History of the Church
“Jesus is Good, Voodoo is bad. Turn to Jesus.”
Literally, with this short sermon and the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit my first church began in 1971. These words were all I knew. I was only 16-years-old, but God was faithful to my step of faith and the rapid growth of the church soon overtook me. I had only been with the Lord for seven months, so at the Holy Spirit’s instruction I turned the church over to Pastor Gustave Rocourt of l’Eglise de Dieu de la Pantecote so the people could be properly fed. Under his care I was taught and groomed as a minister. Nine years and eleven church plants later, God’s vision for me led me in another direction. In 1979, l’Eglise de Dieu des Premiers Chrétiens was officially recognized as an independent ministry, and my family and I spent the next five years traveling the country preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In 1984, we settled in Petite Place Cazeau, which at the time was only a small village at the edge of Port-au-Prince. Our house was one of less than ten in the area. Everyone thought I had lost my mind when I decided to start my first permanent church in this unlikely location, but I was listening to God. God told me that if I listened to him he would bless me and increase my number like He did for Abraham. As always, God was faithful. Today, Petite Place Cazeau is like a city of its own. The church grew faster than the village and has spread even further. Today, there are 18 churches all across Haiti with more than 30,000 members nationwide, and more than 45,000 in attendance.
The church (the people) continues to grow faster than the buildings. The first church in Petite Place Cazeau had to split into two services in 2002, with some members meeting in the original building and the larger part meeting in the unfinished Tabernacle de Gloire. When finished, the Tabernacle will hold up to 8,500 people. Until this vision is complete, the church will continue to meet with the sky as its only rooftop, worshiping God whether under the starlight or under the hot Haitian sun.
Gerald Bataille Ministries (began in 1985) serves more than 30,000 members in 18 congregations and communities nationwide. Our messages also reach countless thousands around the country through my weekly radio spot on Haiti’s most popular Christian radio station, Radio Lumière. It covers 95% of Haiti and also webcasts to the world online.
Committed to preaching the gospel in every form, we walk out our faith through feeding and serving the poor and meeting the needs of our communities. The main church in Port-au-Prince (Petite Place Cazeau) engages the community in every way including hunger relief, hospital ministry, and even training and funding people in small business ventures.
Emmanuel Orphanage began in 1989 when my wife and I opened our tiny home to more than 60 children. Since then, more than 100 children have grown up and out of the orphanage in the last 18 years. Many have gone on to universities and are now successful and active citizens. The children who currently live in the orphanage receive food, shelter, an education, and spiritual family.
College Mixte Yahve Nissi began out of necessity when my second son, Feguens, came home with a note saying that he could not return because he would never learn. I rejected this report and believed that God would do something great with my son. We opened up a school to educate all of my children and anyone else who had need. As a personal testimony, my son became Dr. Feguens Bataille, M.D., as a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2006. College Yahve Nissi now has more than 1600 students in attendance and is regarded as one of the best in the area.
We are very excited about the future of this ministry. Throughout its history, we have seen God move every time there was a need or a vision. When 60 children needed a family, God stretched our means way beyond the realm of possibility to open up our home to them. When the Enemy was sent to discourage a child destined for the medicine profession, God opened up a door for him and many others that the world had said “no” to.
With the greatest needs ahead of us, we know that God isn’t going to stop providing now. We have a vision to reach Haiti 24/7 through our own radio station (90.5 FM, Radio Yahve Nissi) beginning in 2008. The church is experiencing unprecedented growth. The building to hold the people will take a lot more time, labor, and money, but God will provide. A larger congregation also calls for a larger staff. God will provide the laborers and the means to support them.
We have a vision to extend free tuition to more school children. How? God only knows. On top of that, the school building is growing, and services are expanding to include a larger library, a computer lab, and even a free music program complete with instruments and training. The orphanage is also expanding and there is talk of starting a new one for girls only. Our dreams have always been larger than our means. It’s this kind of faith that invites the miraculous. God has provided so far…
Our ministry also firmly believes that the future of Haiti is it’s youth. Most people look at Haiti’s youth and see chaos. Every day you hear more about drugs, AIDS, and crime rings that prey on young minds turning them into killers and kidnappers for a quick buck. In the midst of the chaos, we see hope because we see through the blood of Jesus that makes all things new. Our youth ministry in Port-au-Prince has hundreds of active youth serving the Lord and teaching their peers. The next steps in this area include creating a home to house street kids and create vocational programs that will prevent them from turning to a life of crime.