Haiti Update Day 6

The Lord’s DayExodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

A blessed day of rest in the Lord today in Haiti. We rose early to make it to the Consolation Center for worship at 7:00. To hear the children singing at the top of their voices songs of praise to our God in the name of Christ the Savior was just awesome. We sat in a packed church with beautiful children of God from Haiti and the US, in Creole and English, with hearts and hands raised to the Lord in praise and adoration. We heard a powerful message, with translation, on the importance of following the movement of the Holy Spirit, preached from Acts 2. The songs were amazing, some we knew, many we didn’t, but the singing was heartfelt and worshipful.

Service at the Consolation Center ended just before 9:00 – we had no idea the time had gone so quickly. From there we drove to the Village of Hope for their worship service. We were welcomed warmly, and blessed by powerful prayer, a wonderful children’s choir, and a sermon form Hosea 2 on the Faithfulness of God toward unfaithful Israel, and a call to turn from idolatry. There was no interpreter for this sermon, so it was difficult to follow, but I knew enough of the text and could pick up some key words to try to make sense of it – and Les filled us in on the finer details after the service.

It is an understatement to say that the worship services in Haiti are different than those in the US. Where we are more reserved, quiet, and reflective, the Haitian services are experiential, responsive, and very active services. The music has a free flow to it, bringing their cultural styles and rhythms to songs we may sing very differently in our services. Prayers are longer, considerably, but passionate and free. I was particularly moved by the prayers. I didn’t understand much of them, but the Spirit of prayer was clearly seen. These prayers were prayed by people of prayer. Some Puritan somewhere once wrote that it was better to have prayer without words but full of heart than prayer full of words but without heart. I am convicted that sometimes I have prayed and my heart has been a mile away. This was not the case today. Also, their prayers were full of thanksgiving. The one phrase you could not help but pick up in the prayer was “Mesi Senior,” “Thank you Lord!” Repeated over and over again. Repeated with those things they were thankful for. Surrounded by such poverty and devastation, to hear prayers of thanksgiving causes me to repent of my lack of thankfulness for the abundance I have been given. I may not have understood much of what was said in worship this morning, but I believe the Spirit was speaking to me through the Word and in our time of worship. I am thankful for this Lord’s Day.

In the afternoon we rested at the beach. What a refreshing balm to sore and tired bodies after a week of tenuous travel and strenuous work. Wading in the water, letting the tide roll over you, visiting with friends about matters of faith and the Word of God – it was a perfect rest for the day. I am thankful for this also on this Lord’s Day.

We drove into the city of Les Cayes for supper tonight, a real treat – Pepperoni Pizza. We sat at the table together, telling stories of God’s provision, making plans for the coming day, and enjoying the fellowship of the table. A group of Haitian teens sat behind us, having a great time – as they left, they circled up and prayed with one another. As we left the restaurant, the car was being difficult, and we got to watch a parade of bands pass by. We have no idea what the parade was for, but it was absolute chaos. Bands of drums and large horns, surrounded by crowds dressed in masks and costumes filled the streets, and cars and motor cycles still pushed their way through. We got caught in the traffic, and are grateful that Les was driving tonight – I never would have got us out of that mess. If this had been in the brochure for the trip, I don’t know if anyone would have come, but it was a once in a life time experience.

We ended the evening as we always do, sitting in a circle by the pool, bats swooping overhead, as we discuss our day and the devotion. This is a sweet time of prayer and fellowship, continuing the worship of our God under His stars – truly a blessing!

So that was the day, this Lord’s Day. I don’t know when this will get posted; my ability to get WIFI is limited, and my phone is kaput. We have a full day of work lined out for tomorrow, and we say goodbye to the children before heading back to Port Au Prince on Tuesday. It will be a difficult day, but we pray that God will bind our hearts together in love, as we have been already bound together as the body of Christ.

We are grateful for your prayers – keep praying for our work and travel home!

Grace and peace…

Hurry Up and Wait

Day 1 of our Haiti Mission Trip is winding down, and here we are making our home in the luggage claim area of the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport.  We’re playing the waiting game.

That seem to sum up the whole day, really.  We arrived, as recommended, 3 hours early for our international flight from Sioux Falls, SD, only to have to wait to even check in for our first flight.  

The first was a great flight, and it was a first in several ways.  For Zach and Caleb, it was their first flight ever.  For the rest of us, it was the first of several flights for our round trip journey to and from Haiti. On top of that, we also landed in Chicago 30 minutes earlier than expected, so that was an added bonus.

Except… it meant more waiting.  We waited in the Chicago. O’Hare airport for about 4 hours, which really isn’t a terrible wait – unless you’re flying with very active teenage boys.  It’s so hard to be patient.

Our flight to Florida was another smooth and unremarkable flight – the best kind in my opinion.  The downside (and I’m really not looking for the dark cloud behind the silver lining) is that now we wait, again, for our next flight.  Ft. Lauderdale doesn’t have an “International Section,” and the entire terminal has to be cleared at night for security screening.  So our waiting tonight will be with the other overnight travelers in the baggage claim section of the airport.  We can check back in at 4:00 in the morning; which is only 4 hours away. So, yea!, more waiting.

I don’t think I’m really good at waiting.  I can’t blame the boys for being impatient – I’m really no better. I like to see results, I like to get where I’m going; I like to be on the move.  Waiting takes patience, trust, and faith.

And so we wait.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the description of the Godly Man in Palm 1:

He is like a tree planted by stream of water that yeilds its fruit in its season…

Tree take time.  They don’t grow overnight, and what grow does come is measured in decades not just years.  It takes time for the fruitful season to come – and growing from seedling to fruit bearing might seem an eternity.

But the Godly man is like this tree planted by the streams of water.  I could talk here about this being the action of God – the tree doesn’t plant itself.  I could show how the permanence of being planted by streams of water is a contrast to the life ever-digressing life of the wicked. But what strikes me tonight, as I wait, is the patience of the man of God.

What is it that Treebeard the Ent says to young Pippen and Merry, “Don’t be so hasty!”

And so we wait.  We wait; expecting more travels and adventures tomorrow.  We wait; praying that God has great things in store for us as we serve Him and His people this coming week. We wait; realizing that none of us are really going to get a good night’s rest, but also remembering that they who “wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Until tomorrow!

SDG