KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — Philipson and Kelsea Georges are using a short-term strategy to support their long-term vision. The Haitian-born Philipson, 30, and his American wife are helping bring social transformation to his Caribbean homeland by sending teams from Port YWAM to serve the nation both spiritually and through humanitarian aid. All of this is in preparation for their dream of starting a full-time ministry in Haiti. Kelsea Georges, 27, said the primary thrust of the couple’s efforts is to nurture healthy families.
“Family dysfunction is a big problem in Haiti. We want to help bring wholeness through biblical principles starting with marriages and then through an emphasis on godly parenting,” she said. “We have to start with those two issues if we want to see the next generation thrive.”
Since joining YWAM Ships Kona at the end of 2014, the couple has launched a pair of teams to Haiti for a total of three months. Those groups were students fulfilling required field assignments from Discipleship Training Schools at Port YWAM. The Georges led a team to Haiti in 2015, but this year served only an advisory role because they were preparing for the birth of their first child, who was born in March.
As a means of seeing the nation transformed, the Georges would like to see an increase in the number of marriage seminars taking place there, along with English training to help Haitians become more competitive in the world of international business. They also hope to facilitate vocational training so that younger Haitians learn self-sufficiency. During both outreaches that the couple helped oversee, students built water tanks and brought locals in on the work so they could learn how to do it themselves. Jodie Kemp, a 21-year-old student from this year’s team, said teaching the Haitian people was just as important as the finished product.
“We were always bringing in Haitians. That was a big part of building the tanks — having their involvement in it so that they appreciate the tanks rather than outsiders coming in, building it and then leaving,” Kemp, of Australia, said.
The Georges plan to staff the upcoming January discipleship school, lead a field team to Haiti and invite the students to join a long-term team that will serve there. But their hope is that through mentoring, Haitians will soon become missionaries rather than only being the beneficiaries of philanthropy, Philipson Georges said.
“Our vision is to empower Haiti and raise up leaders to be a blessing for Haiti and the rest of the world,” he said. “We want to train young people in Haiti, but we also want to send them into the nations to apply everything they’ve been learning with us and to serve the most isolated places where there are dire needs.”
In the meantime, the couple is being mentored themselves at Port YWAM Kona. They have received input directly from leaders Brett Curtis, Jim Walker and discipleship school leader Sean Murphy. They also participated in the Spiritual Leadership And Ministry Development, or SLAMD, seminar where they gained insight from the likes of YWAM co-founder Darlene Cunningham and Andy Byrd, who helped pioneer the evangelistic Circuit Rider ministry. Philipson Georges said the couple’s time here has greatly benefited he and his wife.
“Here at YWAM Ships Kona, we have a great team surrounding us. There are so many leaders with experience who are training us,” he said. “We’ve been meeting with a couple of leaders who we consider as spiritual fathers and guides because of their many years in missions and they are going to stand with us to help this ministry plan in Haiti and continue to stand alongside of us to see us succeed.”
Click here to sign up for the January Discipleship Training School at Port YWAM Kona and a chance to be a part of the Georges’ team.