The Gospel is full of contrasts – it is the weak who are strong, the poor who become rich, servants are great, those who lose their lives find them. So is Haiti.
Most run from – Some run to
Haiti reminded me of those vivid scenes from 911. Most run from disaster. A noble and brave few run toward it. Haiti is no different. There is a spectrum of those who flee – from those simply trying to survive one day to the next, to the corrupt who turn a blind eye to the suffering and try to profit from it. Then there are some others, those of whom the world is not worthy (Hebrews 11:38). In Haiti pastoral couples are most prominent among those who run toward disaster. As one said, “there is no 911 in Haiti”. Instead of one tough job, the norm is three to four jobs. Pastors found orphanages for the myriads of survivors and abandoned. Then, they establish schools so the orphans are equipped for productive lives. Then they plant churches with those converted. But that is only three jobs. Some have even a fourth tent making job to make ends meet. Haiti reverses much of the temptation that comes with ministry size. The larger your ministry, the more people you are responsible for – in every way. One pastor’s own home is a guesthouse with a top floor chapel for a new church. His children are staff. First responders – police, firemen, military – and Haitian pastors and wives. Men and women of whom the world is not worthy.
I Kings 18 and 19
In I Kings 18 Elijah stands alone, full of faith, power, and authority to defy a corrupt King, Queen, and their hundreds of false prophets. A brutal, high stakes contest. God moves in power. Final victory? No – just more battles to fight, more seemingly impossible challenges. Chapter 19 – Elijah’s meltdown. It is pretty understandable. Pastoral couples in Haiti face 1 Kings 18 humanly insurmountable challenges daily. One couple faces regular harassment and threats from the majority Voodoo culture in their isolated community. Like Elijah, they stand pretty much alone. Recently Voodoo leaders bribed local officials to arrest the pastor. Funds that could have gone toward treatment of his wife’s and son’s severe medical problems went for bail. Thankfully, he was released in time for them to make the conference. We had the privilege of imitating God’s I Kings 19 care. Many arrived in or close to meltdown. In Christ’s name we offered a few days of rest by the sea, meals for body and soul free of the pressure to provide, and gifts, tools for their labor. Thanks again to those of you who made this possible. Thanks for the privilege of watching it happen.
Giving and Receiving
My college roommate used to say, “In Christ, giving and receiving are just different folds in the same cloth”. Paul said to the believers in Rome he desired both to bring and receive blessing. We went believing God had good things for us to learn, receive as well. As their rich stories unfolded of impossible challenge and God’s faithfulness we were challenged, instructed, and enriched. Sharing their living hope overflowing in passionate, joyful worship was a foretaste of heaven. One leader among the pastors said, “nothing like this has ever happened before in Haiti, this combination of refreshment and practical equipping. This is exactly what we have needed– please come back?” I can say the same thing – this was exactly what my soul needed in so many ways. God was so good to us all in Haiti.