Evangelistic mission trip to Haiti results in 3,200 new believers
Feb 11, 2014
By BARBARA DENMAN
Florida Baptist Convention

SCHOOLS Children in Port-au-Prince public schools respond to the Strength Team demonstration and testimony. FLBaptist photo
PORT-AU-PRINCE (FLBaptist)—The armed pickup truck pulled up alongside a congested Port-au-Prince corner and immediately three enormous men descended from its doors, toting baseball bats, steel bars, horse shoes and red rubber water bottles.    

The crowd, a little sheepish at first, begins to build, intrigued by the size of the muscular Americans and the booming voices from the portable sound system. 

When the first phonebook was torn in half, the energy level drastically increased as onlookers begin to clap and cheer for the physically ripped men standing atop the truck bed sharing feats of strength. 

After the steel bars were twisted by hand, bats broken and water bottles exploded, the men, members of the Strength Team, speak about why they are camped along the impoverished Haitian neighborhood, sharing how God transformed their lives and gave hope when they were hopeless. 

“There was never a time when many did not respond and give their lives to Jesus,” said David Burton, lead strategist for the Florida Baptist Convention’s Evangelism Group.

“Sometimes shouts of joy erupted—sometime tears of joy.” 

POWER OF GOD During an invitation to Haiti’s capitol city Swat Team, 13 men made professions of faith. FLBaptist photo
The Strength Team, “by their mere size captures attention and draws the crowds,” said Burton who took the group to Haiti Jan 11-17 to lead evangelistic crusades and events in the capitol city. 

“The Haitians are awed by these men of strength. Their eyes grow huge as they watch the feats of strengths. They listen intently as the team shared their testimonies and how Jesus can change and save a life forever,” Burton explained. 

The weeklong trip encompassed five nightly crusades, visits to four schools where nearly 700 boys and girls heard the Gospel and a stop at the city’s Swat Team facilities for anther presentation. At the end of the effort, 3,258 professions of faith were recorded, with many names collected and assigned to local churches for follow up. 

The mission trip is the third annual event for Burton and the Strength Team, a group of evangelistic body builders and former athletes, as they partner with the churches and leaders of the Confraternite Missionaire 

Baptiste d’Haiti, Florida Baptists’ mission partners in that country, who provide translators for the Americans. The group plans to return to Haiti next January.  

EVANGELISTS David Burton, lead strategist of the Florida Baptist Convention’s evangelism group, accompanied by Strength Team members, shared Christ in crusades, schools, and Port-au-Prince neighborhoods. FLBaptist photo
The nightly outdoor crusades were held in the Clairsine and Delmas areas of Port-au- Prince. Each night before the services, a few hundred Haitians from the churches and the community gathered at the arenas in anticipation of the meeting, many quietly praying. 

As the sun began to set, hundreds more appeared, some carrying chairs and stools while others stood, sometimes for several hours at a time, listening to the music, the presentation of the Strength Team and Burton proclaim the Gospel.

At the time of the invitation “we knew God was about to touch hundreds of lives— and He did.”

Several times, the crowd pressed up to the platform, leaving little room for people to come forward, Burton recalled. 

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