Photography

       


Pastor Paul Mathieu Honore

May 15, 1916 ~ May 21, 2018 (age 102)

 

Paul Honore was born on January 15, 1916 in St. Louis du Nord, Haiti. He was the first of nine children born to Disciple Honore & Marie-Louise Germaine Simeon. Pastor Honore grew up in a Catholic family. His formal education began at elementary level in his native town of St.Louis du Nord.  Shortly after, his parents sent him to the neighboring town of Port de Paix to pursue his education. After completing his secondary education, he married his first wife Saintamise Phanord.

It wasn’t until October 22, 1944 at the age of 28 that he was born again. Immediately after, he received a calling to be a preacher.  Exactly one month later, he went to theology school, leaving behind his wife and 2 kids. Over time, the couple would go on to have 13 children.

After 3 years of completing his studies in May of 1947, the mission sent him to be an assistant pastor to the late Dr. Orius Paultre of La Pointe. In 1949, he was transferred to the Church of Borgne, away from his home town to assist another pastor.  In 1951, he was ordained the senior pastor of the church where he served 6 years.

There was still a great need for pastors in dept of artibonite more specifically in the town of Verrettes (the native town of the famous late president Dumarsais Estime). He spent 11 years at this location where he lead a very fruitful and productive ministry, Deserving several satellite sub-stations like La Chapelle, Desarmes,Desjardins, Moge, to name a few. It is in this town that his last child with his first wife was born. It is also in this town, where his first daughter got married. In this same town he welcomed his first grandchild, Florence Dajuste Ductan.

At the end of the 11 years, Pastor Honore was called on to replace of Pastor See as the Pastor of the Gros-Morne, an American Pastor who was looking to relocate back to the United States. Pastor See had served there for 6 years. Since Pastor Honore had the desire to be closer to his native St. Louis Du Nord, he quickly jumped at the opportunity….and after some logistic negotiations was transferred to the town of Gros-Morne at the end of 1966.

Two years had passed, his wishes to return home were about to come true. In the early months of 1968, he was sent to St. Louis du Nord where he was reunited with some family members, old neighborhood acquaintances and church members. During this period he suffered two great losses: 1) the death of his son Marc, from kidney failure at the age of 16 in July of 1969. 2) The passing of his 1st wife Saintamise at the age of 56 from complications from diabetes and hypertension in 1974.

One year later in 1975, came straight from heaven, on his path, and carefully handpicked by GOD a fresh flower bouquet with all the scent of the morning dew in the person of Ms. Charmante Dolce with a specific mission: To give this man a new life, a vision, renew his excitement, prolong his days and make to his life Great Again. Together they had 6 children. Pastor Honore pastored the congregation at Cabaret from 1971 to 1979, when the Baptist Mission in the United States recruited him to serve the South Florida community.

Specifically, in 1979 Pastor Honore was called on to help Pastor Jacques Dumornay, who planted a little church in Pompano Beach that later became the First Haitian Baptist Church of Pompano. As the church grew, leaders noticed that more than half of congregants were commuting from nearby Fort Lauderdale. In response, Pastor Honore was sent to launch a satellite church in Fort Lauderdale to accommodate the commuters.

With that mandate, in 1981 Pastor Honore led small group congregants to rent space at First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale at 301 E. Broward Blvd in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Pastor Honore believed strongly in the Great Commission and stressed to the small group the importance of leaving the four walls of the church to engage the community in order to win souls for Christ. They would often have outdoor rallys in predominantly Haitian neighborhoods, with Pastor Honore preaching in open air using a bullhorn from the back of a pickup truck. The Lord blessed the new church and many people were saved. In just 4 years, the congregation grew from a group of 10 people to more than 100 and shortly outgrew the rented space at First Baptist.

In 1985, Pastor Honore would incorporate the new congregation as Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church, Inc... He often emphasized the “evangelical” purpose for which it was birthed. In the same year, Bethel also purchased a 4000 sqft building on 1.9 acres located at 1121 NW 8th Ave, Fort Lauderdale. The mid-1980s saw many waves of Haitian refugees immigrating to South Florida, which created fertile ground for continued growth. But these new immigrant communities also came with new challenges.

In response, in 1986 Pastor Honore in partnership with other nearby haitian pastors, founded the Haitian Christian Community Centre to address some of these challenges. He quickly built alliances and partnerships with social services and invited already established haitian-american professionals into the church to teach english and other living skills to the new arrivals.

Between 1987-1989,under Pastor Honore’s leadership, Bethel launched a childcare center, a food pantry, and a social services arm that helped people navigate everything from healthcare, to legal aid, to immigration matters. The congregation again reached 250 people, quickly outgrowing the newly purchased building.

In 1990, Pastor Paul started a campaign to build a new building that could accommodate the still growing congregation. The new building would be completed in 1991.

From 1991 to 1998, Pastor Honore added an early morning service on Sundays, oversaw the expansion of Sunday school, youth groups, and bible studies. The church blossomed to over 500 people.

In 1998, at the age of 82 years old, Pastor Honore retired from Senior Pastor Role at Bethel in order to make room for new leadership.

Pastor Honore used his retirement to continue to build the Kingdom of God. Recognizing the need for Haitian pastors in Broward County to work together to serve the needs of the community. In 1999, Pastor Honore along with other members founded the League of the Evangelical Pastors of Broward, Inc. which would galvanize the member churches to cooperate on evangelical crusades, rallys, marriage conferences, and combined summer camps for the youth. Through these alliances an overall community among the South Florida Haitian churches, from North Palm Beach to South Miami. This later culminated into a very close fellowship of Haitian pastors that meet at Pastor Honore’s house for fellowship and accountability.

From the time of his retirement, Pastor Honore kept an open-door policy often opening his home and devoting his time to individuals and married couples in the community needing counseling. He also served as an advisor to young Haitian pastors, businessmen, and other leaders seeking his advice in the Haitian community. Even at the age of 102 years old, after a series of strokes, while bedridden and on hospice care, many people found solace by visiting him for a bedside prayer.

On the fateful day of Monday, May 21st, 2018, after 74 years in the ministry, Pastor Paul Mathieu Honore was called home to be with The Lord. He had been a faithful husband, a loving father, a patriarch of the Honore Family. He had been a pastor of many churches, a teacher, a leader,  a counselor and an organizer for the community. He had been mentor to many and a friend to everyone he came across. But most of all, he was a believer in Jesus Christ and a servant of God.

 

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