Remembering Pastor Jean Jacob Paul, 1958-2020

Before my father made homes for orphans, he was building extra bedrooms in our childhood home, so he could move in people in need. My mom and dad raised us in a household where hospitality and generosity were ways we thanked God for His faithfulness to us. It was a way of life. My dad gave everything from the clothes on his back to try and help others.

Nathalie Paul​

When I think of what it means to be selfless, I think of my dad. He would give you the shirt from off of his back if you needed it. This is the kind of life Christ has called each of us to live: a life of ministry. What is ministry? Ministry isn’t a title, a position, or a platform. Ministry is clothing the poor, feeding the hungry, and serving the least of these. Jean Jacob Paul was ministry. To God be the Glory.

Benz Paul

Even though it has been exactly one year since my father’s passing, his presence is everywhere. No matter where he went, whether it was in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the United States as a whole, or at home with his family, he found a way to touch the lives of those around him. Death does not have to be final. As children of God, we should have more faith and recognize when someone is in a better place. My father is gone but his ministry continues. We pray that we will be able to touch the lives of many people, in the same way he succeeded and tried to do with God’s word. It is not easy, and we miss him, but we will use the love we had for him to move forward.

Ruth Amanda Paul

“In the end we all die but the goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” —Chuck Palahniuk

Even though my father may no longer be here with us his passion for his people and his legacy will forever live on.

Scarlie Paul

I remember attending many a worship service at the church I have fond memories of traveling with Jean up into the rocky hills and into Z’Orange and meeting with pastors there. Then we purchased mangoes on our journey through a village on the return trip. He made a humorous comment that I was overdressed for the occasion—which caused us to pay double for the fruit. It’s something that comes to mind and makes me laugh.

Phil Schrock

As the chairman of our church’s missions committee, I went to Haiti prior to the earthquake to evaluate a new ministry that our presbytery had recently undertaken to sponsor. Thus began a friendship with Rev. John Jacob Paul, a God loving, God fearing man who was truly sold out to the command from God to bring Haiti to Christ.

 

Wes Richardson

Jean Paul faced so many trials in his faithful walk with Christ and always knew Jesus would be glorified in His plan. To serve the Lord in Haiti, he was separated from his family for months at a time. If you had asked him why, he would have said he was also responsible for caring for his ‘other children’ in Haiti. He faced an earthquake, a hurricane and civil unrest. He had to work with young believers as he preached the Gospel, he had to deal with people struggling in poverty and sickness, and he had to work with every level of government to build a Christian foundation in Marin. Yet never was there a time he did not proclaim, ‘Jesus is building His Kingdom in Haiti!’

Kirk Swanson

I always remember each time—just after we arrived on the compound—that Jean would take us into the church sanctuary and he’d say a prayer giving Jesus thanks for our safe journey to Haiti.

In Marin—listening to Jean preach in Creole only to have him suddenly switch to English and give us reassurance that he knew we were there and appreciated our presence.

 

Phil Schrock

Souls Winning Ministries meeting to plan celebration

I recall one time, several years ago, when I was in Haiti, meeting to help plan the new presbytery. I had brought a number of items down for the orphanage, but they did not arrive on my plane. After the high-powered meetings to engage the various parties regarding the new presbytery, Jean accompanied me to the airport and assisted me in checking every unclaimed bag in some obscure storage area of the airport, trying to locate the baggage for the orphans. It occurred to me that no task, whether of obvious importance to many folks, or what might appear to be a trifling task, Jean would give it his all. He was not interested in fame nor did he carry any air of self-importance. He simply went about as a humble servant, doing whatever his Master had given him to do for that day. I will always be in awe of this incredible man of God.

Chuck Lokey

King David said ‘Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand’—1 Chronicles 29:14b. Our family gave up having our father with us year round because we recognized he had been God’s before he was ours. We praise God for the life of our father and the time we had with him. We praise God because Daddy is now resting in God’s hands, and we will one day be able to spend uninterrupted time with him as we praise our savior together forever. Until then, we wait as best as we can.

Nathalie Paul

I remember one time getting 18 people to fit in and on the Ford F-150 pickup truck with Jean behind the wheel.

I enjoyed the times when he and I would see each other after a long absence, and he would have a big smile and say, “Hello Brother.” Jean was a great host every time I journeyed to Haiti.

The children at the orphanage always referred to him as their papa and showed him real love. He called them “my children.”

I enjoyed his special recipe for American Style Chicken and I liked how Jean referred to me as a blanc Haitian :).

Phil Schrock

Jean Paul was a man of great vision. I submitted to him a design of the Reformation Hope Clinic in Marin, around eight years ago. Jean Paul liked my blueprint, but thought it too small, so he increased the size by 50% so that the clinic would be big enough to become a hospital one day. His first love was always the Lord and Reformed theology. Building on that framework, he designed a whole community to care for the Lord’s people in Haiti. Our challenge now is to fulfill Jean Paul’s vision.

Dr. Wiley Smith

Doctor listens to child's lungs.

As I reflect on the life and ministry of our dearly beloved brother Pastor Jean Jacob Paul, there are a number of significant qualities that come to my mind.

  • his unwavering trust in the Sovereignty and Goodness of God
  • his infectious smile born of the joy of the Lord that gripped his heart
  • his vision and passion to see souls saved and God’s Kingdom advanced in his native homeland of Haiti
  • his Christ-like compassion that moved him to do what he could to help the needy ones around him.
  • his amazing ability to oversee effectively the multiple ministries under the umbrella of Souls Winning Ministries.

Rev. Ted Lester

On my first trip to Haiti, we had stopped to eat lunch at a diner and when we came out, we were approached by two preteen boys begging Jean to have then included in the orphanage. Sadly, he told them that he could not take them in. I asked Jean the background and criteria for which children were allowed to come to the orphanage and he said many of the children were not totally orphans but were children whose parent or parents had been killed or who had fled the country because of political persecution.

Wes Richardson

Jean Paul was a one-man, kingdom-recruiting wonder. There was no escaping the call of God to mission in Haiti. If you were introduced to Jean, he looked at you intently—then smiled and declared, ‘You will be in Haiti!’

Rev. Martin Hawley

I miss Jean Paul’s laughter, his love and faith, his friendship. The Holy Spirit trained dozens of preachers through Jean, nearly 100 of ‘his children’ in Haiti have been given hope, love and safety in the orphanage he built. Hundreds perhaps tens of thousands of Haitians will join him in heaven and praise Jesus for their beloved Pastor Paul.

There was an empty street corner in Haiti. The next week the Holy Spirit placed an evangelist full of faith preaching the Gospel on that corner. I believe Haiti will never be the same because brother Jean lived and ultimately gave his life trusting Jesus to bring the Gospel’s love and hope to Haiti!

Kirk Swanson

Daddy said he knew the suffering of hunger, and he’d vowed that if he were to reach a point where he had enough—he’d never let anyone cross his threshold and leave hungry. I remember many dinners watching him crack jokes and cook for literal strangers. I got to watch my father feed people physically and then spiritually. He had a special way of affirming the image of God in everyone he met—poor, rich, governor, or child. He knew the only difference between him and some of the people he met in the streets was the grace of God. He ended every prayer with “not because we are good, but because YOU are good Lord”. I learned about grace watching God use an ordinary and even flawed man. I learned God was a good father because of His reflection in the father he had given me. There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t miss him dearly.

Nathalie Paul

Always looking for ways to better the lives of his children, Jean took on many endeavors from farming, goat herding and his favorite, the American Style Chicken Restaurant. These varied enterprises provided work opportunities for the older children as well as supplementing income for Souls Winning Ministries.

Jean was one of the most Godly humble men I have ever known, always ready with a smile and a warm hug and he is truly missed by many here on earth.

Wes Richardson

Jean would often say that his orphans were the best and brightest children of Haiti and that they were the future of stability and Christianity in Haiti. Jean always called the orphans his children and when we were on the compound, it was very evident that the children looked to him as their father. Jean had a deep conviction that his children needed the best education possible for themselves and in order to bring needed change to Haiti.

Jean also began the work of mentoring, counseling and training men who came to him wanting to learn how to be better preachers and pastors. That ministry grew to the point that he was mentoring over 300 men. This was the beginning of what is today the seminary there.

Wes Richardson

Of all the people I have met in my life, Jean Paul was the one who most radiated the light and the love of Jesus Christ. And he consistently did so in the most winsome and contagious ways. If you were around him for any length of time, you couldn’t help but get caught up in his kingdom joy. 

Rev. Martin Hawley

When I think of Jean Paul I cannot help giving thanks to the Lord for allowing me to know and love this dear brother in Christ. His smile and his joy in Christ were infectious. There was never a day he did not praise the Lord for the blessings of his life in Jesus.

Kirk Swanson

Jean also began the work of mentoring, counseling and training men who came to him wanting to learn how to be better preachers and pastors. That ministry grew to the point that he was mentoring over 300 men. This was the beginning of what is today the seminary there.

Wes Richardson

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