Haiti Mission 2014 – Day 9 – Self-Control

Here we are, waiting at the Port-au-Prince airport. We’ve got a long day of flying, and driving, in order to get home. This is the first time in over a week that we’ve had reliable broadband internet connection, too, if you couldn’t tell. Amy’s watching a video of her granddaughter, Bruce and Donna are checking their email, Dawn is reading the news, and Matt – well, Matt is admiring the picture he took of the ONE Haitian we found wearing a Duke shirt (admittedly, we never saw a KU shirt). I’ll be buying Matt a beer later. (I need to remind my wife to send a couple of KU shirts to Haiti for next year.)

I want to take a moment to thank everyone for your prayers, and for your financial support. It’s encouraging to know that so many are thinking and praying for us while we are here, and we hope you know that as we serve in the name of Christ in Haiti, we represent the whole body of Christ. You are here with us, in Spirit and in prayer, and we are one in ministry together.
As we finish our trip, we also complete our study on the Fruit of the Spirit, focusing today on Self-Control. That Paul should conclude this list with something like Self-Control is important. To walk in the Spirit, to live like Christ, to be a disciple, by definition, is to live a life of Self-Control. We engage in the battle against sin in the flesh – we deny ourselves and take up our cross daily. Self-Control is saying “no” to sinful desires, but its more than just saying “no.” You say no to the life of the flesh, and “Yes” to the life of the Spirit, the life of Christ.
Self-Control is holding your tongue, knowing when not to speak, and knowing when to speak, and to speak the Truth with Love. Self-Control is more than just restraining the rage and anger that can quickly burst out when wronged or offended – it is denying that rage and anger a place in your heart in the first place. Self-Control is the discipline of the athlete who denies himself even some of the “good things” this world has to offer to keep your heart fixed on the “great things” of God’s Kingdom. Self-Control is living in such a way so as to not disqualify yourself from the ministry of the Gospel – letting everything you say and do be to the glory of God the Father.
Of course, as with all the other characteristics of the life of the Spirit, this virtue of Self-Control does not come naturally, but is the gift of God’s presence in our lives. How do we grow in this gift? Zechariah tells us it is “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”
God’s Spirit produces self-control within us through grace, enabling us to see and trust all that God is for us in Jesus Christ. Paul says in his letter to Titus that the grace of God has appeared, instructing us to deny worldly desires in the present age (Titus 2:11). When we see and believe what God has done for us by grace through Jesus Chirst, the power of wrong desires is broken, so that we might fight the good fight, and take hold of the eternal life to which we have been called (1 Tim. 6:12).

Haiti Mission 2014 – Day 8 – Gentleness

Its day 8 of our Haiti Mission Trip, and we are on our journey home.  We arrived in Haiti on a Thursday, and are heading back to Port-au-Prince on a Thursday; one full week in country.  
We are tired, its been a quiet ride so far.  The week here was full of hard work; we are exhausted physically, emotionally spiritually.  After a week like this, any other group might be testy and crabby – but by the grace of God we all still seem to like one another.  Hallelujah!  
We returned to the Consolation Center this morning for a quick goodbye with the girls before we left.  As usual, this was one of the hardest moments of the trip.  The girls sang for us, then rushed out to give us hugs and say “orevwa.”  There were tears, of course, and not just with the ladies – these girls get into your heart and have a way of stealing it away.
Next we bid farewell to Les and Catherine, our gracious hosts at the Beachhouse and mission partners with Laborers with Christ.  They have worked us hard.  Zachary, their son, is a task master – and you better remember to use the square when welding for him, or he’ll let you have it.  All in all we made 6 bunk beds, cut out metal for six more, and cut out the material for 10 new desks for the school house – not a bad three days of work. We also repaired a plow, and Matt plowed 5 fileds, and ran over his backpack – includeing his iPhone.  Not to worry, all the phone is fine, and the backpack will wash.  There was a lot of painting, singing, coloring – we kept busy and worked the days away.
Now its time to go home.  I think we’re all missing some of the comforts of home – hot showeers, air conditioning – personally i cant wait for some ice cream.  And while we are eager to go home, ther is a part of us that will stay in Haiti.  Our hearts and Spirits have connected to with these beautiful people; we’ve seen a need and God has granted us with the means to meet that need – what a honor and privieldge to be used by God in such a way to bless His children.
Today our devotion is on Gentleness.  Gentleness is not weakness; it does not mean being a pushover, easily manipulated.  No, gentleness comes from a deep well of quiet strength.  When you are secure in your identity in Christ, when you know that your salvation, your hope, our future, is in his hands, that His stength which has overcome the world is the same strength that moves in you today – you have the strenth to be gentle with those around you. Someone who is gentle does not have to rush to defend himself, can bear with the wrongs of others, is humble, unassuming.  Gentleness is a firm yet forgiveing hand – firm and unwavering, strong and mighty to save, but tender and kind – bringin blessing and relief in its touch.  Gentleness is like carrying a baby in your arms.  Your arms are secure, safe, and tender and caring. 
Exercising gentleness with others is evidence that God’s Holy Spirit is working in you.  This trip to Haiti has called for great gentleness, a firm belief in God and His love for us in Jesus Christ, and a tender love and mercy for those in need. My hope, my prayer, is that we as a team, as the Church, can show this gentleness (quiet strength and tender mercy) as we continue to grow in God’s Spirit.

Sorry, not a lot of pictures tonight, WIFI issues at the Hotel. 1st world problems in a 3rd world country.