Over 18 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. He attended a French school in Port-au-Prince. Growing up as a non-Christian he turned to many things looking for the meaning in life. It wasn’t long before he realized life was hopeless without Jesus.
Sister Gladys too was raised in Haiti, but in the southern part of the country – an area called Petit Guave. Because of the unrest in the country at that time, Sister Gladys moved to California at the age of 15. She spent 20 years there and earned an RN degree. She worked in a hospital…She found Jesus and her life was never the same.
When these two are asked the question, “Why did you start Canaan?”, they can simply say they received a call from God. Before they moved to the land that Canaan is currently on, they worked with another ministry, training pastors in the area, holding kids youth rallies and camps, and working with drug and alcohol addicts. At this time in their lives, they were happy and content, not looking for anything else or another location, but one evening as the staff were 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 and settle on, 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 miracles, God’s provision, His healing, and persecution, too.
Pastor Henri claims that the thing that gets him up in the morning and motivates him is how God works in the kids’ lives. He has witnessed countless number of kids transform into God loving and fearing teenagers and adults.