SALVANT PIERRE: A BIOGRAPHICAL TIMELINE
1914-1924: Salvant Pierre, our dad and grandpa and great grandpa was born on Sunday December 20th, 1914 in Trou du Nord, Haiti to Genissia Blaise and Pierre-Jean Pierre. He was the 3rd son of 8 brothers and 2 sisters. He grew up being loved by parents and siblings, especially his older sister whom he lost as a youngster.
1924-1934: Grandpa attended primary school for the first time at the age of 13 at the invitation of Jacques Abel, the Director of the local catholic school. He attended for only 2 years and had to withdraw. He is what we call Self-taught. He built on the knowledge he had received to educate himself. He enjoyed acting in his youth as well as in adulthood. He participated in many local theatrical plays, a comedian.
1934-1944: Once again at the encouragement of Jacques Abel, a compassionate teacher and counselor, Grandpa migrated from the country side to the city of Cap- Haitian in search of a more promising future. There he became an apprentice at the tailoring shop of Mr. Charles Dubois, a prominent businessman. An avid and dedicated learner, he quickly became skillful in the art of designing and tailoring men’s clothing.
At the age of 26, he gave his life to the Lord Jesus. In 1941, while attending the First Baptist Church of Cap-Haitian, he met his future wife who was then only 17-Rose Ferilia Louis, known to us as Grandma.
1944-1966: Having met grandma in 1941, grandpa spent 7 years befriending her; she had become his shadow in church, his protégée. When the time arrived for him to marry his then fiancé, God’s providence became manifest. Grandpa couldn’t envision anyone else who would best suit him as a wife but his best friend of 7 years, whom he had never courted. So in December 1948, he married Rose Ferilia, our mom and grandma. These years brought excitement (Political campaign manager), joy, economic success, as well as diverse challenges, economic hardship and separation for grandpa. The couple gave birth to 10 children, 2 of whom went home to the Lord very early on. God blessed them with 7 sons who later on gave them 7 wonderful daughters. Finally, they were granted a daughter by the Lord, who in turn added her gem to their crown, a son-in-law. It was not all joy, for he lost his dad who was only 68 years of age following a surgical procedure. On January 16, 1966, because of economic hardship, grandpa left his 8 little children and his faithful, loving wife and set sail for the Bahamas in search of a better life for his family.
1966-1974: These years brought grandpa life threatening challenges in the Bahamas, and he used these experiences to draw closer to the Lord. He was thrown overboard the ship where he worked as a cook, and later a chef. He was assaulted by some who wanted him dead. However, he also experienced the joy and security of true friends- Sr. Lahens Daniel and her family. This lady provided him with food, a place of refuge, and encouragement to go on. We hold her dear to our hearts. In 1971, he received permission to return to Haiti to visit his family. In 1973, he rejoined his wife who had immigrated to Brooklyn, New York; and joined the family’s church, Haitian Baptist Church, on February 17, 1974, where Pastor Delince St Meran is still serving.
1974-1984: On Sunday January 12, 1975, Dad was elected as a member of the church’s committee. On October 12, 1977, he and four other brothers from the church were consecrated as Deacons to serve the church. He had by God’s providence outlived the other four by many years, and made many good friends. Sadly during that time, he lost his mother who was 112 years old. The well gifted and talented tailor had become a steel worker in 1974. At Anodizing Corporation on Avenue L in Newark, he was hired to dye steel in boiling acid. There he worked as unto the Lord, hard and diligent. Dad got on the train every day at 6 AM and traveled to New Jersey from New York. In 1980, he began traveling by car with a young friend from the church whom he had assisted in getting a job, Pastor Duval Dennis. During that same time he founded a Saturday early Morning Prayer meeting in Brooklyn, going from home to home bringing the Good News of the Gospel and comforting many. He is remembered as a Sunday school teacher, a youth counselor, a choir member, a missionary, an evangelist.
1984-1994: Grandpa moved once more, this time with his family to New Jersey and continued working at the factory to provide for his family here and in Haiti. In 1987 at the age of 73, he finally decided to retire. He bought his first home in this country in 1988. However, he went on working for the Lord, running a Saturday morning prayer meeting in New Jersey which he founded in 1986, and which lasted about 15 years. Many had found comfort and hope from this endeavor. He continued on commuting by bus and train, every weekend to New York and monthly to the satellite church in Connecticut. He did it with zeal and joy.
1994-2004: As with the past, his life was never smooth sailing. There were always days of calm and days of tempest. In 1997, grandpa was robbed of his wife of 49 years who went home to be with the Lord. Soon after, he joined the New Jerusalem Baptist Church.
2004-2014: These 10 years of grandpa’s life were a replica of his previous 90 years – years of challenges but full of Victory. Relocation, ill health, separation – in spite of it all he did not stop counting the blessings bestowed by the Lord. We celebrated his 100th Birthday on Saturday December 20, 2014. It was a great day for us all. He enjoyed seeing his old friends from Brooklyn, his friend of over 70 years from “Cap-Haitien”, Pastor Ramineau Olivier, and his friends from New Jersey. We were amazed at his wits and strength. Isaiah 40 verse 31 says it best -“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”.
2014-Eternity: Challenging years but lived with no reproaches nor regrets. Dad lived his last four years on earth with hope and courage. As the wear and tear of his body became more prominent in the fall of 2016, his hunger for life became even more evident. He was such a great papa, grandpa and great grandpa to us, the Prophet of the family. We can hear him express like Job “ for I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job19:25-27.
He was gently carried into eternity asleep in the comfort of his home and the arms of his beloved daughter on Saturday March 24, 2018 at 2:55 am.
This is the life story of our papa and oh, how we miss him!!!
To God be all the Glory!