Banquet speaker ‘compelled by love’ to aid Haiti

REV. MICHAEL STITT

by Punya Bhasin, For New Pittsburgh Courier

When the Rev. Michael Stitt was offered the chance to embark on a mission trip to Haiti in 2018, he saw it as a way to comply with the word of God.

“In the Bible, when it comes to missionary trips there are a number of ‘one another’ statements that Jesus used,” Rev. Stitt said, referencing that “we’re commanded to encourage one another, we’re commanded to help one another, and we’re commanded to love one another.”

So, when this opportunity came to go to Haiti, he said he felt compelled to go to fulfill those “one another” statements.

As he served in the nation’s mountainous and rural communities with the Functional Literacy Ministry of Haiti, or FLM Haiti, Rev. Stitt felt a sense of reciprocal love and connection to the people of Haiti. He wanted to encourage them and provide them with more hope through God’s word.

Rev. Stitt, who lives near Philadelphia, is the Senior Pastor at Saints Memorial in Bryn Mawr and is this year’s keynote speaker for the Pittsburgh-based FLM Haiti’s annual banquet on Oct. 22. The theme of the banquet is “Compelled by Love,” and Rev. Stitt said he plans to emphasize the idea of hope and faith, in response to the recent unrest in Haiti.

Because of all the ongoing social and political strife in Haiti, Rev. Stitt said, “I want to say that we have hope you still can be encouraged that our God is incredible. We can still hold tightly to the promises that God has given us and continue to help one another.”

Reverend Stitt has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Liberal Arts from West Chester University in Pennsylvania, where he concentrated on Business Management. He earned a Master of Theological Studies from Pennsylvania’s Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2001. He is a former member of Triumph Baptist Church in Sewickley, where he served as the assistant pastor leading the evangelism team and youth ministry.

It was during Rev. Stitt’s time at Triumph that he came to know the Bishop Leon Pamphile, who is executive director of FLM Haiti. Bishop Pamphile invited the minister to aid with the mission work in Haiti.

While on his mission trip in 2018, Rev. Stitt led a workshop for pastors in Haiti, teaching and explaining the role of being a pastor. He also engaged with physicians on the trip who provided medical services. Reverend Stitt himself worked in the clinic, handing out eyeglasses so people could see and read better.

This was an especially fulfilling task as it allowed Rev. Stitt to teach the Bible and have the local Haitians read along with him. When the mission trip was done, Rev. Stitt felt he had ministered to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of the people of Haiti.

His continued support of FLM Haiti is more crucial now as Haiti is experiencing an increasing amount of violence as the capital, Port-au-Prince, and other areas are being overtaken by gangs. Reverend Stitt said while he is saddened by the unrest, he is encouraged through his faith.

“The scripture says defend the weak and uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed,” Rev. Stitt said. “Everyone is called to do that not only here in our own country, but also in other countries.”

(Editor’s Note: The banquet is Saturday, Oct. 22, at 4 p.m., in-person at the Comfort Inn Conference Center, 699 Rodi Road, Penn Hills. COVID-19 protocols will be practiced. For tickets, visit flmhaiti.org/newsevents or for more information, call 412-784-0342.)

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