Haitians say new Haiti temple will usher in a better future

Sep 3, 2019, 8:05 AM | Updated: 3:57 pm
Haiti temple...
© 2019 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haiti is a nation of noise, color, heat, and movement this weekend, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the nation’s first temple.

Haiti has been devastated by disasters, poverty and crime, which is why church members are excited for the temple. They say it will bring peace, purpose and strength to their nation.

There is a stillness and peace that can be found on the temple grounds, members said. A peace that Marie Claire Jean-Jacque desperately needed last July when there were riots in the streets and her husband could not get home.

Bernado and Marie Jean-Jaque stand outside their home in Haiti | Photo Mary Richards KSL Newsradio

“I said to myself, if the temple had been there, I would have gone to the temple and spent the day in the House of God and felt peace. It was the only place where I could feel peace,” Jean-Jacque said.

Bernado Jean-Jaque also believes the temple will bring the nation more peace.

“The temple will affect every part, every part [of the country],” he said.

Before this temple that now sits in Port-au-Prince, Williamson Sintyl says church members would make an expensive trip lasting anywhere between 8 to 12 hours across the island to the Dominican Republic. For many members of the church, they made that trip traveling by crowded bus or in the back of a pickup — options that have grown more dangerous and more expensive. Many members could not do it.

“Haitian people used to travel 12 hours on the bus because they didn’t have the money to pay for an airplane,” he said, becoming emotional. “Sometimes we don’t have the money to come back to Haiti because there is a government problem.”

Stairs made from tires that lead to the home of Shella Privert in Haiti | Photo Mary Richards KSL Newsradio

In Juvenat, up and down hilly, windy roads and behind another gate, down some steps made out of discarded tires on a steep hillside, Shella Privert lives in one of many homes the church built after the earthquake of 2010. She is grateful for the addition of a temple to her city. She says the temple gives her life purpose and hope.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a miracle to Haiti,” she said. “And the temple makes me happier. I will do my very best to be able to go to the temple.”

The future of Haiti is in this room.

-Elder David A. Bednar

That’s the message that the youth of the church heard Saturday during a youth devotional with Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Shella Privert sits in front of her home in Haiti | Photo Mary Richards KSL Newsradio

Elder Bednar explained further on Sunday morning, just before he dedicated the temple. The new temple, he said, would bless not just church members but the entire nation.

“As you travel to places with economic challenges,” he said, “it’s amazing how the temple is a source of light, not only spiritually but temporally. So if we come back in 15 years, this neighborhood will be different, and Haiti will be different.”

“That’s the number one thing Haiti needs – instead of giving them stuff, they need a temple,” said Sintyl. “They need to feel like they are not alone. They need to feel like they are a part of the Lord’s people. That the Lord is aware, and he is here with us.”

Sophia Lundy sees this temple from the eyes of an engineer and architect.

“We have a great nation, but we have so many setbacks. The temple is a testimony that anything great and beautiful can be built in Haiti,” she said, adding that she helped in the beginning stages of the project.

Lundy says many groups who build in Haiti cut corners or didn’t care about code. But the temple was built carefully, solidly, and beautifully.

It’s not large. It has tall straight palm trees outside, and palm leaf patterns inside and is filled with blues and greens and the gold colors of the island.

The church for years has also built solid and safe chapels and homes in Haiti and done humanitarian work and educational efforts.

“It doesn’t matter if it is a country that is struggling when you are building the house of the Lord. When you are doing anything to benefit the children of God, you do it right,” said Lundy.

“There is a new era in Haiti. There is new hope,” said Marie Claire Jean-Jacque.

“The temple will affect every part, every part, of our country,” said Bernardo Jean-Jacque. “It changes us and affects the lives of those around us.”

At the dedication, at Elder Bednar’s request, the choir changed a word in their hymn. Instead of the dawning of a brighter day, majestic, rising on the world, he asked that they sing about a bright dawn rising, majestic, on Haiti.


Today’s Top Stories

All News

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Wednesday two new cases of avian influenza....
Mark Jones

Two new cases of avian influenza announced Wednesday

Two new cases of avian influenza have been confirmed by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. The new cases are in Iron and Utah counties.
1 day ago
A suspect is in custody Wednesday evening after University of Utah Police say two hidden cameras we...
Mark Jones

Hidden cameras found in restrooms in U of U Student Life Center, suspect in custody

University of Utah Police say a suspect has been arrested after two hidden cameras were found inside two different restrooms inside the Student Life Center.
1 day ago
Salt Lake City Police took a 44-year-old man into custody on Wednesday in connection to the burglar...
Mark Jones

SLC Police arrest man for burglarizing two law offices

Salt Lake City Police say a 44-year-old man was arrested Wednesday in connection to burglarizing two downtown law offices last week.
1 day ago
Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson wants his old job back. ...
Mark Jones

Rocky Anderson announces bid to run for SLC mayor in 2023

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced Wednesday that he is seeking reelection to get his old job back.
1 day ago
Orem auto-pedestrian collision...
Mark Jones

Two people hurt in auto-pedestrian collision in Orem

Orem police are investigating an auto-pedestrian collision that sent two people to the hospital Wednesday afternoon.
1 day ago
Fatal car crash...
Waverly Golden

Salt Lake City Police investigate deadly auto-pedestrian collision

SLC 9-1-1 received information about a deadly auto-pedestrian collision involving a Nissan pick-up Wednesday afternoon, according to Salt Lake City Police Department.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Haitians say new Haiti temple will usher in a better future