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History of Sonlight Ministries

In 1983, Roger and Norma Alexander moved to Haiti with their two young daughters, Cara and Amber. They moved to the northernmost city of Port-de-Paix, a mere 70 miles from Cuba. When Roger and Norma arrived in Haiti, their goal was to teach and train church leaders. They desired to educate them in New Testament principles and procedures, so that Haitians could better minister to their own people. The Alexanders believed firmly that no one would reach Haiti as well as Haitians themselves. Therefore, their goal from the outset was training church leaders and lay pastors. It soon became clear, however, that Voodoo was far too entrenched in many peoples' lives to un-teach their false beliefs. In order to reach the people of Haiti before they became completely devoted to Voodoo, it would be necessary to begin instruction at a younger age. Thus was born the idea for a Christian school.

Above: In 1983, Roger and Norma Alexander moved
to Haiti with their daughters Cara, 8, and Amber, 7.

Roger and Norma conducted a pilot program in 1986 with four students. All subjects were taught in English, and Bible education was a major part of each day's lesson plans. It was a success. The following year, another of the Alexanders' daughters, Carmen, graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a master's degree in education. In the fall of 1987, Carmen moved to Haiti and became director of Haiti's first and only Christian, English-immersion school. Since all instruction at the school was in English, and Haitian children did not speak English, it started with only a preschool class. As the original preschool class progressed, another grade was added each year.

Above: A scenic view of Port-de-Paix, Haiti,
home of Sonlight Ministries

Land for building soon became a need for the mission, and it sought incorporated status in the United States in order to purchase property adjacent to the Alexander home. In 1989, the mission in Port-de-Paix became incorporated and adopted the name Sonlight Ministries. The school was named Sonlight Academy.

Soon, Sonlight students came to know Christ. In 1991, Sonlight's staff decided to start a church, so that students would have a place to worship where the teaching was consistent with what they were learning at school daily. The new church began with an English service, but soon added a Creole one. Over time, members of the community gave their lives to Christ, and the Creole service grew. Eventually, the English service was discontinued.

Above: Sonlight Academy

Today, Sonlight Church has more than 300 members and attenders. The congregation is led by two Haitian pastors, Franck Estalus and Archimel Denis. The church continues to grow at a dizzying pace, as God's Spirit conquers hearts that were once loyal to the spirits of this world. Sonlight is currently building a multi-purpose building to house the growing congregation of Sonlight Church. When complete, the building will have a worship center/gymnasiam, offices, and classrooms.

God has been working mightily through his servants in Haiti, from all parts of the United States, who have been dedicated to planting seeds that will one day bear fruit for Jesus in Haiti. In addition to Sonlight Academy and Sonlight Church, the ministry encompasses other evangelism avenues, including a student sponsorship program and short-term mission trips. In 2001, Sonlight became a full-size Christian school, educating more than 300 students in preschool through 12th grade. For the 2002-2003 school year, Sonlight has 11 American staff members, nine Haitian staff members, and 320 students.

Above: Roger and Norma Alexander, founders of Sonlight
Ministries, with Sonlight Academy's first graduating class of 2002

The goal with which the Alexanders first moved to Haiti is still the goal of Sonlight staff: to teach and train church leaders who will bring this country to the foot of the Cross. God has used many Christians throughout the U.S. and Haiti to support the work at Sonlight. Praise to God for all of those who have generously given of their time, money, and effort to see Christ proclaimed to the people of Haiti. Please pray for this nation, and for the effect Sonlight students will have on it in years to come.