Thursday, May 26, 2016

Week 14 on the Island

The past few weeks have been different from the first 12 weeks of our time here. We were without a vehicle, so it was a time to slow down and experience Haiti on a more personal level.

The down time all started when Barry realized that the black truck, his main transportation, was in need of an engine rebuild. The plan was to take the truck to Guyteau, a man in Port-au-Prince whom Barry was referred to for various tasks. He would have one of his mechanics rebuild the engine.  Barry would need a ride home after dropping it off, so someone would follow him with the red truck, another truck our church brethren bought years ago. Since our translator said he has a valid drivers license and drove frequently for another mission, he seemed fit for the task. They were less than a mile outside of Arcahaie when Barry noticed that the other truck was not behind him anymore. He called Anouce, who said only that something was wrong with the truck and he had to pull over. It turned out that the automatic transmission had been kept in low gear, rather than drive, and the engine was blown to pieces. 

The red truck was towed to a different mechanic nearby, where they claimed they could fix it in one week. The appointment was kept for the black truck in Port-au-Prince and a rental car was picked up to use for the five days it was supposed to take to fix it. When the time "in the shop" was too far extended, the rental car was returned in order to save expenses. When the black truck was finally picked up, there were still several things terribly wrong, and the truck was left in Port-au-Prince with the mechanic again.  It soon became evident that preaching at long distances away would have to wait. 

Meanwhile, we have had more time with the locals, and it seems that the Gospel is stirring some people up. More of them seem to want to go to church and have become more open to hearing about their need for of salvation. There was one particular opportunity to share Christ when we found out that electricity was being stolen directly from our generator by several nearby neighbors. They tried to deny doing any such thing, but when the evidence clearly pointed against them, and they were told that God sees everything, they confessed their theft. Barry still felt led to find a way to set up five houses with the ability to run lights off of a battery that's charged by our generator. 

The home for the widows behind us is finally finished, and they seem to be truly blessed by their new place. The oldest, Alice, seems to be growing more frail, but is always happy to see visitors and tries to share and talk as well as she can. The other day she asked Barry to "give her a blessing" and pray with her. Her daughter, Getrid, is full of smiles; quite different from her burdened demeanor when we first came here.

Barry has also been doing some traveling around nearby to pray with the sick. He and Merelin are working with two young people who are mute because of voodoo spells that were placed on them. They are rather lifeless, just sitting in a trance, and appear to eat only enough to keep them alive. It is such a burden to see young lives under this bondage and waiting to be set free. 

He sat in this position for a long period of time while they cried out to God.  

We are glad to now have the black truck back with us.  After leaving Barry stranded a few times and more things getting fixed, it seems to finally be running more smoothly. There are still a few things that need repaired, but we are hopeful it will all be done soon. Barry is ready to get his team going again and continue preaching and discipling wherever the Lord leads.

Barry and the boys replacing a CV axle on the black truck

The longer we are here in Haiti, the more needs we see abounding everywhere.  As more people find out where we are, we receive more opportunities to minister to the needs all around us. Please continue to pray for us, as doors continue to open, and the devil continues to war against us.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed.

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for thou art my praise. Jeremiah 17:14

The Lord always has something important to show us, and maybe it's just a little bit easier for us to see it when we're living in a place like Haiti. Last week we were reminded about the brevity of life. We were reminded that God is always in total control of who is granted his next breath, and who he choses to send into eternity. We were reminded of the great need to share the blessed hope of eternal life that is offered through the blood of Jesus. This week, God showed us these same things again, but this time with a different type of story.

In a place like America, men can say they don't really "need God." If we fall sick, be it a simple cold or a terrible, chronic disease, there is an abundance of medicine and men to turn to. Here, though, especially in the mountain, its not so easy. The doctors aren't so easy to get to, and despite the significantly lower cost to visit them than in the states, the people who could get there still can't often afford it. This leaves people with two options. Many of them, unfortunately, turn to voodoo. The other option: call out to the Almighty God in faith. Sometimes, they don't know how to go about it, so they ask for a Pastor. This is how Barry met one dear family last week, after some friends had come with the message that a very sick man was requesting to be prayed with.

There he found a young man, in his early thirties, whose body seemed to be eating away at itself. Just one year ago, he was a strong, robust man, but now his frail, bony body was lying helplessly on the bed, where he had been for quite some time. He was so weak he was barely able to speak, and his young family seemed to be suffering from the distress of the situation. This man, having no idea what was wrong with him, only knew that he was in pain and desperately needed help. He had declared that if God would heal him, he would wholly dedicate himself to serving Him. Barry prayed with him and called out for the healing he so desperately needed.
A family clearly in need of help

That evening, Barry was sharing his heart with us and explained the severity of the situation. The man was slipping into such an awful condition, he explained, that we would soon be faced with a decision ourselves. Either God would heal him, or we would have to take him to get medical help before this man died.

First thing the next morning, Barry made the drive past Williamson and into the mountain a short distance to check on the man and his family. What he found is still enough to bring tears of joy. He was sitting up, smiling, and said that he had been out working in the garden that morning! This is nothing short of a miracle and we praise Jesus for hearing our prayers!

Barry is continuing to check on him, anxious to see the life change this man makes. May God be glorified through his testimony!

Around our Neighborhood

Due to some setbacks with vehicles, the long-distance preaching and discipleship meetings had to be postponed. Fortunately, though, there is still plenty to do nearby. Last Sunday the Lord had it that Barry preach at Lifeline again. He felt weak that morning, and it was truly up to the Spirit to lead his speach. He spoke on deception and explained how it happens within the church. At times like these we can always see that less of me is more of Christ. The only way anyone could have left that buliding with sin in their hearts is by some serious distracting and pulling from the enemy.

This morning's Sunday services were at a church within walking distance from home. Some young people had stopped by earlier in the week to present us with some of the moringa products that they sell for a living. They quickly learned what we were here for and what we were about. Two of them were leaders in the church and invited Barry to preach there today.  He was led to share a message on the wages of sin is death, as many in the congregation were effected by the recent accident in the neighborhood that took several lives. He explained that if a man is born again, there is power in the blood of Jesus, and that man should no longer be held captive by sin. He ended by detailing what it means to repent, and expressed that we should no longer desire to go "back to the water where we were drowning" ever again. There seemed to be quite a mixed group there, with several of the older women giving "Amen" through the message, while some of the apparently rebellious young people we have seen elsewhere continued to be distracted by their own desires. May God continue letting the words be heard as the week continues.

We're enjoying getting to know a lot of the people who are our very nearby neighbors. Some of them are working on the widows' house, many of them attend the nearby church where Benji preached during his visit, and the children are often out and about and anxious to visit. Some of the young ladies have expressed a desire for more modest clothing, and we were blessed to have some dresses to share with them. Many thanks for all the hard work that was put into getting these down here!