As some of you know I have spent the better part of this week in Cap Haitien, Haiti, where I met with Pastor Jean Claude Compere, the pastor with whom we are partnering in ministry. We have sent two teams of students to Haiti thus far and Matt Mikesell and I spent time with Jean Claude early last year. We are in the process of forming our 2016 team (there are still spaces available for students and adults) and my trip this week was for the purpose of doing both short and long term planning for the future of our partnership for the sake of the Gospel in that part of northern Haiti.
I know that some of you are interested in my trip, what I experienced and what I accomplished; the Beverly Heights family is always so faithful in praying for these kinds of enterprises and wants to know what the shape of our congregation’s involvement might be moving forward. I’m not sure when or if I’ll be able to make a formal presentation to the congregation in the near future; the value of the trip will be manifested in the planning and execution of the work of our summer team. However, I thought I might simply give you a number of bulleted items to share a taste of my four days with Jean Claude:
- A trip like this one always has its funny moments. The Joshua House, the missionary guest house where we stay when in Haiti, just purchased a new washing machine. One evening after dinner while I was making some notes on the day’s activities I was approached by Vila, my translator, who said she needed my help and could I come with her. I followed her to the rear of the building and around a dark corner where I was greeted by four young Haitians, talking excitedly with quizzical looks on their faces. They were totally flummoxed by their gleaming white machine that was packed to the gills with heavy, wet towels. All they knew to do was to keep twisting the knobs in hopes that something good would come of it. Now, six of us were packed into a 3’x3’ closet with the washing machine whirring and banding and walking across the floor, all speaking at least three different languages and one of the young women throwing great hands full of detergent into the machine. And then, the power went off for the night…
- On market day I saw a live pig bungie-corded to the back of a motorcycle, I saw a goat bungie-corded to the back of a motorcycle, I saw a cow bungie-corded to the back of a motorcycle and I saw a family of six all crowded onto the back of a motorcycle. Later in the day I saw two men on a motor cycle and, behind the driver the passenger was carrying a double-bed-sized mattress on his head. I thought I had seen it all until, just yesterday on my way to the airport I saw two other men on a motorcycle and, wedged between the driver and the passenger was a full-sized casket!
- I sat in on Jean Claude’s English class at the church school’s new 7th grade. Thirty-five students sat for 2 ¾ hours while Jean Claude taught them all things related to dates, months, years, anniversaries as well as the past and present tense of the verbs “to be” and “to give.” I noticed that a few of the children put their heads down on the bench book holders in front of them and simply fell asleep. There’s a good reason for this – some of them awoke at 3 AM so they could start walking down the mountain at 4 AM so they could arrive at school at 7 AM in order to stay in school till 2 PM and then begin the 3 hour walk back home in time for dinner and bed so they could do it all over again tomorrow!
- When Jean Claude walked into the classroom, a cement block structure 15’ square with no windows and a cement roof all the children stood and, in unison said “Good morning, Pastor!” After they were seated Jean Claude prayed an invocation prayer that broke my heart. He prayed “Thank you, God, for the rain last night so we can garden, so we can grow, so we can eat.” Most of those children have little or nothing to eat. And, Jean Claude’s family of 14 has only enough for one meal a day and, if there is not enough, Jean Claude does not eat. In the name of Beverly Heights I gave Jean Claude $100. which will buy a couple bags of rice and some oil to feed his family for a few days.
- Jean Claude, who I hope will be with us at Beverly Heights sometime in June, is a man of great faith and his faith has been rewarded by God throughout his life. Over and over I heard him say things like “We don’t know the future but God does and God is with us” and “We often don’t know how we will feed our children but God does and God is with us” and “My wife had breast cancer 7 years ago and we don’t know what will happen with her but God does and God is with us” and “We don’t know what Beverly Heights can do to help us but God does and God is with us” and “We don’t know how we will build a church and a school and a clinic up on the mountain but God does and God is with us”!
Oh God, give us the faith of this dear brother in Christ and continue to reward him for his trust in you for, at the end of the day, both for him and for us, that is all upon which we can rely. AMEN
Faithfully in Him,
Posted on Fri, April 8, 2016
by Administrator filed under