NEARLY 25 YEARS AGO, HENRI GAETJENS AND GLADYS MECKLEMBOURG WERE PART OF A SMALL GROUP OF VISIONARIES THAT HAD A PASSION TO CREATE A HOME FOR THE LOST SOULS OF THEIR COUNTRY.
Pastor Henri was born in Haiti and attended a French school in Port-au-Prince. Growing up as a non-christian, he turned to many things in the search for meaning in life. It wasn’t long before he realized life was hopeless without Jesus.
Sister Gladys was also raised in Haiti in an area called Petit Guave in the southern region of the country. Because of the social and political unrest at that time, Sister Gladys moved to California at the age of 15. She spent 20 years in the United States and worked in a hospital as a registered nurse. Once she found Jesus, her life was never the same.
When these two are asked the question, “Why did you start Canaan?”, they simply say that they received a call from God. Before they moved to the land that Canaan inhabits, they worked with another local ministry, training pastors in the area, holding kids’ youth rallies and camps, and working with drug and alcohol addicts. One evening, as the staff was praying, they had a unified vision: look for land. Everyone embraced that vision and prayed for God’s leading.
As God led them to the land they were to buy, they soon realized that their ministry would also change with the new location. God kept bringing orphans and children needing a home to them. They responded by taking in the kids and changing focus on their newly founded land called Canaan and decided to focus on making a beautiful home for these children in need.
Since moving to this mountainside they call Canaan Christian Community in the early nineties, the staff and kids have seen persecution, miracles, and God’s provision and healing. Pastor Henri and Sister Gladys both proudly proclaim that the thing that gets them up in the morning is how God continues to work in the children’s lives, transforming them into God loving teenagers and adults.