Missionary to America Jean Gardy Cenat
TAKEN OUT OF HAITI
Jean Cenat is nothing if not resilient. In the midst of many challenges, to ministry and to family, he can still say, “If God took me out of Haiti and brought me here, it was for a reason.”
Missionary Cenat grew up as a poor child in one of the western hemisphere’s poorest nations. In the area where he grew up he was challenged and threatened by Voodoo worshipers and Voodoo priests. His Christian mother kept him close to Christ, encouraging him to stay in school, and in church. By God’s grace he is today an accountant and a missionary in New York.
After he immigrated from Haiti to New York he was brought to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Canarsie, Brooklyn (you can see the story of his life in the “Full Video” section of this website). With the support of Pr. Christoph Schultze and the people of St. Paul Lutheran, starting with just three people, he began a French speaking mission in Canarsie.
The work is difficult. Immigrants come to Canarsie, learn English, get a job, save some money, and then move to areas outside the city. You have to be resilient to continue in this kind of mission. He sometimes wonders if he should have stayed to preach the gospel in his home country. When he first came to the United States he was afraid – afraid he would not be able to reach as many people for Christ as he was doing in Haiti.
Today, he is God’s vehicle to spread the gospel much further than in his home island nation; he now is able to spread the gospel all through the United States. You see, when a family he has evangelized leaves for another place, Missionary Cenat sends them as missionaries, missionareis he has prepared to spread Jesus’ love in another place. Still, it is hard to lose a family that has been a part of your community, your life, your mission.
Missionary Cenat’s resilience comes, in part, from a faith that it was the Lord who took him out of Haiti, for a reason.
Any new venture, even a new mission start, looks like a disaster at the beginning. The missionary cannot see far into the future. All they can see are three people, bills to pay, resistance to invitations to worship, problems with finding a place to worship, or someone to help with music, challenges with finding income to support their family and themself. What sustains them is a conviction that God has sent me to do this. With that attitude the missionary is only reflecting the resilience, the perseverance of God.
Jesus began with one disciple – and gradually grew to just twelve, twelve he trained as missionaries.
The crowds that eventually turned out to listen were fickle. Some stayed, many left. What did not leave, what did not change, was Jesus’ conviction He was sent, by the love of the Father. It was, is, a love that transcends all barriers, every fickle person, each disaster, persecution and challenge. God’s love sent Jesus to earth and took Jean Cenat out of Haiti and brought him to Canarsie – God’s persistant, persevering love.
The love that took Missionary Cenat out of Haiti is the love God has for you. There is a reason the Lord brought you to where you are. That reason is always found in His persevering love.
Please remember Missionary Cenat in your persistant prayers.