Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Day 2 - Issues/Opportunities- the Haitian church

It is difficult not to fall head over heels in love with this place and these people.

This computer/internet connection is not allowing me to post pictures or videos here. I really wish I could so you could see for yourself.  All in good time.

Today was day 2.
Breakfast at 7:00 this morning – I tasted the freshest pineapple I’ve ever had. It was like candy. Then I had the privilege of meeting Ti Louie (small Louie) and touring the radio station that he runs. There are over 150,000 portable radios in distribution in Haiti that carry this one station that brings the gospel, and training, and worship music, all across this fine Island. It’s a brilliant ministry. I had the honor to share some thoughts at their staff morning Bible study and prayer meeting. There is discouragement among their ranks. Equipment is breaking, funds are short, and many are nervous about their jobs. I spoke to them from Romans 8:18-25 about ‘hope.’ In its biblical form it is far more than just wishful thinking and crossing our fingers, hope is deeply rooted in the identity of God. The foundation of hope is the promise of God to be with us. I pray that God used it to bring encouragement and,… well… hope.

We then got to tour the school where several of our missionaries teach – it is an English speaking school so it was fun to be able to communicate with the Haitian children who were fairly fluent in English. During their lunch break, I got to play soccer with the kids and kick the ball really high in the air to their oohs and aahs (I’m not a very skilled soccer player – so kicking it as hard and as high as I could was the only thing I could think of that might impress them ) They also loved looking at pictures of my kids on my Iphone. The girls thought Ayden was adorable and the boys wanted to play Angry Birds.

We then visited the clinic that we’re associated with. Last year Grace and Hamot Hospital teamed up to ship a used X-Ray machine for use in this clinic. Last month we were able to send a technician down who was finally able to get the machine properly working. It was awesome to see it in action and to see the joy on the faces of the workers who are finally able to diagnose internal injuries when before it was a bit of a guessing game.

I took a long walk for some prayer and reflection and was able to jot down some thoughts that I’ll share another time. Dan and I also got to talk a lot more about some ideas that have been brewing in regards to the church-to-church partnership. We will be meeting with the Pastors again at lunch time on Thursday to discuss next steps. Please keep us in your prayers.

I then visited an adult English class that one of our missionaries, Kate, teaches. It was an advanced class for college students and professionals. I introduced myself and had a chance to field questions. There was a lively discussion about a number of church-related questions. It gave me a chance to share and it gave them a chance to practice their English – so it was a win-win.

Finally we were honored to be guests in Kate’s home for dinner. We dined with Kate, Erica, Bud and Jane (missionaries from Grace and supported by Grace). I was amazed by their accounts of God at work in this country, I clumsily tried to encourage them and let them know how valuable their work is. I learned a lot about Haitian culture from them that will affect how we approach the partnership. It was a great day. I’m getting some thoughts together for tomorrow as I’ll be preaching at the chapel service in the morning to 55 seminarians. I’m less intimidated since I preached today using an interpreter. It’s not as bad as I had anticipated.

Yesterday I promised to post a few of the issues that our potential partner church believed were the leading issues in their church and community. So here they are:

Leading issues/opportunities of the Eglise Evangelique Baptiste Sion:
1. Training – they are longing for training of all kinds – ongoing ministry training for the people in their congregation (leadership, worship, children, youth, couples, finances, etc) as well as basic life training of all varieties.

2. Education – They provide a Christian school at their church, but it hasn’t had great traction because people have their children working instead of going to school.

3. They believe they have a resource in the women of their church who have time and skills to start small businesses. Generally in Haiti women don’t work but Miguelson and James believe they can break new ground in this area because some of their women are willing and able to try new things. They have toyed with a very basic micro-finance model within their church (the pastor gives a woman a goat – and she sells products related to the goat – and when the goat has babies she gifts the baby goats to some other women in the church.) This concept obviously needs to be developed.

4. Once per month meal ministry. They had been in a habit of celebrating a meal together as a church one Sunday per month. The pastors were buying the food for everyone. For most it was their only meal on Sunday. They did it in conjunction with communion and it resembles the early church practice of the celebration meal. They have run out of funds to continue this ministry. We are hoping to help them figure this one out since food is such a basic need in their community.

I just wanted to give you some brief insight into some of the issues that we’re exploring and lean on your prayer support.


Linda Kepner said...

Sounds like a very productive day. A lot of input to think about. My prayers for you and all the folks there. God is working miracles in Haiti.

Anonymous said...

It is awesome, that God is showing you so much in a short time span. Good to hear, how you are connecting to the hearts of the students and others there.
May God keep giving you His vision in how we at Grace can partner in new ways in Haiti.

Keeping you and Dan in prayer,