Beginnings . . .
a brief history of the Missions in La Romana
Iglesia Bautista Misionera Haitiana Maranatha
The First Baptist Haitian Mission Church, Maranatha Church, was first organized in the 1930’s when thousands of Haitian farmers were taken from their homes in Haiti and transported to La Romana by the US Marines. The sugar cane farming in Haiti was on the brink of disappearing and a new large scale plantation was starting up in the Dominican Republic.
These were the first Haitians in the region and soon after the men were brought east their families followed. The Haitian Baptist Association saw the need for a church where the Haitians could build a Christian community and worship God with the customs familiar to them.
Early in the 1980’s the aging pastor was replaced with a young pastor filled with the spirit of God and passionate for the Haitians living in the region. The late Rev. Jean Luc Phanord arrived with his family and moved into Casa Pastoral on Santa Rosa Ave.
Reverend Jean Luc Phanord
The Reverend Jean Luc Phanord was a Minister, Pastor, Diplomat, and defender to Haitians everywhere but most of all to the sugar cane cutters and their families living on the Bateyes in the La Romana region of the Dominican Republic. His life was ended in the tragic crash of American Airlines flight 587 in Queens New York on November 12, 2001.
He was born in Haiti in 1952. He was one of nine children. His father was also a minister. After finishing secondary school he entered the seminary in Limbe, Haiti which was established by Iveh Henise, an American Baptist missionary. He was ordained in June 1979 and moved to La Romana as the Pastor for the Haitian Missionary Baptist Church.
His first love was for Jesus Christ and brough many people to the Lord. After arriving in La Romana he established 21 churches in the region, many of them in the bateyes. Jean Luc loved the sugar cane farmers and did all he could to improve their lives. He taught them how to keep from being cheated when the sugar cane they harvested was weighed at the company scales.
Realizing the only way out of the abject slavery imposed upon them was through education and established Christian Schools in the church and the bateyes. Education continues to be one of the three initatives we support through the Sugar Cane Kids program.
In 1985 the vision of a hospital to serve those that cannot afford life saving treatment was cast. Jean Luc campaigned tirelessly throughout the United States gaining support for this project. In 1997 the Good Samaritan General Hospital was opened, primarily as an outpatient clinic. When he died in 2001 the hospital was a fully functioning health care center seeing over 40,000 patients annually.
The hospital is becoming Jean Luc’s legacy but he was much more than a hospital. He was someone that walked the earth as few have. His love for God and compasion for all of us was beyond any other I have seen. He was not without faults and realized he was just a man, but humility and compasion earned the respect of many.is