Our team of pastors has arrived safely in Haiti and we are enjoying our time already. We arrived yesterday afternoon to a warm greeting and a hot meal. We had a relaxing evening visiting with JeanAlix, our Haitian partner. He is such a tremendous man of God and a blessing to all that know him.
This morning we left early for Drouin, a village several hours north of Port-au-Prince. It has been a couple of years since I have been able to visit this area and it was great to see parts of this beautiful country that I have not seen in awhile. Our pastors enjoyed the trip as well, getting to see parts of Haiti that many foreigners do not see.
We toured the school in Drouin and were welcomed in song by each grade level. The children are so precious and it is exciting to see them working hard in their classrooms. Every school I visit and every classroom I see is a consistent reminder of the value and difference an education can make in the lives and for the futures of these kids. Drouin is a difficult place to carve out a living, but these children represent a bright future as they continue to maximize their opportunities and are encouraged and challenged by their teachers.
We visited the local church and were given a tour of the village with the local pastor, Pastor Wilson. He is a strong and determined man. The church in Drouin was started in 1997. At the time, Drouin was a very spiritually dark place, centered around voodoo. Today, the light of Christ has shown brightly. The church has grown tremendously and seen the gospel change lives. Almost all the voodoo witchdoctors have either moved on or come to faith in Christ. Only one witchdoctor remains active in the village - and we had the opportunity to meet him. I met him once before, two years ago, and have prayed for him and for his salvation. His position in the village has brought him status, power, and wealth. He is arrogant and cocky, but his eyes mask a fear that reveals the deceit of his chosen profession. His body and soul have been ravaged by the evil he serves and he seems to know that what has made him great in the eyes of man will one day cost him his life, both physically and in eternity. JeanAlix challenged him with the truth of scripture and his need for the Savior, but his pride and wealth are a huge stumbling block for him. Pray for him and for his salvation. Pray that no more are deceived by his false idols.
Haiti is an overwhelming place at times. The poverty and spiritual darkness stand in contrast to the numerous relief organizations and missions groups that serve in this place. I am often asked for a reason why, after all the years of foreign aid and mission work, Haiti is not "fixed" or at least gaining vast, noticeable improvement. I could point to all sorts of underlying issues that result in what seems to be perpetual brokenness across the country. I could write about the combined forces of history, culture, abuse, and negligence that have converged upon this country and robbed it of a promising future time and time again. But instead, I choose to highlight the amazing stories of God's power and redemption that we have seen in nearly 32 years of ministry in this country as "proof" that things are getting better, slowly. We have seen victory after victory in the lives of men and women, boys and girls all across this country because of the power, grace, and provision of our God.
As I listened to JeanAlix share the gospel, yet another time, with the witchdoctor today, I was reminded that our call to serve the Lord is not a sprint, it is a lifelong endurance race that requires unwavering trust in the Lord and unyielding courage in the face of what seem like insurmountable odds. We may get tired, we may get frustrated, but we never give up and we never quit because our trust is not in ourselves but in the One who never gives up on us. It would be easy for JeanAlix to give up on this witchdoctor, believing him to be beyond God's redemption. It would be easy for us to give up on Haiti, believing that the work is more than we can handle. But we believe in God's call to this place and the power of God to change lives, one person at a time. Our belief, our trust, and our courage will not let us give up.
The pastors conference starts tomorrow. Please pray for our American pastors as the teach. Pray that the Lord's Word is clear and that the Haitian pastors are encouraged and equipped to strengthen the work of their churches.
Each One Matters,