In 1962, Pastor Ernst Cassy founded the Good Shepherd Orphanage in Haiti. At age 29 he was full of passion and energy to serve Jesus Christ through ministering to the poor and to orphans. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in theology from God’s Bible College in Cincinnati, Ohio, Pastor Cassy returned to his native country. His decision to return to Haiti was an obedient response to the Lord’s call on his life. At this time, God revealed to Pastor Cassy one of the most pervasive problems in Haiti: the hopelessness of its people and the lack of Christian Haitians who could build a strong foundation for the country’s society. With this inspiration, Pastor Cassy set out to work with the most hopeless of people, the abandoned children of Haiti.
The news that a young Haitian pastor had returned from the United States to open an orphanage spread quickly in Pastor Cassy’s neighborhood. Upon his return, he stayed in his parents’ home, praying and making plans for the new orphanage. One day, an army officer from this neighborhood found a little orphan girl named Marie Louise. Not knowing what to do with her, the army officer took her to Pastor Cassy, the only person he knew of that could provide assistance. At first, Pastor Cassy thought this was a joke. He refused to take the girl because he did yet have a building for his orphanage. Upon hearing his response, the army officer said to him, “If it is a house you need for the orphanage, what of this place in which you are living, is it not a house?” Suddenly, Pastor Cassy’s eyes were opened. He exclaimed, “You are absolutely right! I can begin the orphanage right here!” Acts of humility such as this were a constant characteristic of Pastor Ernst Cassy throughout his entire life. Consequently, he took the girl in and began caring for her in his parent’s house. One can only imagine what the reaction of his parents was like when Pastor Cassy brought little Marie Louise into their home and announced the official opening of the Good Shepherd Orphanage.
This humble beginning was a solid foundation for a ministry that would become one of the most fruitful evangelical works in Haiti to be founded by a Haitian. Later, more children were brought to him. With much help from his father, Pastor Cassy obtained a land grant from the Haitian government in Carrefour, a suburb of Port-au-Prince in the localities of Côte Plage. It was here in Carrefour that Pastor Cassy began to build what is known today as the Good Shepherd Orphanage. The children at the orphanage endearingly called him Papa Cassy, though he never married or had biological children of his own. Over 50 years later, the Good Shepherd Orphanage is likely the oldest operating orphanage in Haiti. The orphanage has raised pastors, carpenters, lawyers, mechanics, engineers, families, and thousands of good Haitian citizens who live throughout Haiti and beyond. It continues to be a beacon of hope for this generation and those that will follow. It was by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that this orphanage was founded, and this same grace continues to transform the children of Haiti through the work of the Good Shepherd Orphanage.
The Good Shepherd Orphanage is part of a larger ministry called the Indigenous Evangelical Mission of Haiti (La Mission Évangélique Indigène d'Haïti) that Pastor Ernst Cassy founded. It encompasses three sister churches, four schools, and one orphanage. A committee of five Haitians, two of which are former orphans from the Good Shepherd Orphanage, governs the mission’s work. This committee is accountable to a board based in the United States of America.