What began as a trip to introduce the family to their heritage became a trip that inspired a mission.
As all their children were born in Canada, and had never visited Haiti before, Frantz & Nadine Duval had planned a trip to Jacmel, Haiti. As long time members of the Toronto Church of Christ, Frantz and Nadine lead a large family group and are well known for their gracious hospitality, as well as their desire to seek God’s will in their lives. As they planned for their exciting family trip, they shared their plans with the CMS Board Chair who saw this as an opportunity for the Duval family to connect with the church in Jacmel.
Jacmel is a small port town on the southern coast of Haiti where Nadine grew up and where they would be spending most of their time. The Duvals were put in touch with Joseph & Nadia Odio, who lead the Jacmel church. Presently there are 38 churches in the Caribbean islands and surrounding territories. Like the leaders of the Jacmel church, most of these churches are led by volunteer men and women who give their time and energy while working full-time jobs.
Since the two couples had never met before, Frantz had arranged to meet Joseph at a central location in town, which happened to be next to the police station. As Frantz was waiting, he bumped into the local police chief who was a family friend. When Joseph arrived, he and Frantz struck up such a friendly and familiar conversation that the Police Chief asked them, how long they had known each other. Imagine his surprise when Frantz explained that this was the first time they had met, and that this is the commonality we share due to a relationship with Christ.
That Sunday, the church met in the courtyard of the school owned and operated by the Odio’s. As the members of the congregation arrived, they were served coffee and bread. Frantz preached the main message at the service. After service, Frantz was asked to lead a bible study, since the group wanted to learn how he studied the bible with people who were interested in a relationship with Christ. Both Frantz and Nadine had the opportunity to spend a day with the Odios and developed a close relationship that they still enjoy today.
Prior to this trip to Jacmel, the Duvals always attended church wherever they vacationed. However, this time it was different. Frantz described that this trip was instrumental in changing his perspective on church missions from a passive role to an involved, visionary role.