Friday, May 20, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Last week was so special with two people giving their hearts to the Lord in the tent city. Nothing can compare to that. But that week was also sad because Jara departed Haiti and returned to Hawaii. I know she was torn and I am positive that her heart is still in Haiti. But God's timing is perfect and I know she will be a part of the work in Haiti - whether she is in Hawaii or Haiti or somewhere else. We love and miss you Jara........
Jara's last full day in Haiti was Thursday the 12th so we had a party ! It was really a birthday party for the Girl's Orphanage (we told Jara it was for her - ha !) Anyway, it was really for all the girl's who had birthdays in April, May and June. Rhonda, our friend from Canada, came earlier in the week to do some work in Haiti so she brought all kinds of party favors and gifts that would have been nearly impossible to get in Haiti. Jara baked her famous cakes and the kids loved them ! Aaron (one of our staff) played his guitar and David (a team member from Washington) played his Ukulele - and the kids danced and sang and just had good fun all afternoon. Thanks Jara for making that first birthday party with the girl's so special !!
Friday night we went to a worship service by the Palace that was one of a kind. If you don't know what's going on in the Haitian government, we just completed a lengthy election process and "Sweet Micky" Martelly won. Saturday May 14th, Michael Martelly became the new president of Haiti. But what the news media probably won't tell you is that about one month ago, Martelly asked a 1,000 worship leaders from many many Christian churches through out the nation to come and pray for him and his new government. The worship leaders met about two weeks ago and prayed over Martelly. One of our worship leaders at church, who is also one of our daily interpreters, was invited to attend that prayer meeting with Martelly. He told us that Martelly actually got on his knees and asked the worship leaders to pray over him - and they did. Martelly then asked the worship leaders to put on a prayer and worship night outside the Palace grounds on Friday before he was inaugurated and that's the service we attended last Friday night. There was many many thousands of Christians there, worshipping, praying and calling on God to remove the evil from the Palace grounds and from all the government of Haiti. At one point the worship leaders on stage asked everyone in the crowd to get on their knees and pray and you can't imagine what that felt like to be on our knees in the middle of the street praying over the Palace and the government of Haiti with thousands of other Christians. For hundreds of years the Haitian government has been influenced by voodoo and I have read numerous accounts of voodoo ceremonies and even animal sacrifices in this part of town. What a wonderful way to start the new government in Haiti !! I don't know of any other time in modern history that a president has called for a special worship service to pray for his nation and the government he would take over the next day !! Praise God for His miracles !!
This Sunday during church service the pastor asked for anyone visiting for the first time to stand up (which they do every Sunday). One young man stood up who I recognized from the tent city next door. His name is Variste. When he introduced himself, he told the pastor right then and there that he wanted to become a Christian. So the Pastor told him to go with one of the leaders and they both walked off to a quiet place behind the church where he gave his life to Christ. Later that afternoon I took a team over to the tent city and there was Variste - beaming from ear to ear, telling me what he had done (although I knew it already !).
Phew !!! Way too much to keep up with. But such fun and blessings, just had to tell it now rather than wait !
God bless you all.
At least 20,000 people standing all over the streets in front of the National Palace - praying, worshipping, dancing and enjoying God's presence the night before the new president is sworn into office !! The tall things on the right are speakers on the edge of the huge stage (which is off camera to the right).
Bon jou (good morning in Creole), or Bon swa (good afternoon in Creole)
What a week this has been !! We started a program recently of replacing many of the tents in the tent city next to our church. Many of them have been there over a year and are in really bad shape. We asked John, the main tent city leader, to make a list of the worst tents, and especially those with women and small children. Last Tuesday morning we started by setting up a tent for a lady with two kids who's tent had been completely destroyed in a bad storm and she was living next door in another family's tent. We erected two tents that day and Wednesday morning went to set up a third. As the team was installing the first tent, I was standing off to the side talking (through my interpreter) to Carmel, one of the ladies there we've become friends with. We've talked with her many times over the last four months - and even a little bit last year. During my conversation, I explained to her that the reason we were there was because Jesus loved her. Tears welled up in her eyes and told me she'd been thinking about Jesus for a while but didn't "know Him yet" (as she put it). I asked if she would like to know Jesus right now and glanced at my interpreter to make sure he was following. When I turned back to Carmel she had dropped to her knees in the dirt and begun to cry. My interpreter and I looked at each other again and then we both knelt down beside her and led her to Jesus. What a great experience for her (and for me !). As we all stood back up Carmel was beaming from ear to ear. Eventually we went back to work, but just fifteen minutes later another man came up to me and simply said he wanted to know Jesus also and could we pray for him too ! We again knelt down in the dirt right where we stood (in the midst of ten other people - both team members and tent city dwellers) and led him to the Lord in the midst of the chaos ! What a day !!!!!!!!!!! Later, as I reflected on the experience, I realized how easy it is to bring people closer to God by simply showing them His love. We look for opportunities to help the Haitians in compassion relief (like we were doing last year after the earthquake and continue to do this year), but we are also looking for places to be involved long term, where we can develop relationships and show them God's love over time. It's "harvest time" in Haiti - sixteen months after the earthquake, with the cholera and the horrible living conditions in the midst of so much devastation. Seeds of God's love were planted in the lives of millions of Haitian people as the world came to their aid and those seeds are "growing" quickly. Hopefully, as we work with the Haitians to improve their living conditions, we will also be part of the "harvest of souls" for many years to come.
The new church building is coming along great. Yesterday the team finished the roof and we are now closing in the siding on the ends. If all goes well, we could be worshipping in the new building in two or three more weeks. No doors or windows yet (we still have to order those), but who needs them ?! We worship now in a "shed" with tarps for sides !!
So much more to share - even from just this past week ! But we'll save that for next time !
Love to all
On my right is Jackie, one of our translators, and on the left is Junior - a new brother in the Lord who gave his heart to Jesus while we were setting up his replacement tent in the tent city next to our church.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Two whole weeks since my last update. Went to the mainland to see my daughter and mom since my last update and returned to Haiti on April 27th.
So much is continuing to happen here in Haiti. The next structural steel crew to help put up the church building arrived on the 27th and started right into work. Slowly the building is taking shape. It will still be a few weeks before we can use it, but soon we will be moving inside and worshipping in a brand new building! The church congregation is excited and people are constantly watching what's going on. Our Haitian crew is also learning some new skills erecting a steel building. There aren't that many steel buildings like this in Haiti and this is all new to the Haitians.
This past weekend was the Foursquare Haiti National convention and 24 pastors and church leaders from around the country came in to our church property to worship, hear excellent teaching and bond together as brothers and sisters in Christ. Aaron and I were able to attend one of the evening services and God really spoke to us both ! (and the speaker was an American so we didn't have to wait for the translation !) The Haitian pastors and leaders all stayed in the temporary buildings we built on the church property and enjoyed it tremendously. This was the first year they have been able to all stay in one place for meals and to sleep. The pastors all agreed that this was the best convention they've ever had. As a result of this year's convention the pastors have decided they want to meet four times a year as a large group and they also agreed to stop work at noon every Friday just to pray for each other. The pastors are from all over the nation and most only see each other once a year. Praying for each other once a week will do so much to strengthen the churches they serve in and to continue binding them together. We sent a number of the pastors home with our Mana-pak food boxes for their orphanage and school children - over 4,000 meals sent home with these men of God for the children !
At the Girl's orphanage we will be installing the razor wire later this month. I am especially excited about that !! But another exciting thing is that a mainland church has donated the money to dig a well on the Girl's orphanage property that will provide the same excellent drinking water we have on our National Foursquare church property. Currently the girl's get water out of a shallow well to use for washing, etc. I pumped some of it myself the other day and it comes out of the faucet slightly "brown". And their "drinkable" water that is in a large water tank elsewhere on the property is brought in by truck - but it's the same water we purchase that we consider to be only good for washing and toilets !! It will be so great to get these girl's some really pure drinking water that we can trust. At the same time, we will be buiilding a water distribution setup for the community around the girl's orphanage similar to what we did at the church property.
Next week Aaron, Jara and I want to have a birthday party for the girl's at the orphanage - for all the girls who have birthdays in April, May and June. Hopefully we can pull it off without too much trouble. Last week I gathered almost all the girl's names and birthdays so we can celebrate during this coming year. It was a little interesting as we asked when their birthdays were - I think they began to suspect something was up and some of the girls began telling us their birthdays were real soon ! I guess they figured if their birthday was sooner, they'd get presents sooner ! (we will have to work on their honesty about that !)
Yesterday we started work on grading the property for Pastor Bellande's new orphanage and church. Tuesday we went to the property to meet an engineer who will be helping us with rerouting the stream that runs through the property. When we arrived there were about 20 Haitians working on the property next to ours - a few men, numerous women and a bunch of kids. The men were working with pick and shovel to try to level the adjacent property they own. Come to find out, they were from a Haitian Assembly of God church and they are going to build a small church right next door to ours. But what was so interesting, they were leveling the property today because they have a big church party this coming Sunday and they have no place to meet unless they complete the leveling project. After meeting with our engineer and contractor who will be moving all the dirt on our property, we decided to assist the Assembly of God church and level their land as well. The backhoe started yesterday and we promised them we would have it done before Sunday - but only if they invited us to their party ! ha ! Without our help, I doubt they could have finished their project this week. I expect they went home thinking we were an answer to their prayer - ha ! How interesting are God's ways !!
Love to you all,
These are the Foursquare senior pastors from around the nation having a planning session on the church property. In the background is our chicken "condo", the tilaplia tanks and our "guest house" where these pastors stayed. We just finished building the guest house a couple weeks ago.
Sorry - just had to toss in a shot of the grandkids. Behind me is Eddie (my son-in-law) who is feeding Vida and I am feeding Levi. Was so much fun seeing them !!