Designed to share
the love of Jesus.
Lemuel Ministries is a faith-based organization designed to share the love of Jesus Christ by meeting the needs of Haiti’s most destitute in a way that maintains their dignity and encourages self-reliance.
The Plateau, also known as “Grand Diable” or “Big Devil,” is home to approximately 400 people. While once part of the bread basket of Haiti, today the land is desolate and depleted. Livelihoods still depend in large part on gardening and animal husbandry, but today such livelihoods are precarious at best.
Fundamental to Lemuel is the policy to never give direct hand-outs, except in the case of a crisis situation. Hand-outs only undermine ownership, work ethic, and self-esteem and create dependence and entitlement. Instead, Lemuel requires involvement on the part of individuals and the community for anything that is done.
To impact lives by investing in people as whole beings in order to help them out of poverty and into society as mature and active members who are able and eager to reach out to others.
What we do
Through education, community development and job creation Lemuel seeks to provide those we serve with a means of escaping the harsh cycle of poverty in order to care for their families without dependency on continued outside sourcing.
The organization also sponsors development projects such as food/cash-for-work programs, community dug rain water catchment holes, preparing unused land for gardening, and assisting families in the construction of cisterns, latrines and cement block homes.
Hand-outs only tend to undermine ownership, work ethic, and self-esteem and create dependence and entitlement. Instead, Lemuel provides “hand-ups” – requiring involvement on the part of individuals and the community for anything that is done.
All channels of outreach, however vast and varied they may seem, extend from one central goal: the growth and development of the people. The outreach is never the end, it is the means through which we seek to impact people for the glory of God.
“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
— Proverbs 31:9
The Lemuel Story
Manis Dilus is a living testimony that a brighter future is possible, even for the lowest echelons of society. He grew up in Anse-Rouge Haiti, and his family was among the most destitute in the area. By God’s grace and Manis’ determination, he was able to rise out of poverty and get an education in Port-au-Prince. Manis started a ministry to help others in PAP, but his heart still ached for the people of the Plateau near his childhood home.
In 1998, Manis made the nine hour trip to see for himself how the people were faring and what, if anything, could be done to help them. Manis was horrified to see what had become of the area he loved. Mountains he remembered as being so thick with trees and underbrush that they had scared him as a child, were covered only with thorns and tough grass. Gardens that had always been green and full of produce had not even been planted for lack of rain. Almost no children were in school and girls as young as 14 were already mothers or soon to be so.
Manis chose two boys that he would sponsor to begin school immediately and then returned to Port-au-Prince to process what he had seen and to decide what to do.
The first team that came to the Plateau was a construction team that built some latrines. Manis then hired a pastor whom he sent to begin working with the people. Five years, two pastors, and one missionary later the Plateau was a mess. The Haitian pastors had been driven away by strong vodouists in the area and the missionary had had to leave suddenly. The result was a community in upheaval and negative influences stepping up as leaders.
Manis held a meeting with his Port-au-Prince staff to decide who would go to the Plateau to calm the situation and establish the ministry there. As they surveyed the team, each person had some reason why he could not go. All agreed that Manis was the only one who could deal with the people of the Plateau since he, after all, was family. Having never planned to return to the Plateau and knowing full well how difficult life here would be, Manis went hesitantly.
After a year of working on the Plateau, Manis saw things very differently. He realized the problem of centralization and the result of overpopulated cities was caused by the fact that no one gave any thought to the provinces—the extremely rural, out-of-the way places that make up most of Haiti’s land mass. He realized that while most aid and attention was focused in the cities, he had an opportunity to start something in an uncompromised area with people who had not yet been spoiled by destructive aid. Finally, he realized that he had an opportunity to model to the next generation what can be done for Haiti when decentralization begins
to happen, even on a minute level.
Today we are so excited to be part of something that is not only changing lives but also changing the way people think and see their own country.