Brett Pharr

BrettNancy2Brett and his wife, Nancy live in Charlotte, NC.  They have one daughter, Brittany.

He is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and holds a Master in Business Administration degree from Bristol University.

He serves on the Board of Trustees for Freed-Hardeman University. He also actively serves as an elder for Gold Hill Road Church of Christ in Fort Mill, South Carolina, including teaching and preaching.

Brett’s Haiti Involvement

My first trip to Haiti was in 2000.  Nancy and I went on a benevolence trip
with Tim Mastenbrook where we did the village-to-village, church-to-church
approach:  giving out rice, beans, clothes and just spreading good will.  We
were obviously shocked like everyone else.  Everyone who visits is stunned
with the need for benevolence and the gospel for these people.  Nancy
immediately leaped into a bundle of energy to find more and more ways to help
our brethren with the most basic of needs. She has been on a 6-year mission
and hasn’t stopped.

But as a banker, I started thinking about the economics of the situation.
First, I thought “are these people just lazy?”.  But observation showed me that
was not the case.  They are quite busy all the time and often quite innovative.
Second, “they must need education”.  There is some truth to that, but even
those with college degrees cannot find reasonable work.  There is not enough
production opportunity.  Third, I saw that they needed capital.  “Why don’t
foreign companies just come here and invest and utilize the low cost work
force”.  Then I realized the problem of instability.  Not just the wide-spread
government coups and protests, but the little decisions that are made every
day that are not bound by the normal rules of private property, justice and fair
play.  You could buy a piece of real estate and not be really sure you owned it.
With the social unrest and the lack of recourse in the face of injustice, no
investment is safe.  So capital won’t come to Haiti.  Finally, “why do the people
allow this to happen?”  This is where I came full circle.  The culture is driven by
principles of voodoo and other long-standing traditions that are contrary to
capitalism and fair exchange.  Without changing the people’s hearts and minds,
we can’t change their economics.  The secret to the permanent solution in Haiti
is the gospel message; first for their souls, but also for their standard of living.

Since then, I have been involved in two things.  First, while I can’t change the
macro economy in Haiti I can help the micro economics for the preaching
students.  They can’t make a living preaching alone.  I make small loans to them
to help them support their families in various business enterprises:
convenience stores, building supplies, spice distribution, school supplies, etc.
It, in a small way, helps them support themselves and teaches them a little
about business.  Second, I have been a part of the annual preacher’s seminar
for Northern Haiti.  While the 12 students are being well taught at the CBT,
many other preachers do not have the opportunity and may rarely get to visit
with other preachers.  It is a great time for fellowship, learning together and
dealing with difficult questions.

I love the CBT and its work.  Benevolence is good…for a day.  Sending
American missionaries to teach the people is good ……………but it makes them
dependent on the missionaries, they can’t relate as well to the people, and
eventually they go home.  But teaching preachers to preach to their own
people…., that is priceless and permanently sustainable after a few
generations.  Jesus used the approach of the twelve and taught the whole
world in a few decades.  Surely this approach can handle the island of Haiti.”

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