Melio Jean was born January 16, 1970, in Gonaives, Haiti. Because his parents were very poor and unable to care for him properly and educate him, they sent him at the age of 9 to live in the Cookson Hills Christian Home in Port-au-Prince, 80 miles from home. In that Christian atmosphere, he grew physically, mentally, and spiritually until he graduated from their high school. Melio’s soul desire was to return to his native land and establish a church, school, and medical clinic in his home town of Gonaives.
In 1993, W. Ray Kelley, president of Winston-Salem Bible College, came to Haiti to teach in a leadership seminar, and the director of Cookson Hills recommended Melio to him as a worthy young man who, if Bible College trained, could be a future leader in the church in Haiti. Melio developed the vision of Sonlight Christian Mission while he was a student there. God opened the door for him by being given a full tuition scholarship to begin his college education at WSBC in January, 1994, and graduated in May 1999. His educational goal fulfilled, he was ready to go back to his homeland and preach the Gospel. But he didn’t know how he could make a living.
At the same time, Dr. Jimmy Owens, a physician and member of Powell’s Point Christian Church, Harbinger, NC, dreamed of starting a medical clinic in Gonaives where he could travel on short-term trips, but he needed a Haitian who could act as director of the work. God brought the two men together, and they agreed to establish a mission that would minister to the people of Gonaives spiritually, educationally, and medically.
Melio returned home to Gonaives, Haiti, and in October 1999, Sonlight Christian Mission was incorporated. In 2000, Shirley Kelley became his forwarding agent and began raising funds for his support. Melio began evangelistic work in conjunction with Gonaives Christian Church (an established congregation) and started a strategic plan to determine the best area for a church plant. After he chose the community, he began home Bible studies, a hospital ministry, youth ministry, and evangelistic crusades/revivals, all of which continue today. During the last fourteen years God has blessed the Mission with many friends who have provided the resources to purchase land, build church building’s, a school building for grades one through six with and the realization of a medical clinic in the near future.