Haiti Mission 2014 – Day 4 – Be Patient with One Another

Day 4 has come and gone – and what a day it’s been. We began the day with worship at the Village of Hope. It was amazing to worship with the Haitian people. We were welcomed gladly, shared greetings from our home church, and witnessed some spectacular singing, prayers, and dynamic preaching. Fortunately, the worship leader came up after the sermon and gave a brief translation of the sermon.
The Sermon was based on Genesis 1:25-28 and the pastor spoke of the creation of man for God’s glory, and how God has, and will, provide all that we need to follow him. He was passionate and excited to share the texts, that much was obvious even though we didn’t understand a word of it.
From there we got a quick tour of the Village of Hope, had lunch, and rested for an hour or so before leaving for the Consolation Center for worship with the girls there. Again, we were blown away by their singing – boistrous, energetic, and lively. Some were songs we know (How Great Thou Art, This is the Day The Lord Has Made, I will Celebrate Sing unto The Lord), others we had no clue, but it was wonderful. I was asked to preach to the girls, and I shared the story of Mephibosheth from 2 Sam 9. Zachary was a huge help translating, and the kids responded well.
What was great was the 3 year old, Michaela, who, right after the service, came up and tugged on my pant leg until I knelt down to her. She just wanted to sit on my lap and cuddle. I was only too happy to oblige. She must of sat there for 20 minutes. I was told that she fell asleep during the sermon and was still waking up – who cares. She wanted held, and her father or mother weren’t there to hold her – my heart broke for her. The world stopped for a while as she curled up in my arms.
I wonder if maybe I preached more in those 20 minutes of quiet time with Michaela than I did in the 10 minutes I spoke. Probably so.
Our devotion today on the Fruit of the Spirit addressed Patience.
There’s something you have to learn quickly here in Haiti – things in Haiti happen when they happen. There’s not a lot of hurry here. Unless your driving that is – then its foot the floor at a breakneck pace.
No, for the most part, there’s not a lot of schedule keeping here. I didn’t even pack my watch. Agenda driven as we are in the states, I think people here are just the opposite. There’s always work to do, but it will still be there tomorrow if it doesn’t get done today. The heat may have something to do with it, but things just move slower here.
And that requires patience. We want to get things done, accomplish something spectacular, come home with a progress report – and sometimes that just does not happen. Sometimes holding a baby who needs to be loved is the most productive thing you can do, and that baby will need to be held and loved tomorrow, and the day after that, and long after you are gone. You will have nothing to show for it, it will force you to lay aside your ambitions – but it is the work of the Lord.
We demand so much of our time, so much of one another – are we ever really patient. We need, desperately, to exercise great patience – with each other, and with ourselves.
None of us have achieved our full stature. We are all growing, learning, changing into the man or woman God is creating us to be. I know my wife, God bless her, is a long-suffering woman. She has been waiting 20 years, and may have to wait 20 more, for me to grow into the man she knows God is making me to be; she is one of the most patient people I know.
Patience is not just a virtue, it is a gift from God. God demonstrated His tremendous patience in that while we ran headstrong from Him, He was faithful, He loved us steadfastly in Christ, and He did not count our sins against us, but laid them upon His Son upon the cross that we might be forgiven and have peace with Him.
In this kind of patience, we must bear with each other’s shortcomings, forgiving as Christ has forgiven us – freely, graciously, preemptively. When we are walking in His Spirit, His patience will teach us to deal patiently with others – especially those who would try our patience.
Finally, the Patience of God’s Spirit would also lead us to trust in the sovereign hand of God and His plan for our lives, even in the face of overwhelming obstacles. Knowing that “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Rom 8:28), knowing that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ” (Romans 8:39), knowing that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6), and that “he will make everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl 3:11), knowing these things we can live in patient and faithful anticipation, trusting in HIs every promise.





Haiti Mission 2014 – Day 3 – The Peace of the Lord

Day 3 in Haiti is wrapping up. We’re being serenaded by the Bamboula Party outside: a little reggai, a little calypso – I don’t know what you call it, but its Haitian. It is catchy, but I don’t think I’ll be adding it to my music library anytime soon.
The day started slowly – the entire team had a good night’s sleep, and a good morning’s sleep too. For some reason, we all slept in a bit, but that’s okay. Our mission partners here had a funeral to attend in the morning, so we were left at the beach house to organize the items we brought, and were asked to help clean out the garage. That was all finished pretty quickly, so we took advantage of the beach being quiet for a moment, and spent some time in the water. The waves were great, the water nice and warm – really it was a wonderful morning.
After lunch, we left for the Consolation Center. The women went on to visit the James 1:27 Community – a ministry that houses widows and pairs them with orphaned or abandoned infants – they held the babies and loved on them for a while. They weren’t allowed to take any luggage there – we didn’t want to tempt them with the idea of bringing a little one home.
While the women were there, the three men stayed at the Consolation Center to try to fix the school bus. They have a big yellow bus from Laurens-Marathon schools to transport the kids. Problem was, it wouldn’t go in reverse. Bruce checked the transmission under the bus, I was electrocuting myself on the start switch (which was hotwired). Meanwhile, Matt was tinkering with the electrical box on the side of the bus. He found an unplugged cord marked “Rev:Rel” and wondered if it should be connected to the other unplugged cord; he put them together and viola – the bus goes backwards now.
We then tried our hand at a little welding, repairing the door of the bus. The welding didn’t work though, as we didn’t have the right welding material – but it was a noble effort.
Our study for the day was on Peace – the peace of God which we know in Christ, a peace that comes in the power of His Spirit.
It’s funny: we long for peace in our busy, hectic, frenetic lives. We chase ourselves around and around, thinking that by doing a little more, earning just a couple more dollars, having just a little more stuff, we’ll finally find that peace that we’ve been longing for. But it never comes. We keep running just to stand still (thank you, Bono), we keep chasing the horizon, peace eludes us.
And then we come to Haiti. The motto here seems to be, “Hurry Up and Wait.” We’ve got goals and expectations for the trip, but as we go through the day, we realize, those goals are far less important than just loving the people, showing the kids that they are cared for and treasured. We have to remember that sitting with a widow and holding a baby is more important than building something or checking something off your to do list.
There is peace in holding a child who just needs to be loved, in playing soccer with kids who’ve never known an adult who cared for them. There is peace in the contentment and satisfaction in knowing that you are where God has placed you, and you can only do the work that He places before you – anything more or less would be a step out of His plan (thank you, Amy Grant).
We have peace with God, we have peace in God. We were at one time rebels from the throne of God, violators of His will, trespassers of His law. But now, through the mercy of Christ, God has reconciled the world to Himself. We have peace with God – our sins are forgiven. Our longing, our desires, our hopes and expectations – they are all met in Christ Jesus our Lord. He is our Prince of Peace; when He came into the world, the angels sang “Glory be to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace and good will toward men;” as He prepared for the cross, He gave us His peace, so that our hearts would never be troubled (John 15:27).
We shared tonight about what peace means, when we’ve experienced the peace of God in our hearts. We cried a little, laughed too, but spoke to one another’s hearts. We shared the peace of God, the peace that passes all understanding. It is this peace that allows us to serve here. A peace that tells us that we are not in control, but there is One who is in control. He knows our yesterdays, our todays, our tomorrows, and our tomorrow’s tomorrows: there is nothing He does not see, nothing that is not in His hands. Knowing this gives us peace. We are in His hands. Our cares, our worries, He knows them, and He will provide, and when we delight in Him, our hearts will be satisfied.
He is with us, His peace abides with us. The presence of the Lord is the calm in the storm, the confidence in the face of the accuser, the stronghold in times of trouble, the rock that is higher than the flood, the peace in the midst of the choas. This is the peace that allowed Job, that allows us to say when everything else was gone, I know that my redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25).