The team recently had another mountain "adventure," but thankfully this time it was much more peaceful and accident-free. The trip began at six in the morning, with nothing more than a piece of leftover bread to fuel the journey. The terrain of the mountain road became impassable by vehicle, so the team had to set off on foot in order to continue. They hiked for several miles down a narrow path that crossed several streams and small rivers. Holes have been worn through Barry's shoes, so his feet were wet while they hiked. What a blessing to reach the church building, after several hours, that was found "in the middle of nowhere!"
One recent Sunday in particular held something that was quite unexpected.
The truck was finally "fixed" very late Saturday night, after waiting for the usual mechanic to run to and fro while he went to get parts and tools. When he disappears for hours at a time, it starts to look like there's no chance the truck will be put back together, but somehow, he manages.
We left rather early Sunday morning for services at a church an hour and a half north of us. However, when we were under halfway there, we pulled into a gas station after noticing the truck was not acting right. It was evident that something had been done incorrectly the night before, so once again we waited for our friend the mechanic. Several times we called him, and like always, several times he said he was on his way, but wasn't. When he finally arrived, he already had another part to replace the one he had just put in the night before, apparently already knowing it was bad.
It was a quick fix, so we were on our way again, but behind schedule. After an hour or so on the blacktop, we turned onto a dirt and rock side road. We bumped along and saw many rice farmers out working with their hands and simple tools to harvest their crops.
The church building, like many, was only partially finished. It looked as though it had been started many years ago, and was done with a vision of a very large meeting place. Only the walls were in place, and the hundred or so people who were there this Sunday were all gathered on one side of the "building" under a tarp roof that was supported on one side by crooked tree limbs, and the unfinished church wall on the other. They were all out of their seats when we got there, singing with great volume that could be heard when we climbed out of the truck. As our family, the team, and another pastor we had picked up on the way all entered and found our way to the front, Barry couldn't help but notice the unwanted presence in the second row of benches.
As he passed by, a young man forcefully sat down in his seat, and began shaking his arms and sort of growling and hollering. He didn't sit for long, but soon plowed his way through the crowd and was out in the open, uncovered side of the church, now turning about aimlessly and making obscene noises. His veins bulged as all of his muscles seemed to be flexed at once. Soon all of the pastors, Barry, and Josnel were trying to restrain this man, who clearly had inhuman strength. While the demon was rebuked, the song leader did her best to keep the singing and praises to God at ample volume. The battle went on for some time, and the other men stepped aside while Barry stood face to face with this evil. His eyes were completely white. The demon was commanded to leave in the name of Jesus, who has already won the battle. The demon had the young man tossing himself all over the ground, rolling around on the rough, dirty ground. . He said he couldn't leave, because his "mission" was not yet finished. However, at some point, the young man stopped, stood up, and seemingly in control of himself, started asking what happened and why he was so dirty. Seconds later another demon took over. This happened several times before he finally seemed delivered. He gathered himself and went home to shower.
After Barry began preaching, the man returned. Cleaned up and in a change of clothes, he came and stood directly in front of Barry, his eyes were back in his head and all muscles flexed. Barry continued to preach. When this demon saw that he wasn't going to stop the message, he put his fingers in his ears and walked away. Barry went to look for the young man after the service, but no one seemed to know where he went, or even care to bother finding him. Interestingly, the pastor said that he had been converted the Sunday before. God help that man's soul!
Given to Hospitality
After an unusual stream of events that morning and a service with some rather friendly church members, the pastor and his family stopped us as we were headed for the truck and invited us to their home. What we expected to just be a quick visit turned out to be a fine display of hospitality like nothing we've seen yet in Haiti. They sat us around their dining table, and soon brought out their nicest plates, and dish after dish of their finest Haitian cooking. We were surprised but blessed at the warmth they showed as we enjoyed the meal and fellowship.
The work continues this week after a visit from Barry's parents and some time seeing other parts of Haiti, where their church and family has been working over the years. We are praying for strength both physically and spiritually to accomplish all that is asked of us on the mission field.