It’s odd when COVID hits so close to home, even as the loss is another world away.
Thursday, August 5, 2021 our beloved friend and ministry partner, Pastor Giordani Docteur passed away quite suddenly from COVID-19.
There are as many layers to this loss as there are complications in all things Haiti these difficult, chaotic days.
A big part of the pain is being so far away, and knowing our dear friends are suffering under great duress already due to the pandemic, political upheaval, the recent earthquake, with chronic poverty being the prevailing baseline.
He leaves behind his wife Jacqueline, and adult children Carl and Daniel, Kathleen and Kensley.
Highview feels this loss deeply.
Many of us have had the privilege of knowing Pastor Giordani, and being the recipient of his generous hospitality, keen mind and deep faith. The pictures included here represent just a small glimpse of our relationship as we have sought a true reciprocity in our partnership with the ministry there.
A further glimpse is in the words from some of those who have travelled there, and known him personally.
Pastor Giordani was a kind, hospitable, hard working man. He opened up his home to us the year I went to Haiti, and I will forever be grateful for that. He helped shape my first mission trip into something special.
Pastor Giordani was a servant leader who modelled faithful obedience. His love for God, his family and church community rippled out to impact our Highview community too, Heaven's hospitality is now all open for him. We will miss him here.
In 2008 I was part of a team that headed off to Haiti from Highview Community Church in Kitchener.
Had absolutely no idea what to expect when we arrived. But the first person we were to meet was Pr. Giordani and his family. We had the privilege of staying with them in their home in the town of Hinche. This was the start of a very special relationship.
Since 2008 I and a team from Highview have travelled to Haiti on a regular basis and on every visit we would make sure to stop in Hinche to worship at Pr. Giordani’s church and visit our friends in Sapate (the site of our first building project.)
On one occasion Pr. Giordani took me for a walk on a tour of the church in Hinche, to give me an update on its ongoing construction. As we took a break to sit down in his office he talked to me about trust. He mentioned that now that I had been to Haiti on three occasions (ultimately it would be nine!!) that he and his church could trust me. They could trust that when I and our team said we cared, we meant it. They could trust that when we said that we would be back, they believed us. I’ve never forgotten how meaningful, and challenging, that conversation was in reminding me that our words and actions, wherever we are, matter so much in building relationships.
Pr. Giordani was a special friend to me and Highview. I can’t imagine how much he will be missed by his family and his church in Haiti but I know my heart is hurting because an important piece is gone. For now!!!
We grieve, but not as those without hope.
As we make our honest way through the difficult, ponderous realities of life, we do not in any way want to default too soon to “the right answers”. These losses hit so close to home because we have opened our hearts to love and be loved, know and be known even in Regions Beyond, even when we can’t get there safely or quickly, even when people we love die.
Bottom line remains, however. This life begs an epic sequel, and God continues to write the story all the way to His ultimate win. This is a very true thing, and to this we cling.