July 9, 1948-January 12, 2010
Rev. Jeanne Acheson-Munos and her husband, Jack, were appointed as career missionaries to Haiti in March 2004. Together they worked alongside the national church to develop and strengthen the conference, pastors, church leaders and members. Jeanne’s deepest desire was that Haiti, the Pearl of the Antilles, would shine again with “Haiti for Christ” becoming a reality.
Jeanne was one of three North American Free Methodist missionaries who lost their lives in Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake. She, along with Gene Dufour, VISA Ministries missionary, Merle West, VISA Ministries missionary, and Erlin Blot, caretaker of the Friends of Haiti Organization building, were laid to rest on church property in Port-au-Prince.
Jeanne asked Jesus into her heart when she was a child. Growing up in a pastor’s home, she had responsibilities in the church from the time she was 13 years old. Her first role was working as a VBS teacher’s assistant, then helping in children’s church. As an adult, she became a children’s pastor, serving in that role for many years.
While visiting Haiti on a short-term missions trip, God revealed His new plan for her. God said, “This is it! Will you give your life for the Haitians?” Jeanne answered “Yes!” Even though she recognized this decision would require sacrifices, Jeanne knew Haiti was God’s place for her. His love for the people was planted in her heart.
Jeanne and Jack served on four VISA trips to Haiti, teaching vacation Bible school during the summers between 1997 and 2001. They were later appointed as career missionaries. Along the way, they developed a unique missions philosophy – ministry is about God and His kingdom reaching out to live and work with the people. In all they did, they endeavored to work alongside the Haitians as a team — learning and teaching together. Jeanne and Jack’s work included assisting at the Bible school (Institut Biblique Methodiste Libre), training church leaders, conducting street ministry, working alongside work teams and anything else that helped to further God’s ministry.
Jeanne’s passion for the people of Haiti was evident in all she did. In an article for the Jan. 2005 World Mission People magazine, she wrote, “We have a fire in our hearts not only for our personal mission from God, but also for people around the world who need Jesus. We are grateful to be a part of God’s kingdom work and are looking forward to the day when the nations will worship together around His throne.”
Jeanne was known for passing out buttons that read “Haiti Pour Christ” (Haiti for Christ). She shared them across North America during partnership building ministry and all over Haiti. On one occasion in Haiti, these pins had an unusual impact. In the fall of 2007, short-term team members were stopped by three policemen. Jack and Jeanne’s newsletter describes the event: “All of us had our ‘Haiti Pour Christ’ pins on. One of the policemen said, ‘Haiti Pour Christ. Where did you get those?’ Jeanne ‘just so happened’ to have the bag of pins in her pouch. So after giving each policeman a pin … and of course one for their wives … we were allowed to proceed!”
Jeanne’s Colleagues Write:
Dr. Dan and Dee Ann Snyder, fellow missionaries to Haiti, reflected on Jeanne’s life. “I think any one who knew Jeanne, and even those who had just recently arrived in Haiti, recognized two things. First, they knew that if they were not wearing a ‘Haiti for Christ’ pin they would soon be given one or asked where their pin was. Second, it did not take long to realize that Jeanne was a whirlwind of activity. Jeanne’s day started at 5 a.m. with devotions and then we would see her ‘Skype’ kick on as she booted up her computer around 6 a.m. It would still be on at 10 p.m. Her only breaks during the week were daily lunch, at which invariably there were four or five friends and guests sitting at the table, an occasional movie or dinner out with Jack and friends and a nap on Sunday after she preached.
“What I saw Sunday, January 10, two days before the earthquake hit, was the essence of the Jeanne Acheson-Munos I knew. The Haitian national church was having their annual conference’s ordination service led by Bishop David Roller. As each of the three pastoral candidates were asked questions, I caught Jeanne looking at the candidates. Her face was literally glowing. The expression on her face, which will forever be in my memory, spoke of a deep love and pride for the men and a deep satisfaction at seeing a new generation of pastors she had helped train and disciple being sent off to help bring about ‘Haiti for Christ.’
“Jeanne worked hard and was focused on seeing Haiti once again become the ‘Pearl of the Antilles,’ but the real driving force for all of her activity was an unusually deep commitment and love for her Lord and for the Haitian people. Jeanne Acheson-Munos was only in Haiti for five years as a missionary, but her love for and commitment to the Haitian people will be felt by them for many, many years to come.”
“Today is the 37th day after the earthquake,” writes International Child Care Ministries Director Linda Adams. “I am finally ready to read through hundreds of e-mails from my dear friend Jeanne, e-mails that hammered my inbox in rapid succession for 18 months, until the last one at 7:39 p.m. on January 11.
“Here are a few lines from a pensive one, written November 21, 2009: ‘Well, Linda, we are in Dessalines. I am up on the roof … I am watching children flying kites. Wilson was up here with me. He said that when the children play, it is good for the parents because the children forget their hunger for awhile,’ Jeanne wrote.
“Children and hunger. We talked a lot about those two subjects, merged into one. Jeanne didn’t have official responsibilities with International Child Care Ministries, but her passion for children wouldn’t allow her to keep silent. She spoke up on their behalf, all the time – and loudly!
“She closed every email with ‘For His kingdom to fully come to Haiti and the world.’ She once told me that she knew she could set up her computer to insert that line above her signature automatically, but she wanted to type it every time. She wanted to keep it uppermost in her mind, and direct her fingers over the keys with conscious effort, a prayer through her fingers. ‘For His kingdom to fully come to Haiti and the world.’ Amen, Pastor Jeanne! Amen!”
“Jeanne gave her heart to Jesus and then – because of Him – gave her heart to Haiti,” Dr. Art Brown recalls, “We all realized that when she and Jack went to Haiti, a dream from the Lord was coming to reality. The ‘Haiti for Christ’ pins she distributed communicated more than a motto, they proclaimed a passion of life.”
Bishop David Roller writes, “The first time I met Jeanne I could tell she was going to be a ‘handful.’ I was to be her overseer, her Area Director, but it was clear that she had heard from God, that He had called her to Haiti, and that I could agree with God or not, it wasn’t her problem! Actually she was gentler than that, but there was a tenacity and conviction about her call to Haiti that overrode all other considerations. As we interacted over the years, first as the Area Director for Haiti, later as the Bishop overseeing Haiti, the strength of her love for Haitians continued to impress me and continued to thrust her and Jack into the heart of the church, into the heart of Haiti. I have a hard time lamenting her passing into the arms of her Lord, although I miss her and have cried many times. But my laments dissipate as I realize that I can agree with God or not, that’s not Jeanne’s problem.”
Free Methodist World Missions celebrates Jeanne’s life, a life lived with determination that the Pearl of the Antilles would shine again and “that God’s kingdom would fully come to Haiti and the world.”