Solar-Powered Signals Spread the Good News

By Michelle Teeters Portsmouth, Ohio

Jim Eide and his pastor, Brent Rolsten, minister in Haiti through evangelism and solar radio distribution.
Jim Eide and his pastor, Brent Rolsten, minister in Haiti through evangelism and solar radio distribution.

Last August one of Fluor-BWXT company’s employees journeyed to Haiti to help One Mission Society (OMS) and Radio 4VEH deliver solar-powered radios to area residents. Villagers receive the latest news, advance storm notice, farming/health information, and biblical teaching.

Inside the missionary compound, where Nuclear Operations Manager Jim Eide, stayed were dental and hospital facilities and an English school. Unlike the majority of homes in Haiti, his house had floors, bathrooms, kitchen, and electricity. Between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., the main power was off and the team used battery-operated lighting. Typical Haitian homes are small, with dirt floors, sheet-metal doors, and no air conditioning.

“We spent most of our time in Cap-Haitien and traveled out into other regions. The dirt roads were seldom graded with short stretches of narrow payment. We saw people pumping water at well stations to carry to their homes," Eide said.

"Motorcycles were taxis and could carry four people at a time. It's organized chaos on the city roadways with no signal lights, stop signs, and no right-of-way for pedestrians. In Romeo, a small town far from the compound, people spend most of the day building fires and preparing food because there is no electricity. Much of the day is spent surviving."

"We teamed up with an interpreter, radio technicians, and local Haitians to document names of those who received the radios, which was about 30 daily, and we prayed with many. It was quite an adventure to travel in an open air truck with gate rails to hang onto in temperatures pushing 110°F. On occasions we heard voodoo drums and people yelling and chanting."

Beginning last May, Eide and three others from Grace Fellowship Church in Chillicothe, Ohio, began preparing for the mission by studying and reading the OMS Missions Training Manual. Eide said this was his first mission trip, and he was drawn to this mission because of the weather alert feature of the radios.

“My agenda included the radio ministry, painting a missionary's living room/kitchen, touring the medical facilities for a future mission trip, and praying for the evangelism teams. I met many Haitian people, especially children, and daily presented the Gospel."

Although he has returned to Ohio, Eide is helping Haitians obtain proper medical care. In Romeo, he met a young Haitian woman who had broken her right arm in a motorcycle accident. She just wanted prayer, but Eide is working with one of the OMS missionaries to arrange transportation to the nearest hospital. The only treatment she had previously received was from the village witch doctor. Before the end of his trip, Eide began working with OMS to provide taxi rides, medical evaluation, and x-rays for the start or her rehabilitation.