Julie Jones continues to share the experiences from ‘The Way’ church team as they sing, preach and serve.
When you are in Haiti, and you are disconnected from all the technology that runs our lives in the United States, you find many ways to pass the time. In the quiet of the evening, we found that we could make a joyful noise. We uncovered a few guitars, a mandolin and a violin, and spent some time singing one of the evenings. As sometimes (OK, many times) happens when God is around, this jam session turned into a praise “team”, and suddenly, we were going to be singing praises as part of the church service we attended on Sunday morning. Pastor Steve was also going to be speaking (surprise) So, Sunday morning, we loaded not only all of us into the truck in all of our Sunday best, we also had to load all of our instruments (2 guitars, a mandolin & a violin). Not something you will see on a road in the US. We even learned a little Creole for one of the song verses.Getting the band back together!
We joined the congregation as they were finishing up Sunday School before their service. They were learning John 1:1:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
In Creole that is:
“Anvan Bondye te kreye anyen, Pawol la te la. Pawol la te avek Bondye. Sa Bondye te ye, se sa Pawol la te ye tou.”
They repeated this verse over and over in Creole, and the words resonated, and you could hear the power in them. Then the pastor turned to us, and asked if we could recite it. Pastor Steve did exactly that in English, and then I read it from their Bible in Creole. It was awesome to participate in the experience. They then moved into worship, and their music was heartfelt. They raised the rafters as they lifted their voices in song.
Their pastor preached on John 1:1-5, and even though I couldn’t understand the words, you could tell that he was preaching about the light that came into the darkness (‘Limye’ means ‘light’ in Creole). There was a translator that then translated the message to us in English. It was very moving to participate in this multi-cultural service, and to be reminded that we are one family in Christ. Pastor Steve preached on John 17. It was awesome to see how God orchestrated two Pastors, who didnt not know they were going to be preaching on the same day even 12 hours before, and the messages together made sense. Jesus came to earth to as part of his mission from God, and to get to know us, and to share himself with us, and how our team came to Haiti as our mission from God, to share Jesus with them, and to show his love. We had heard that it was important to share about the Jesus who brings salvation, and not about a generic god, because that can have many meanings in creole culture.
After the service, we prayed for water and a school in that area, as those are their greatest needs. Also for church growth and protection from persecution. I ask that you continue to pray for that church in Krebabie and their needs. The 2 pastors for that church are Pastor Elisma and Pastor Anert.
One of the other benefits of participating in a mission trip is the quiet time that I have had God. I brought a book “Upside Down Prayer”, and have been spending time trying to develop more strength in my prayer life. Many nights we have had a devotional/video from the Hole in the Gospel series. We had a group discussion on how this mission trip is impacting our lives, and if we are hearing from God where he would like us to focus our efforts. Out of that discussion, I made the decision to give a mattress to a women who our team identified could use one when they did the food distribution.
On Monday morning, our group split into 3 sub-groups. One went to buy and distribute mattresses, the second went to put in another cement floor, and Pastor Steve and Henry stayed to prepare/speak at the pastors leadership conference.
A full size mattress costs about $50, and a twin $35. Then all the groups met back up, and helped with the Thrive for Five program. I was able to interact with the children in the program, and felt drawn to Markendel, a little boy who was playing with some of his friends. The friend dropped his toy off of the table, and Markendel hopped down and picked up the toy for his friend. What a good friend. I was looking for a boy to sponsor, and made the decision to sponsor Markendel. He was born in October of 2012. Isn’t he cute?
Pastor Steve asked that we all introduce ourselves at the Pastor’s leadership conference. He asked us to share why we came, and what had most impacted us in Haiti. I came to Haiti because I wanted to make a difference, and I felt I could with this trip. What has most impacted me just seeing how much poverty there is, and I am encouraged by just how much of a difference that MH4H is making here. Their approach to children’s health, employment, and leadership is making an impact, but there is a long way to go, and they need everyone’s help in this mission.
In the afternoon, we went out back, and caught us a few goats (gotta have a little fun). We then loaded the goats and the team into the truck and went out to do a goat distribution. Goat in Creole is ‘kabrit’.
I have had a lot of fun learning creole words and teaching English equivalents to those I have interacted with. It is a fun way to connect as the others are doing instructions and translations on the goat. A distribution is a major event in a community. We had over 20 kids that surrounded our truck when we pulled up. As we were getting organized and finding the adults and getting the goats matched up, I got out bubbles, and had fun with the kids. I also took a lot of photos. They love seeing themselves on the screen. It can be very overwhelming with 20 kids all clamoring for attention.
As we went to the homes, if we noticed that they were short on clothing (many of them were), we handed out clothing as well. Of the 20 or so children, some had no clothes, and many only had partial outfits. You just want to give something to everyone, but we have so very little to give them. Once they realize you are giving gifts, then everyone wants something, and there is just not enough.
Once we were back at the house, we debriefed on how Pastor Steve and Henry did. They felt that the conference was very powerful. They also suggested that the MH4H praise band needed to help tomorrow, so tonight in our quiet time, it is not so quiet with praise practice. Make a joyful noise to the Lord wherever you are!