What an exciting day for the Kingdom today! Nearly a year after the first service was held at the little stick church here in Arcahaie, and after seven weeks of baptism classes, four men and three women were added to the fold this morning.
Some of them have been with us since the start, while others started coming a little further down the line. They are all evidence of God's mighty power to change hearts and lives. They each had the opportunity to share his or her own testimony at the morning service, which was quite touching.
Allow me to briefly introduce these brothers and sisters to you.
Herode, a man full of questions and a desire to learn. In his mid 30s, he has one little boy with his "madam," who also attends regularly. She had already been baptized previously, and confesses straying for a time but now returning her dedication to the Lord. Although not married, these two were one of the couples who agreed to abstain from intimacy until they were soundly converted, baptized, and married rightfully before God.
Jeraldson, a young man who has made an outstanding turn around and come out of the woodwork as a stand out in his desire to do God's will. He's thankful for every piece of Bible literature he receives, and has been a real encouragement and blessing in the last few weeks.
Reynaldson, at 17, was the first one to say "I'm ready." He had some issues to work through, but with counseling and much time growing, his fruit is evident. He lives just across the narrow gravel road from the church with his adoptive mom and twin brother.
McClawd came a little later onto the scene, invited by his long-time girlfriend, Jilline. He was resistant to change for some time, but it seems as though he's submitted, broken through his hindrances and allowed God to change his heart.
Jilline, the first woman to confess her desire to serve the Lord nearly a year ago. She comes from a family of voodoo, and should have been handed the reins in a powerful position, but she turned her back on it all to give her heart to God. She opened her testimony with a song, and cried as she sang "Jesus delivered me." I'm amazed at the joy that radiates from her, as well as how many people she has shared her new found faith with while inviting them to church. She and McClawd would like to be married and have a Godly home trying to raise the children they already have together.
|Jilline singing with tears "Jesus Delivered me" to begin her testimony of salvation|
Mari Lourde (like Mary Lou) is another amazing piece of evidence of God's hand at work. She shared in her testimony about how mad she was the second time she came to this church and a bench fell on her leg. She was so upset she left before the service was over and said she would NEVER come back. After missing one Sunday, the Lord wouldn't have it and the Spirit called her back to church. A few Sundays later, she was broken in repentance before God and the pastors. The evidence of new joy was incredible after that. She hasn't been without struggles, as her family has opposed many of her changes, but I see her coming through shining.
Antonia, Reynaldson's adoptive mom, has a testimony of the Lord changing her heart and making her joyful and forgiving, especially to a sister she had struggled with for a long time, and freeing her from sin. She's very outgoing and loves children, although she's never had any of her own.
After the testimonies and closing the service at the church, everyone loaded into the Mission's box truck and headed to LaDigue. There is a place where the mountain meets the lowland, and the river that feeds a huge area of Arcahaie is diverted into different canals to be sent off in varying directions. It's a very public area, but the children that had been using the desired spot for a swimming whole were briefly diverted from their fun, and we were able to continue the baptism service without much trouble.
After each one was baptized, the pastors commissioned them and prayed with them. We closed the service by singing "Mwen vle Sanble Jezi." (I want to be like Jesus.)
After hugs, handshakes, and "God bless you's" we loaded back up and returned to the church to unload everyone. We came home uplifted and encouraged that the day went so well. It has taken much labor to get here, and God has shown himself faithful.
"Be not weary in well doing, for in due time ye shall reap, if ye faint not."
We know the battle is not over! There are many adversaries and it's only just beginning! These seven people need prayer and support like never before. They need to know that there are people with them on the journey.
And the Lord won't stop with them. People were touched by what they saw and heard today, and the Lord is allowing hearts of other regular attendees to be turned and softened.
Pray for Barry and Pastor Bazalet as they council and guide these souls, that they could direct them only onto the straight and narrow!
After the first part of the service, at the church house, we asked if they wanted to take some pictures
to share with the congregation at home.
|A Joyful Day!|