Saturday, October 21, 2017

More Turmoil on the Blacktop

"Sak pase la!?" The question was posed to the man in another truck who had just come flying up around us in busy Cabaret. The main stretch of road through town is always crowded and bustling with vendors, buyers, motocycles, tap-taps, and various passers-through.  We were headed back to the mission house after a mostly successful but long day in Port-au-Prince.  Now we were getting to the final 20 minute stretch of the hour long drive.

Like so many other days, traffic wasn't moving through Cabaret. There are just too many people trying to go different directions at the same time, so we were paused and waiting. Unexpectedly, a white sedan came swiftly around the curve from behind us.  Somehow he thought that by quickly swerving around us, he could get through, but there was no room.  So, "what's going on here? You can't go through...." But he was sure he could.  After some untranslatable shouting and a few gestures, he squeezed his way around, scraping the side of his truck on our front grill guard. Everyone was stuck so tight there was nowhere to move to help him clear a path. When traffic finally cleared, the man bolted like he was on a mission.

When we were out of town, we saw that he was slowing down, letting us go around.  As soon as we got around and resumed speed, he was right on our tail,  so close we were sure he was trying to ram into us. The best choice was to slow down and let him pass again. By now we were all trying to figure out just exactly what his problem was, and praying silently. When the angry driver now stopped square in the middle of Route National 1, and moved from side to side without letting us pass, Barry went off the road to go around. As we passed, the nose of the other truck came toward us and missed the passenger side door by merely inches. This man was clearly trying to hit us!!

After this dodge, there were several more passing rotations, then when the man was ahead, he again stopped his truck, and this time lunged out in front of us with one arm out and the other concealed. Guns are not exactly rare in this country, so we suspected the worst.  The confusion as to what exactly was the goal this man had in mind continued while we flew the long ten minute stretch to Arcahaie. We just had to make it to the police station. While we continued in prayer, the white truck passed us one last time and took off at full speed. We lost sight of him, but we knew it wasn't over yet.

Sure enough, he was already waiting for us at the police station.  It turned out that the man was a translator for one of the area missions and spoke a good amount of English. He told some version of his story to the present officer, and asked Barry why he didn't stop.
"Because you were trying to run us off the road! We had no idea what you were up to. You were mad and we didn't know if you had a gun or what!"

"I do have a gun!" He replied.

After an hour or so of sitting at the police station and filing a report, we left while the man who had tried to gain from the incident ended up being ticketed. The police only laughed at the scratch on his truck, and it turned out that he didn't have a proper license. When we made it home eight hours after we left, we were shooken up, but once again so thankful of God's protection. I know I write about that a lot, but it's so true! We never know what to expect as we step outside the walls of the mission.

And in some regard, we don't always know what to expect while we're inside the mission either. Odmar, the young man who has been to court several times demanding and receiving money for his share of the purchase price of the land, returned again the other day. He knocked loudy on the gate to deliver the handwritten court summons. "I'm not interested," Barry told him, and rightfully so. The issue has long been resolved in the Superioir court of Haiti.  Now, rumors are circulating that Odmar is displeased and plans to come to the mission with guns to forcibly take over the land and house. I've heard stories about criminals attempting to bring harm to believers, but they can't do it because of all the celestial protection that guards them. We can only speculate how many times that has happened and we're oblivious to it!

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and deliverereth them. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Little Stick Church

After a month of inadequate phone service at home at the mission,I'm using the opportunity to finally update the blog while we sit in traffic in Port-au-Prince. It's another scorching hot, sunny day, and it seems as though everyone in Haiti is out in the streets with important business to take care of. Pedestrians carry rags, both to wipe the sweat and for a mask to filter out all the dust and exhaust. The fuel tank is running low, and every lane of traffic backed up.The smog from old, poorly maintained vehicles fills the air. Too much time sitting in this position often leads to dehydration and headaches. Nevertheless, we're doing our best to keep ourselves and the children joyful, singing songs to remind us of God's goodness. 🙂

The little church building is holding regular meetings twice a week. We've been blessed to see a group of regular attendees continue to return each time. Sunday mornings, we leave the house at 8:30 or so to make the walk at a pace the children can keep. The service starts at 9:00 with an opening song and a prayer. There is more time of singing,  which doesn't always have a lot of volume, but with the recent purchase of additional songbooks, we're hearing some improvement. Some of those who have been attending have not been in church much, if at all, before coming here. It's understandable that they don't know (m)any songs, and they appreciate having the words in front of them. After the singing and a brief opening from Pastor Bazalet, Barry has the message.  This past Sunday, however, Benji was here to preach. 

Wednesday  evening is a time of Bible study, currently examining the Sermon on the Mount. This can be a challenge, since this passage contains a lot of meat. In reality, the level of understanding for those present isn't really on milk yet. They had never heard the  difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Most of them had  never heard of the Ten Commandments.  How can someone understand that Jesus came to fulfill the law if he doesn't even know there IS a law? We  pray that this study is helpful in revealing and diagnosing sin for what it is.  Most of them also did not have a Bible to follow along with during the Bible studies, so we were gladly able to purchase some New Testaments that were just recently published. This new edition seems to be a drastic improvement over the older Creole Bible that left out some important details. 

Please join us in prayer for this little church. We have testimonies of people who are seeking the truth and say they want to leave their old lives behind, but soon, perhaps we will have real testimonies of conversion to share!

David catching a ride home from church