Pastor Sidoine Lucien Enters Heaven

July 3, 2020

This picture was taken in 2013 on my last trip to Haiti when I got to spend time with Pastor Sidoine Lucien, who died this morning at the age of 89. He was one of the greatest men I have ever known.

I got connected with him when his sons Caleb and Henoc were students at Dallas Theological Seminary. We became friends when they started attending the church I pastored in a Dallas suburb. In 1986, Caleb and Henoc invited me to come to Haiti to preach in an outdoor crusade, in the village of Pignon, in the northern part of Haiti. Back then, they had no paved roads, no running water, no sewage system, and very little electricity. There in the middle of all of it was Jerusalem Baptist Church, founded and led by Pastor Sidoine.

It was (and is) a place of miracles.

In one of my books I wrote about that first visit:

Pastor Sidoine Lucien, a native-born Haitian, founded the Jerusalem Baptist Church in 1977 with about 65 people, 47 of whom had the last name of Lucien. The first time I visited Pignon, they met in an open-air sanctuary that in America would seat maybe 250 people. The Haitians packed in four times that number. Most weeks the offering was under $100. They were running a church of 1000 people with six associate pastors, three homes for widows, an elementary school, and they were starting an orphanage and buying land to build a Christian camp, all on a budget of less than $2,000 a year. I would simply say it can’t be done, but I saw it with my own eyes.

The pastor is a good man with a giving heart. During the time I stayed in his home, I couldn’t figure out who was in his family. There were too many people coming in and out at all hours of the day and night. People would come to bring food, come to get food, people would come in, start cooking for a while, then they would leave. Fifteen or twenty kids would come in, then they’d leave. “Who are these people?” “They are my family.” One night I met a little girl about 8 or 9 years old, the daughter of a witch doctor. What was she doing there? Even though her father is a witch doctor, he knows and respects Pastor Lucien. He told his daughter to go live with the pastor because “he will tell you about Jesus so you won’t go to hell like me.”

After I had been in Haiti about a week, I saw people walking barefoot for 2 1/2 hours on dirt roads to come to church services. I saw women come to the house with 3 or 4 chickens and make it into a meal for 50 people. I saw them give and give and give. Finally, I had to ask a question: “How do you do this?” ”Our church is not like the other churches of Haiti,” Pastor Lucien replied. “In the other churches, most of the pastors are dictators. They have never learned anything else. They just say, ‘Do this, do that.’ Their people have to do it. God showed me a different way. All I do is help the people he sends me. When I help them, God sends me more. And he always gives me whatever I need.” Then in broken English, he gave me the best one-sentence statement of what it means to be a servant that I have ever heard: “When I help some, God helps me.”

Pastor Sidoine lived long enough to see most of his dreams come true. There is now a network of churches, orphanages, homes for widows, a camp, a Christian school system and even a college.

His wife died a few months ago, and then in early June his son Henoc died suddenly. When Pastor Sidoine became very ill, he was transferred to a hospital in Florida. This morning he closed his eyes on earth and opened them in heaven.

He lived a Christian life, he died a Christian death, and he has gone to a Christian’s reward.

I add one personal note. Many years ago, during a very discouraging moment in my life when I felt like giving up, Caleb brought Pastor Sidoine by my office to say hello. Knowing that I had been going through a hard time, this good man encouraged me with Caleb translating from his native Creole. When the time came to pray, Pastor Sidoine laid his hands on me and lifted me up before the Lord. I needed no translator even though I don’t speak Creole. In his prayer, he asked God to bless me as he had blessed the men of the Bible. I heard him say “Abraham,” “Isaac,” “Jacob,” “Moses,” “David,” and “Daniel.” The rest of it I couldn’t understand, but I knew what he was saying.

It’s a powerful thing to have a man of God pray for you.
I have never forgotten that moment.

He has passed from the land of the dying to the land of the living.

Rest well, Pastor Sidoine. We will see you again.

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