Box 157
Wentzville, MO. 63385
Feel free to contact me personally about anything regarding Celebrate Jesus of Haiti. My wife and I welcome your continued involvement and building of relationships with the Haitian people served by this ministry.
Our contact information :
Jim & Teresa Zilinsky
Director of Development
Jerry and Sonja, servants of the Lord, deserve much honor and gratitude for their sacrifice in bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of Anse A Galet on LaGonave, Haiti, and for founding this wonderful work in caring for His children. We also want to thank you for your continued partnership which enables the work to continue.
God’s best to you,
Jim & Teresa
Celebrate Jesus of Haiti Transition Team