I met AG missionaries, Pastor Bill and Dorothy Smith yesterday. It was just a short visit but inspiring. They have been in Haiti for 20 years and their love for this Haiti is evident. Pastor Bill referred to the country as having such “contrast”. I had not thought of it that way until he mentioned it, but the beauty of the mountains in the distance viewed over rubble and trash, the extreme wealth to the overwhelming poverty, and the joy to the pain, is the stark reality of this country.
We saw this yesterday as we parked the car and had to traverse a bit around piles of rubble and rotting trash, to attend Pastor Joseph’s lovely wedding in an equally lovely Baptist church. As always, Daniel is always there to open doors, point out puddles and watch over both Dave and I, but especially me – a woman. In the church, he made sure that David was seated under a fan because he knows the heat is bothering him, even though he himself was in a suit and also very hot. We are so welled cared for.
|Pastor Joseph and Mercedes|
It was a beautiful wedding and fitting for a man with an equally beautiful spirit as Pastor Joseph has. David developed an immediate love and connection with Joseph. He was widowed before the earthquake and has 3 children. He was filled with joy unspeakable at the goodness of God for giving him his wife, who he told us in broken English, “I love her.” We told him that we could see that.
At the wedding a young man recited a poem with an apple in his hand in a very animated manner. I asked Pastor Daniel what he was talking about, and he replied, “He’s talking about love.” I said, “Duh, I know that!” Dave meanwhile was laughing over the animations, spoken in Creole without a word of our understanding. His imagination was running wild and he was not afraid to whisper things to me to make me laugh out loud. We were chuckling as we were thinking, “marriage – apple, forbidden fruit!”
They all came back to the house in their wedding finery, riding in tap taps, (pick- up trucks with built in seats to fit many) Again, the sense of community and hospitality here is a true example of the early church, and Christian fellowship. Pastor Calixte and Guirda are two of the most beautiful people I have ever met – filled with love and compassion, good works and faith in the Lord. You can see that they pour their lives into the church community and into blessing others. They have treated wonderfully, caring for our every need. Our lives are enriched for knowing them, and I am so happy to call them our friends.
We stayed up late speaking with Pastor Calixte and Guirda – hearing their stories of the earthquake. My heart breaks for things that no human should ever have to even hear about, let alone live through. I am reminded we live in a broken and fallen world that groans for our redemption. My respect for this couple has sky rocketed as I see the love, devotion, and commitment to the churches they oversee for the glory of God’s Kingdom.
|Over 2,000 crowd to hear God’s Word|
This morning I preached at the church to a crowd of 2,000+ I was told. The sanctuary was filled to overflowing – the people outside surrounding the church. Since the earthquake the church has grown as many have come to Christ, and the Pastor is hoping for about $10,000 to expand. They are out in the glaring sun by day, or getting wet if it rains. I wonder at their commitment to hear God’s word in a country that no longer allows prayer in the schools.
David was saying, “Merci Senor” as we praised and Pastor Daniel heard him. He jokingly said, “Good, he has a prhase. FINALLY!” and we both laughed. I told Dave, and we have been teasing Daniel and laughing all day. When I told the crowd I had 8 children they all roared in laughter. I asked Pastor Daniel why they were laughing and he said, “Because you have 8 children, they like that. “ I knew it was something more, as the people had heard this before. I turned around and David had stood up and was raising his fist in a gesture of accomplishment – THAT is why they were laughing! We are so comfortable with all of these people – we have fun with them, and they with us.
I wanted to ask the people to sing, “The Love of God” as those of you on Facebook may have noticed a dialogue between Violet (Salvation Army here in PaP) and I about the song. I was going to ask them to sing when I was done, but time had run out. As I sat back down and the pastor closed the service, I hear voices rise in unison to “The Love of God.” I began weeping, once again overwhelmed at how much God has restored our faith in a living God, who cares for us in all things. The power of God in our lives has been restored here – faith renewed with a fervor and hope we have not had in many years.
Dave’s job offer the night before we flew out of Florida, meeting the personal expenses that we had borrowed against our house to come; and whom some thought if it was God, “He would provide.” He did provide – who says we have to own homes? God provided the exact amount David and I spent in the moving allowance.
Then there are the cows – for two years we have not been able to give them away. Driving home from the conference one afternoon we discussed how they needed to go – and I told Dave I knew that God was going to take care of it. I knew this time – somehow I knew. I came home that night to an email out of the blue asking if we still had a herd to sell, and now, there is a check in the mail for the herd.
Today, God blessed me with the desire of my heart – the song that all week I had been singing for Haiti.
On the way home from church we toured the most earthquake damaged areas of the city, and the largest tent cities – and they are cities. I could not contain the tears, and as David had wept on Friday, I sobbed. To know there are still bodies under some of this rubble – that so many of the displaced people had homes and jobs, loved ones and life was more than I could bear. To love these people and know that not one has been left untouched by the carnage of this broken world is heart wrenching. God has shown me I will come back to Haiti – and I will go home and work towards that end.
David stopped a store and purchased “comfort food” for me and the others – chocolate, Milano’s, Oreo’s and chips. He knew how to minister to me through some thoughtful acts of celebration. We have had a lovely meal and enjoyed good conversation and laughter. My Creole seems to always bring a chuckle as I work hard to speak in the language that surrounds me (and have a difficult time remembering). I am forever asking Daniel how to say _ _ _??? Over, and over, and over, and…..and when I speak to David in French or Creole, it causes a chuckle.
He has shown you what is good, and what the Lord has required of you; to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. Micah 6:8 lives in human form, in Haiti.
Tomorrow we go to Mission of Hope and Convoy of Hope’s feeding center.
Once again I close listening to the sounds of adults and children of the “Orphenalat” next door (orphange) raised in praise to the Lord Jesus Christ.
JEZI RENMEN NOU!!!!!!
(Jesus Loves You – Amen!!!)