Rev. Eliona Bernard

My name is Rev. Eliona Bernard, born in 1959 in the Central Plateau of Haiti in a small town of about 20,000 people, from a family farmers. I married in 1998 to a wonderful lady whose name is Lynda Bellin. God has blessed our union in different ways especially with three boys:

Elioth Keynes, Bryan Christopher, and Theophile Wendell Bernard. Since I was very young, I used to help my father to take care of the horses, cows, bulls and to grow crops. My father used to grow lot of sugar cane. It was fun for me to work in the farm with my dad--I really enjoyed that.

Because I spent most of my time on the farm with my father, I did not attend school until I was about 10 years old. Even though my parents sent me to a small Community School that has no qualification to be called a school, there was absolutely no structure and the teacher, while not qualified, was the only one in that school to work with about 100 students in different grades. But in spite of this difficult situation, it is there in that small Community School I started reading and writing my name. Then, time came for me to leave the farm with tears in my eyes to go to a catholic school in that small city where I was born (Thomassique). As I was too old for my class, the principal was hesitant to accept me in that school, but I had a chance because my brother Thomas, who is 2 years old older than me, had attended that school. And as he was a good student, they finally accepted me, and fortunately I did not deceive him. There, in that school, everyone loved me--the principal, the priest--all were my good friends because I was one of the best students in my class, and I respected the rules. I was in charge of the discipline for my class.

In 1976, the family started facing challenges. My father suddenly passed away and the family’s business went down. None of us was ready to take over and my mother did not have good health, either. So, I had to think about my life--to manage myself and my own life, even though my mother was still alive at that time. (She passed away in 1988.) She was not able to do for the family what our dad used to do. To feed us and to pay tuition for the 5 children (among them I am the fourth), was a real burden.

My Father was a fervent catholic Christian while my mother was a fervent Baptist one. All the children went to church with mom but not with dad. In that small Baptist Church there were no qualified church workers. Even though I was in elementary school, I was appointed to teach Sunday School, and I felt happy to do so. God always showed me that He has a plan for my life. I constantly read the Book of Jeremiah but chapter 29 was my favorite one, especially verses 10-14:

“ For thus says the Lord: when seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the Lord and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile”  

This Bible passage had and still has a great impact in my life. All my life is a life of hope. It is a reality that God has made wonders in my life. In 1980 I left the Central Plateau where I born to go to PAP to attend university. First, I studied accounting and then have a license in Management and Administration. There in PAP I met with the first Haitian Lutheran Pastor whose name is Doris-Jean Louis who is from the Central Plateau as well. We became friends, and he gave me, as a gift, A SMALL CATECHISME. I was the principal of the school he owns, and later English and French teacher in that Lutheran school. Even though I was teaching Sunday School in that Baptist Church I had no idea about Means of Grace, Justification, and Sanctification. The more I studied with pastor Louis, the more the Holy spirit opened my mind and heart to understand His word. Then I became a Lutheran.

From 1985 through 1988 I worked as the principal of the Evangelical Lutheran school of Delmas 75. From 1988 through 1992 I became the supervisor of studies at New Concordia College, Delmas 89. And at the same time I had a part time job at World Vision. From 1992-1998 I was still working for World Vision with more responsibilies. I worked also as a lay pastor of Good shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church under the supervision of Rev. Thomas Bernard. As our church here continued to grow, there was a great need for more qualified pastors. In 1999 I had the chance to be sent to the United States to attend Concordia Theological Seminary Fort-Wayne, Indiana, with three other Haitian men: Marky Kessa, Daniel Paul and Paul Touloute.

When I got back home with my Master of Arts, I started working for the Concordia Theological Seminary of Haiti as president and also as Systematic professor (God and Creation, Revelation and Scripture, The Means of Grace, Christology).

One of the real challenge of my life is when the Church leaders had decided to send me to Cap-Haitian to start a new mission because all my roots are in PAP (jobs and close families and friends). My wife was working for a good company and had a good salary. We had to move without a salary, with nothing, but God was in charge, and as we kept praying He guided us and gave us direction. Then in 2004 the whole family moved to Cap-Haitian, but before that I used to travel by myself every week to Cap-Haitian to lead Bible studies and to preach on Sunday, then got back to PAP early on Mondy morning. We did not know God’s plan for us, but we were sure that He had GOOD PLANS FOR US. Two years after we moved to Cap-Haitian that same company for which my wife used to work had a branch here, and they called my wife to be the responsible of that branch. It was like a miracle.

From 2000, when the true foundation of the First Evangelical Lutheran of Cap-Haitian has been laid till now, God really blessed our ministry. All glory to Him.

 We actually have 5 Churches in our district:

  1. First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cap-Haitian, 
  2. Evangelical Lutheran Church Gloria Dei, Cap-Haitian
  3. Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Grande Rviere du Nord,
  4. Evangelical Lutherran Church Sola Fide de Saint Raphael,
  5. Evangelical Lutheran Sola Gracia de Dondon.

Each of the above churches has a school, and about 700 students are receiving a good quality of education in our schools from our 35 teachers.

Introduction to Pastor Bernard's wife: