Pere (Father) Sadoni Leon is relaxed as he sits on his patio on a pleasant afternoon in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Typically, as you might imagine, Haiti is hot. Not today. Today is very comfortable. It’s a great day for an outside interview.
Pere Sadoni, a priest in the Episcopal Church of Haiti and member of Dunamis Fellowship International (DFI), is part of the leadership team of the Evangelism Committee of the Haiti Diocese. (The Committee includes other DFI members—Pere Colbert Estil, the Committee Chair, and Pere Jean Jacques Deravil.)
Sadoni is one of many Haitian priests and lay leaders who have participated in the Dunamis Project, which has taken place in Haiti over the last seven years.
In spite of a presidential coup, devastating hurricanes, a horrific earthquake, a cholera epidemic, and political unrest, Sadoni attended all six Dunamis events (plus three in Michigan). Following is how the Lord has impacted Sadoni’s life through Dunamis and PRMI.
His dad was a leader in the Episcopal Church of Haiti and Sadoni became an acolyte in the church. In 1987, at the age of 11, he “felt the call of Jesus.” When a primary school teacher asked all the children what they wanted to be when they grew up, he said, “I want to become a priest.”
Once declaring his desire to become a priest, Sadoni began to grow in his relationship with Jesus and, even though he did not realize it at the time, he began his relationship with the Holy Spirit in earnest.
He admits not knowing about the Spirit until he was in seminary and attended his first Dunamis course.
“I didn’t know anything about the Holy Spirit until 2004, when PRMI held the first Dunamis Project in Haiti. It was at that time that I began to understand that I live with the Holy Spirit. I began to understand His role in my life.”
Sadoni said that most of the time we as Christians ignore the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. “We pray to Father and Son, but not the Holy Spirit.”
Sadoni testifies that the greatest blessing of receiving teaching on the Holy Spirit is that he now understands he is able to address the Holy Spirit as God.
“Before PRMI came to Haiti, I knew that I had one God, but I never addressed my need to the Holy Spirit. Now I know I can address the Holy Spirit as I can address God the Father. I know the Holy Spirit’s role and how He moves through evangelism and prayer and so on.”
Sadoni knows additional power and authority due to the fact that Holy Spirit is working in and upon him.
“With the knowledge that he is here on earth, I can feel Him in my life. As I know the Holy Spirit, I can address him, talk to him, and pray to him. He gives me more strength and power. The Holy Spirit is close to me so I have more power to live a better life in Christ.”
People who know Sadoni recognize that the Spirit works through him. This is especially evident in his work with the children of St. Vincent School for Handicapped Children and his mentoring relationships with young men in the Episcopal Church.
“As the Director of St. Vincent, I am really close to the children. I feel that the Holy Spirit put me in their lives so they may accomplish their goals. I can see the Holy Spirit moving in the lives of the children.”
He sees the fruit of the Spirit made manifest in his relationships with the children and with others.
“My life as a Christian influences a lot of young people to become priests or change their lives.”
In particular, he has a great history with his friend Alexis. “I met Alexis when he was nine. I was 15. I took him to the Boy Scouts.” Sadoni took Alexis into his family’s home when Alexis was 15. “He had no parents. I became a mother to him. I can compare all the children of his Aunt to him. He has a better education. He is a good leader in the church. He just got married. As his mentor, I am honored.”
Sadoni says it is important to live life empowered by the Spirit.
“The human being tries to connect with God. The Holy Spirit leads us to connect to the true God. It is important to live with the Holy Spirit so we may have a better relationship with Christ, God, and others. With the Holy Spirit we are like a tree by a river. Without His power we are nothing.”
Everyone who knows Sadoni recognizes that he is an excellent, anointed preacher. Someday he hopes to teach about the Holy Spirit. With the establishment of the Dunamis Institute, he may be well on the way to realizing this dream.