Broadcasting This Week on the Radio Bible Hour:
Click here for photos from our missions events.
The Radio Bible Hour began its involvement in mission support in the 1940's when it was supporting church development in Haiti. It has supported mission work in Ecuador, Mexico, and many other countries over the years. Mission work has been a part of this ministry, as it should be a part of the life of every individual believer, from its earliest days.
In the new millennium our direct mission work has focused on the Bryansk region of Southwestern Russia, and on the Southern Haitian-Dominican border. In 2002, Dr. Don Smith was invited to give a commencement address to the graduating pastors of the pastor’s training school in Bryansk, Russia. We had been providing funds for pastor training in Russia for some time. God used that trip to open Don’s heart to the importance of direct missions, and the next year he returned to Russia with a medical team to serve in that region. Radio Bible Hour continues to support the training of pastors, the economic support of pastors, and support for orphanage ministries in that region of Russia.
In 2004 Don met Phil Ogle of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Phil’s father (a Gatlinburg businessman) had started doing mission work in Haiti in the early 1970’s. Through his foundation (the Ogle Foundation), a number of churches and schools had been built in Haiti, and several thousand children were being fed daily, and educated in the Word of God. Dr. Clint Doiron, a Knoxville cardiologist, and Dr. J. Harold Smith’s doctor, was working with a group to develop a mission center on the Haitian-Dominican border, and invited Don to travel there in January, 2005.
On that first trip, Phil Ogle, Dr. Neil Barry of Middlesboro, Kentucky, Dr. Doiron, and several others shared a vision for a mission center which would house a mission hospital, and a training and residential facility for mission teams. Radio Bible Hour, over the next two years, contributed as a partner with others in the “Jimani Project”, to build a large hospital and mission center in Jimani, Dominican Republic. Since its completion several mission organizations and churches have used the facility for mission work in that area.
We were blessed to work with Dr. Marc Pinard (a Haitian Christian physician) to develop a large network of Haitian preachers and pastors, and in November, 2005, we collaborated with the Ogle Foundation to carry out the first pastor training conference in that region. That conference led to an ongoing relationship with many of the pastors in that region. We have met with and worked with those pastors fairly regularly over the last three years. The vision for our work involves developing a strong network of pastors in Haiti. Each church, under God’s guidance, could become a center for sharing the Gospel and making disciples. We believe that only as people accept Christ, and experience the transformation that He brings, can there be hope for any improvement. Christ is the source of all hope.
In 2006 the JImani mission hospital was completed. Although it was envisioned as a training center, and many mission teams have stayed there, God had a purpose for that installation that was greater than any of us had envisioned. After the earthquake of 2010, it became a center for providing relief medical services for many of the people who were injured. More than 1800 patients were treated in the two months following the quake, and many lives were saved.
In 2009, we started the Good Neighbor Orphanage in Port-au-Prince, and the new orphanage was destroyed in the earthquake. We donated land for a new orphanage and helped maintain the orphanage with more than thirty children until the end of 2012, when the Good Neighbor Orphanage became free standing. It now has its own 501(c)3 non-profit status in the United States, and supports itself through contributions and through adoption fees.
In 2010 when we set our sights on Haiti, in the area in and around Port-au-Prince, we expected that we would meet strong resistance, but our God is supreme in all things, and nothing can stand against Him. Sure enough, only a few weeks after the relief effort was ending after the earthquake, Dr. Marc Pinard suffered a fatal heart attack on the grounds of the Jimani Hospital. He had helped organize much of the mission work for both Radio Bible Hour, and the Ogle Foundation in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. His death was a great personal loss to all who knew him, and to all those who had been touched by his life.
Many whom we had trusted turned out to be untrustworthy, and it seemed that the work would be stopped. Slowly the Lord has brought people to our attention who love God more than money, and more than human praise, and the work has moved forward. Through pastor training and the support of small Christian education projects, and through evangelism, we have seen many come to know Christ since 2010. We continue to travel to Haiti each year, often with the nurses and staff from Carson-Newman college, and we have continued to enjoy working with pastors, and in training the people in evangelism. We are now working to create a relationship with some of the prisons in Haiti, so that we can take the Gospel there.
Living conditions in the slums of Port-au-Prince are the worst in the western hemisphere, and among the worst in the world. We consider it a blessing to be called to help among the poorest of the poor. We will continue with the development of a pastor training network, and envision the development of a pastor school and Bible college in Haiti, and will continue to seek opportunities to visit prisons and minister to the sick for the purpose of God's glory. .
We also have been developing a school for bi-vocational pastors here in East Tennessee since 2009. We have found great joy in ministering to these great men who pastor small churches, and in helping equip them for the great work that they do. The J. Harold Smith Bible Institute and Pastor Training School has been a blessing to many, and we look forward to seeing it firmly established and growing in the next few years.
Pray for the Radio Bible Hour, that we will continue to be used by God to accomplish His purposes. We do not seek any glory or praise for ourselves, or even for this organization, but only seek and pray that we may bring glory and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ. It is in His name that we serve, and we ask that you prayerfully consider joining us in this project. He has called us to do His work on earth. We are blessed and given the grace to serve Him. Perhaps the Lord is calling you to be a part of what He wants to do.