Friday, July 21, 2017

Fetchin' the Well Rig

We can't say enough to express our gratitude for all the prayers that were lifted up on Barry's behalf yesterday. The journey to Southern Haiti to get the well-drilling rig was nothing short of an adventure, and we know that it was the hand of God watching over him and the two others involved that allowed them to arrive back at home safely.

Barry, Rameau, and Ocean started their trip in Rameau's truck at 5:00am yesterday morning, already tired from a less-than-restful night of sleep.  The drive to Petit-Goave took three hours, then there were two hours of treacherous mountain road to climb. When they reached the mission where the rig was located, they were a little caught off guard by the condition of the equipment. It was parked several years ago, and hasn't moved or even been started in quite some time.  When they turned the ignition key, nothing happened.  The possibility was considered that maybe it wasn't in the Lord's plans to bring the rig down, but after five hours of vigorous repairs, both the water truck and the driller were up and running. At 2:00pm they started the hazardous journey back down the mountain trail. There were several times when Barry could tell that many people were praying for him, Rameau, and Ocean. 

The old trucks barely had sufficient power to make it up the steep inclines, and more than once they began to roll backward. There were places where, if they looked out the window to check where the tires were rolling, they couldn't see the ground they were driving on, but only a downward fall for thousands of feet.

There were two flat tires, one of which was slashed when they got down the mountain and reached Petit Goave. Thankfully, they were equipped with extra tires that happened to be the ones needing replaced. Dusk was settling in and they still had several hours of traveling to do, but no lights worked on the equipment. This caused another several hour delay, as they worked in the dark to get some LED lights wired up. They knew the road going through Port au Prince was very dangerous, people being shot and robbed at night. Barry thought the Lord was closing the police eyes because they rolled through several checkpoints with no stops. But in Port,  a group of about 10 fully armed police with face masks stopped them, they demanded them to pull over and began the harassment. Barry told them what was going on, and asked them if they would just let them go and maybe even assist them through the bad area. They laughed at him and insisted on giving him a 10,000 goud ticket for no license plate lights on the trucks. Barry said, "Ok, if that is what you have to do." The chief reaponded with a question. "What do you want to do?" Barry said he wanted to go home, but he was the one with the gun so he had the final say. Ocean had had enough and told them what he thought about them, so after giving Ocean a ticket and letting Barry go, they were back on the road. Ocean wanted to take a long detour around this dangerous area but Barry insisted they just drive through, remembering God is in control. As soon as they entered this bad Zone, the rig died, once again, so they began cleaning filters and got it back running. The next day they were talking and realized that God had taken away all fear while in that zone, even forgetting about it while the machine was there stalled. Praise the Lord!

 When they were 30 minutes from home, the well-driller quit again. Barry got out to go talk to Rameau about what they'd do next, and he was already sleeping behind the wheel of his stopped truck. They decided to leave it there in Titanyan, in front of the police station, for the rest of the night. At 3:00am, 22 hours after he left, Barry pulled back in the gate of the mission, driving the water truck.

They returned to Titanyan the next morning to get the rig running again and bring it the rest of the way home.

The only thing lost through the whole ordeal was the a cooler (otherwise known as an ice chest ☺), which was stolen from the back of Rameau's truck. Material possessions are replaceable, but praise be to God that everyone was kept safe. The group at the mission that had the rig expressed their doubts that the trip could even be done, but here it all sits, right in the front yard of the mission house. 

Now, we wait for the next phase of actually operating it and seeing if we can't get a well drilled. :)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

"If they can save thee in the time of thy trouble"

There are a lot of people packed into this small country.   Lots of people means lots of accidents. Lots of accidents call for lots of medical attention.  However, there are not a lot of doctors and nurses to even begin meeting all the needs that coming pouring into the hospitals all day long. They are understaffed, underpaid, and swarmed with people who are desperate for help. Mothers carry the limp bodies of their young children.  Victims of road accidents limp in with broken limbs and road burns. Whether it's terminal illness, severe burns, or just a belly ache, you have to just wait your turn in line.  Barry has been seeing first hand just what is going on, and not going on, in several different hospitals.  Just in the past week, he's been asked to help three different men in great need of medical aid.

One young man was in a tragic motorcycle accident and is unable to walk. Barry drove him all over Port-Au-prince to various hospitals, multiple times, to do several different scans and tests.  The machines work half the time, at best. When they finally got some results, the doctors said he's too badly injured and will never walk again.

Another very young man, whom Barry first drove to pick up in an isolated mountain village,  is seeking help for a large lump that seems to be overtaking his back, almost making him look like an old man. After the same story of running here and there, waiting in line, pleading for doctors, old, broken machines, more testing, more scans, they discovered he has severe, incurable scoliosis. It likely won't kill ho, but his spine is curving and will continue to do so until he dies.

These two boys are actually cousins, and the one in the motorcycle accident was already at the hospital trying to get help when Barry first took the boy with scoliosis. However, since he had no money for medical care, it was not possible for him to get any help.  There are so, so many needs, and so many people without money, that the hospitals can't and won't do a thing to help until they see proof that the patient can pay. If a mother has a baby in need of a life- saving operation, for example, but she can't pay, they will let the baby die unless she comes up with the money.

The third man, at the other end of the age spectrum, was also in the mountain. At 86 years old, he was planting beans on the mountainside and took a fall. Again Barry drove up the mountain, but the village where the man lives is an hour walk from the road. He was carried from the village on a make-shift stretcher and put in the truck to be taken down the mountain to the hospital.  The second trip there, last week, they learned from x-ray results that his leg is badly broken. After more than a week in the hospital, nothing had been done to help correct his leg, but they finally put it into a cast on Tuesday.  Nobody's really sure if the bone was set back in place or not before the cast was put on.

Unfortunately, many accident victims don't end up in the hospital. The severity of the crashes that take place on Route National 1 are sobering, as one can see the way the vehicles look while they remain on the roadsides for days, months, or years after the incident, that no one could have survived.  When there are not ambulances as we know them racing to the scene to help, passersby may even witness the gruesome scene before any bodies are removed.  It is often a public taxi involved in these horrific crashes, which means many lives are lost at once. For example, last week Barry and pastor gBazalet wher heading home one day when they came up on an accident involving a bus(in Haiti there called 'killer buses because there loaded down with people and supplies and they drive very fast and don't stop for much), Barry usually doesn't stop at accidents but this one was fresh and it looked like they needed help. The bus was on its side and there were people underneath of it, they tried to pull the bus back upright using a large box truck, the bus was raised about 5 feet, the bodies did not
look to be in good shape, Barry suspected they were already dead, but then the ropes broke and
the bus came crashing down. It was hard for Barry to witness the results of the impact. There were no survivors under the bus.

Another two men were shot in the field directly behind the mission house on Wednesday morning as a result of a land dispute. Life is only hanging by a thread, in the hands of a mighty, powerful God, and no hospital, no matter how advanced, can help when the time is up. There are millions still here, but, oh, that we would cry out for these souls before they pass into eternity! That they would find the true, unchanging, life-saving Jesus!

But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.
Jeremiah 2:28

Friday, June 30, 2017

Fresh Mountain Air

It's surprising how easily we can re-adapt to the way things are at home in the US, even for a short visit. Upon returning to Haiti from our three-week stay in Ohio, I was surprised at myself for having a bit of culture shock all over again as soon as we left the airport in Port-Au-Prince. It was spring in the Midwest.  The pastures were lush and green, surrounded by neat orderly fences, where plump, healthy animals happily grazed.  Farmers were cutting thick hay, and gardeners were tending their tidy rows of freshly sprouted vegetables, while flowers adorned the green, well-manicured lawns that surround nearly every home. Spring is beautiful in the Midwest. All of that scenery along with the calm, seemingly empty roadways give a stark contrast to what ensues the minute we stepped off the plane.

There are people everywhere. People people people.  There is hardly room to move through the airport. Everyone wants to be first. Hundreds of people are waiting outside the airport for their loved ones. Scores of vehicles are haphazardly jammed into the undersized parking lot. It took 20 minutes and three people watching all the angles just to back out of the parking space. When we finally get out, the streets aren't much better. There are no traffic signals or stop signs. The only rule that permits any movement is that everyone drives on the right side of the road (mostly.)  There is no description for the smell. Clogged sewer pipes are being dug out, and the grey sludge is heaped along the roadways,  adding to the trash that already carpets the landscape.  It's not uncommon to see bony cows rummaging through the heaps, right with all the pitiful looking dogs that run around scavenging, just trying to survive.

All of this, though, still isn't the most shocking contrast. The reminder of why we're here is painted on the public transportation vehicles. A vibrant rainbow of colors are the backdrop for various people  and  faces. Typically, the paintings  are hip-hop artists, various nude women, and then there's always a place for an artist's depiction of Jesus.  There is a cultural mentality that stems from voodoo heritage which gives  reverence to various spirits and gods. Jesus is one of the good ones that will help to protect them through the rigors of life, so "If I say I love and trust Jesus on my tap-tap or on my store, I'll be blessed."

The fruit of this mindset is clearly seen in the churches in the cities and big towns. When there's an opportunity to visit a church in the mountain, however, it's a breath of fresh air. Not only is the air cleaner,  the chaos subsided, and the scenery beautiful, but the people are different, too, as these groups still remain mostly unscathed from the influence of the world.  Such was the case with Barry's trips into the mountain this time around.

The team shared at revival meetings at a church in the southern part of Haiti near Jacmel last week. Since it was an evening service and such a long drive from home, they stayed over night for the start of the week. By Thursday night, they decided to make the trip home in the dark, arriving safely between midnight and one a.m.  During these meetings, Barry was in the heat of an intense sermon about being ready to suffer  persecution, or even die, for Christ's sake.  He hadn't quite finished his thought when some pranksters outside lit off some high magnitude fireworks right next to the church building! The entire congregation hit the floor, hiding behind benches as though their time had come. . There couldn't have been better timing to drive the point home!

This week offered another memorable experience. Pastor Bazalet arranged for preaching at a church so far off the beaten mountain path that the truck could never have made it, and the motorcycles barely did. The ascent up the footpath on motorcycles wasn't so bad, but the trip back down the steep grade was far more risky.  With the brake completely depressed, the bikes were still moving so quickly that it was difficult to keep them upright on the rough terrain. To one side was a steep drop off, to the other another wall of mountainside. Barry somehow lost hold of the footbrake, and couldn't get his foot back on. The bike picked up even more speed, and Barry was beginning to think his time had come, too, as he saw the drop off that lay ahead of the next curve. Suddenly and unexplainably, his bike just stopped.  Another testimony of the Lord's protection!

We're again reminded of the safety that is found only when we are in God's will and doing the work He has assigned. Thank you for your continual prayers and support!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

It's Rainy Season Again

Arcahaie went over four months without a drop of rain.  Winter in Haiti is the dry season. Aside from  all the dust, it was quite pleasant. The humidity was way down, and the temperatures were much cooler as well. It was a time to grow a few crops that may scorch in the summertime, in fields that are irrigated via canal systems that are fed from the mountain, where the rain still comes.

The return of rain in the lowland is sure to keep things interesting. Since many of the Haitian people walk to work or school, they don't much care for rainy days. A daytime rain is an uncommon occurrance, but when it does happen, things shut  down. Last week the children had two days off of school for "rain days."  Street vendors have to pack up their wares and lose out on potential income. Churches will cancel if it rains on a Sunday morning or any day through the week when a meeting is scheduled.

In all of our time here, though, it's never rained on a Sunday morning, and the opportunity to preach has never been lost. Two weeks ago as we were leaving Oscar's church, a downpour started, just after the service was finished. It's also never rained in the evening when a Bible study was scheduled, with the acception of one church. Pastor Odmi's, with a large group of young people who are hungry for the Gospel, have still come to the Bible study on multiple occasions in the rain. This is completely contradictory to how  they've been raised, and how other groups still operate. One evening last week, it was still a beautiful, clear afternoon at five o'clock when the Bible study started.  As the sun went down, though, the storm clouds also started rolling in.  A few young ladies got up and walked out to try to get home and beat the rain, but it was too late. The downpour was moving its way across the banana fields and reached the tarp-roofed church in no time.

The Bible study continued relatively uninterrupted, until the rain was hitting the plastic overhead so hard that only a person's immediate neighbor could be heard over the noise. Those who sat under a leaky tarp were soon shuffling to find a dry seat. Water soon began running in under the palm-leaf walls, transforming the packed dirt floor to slippery mud.  The front of the little structure had been covered with enough gravel that it was still dry enough ground to stand on. As the sun sank below the horizon and the driving rain continued, a group of young men were still quite involved in the discussion. They, Barry, and the translator were soon huddled around the small table with their Bibles open and their cell phones offering enough light to see the Word.

What a blessing to see young people so hungry for biblical discussion!  He feels like they're "getting somewhere" with this particular group and aims to see them as often as possible.

The rain was also a notable event during our move into the nearly-completed mission house. We prayed it would hold off long enough to make it over from Barbancourt with our belongings in the back of the pickup.  Barry pulled out of the driveway and headed away from Barbancourt, and the rain followed right along behind, but didn't catch up.

Once those items were unloaded and we were trying to get situated for the evening in the new house. It rained and rained and rained.  It waited long enough to finish moving that evening, but came in time to put out buckets and catch water for much-needed showers that night.  It was another little event that reminded me how well the Lord handles all the little details for us.

We are looking forward to a trip back to the US in a few days. We pray that it can be a time to be renewed, that we can return to the mission field refreshed to continue sharing the Gospel.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Losing Lenia

Last Sunday, midway though a visit with Denny and Leora's family,  and Stephan and Leanne from Kentucky, we were hit with the startling news that our friend Lenia had just passed away.

The news shouldn't have come as a shock, since she had been terribly sick for several months preceding her death. Somehow, as all the memories of the time spent with her came flooding across our minds, we had perhaps believed she was going to get better.  She had been to several doctors at the beginning of her illness, and none of them could tell her what was wrong. After a several weeks in the hospital, she was released because there was nothing they could do to help. Rather than return to her home, though, she went to the home of a nearby church leader. Lenia had apparently been directed in a dream to "go to the woman of God."   There she laid on a thin mat on the floor of that woman's porch, slowly wasting away.  Her children were no longer going to school. They were hungry. Yet she lay there, day after day, while the woman prayed over her. Lenia was almost daily calling for Barry to come, and we made many trips to also go pray.   We arrived one afternoon to find the woman prostrate on the floor next to Lenia with her hands placed over her, while Lenia intermittently tossed back and forth. Over and over the woman zealously cried, "Sortie!" (The Creole word for exit, or leave)

Several brethren from the church at home saw Lenia in this state, and helped pray for her and plead with her about her spiritual state. She persisted that she had no known sin, that she was right with God, and was clueless as to why she was sick.

Barry found that it was not beneficial to stay at that woman's house, so she spent the last month of her life back at home in her own bed, while her family tried to care for her physical needs. Barry recognized her symptoms as the same things he saw the man in the mountain suffer before he died. A couple of weeks ago, a medical doctor came to her house to do some final diagnosis. Pastor Bazalet and Barry were there to hear what he had to say. The doctor's explanation for the sickness: an evil spirit.  This confirmed Barry's thoughts all along.

Barry called Pastor Bazalet to set up a time the next day to pray for her deliverance.  When they arrived, she was not in her right mind, showing her teeth, writhing around, and speaking jibberish. They sat Lenia on a chair and commanded the spirit to leave, in the name of Jesus. Lenia then came to her right mind, and said she had felt the spirit leave, that had tormented her for months. The next day she was even further improved.

Then, Sunday just after church, Lenia's brother came crying to bear the news. We could hear our neighbor, Lenia's sister, crying the familiar screams that are heard after a death in Haiti.

The funeral was held eight days later. Hundreds of people came, but some that were closest to her did not. Her parents stayed home, as well as her good friend, Sonson. It seemed as though the ones the most grieved by the loss were the ones to keep to themselves while they mourned silently. Extended family and friends had a more typical display, screaming, kicking, thrashing their heads, and even passing out, motionless on the floor.

The service was fairly simple and not unlike those at home, with a few songs, a short biography of Lenia's life, and at the family's request, Barry preached.  It was another opportunity to preach to a lot of people who otherwise never step foot into church. When a 26 year old young woman dies, it can cause other young people to perhaps consider the brevity of their own lives.

After the service, the whole crowd followed the hearse up the hill to Lenia's home. Behind the house a large tomb already waited, built a year and a half ago for her husband, Gino. A graveside scripture completed the funeral, and the casket was carefully slid into the tomb.

Lenia's death left her children as orphans. The family says they plan to do their best to take care of them. We have hope that her deliverance allowed her to be free and die at peace with God. Barry pleased with everyone at the funeral not to let her death be in vain, and this is hour prayer as well.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


We are once again thankful for God's loving hand of protection over our children. As I recall the events that occurred around lunchtime last Thursday, I can see the way the Lord has things happen in order to show us something, while still keeping us from major tragedy.

Katie and I were working together to try to clean out the water tank that sits on the roof of our house. Abram and David were playing nicely in the front yard, where we could see them using sticks as hammers to "build a house." It was only a brief moment with eyes off of them and on the water tank before they were no longer in the front of the house, but were in the back, and both screaming wildly. I headed for the ladder as soon as I heard it, but Katie leaned over to see why was going. "Bees! They got in the bees!"

I skipped the last four steps of the ladder  and ran for the stairs. Abram met me in front of the house, with more bees than I could count attatched to his head, and with dozens more angrily swarming him. As I tried to swat them away from my son, I was quickly being taken up in the swarm as well. Katie came down the stairs right behind me as David was making his way around to the front of the house as well. Both boys were screaming in pain and desperation. In a semi panic, we were frantically trying to stand there and shoo the bees away. A few of the nearby neighbor women, after hearing the screaming and perhaps seeing a few angry bees come their way, rushed around to our gate,  which I just happened to consciously leave open that morning.  They rushed inside, grabbed the boys, and took off running. Knowing Bethany was safe inside in her bed, we ran too. The women parted directions with the boys, and bees swarmed the entire neighborhood. David went one direction and was stripped of all his clothes. I had stuck with Abram, and while I tended to him, the other women were calling for a motorcycle taxi to rush David to the hospital.

After being called and alerted of the situation, Barry rushed home and arrived before they took David.  He found us on Oscar's front porch, slathering David in baking soda paste from head to toe and silently pleading for God's intervention. While the commotion continued to draw a growing crowd, many of them had taken notice of Bethany's absence and were certain she needed rescued from inside our house, as if she was trapped in a burning building.  Rather, she was  in a pack-n-play inside a room with the door closed and screens in the windows, with the bees sealed out.  Despite our insisitance that Bethany was fine, and seemingly even safer where she was than out with us, one neighbor man put on a winter coat, his motorcycle helmet, gloves, and the rest of his gear and went searching for Bethany.

She was with us for a few minutes before we decided that the bees had calmed down enough to return home. Nearly two hours after the initial attack, we went home, while little David was still screaming and terrified.  The best option was to pray. He finally stopped crying and instantly fell asleep in his Daddy's arms.   Both boys still suffered some repercussions that afternoon as they were physically sick from so much venom in their systems, but the evidence of the Lord's protection was astounding! A peace came over us that told us they were both going to be alright. And what a testimony!  They knew it, too.  Someone told Barry about the bees in some areas swarming after the hurricane. Their hives were damaged in the storm, and they were so powerful that they were actually killing cows. He was the one to say that if it wasn't for God, our little boy would be gone.

David's head had been completely covered in bees. Hundreds of stingers were pulled from his skin. Six days later the swelling and redness returned so that I could more clearly see where each sting was, but I counted about 35 that had actually done damage.  That's a clear witness of the Lord's protection!  Our boys say they both learned something from the experience, and don't plan to do silly things with the bees anymore (David struck the hive several times with a stick). As parents, we have another reason to thank God for keeping them when the eyes of a mother fail to watch closely enough while little boys play.

Falling asleep after the incident

Six days later

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

What is Normal?

There's always something to talk about in Haiti, insomuch that its a regular thing that a news-worthy event takes place, but does it always make the news? Are the Haitian people just used to these strange things happening?

There is still a sense of war on the streets here in Arcahaie. Last week the group of rebels blocked the road (normal) near our home. A news reporter showed up to video tape the action, but she must have forgotten that they would not appreciate there photo being taken. The camera was confiscated and the reporter executed. Earlier this week, the president of Haiti drove through on his way up north, on his way back threw Arcahaie, the rebels were waiting. They riddled the convoy with bullets and soon a shootout proceeded, The shooting could be heard clearly from our home. The president finally made it out, but is not happy. He has sent many secret police to our town trying to round up the culprits, and many innocent people have been arrested in the process.

We've had a couple of groups visit us recently; Barry's sister and her husband from Kansas, and John Lengacher and his children, from Utica, Ohio.  During the downtime from working on the house, the weeks have been filled with preaching and Bible studies again.

 One of the services on the schedule was at seven in the evening, when the sun has already set over Barbancourt, and the occasional solar powered light is all that breaks up the blackness. We crossed the blacktop and ventured a ten minute drive down the rocky dirt road that runs eastward into the countryside. We weren't headed for a church building, but rather found the congregation gathered practically on the road. They had left a break in the seating large enough for vehicles to pass through, which we did in order to find a place to park the truck. A make-shift stage with a tarp roof actually looked quite professional in the dim lighting.  Pastor Bazalet was there waiting for us. The speakers blared the strums of the electric guitar, the melody of the piano, and the enthusiastic praises by the pastor leading the singing.  All the men, women, and children were dancing, shaking, and chanting along with the repetitious lines of the song. We couldn't help but notice the two women in the back who were so engulfed in the rhythm that they seem to forget they were holding little baby bundles, wrapped tightly in thick blankets in the "chilly" night air.  After a half hour or so of this festival, the pastor opened the mic to anyone who had a testimony to share. A middle aged man quickly came to the front and began relaying a dream he had in full detail. Our translator tried to interpret, but couldn't really make out what the man was saying and soon gave up. It wasn't long before everyone was lost on the story, so the pastor thanked the man and kindly cut him off. 

Barry has preached to this particular group several times. They typically seem receptive and the pastor is thankful for the message, reiterating in his follow-up what Barry shares during the sermon. It was the same the same this time. The music fired back up after the message, and included a Creole rendition of "Power in the Blood." At the end of the service, about half of the people gathered there climbed into the back of a large tap-tap to head to their own neighborhood.

Another stand-out service was two Sundays ago, when, thankfully, the Lord struck me with a reminder.    We were thirty minutes north of home in the town of Mouri, where we had been in February as well.  The tightly packed, unfinished church was bursting at its seams again, and we squeezed to find a sturdy bench to sit on. The drums banged. The people danced. It was a real party, and I was struggling to watch it.  Just when I had started to "get used to" church being this way and was learning to sit through it. Can we ever become comfortable sitting through vain worship? As soon as the music ended and the pastor got up to mediate the service, everyone lost interest. The young people chatted and giggled, the old people leaned their heads and started falling asleep. When he was finished and the pastor returned to the pulpit, I had a squirmy, hungry baby to tend to, and I finally decided it was time to find a place to take care of her.  As I was about to exit, a young man stretched his arm across the doorway, and surprising me with his English, asked, "Where are you going?"

After a brief explanation of my need to tend to the baby, he reluctantly let me pass. I found a small, homemade chair inside a charcoal-dusted cooking shack that's used by the church's orphanage. When Bethany wasn't quite half-finished, the young man came out to where I sat and boldly declared, "Excuse me, but, your time is up. You are only allowed five minutes and that time is up."

"Excuse me?" I asked more than once, confused. He repeated himself twice. I got up and hurried back inside to ask Barry what was going on and why this boy was telling me I can't be outside.  Apparently, people are so "squirmy" at this church that they have patrols at every doorway to keep people inside during the service. When "Pastor Barry" told the boy to let me go, I was able to go back out and finish what I had intended to do. I had to fight back tears while I sat back down on the little homemade chair. The whole morning worship service had already been a struggle watching the way people behave, and a young boy telling me I can't be outside while I tried to feed my baby was almost too much.  

While this particular Sunday morning was a challenge at the time, I'm thankful for the Lord's reminder.  What is normal?  I am so certain that God is pleased when we can truly worship in Him in sincerity without the emotional highs that come with the blaring instruments and rhythmic drum beats.  I also don't plan to ever have a comfy rocker to sit on in an air-conditioned nursery while we're here, but maybe someday soon I'll figure out just how to modestly tend to a baby without stepping on the natives' toes while I do things our way. I pray that God gives Barry patience as he travels, preaching in these environments throughout the week!

Anyone's welcome, but nobody's leavin'

This past Sunday service was perhaps a little more uplifting. Pastor Oscar invited us down the road to his church again, and Barry is always very willing and thankful for the invitation. This large church in Barbancourt is where most of the people in our village go, so it's always a chance to preach to lots of friends and neighbors together.   They usually like to give us the comfortable chairs with the choir at the front of the building, a few feet from the speakers that can be heard a half-mile away. For the sake of the children's hearing, we thankfully declined and asked to stay on the benches toward the back.  We soon found out why they like to give us those nice chairs. At the start of the service, Katie and I and our three children shared the bench with just one older lady, and had plenty of room. Over the first fifteen minutes of the service, more and more people kept packing into the benches. The children were all on laps, and we were squeezed leg to leg with other women and their children.  On a warm day in Haiti, it doesn't take long for 200 people, most of them dancing and waving their arms, to really bring the temperature up in a building. Most people bring a rag to church to keep the sweat from dripping. Regardless of the heat, I thought it was nice to sit back with our neighbors and be "regular" people at church.

When Barry posed the question, "Do you REALLY believe in Jesus?" to the congregation and explained what that meant, it was well-received. Pastor Oscar, who sometimes disagrees with the Anabaptist vision, followed up with total agreement. He even told them, "the ax is already at the root of the tree, and every tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

Inside Pastor Oscar's church, with not room for one more person on the benches.

Bethany making friends with Frido, our close neighbor and a deacon at the church.

May God keep working in this village, and in this whole country!