If someone was to ask what is one of the most difficult things you face in the ministry I would have to say that it is writing newsletters! I would rather sit down with each of you over coffee and share our challenges and triumphs with tears and laughter. My husband would prefer that too, because he has to edit with me many times before we send it out.
Ironically, this morning’s devotional we were in Matthew chapter 10 and it was just what God knew we needed to hear! Jesus said, “God will give you the right words at the right time, and what I whisper in your ear, shout it from the housetops for all to hear.”
The decision to go to Haiti in March was very difficult and we had a team that had been preparing for months. So it was not just Luke and I but we were responsible for the team. Over the last few months things have been very unstable with the government, many demonstrations in the streets, and road blocks. The violence is worst in the Port aux Prince area. We are in the North.
The Haitian economy is at its worst. Food prices have doubled, and the exchange rate is very high, it is at 16 Haitian dollars for each US dollar.
So we had a serious decision to make and we all were feeling pressure from our families not to go. We did not know what to do! The Lord led us to the old testament and we ended up in 2 Chronicles chapter 20. Yes, we begged the Lord for guidance, and the scripture spoke right to our hearts. We reached out to our ministry team in Haiti and talked to our friends at MFI. After several weeks of praying, Luke and I were leaning on going and after many conversations with the team they agreed that they were not feeling the Lord closing the door and together we made the decision to Go! In unity we agreed God is in control and we were going to trust Him.
We believe one way to bring you up close and personal to our ministry is for you to serve with us. This is one reason we spend so much time with our short term mission teams. We were blessed to have a great team with us in March. We were so happy to have one of our daughters, son-in-law, and granddaughter with us. During one of our debriefing meetings after being out all day doing home to home visits, our son in law shared that he had no idea how involved our ministry was. He had heard us share and seen pictures but nothing compared to his seeing first hand what the ministry does. This newsletter is to share with you some of the team’s activities. We want to bring you there the best we can through a couple stories and pictures.
One day we went out to a village where there are many witch doctors. We broke off into smaller teams to do home-to-home. We always make sure that we get invited into their front yard. We introduce ourselves and start out by asking if they would like their blood pressure taken and then it takes off from there. Usually, a few others will come. We share a little more, ask them questions and we are always received with warm smiles and gracious hospitality. Many will bring chairs out for us to sit in. Soon others will come to see what is going on and before long we are having church!
One man’s blood pressure was 230 / 120 , we were afraid he would have a stroke right in front of us. In time, we found out he had run out medication. We taught him about high blood pressure, the importance to stay on his meds, and what could happen when he stops taking the medication. Its difficult for most because they do not have money for meds. We gave him a thirty day supply and Max and Dieudonne will do a follow-up visit when they do the “Home-to-Home” visits. Near the end of our visit we asked if we could share about Jesus and our daughter shared her own testimony. Then someone told us the man we had been treating was a witch doctor. We took more time with him and he seemed to be receptive to the words we shared. Please pray for this man.
After we left this families home we noticed a makeshift church across the road. Some bamboo post with twigs woven and caked with mud. We entered a door through the side and what we saw was unbelievable. It brought us back to what it must of been like during Jesus time. There were several sick people some sitting and some laying on woven mats. We really couldn’t believe our eyes, they had come to this place to pray. We had no idea we were going to that village that day but God did. In a corner there was a 15 month old little girl laying down with what looked like a burn on her lower half. Her mother was with her. We found out she had a serious case of diarrhea and her bottom area got infected. The child was malnourished, dehydrated and had a fever. We were able to treat the burn area with silvadene, and give Tylenol. The mom told us the baby had improved some. We took time to encourage the mom and prayed with her.
We also treated the others that were there and prayed with them. It was an unbelievable day. We pray that our tender touch and care was an answer to prayer for them and they felt God’s love for them. We had a dear pastor friend tell us that, “before you share show them you care.” Above all else, we want the people we serve to know how much we care.
Throughout the whole week we all came to the same conclusion that it was evident God directed our steps.
Pastor Jovite had asked us to do a youth conference so as planned, four team member ladies each shared a different topic for the conference. They spent the day teaching, sharing their testimonies, sharing a meal, and games. Another team member provided each youth a canvas, paint, and a brush then gave instructions and helped them paint while she shared her testimony, along with some biblical truths.
Another topic shared by a team member was on God’s command to remain spiritually and sexually pure. She discussed the definition of purity as it is seen in the scriptures. Did object lessons, talked about strategies on how to remain pure, relationships, accountability, and health issues that could arise. Some of the scriptures they shared included 1st Thes. 4:3 , 1st Corinth. 6:18-19, 2nd Tim 2:22, 2nd Corinth. 7:1,10;4-5. The youth were involved in reading the scriptures in their own Bibles and a salvation message at the end.
One of the ladies had this to share,”While we were in Haiti (my first visit) I was privileged to present a talk at Pastor Jovite’s church in Bazin. I was pretty anxious about the whole thing, but I felt strongly the Lord was leading me to share about one’s identity in Christ, largely based on the beautiful scripture Psalms 139.
During this week we were finishing up on a home we built for an elderly couple. During the week our son in law helped with the concrete floors and hanging of doors. He shared how much he enjoyed working alongside the Haitian men. By the second day, they were comfortable with each other. He remarked on how they made do with what they had and the methods they use to get the job done.
A few of the team helped our daughter and son-in-law hold a soccer clinic. They had 37 young men for the day and did soccer drills.
The last Sunday there we showed the film, Passion of the Christ at Pastor Jovite’s church. This was the first time they had seen the movie. Pastor Jovite was very happy we showed the movie and thought the people were moved and understood. At the end we recapped what everyone had just seen and Pastor Jovite will follow-up with his church.
To quote Max. “Thank you does not seem to be enough but its all I can say.”
We thank God for His protection and provision. We thank you for your support and prayers. Many of you are an encouragement to Luke and I and for that we are humbled.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…Hebrews 10:24