This trip was a very successful trip, and we accomplished a lot. I promise I will update you on all the things that the Lord did for us on this trip….. but first, I wanted to talk about whats on my heart.
There were pastors from Kentucky that joined us on this trip, and their mission was to host a pastors conference for area pastors, and also have a soccer camp for the village youth boys. What they accomplished was so much more, and I would bet they do not even know that they were touching my heart with everything they accomplished. Now, I know that these men would never say that they alone accomplished these things, that the Lord did, and I know that also. He chose them to do His work, and they did His work so very well. He blessed them with the words and the discernment on how to use them. These men projected His light regardless of any personal situations that they were going through. I pray that some day I can learn to put my problems aside and always project His light as these men do.
On Sunday morning, these pastors were given the opportunity to preach at the two lifeline property churches. One pastor went to the church at Barbancourt and one stayed to preach in La Digue. I had been blessed with the sermon that Pastor Damien gave over Christmas, so I chose to stay and listen to Pastor Eric, since I had not heard him preach before. (except when he was telling me to “rest in the Lord, sister”) Church started at 8am. There was a time of song, worship and praise. Every single seat in the church was filled, and more chairs and desk benches from the school were being brought in. The sun was shining and the people were smiling.
We heard testimony from a man that had recently just accepted Jesus into his heart, and we took up a special offering for a family that was in desperate need of a roof over their head. Regular offerings were also made. We watched the dedication of a very special child to the Lord. We were blessed with the sound of the sweet children from COBBA singing for us.
Listen to Joe from COBBA and hear the performance HERE…
When Pastor Eric was able to give his sermon we were already almost 3 hours into the service. Yes, you read that right… THREE HOURS. Can you believe that the people were still sitting… the children still paying attention. Not one person was pointing to their watch or fussing in their seat about the time. The message was powerful and hit home for me with the first story. The story of the prodigal son (the lost son) We heard the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin. (Luke Chapter 15) Pastor Eric reminded us that through our bad attitudes and our bad behaviors, Jesus will always love us.
I found myself a little down when we left the service. I was thinking about how we view “church” . We wake up Sunday mornings, and may have a thought in the back of our minds about whether we really need to get ready and go to the Sunday service. When we get there we are worried about whose name is on the bulletin for ushering or leading music. We are concerned with the songs being sung for worship today, “Why do the young people dislike the old hymns, or what’s wrong with new contemporary worship songs” When in all truth both types of music are loved and respected. It never fails, when the clock hits 11am, someone is looking at their watch. “is it almost over” “how long will he preach today”
I am reminded that I have an opportunity almost every minute of the waking day to be growing in the Lord. I live in a country where electronics are common place, computers are in almost every home. Pod casts, video casts…. beyond that it is not even legal in America to not have an education, so we are blessed with the ability to read, and can pick up a bible at almost any time. My Haitian friends walk to church on Sunday morning in the blazing heat and give as much time as it takes to the Lord. To hear the Word, and pray for the needs of their brothers and sisters. This is the only opportunity a good majority of the congregation will have for the entire week to hear the Word. Most people do not have their own bible, and if they do they may not be able to read it. By the time they get home from working hard to provide for their families and themselves it is close to dark, and they may not have the light to read by. Oh… how we take Sunday mornings for granted.
In January I had the pleasure of being included in the team from KY, that also included Pastor Eric. During this trip he met a woman that was unable to walk. If you ask her, she hasn’t been able to walk for several years, and it was because of a voodoo curse. Pastor Eric prayed with this lady during his visit in January and continued to pray for her when he returned home. When I visited again in March, Chelsea and I stopped and prayed with this gal again, praying for the healing power of Jesus to come upon her and give her the strength to use her legs and walk again. Pastor Eric, Pastor Damien, Pastor Odmy, and Tom were doing prayer walks in the village one day during our June trip and they stopped once again to pray with this woman who can not walk. The men all prayed over the woman once again. This time a miracle happened. She stood and walked. With the support of Pastor Odmy and Pastor Eric she walked to the canal and was baptized!!! This folks is what it is about. We are so immune to miracles at home that we do not even recognize them for what they are. When your surgery is successful, or your cold is cured……It takes something HUGE like a woman walking again for our eyes to be opened to the healing power in the blood of Jesus Christ. I can not wait to go and pray with her again in August.
We were blessed with the money to buy 40 bibles in Haiti before we left on this trip in June. We knew that we wanted to be able to gift each one of the girls that were part of our girls bible study a bible and that we were counting on 25-30 girls. We were not sure what we were going to do with the remaining bibles, but knew that the Lord would point us in the right direction when we got there. The money went to Osmy the first night we were there and he sent Julmeis to purchase the bibles. His suggestion was that we bought them in french, as this was taught in school and sought after. Guess what? French bibles are cheaper than Creole bibles. Julmeis came back to the mission with SIXTY EIGHT bibles. The seemingly random number was clear to us later. 25 girls in the girls bible study….. and 43 boys in the soccer camp/bible study. GOOSEBUMPS…
Pam’s mission this trip was to lead some young ladies in a bible study. What a blessing she was to this trip. Pam is so gifted in education, and especially gifted with the patience and discernment of teaching others. She touched some pretty tough subjects, but I am positive that she planted many seeds and that she touched the hearts of every girl. We used this opportunity to distribute hand made feminine hygiene pads, hand made washcloths, toiletries, and of course their very own bibles. Pens, highlighters, pencils and a prayer journal were also gifted. Pam made the class fun with door prizes and also made each girl a book mark. A big shout out to all the talented people that helped to provide these items for these girls.
When we learned last spring that a great majority of people can not read or write we were really struck with the thought of how these people can hear and learn the Word. Sherry started researching right away how we can help those that can not read. She was led to Faith Comes by Hearing. This amazing tool can broadcast the Good News to up to 300 people in their native language. The proclaimer is powered by solar and also has a crank to charge it up. There is an option to plug it in, but that is not always possible in Haiti. We were gifted one through the company and the money for a second was donated to the foundation. The above photo is a photo of Pastor Odmy receiving the gift of a proclaimer for him to use with people in the village of La Digue. The second one was brought to a pastor in a mountain village called Petit Bois.
One of our favorite parts of our visits to Haiti is when we can meet with the weekly widows group. They come to Lifeline each Tuesday morning for a time of worship and prayer. After this they are provided with some food stipends for the week, provided by Lifeline. We like to visit with them when we are there, and have a short devotional with them if possible. During this trip our very talented Pastor Damian was ever ready with the guitar to play and sing. With the help of our translator Jean Phillipe, we were able to worship through song with the widows group. After that is when we distributed a gift bag, all with things that were made possible through our supporters here in America. The washcloths are such a special thing that we can pass on to these special ladies. There was enough money gifted so that each bag had dish soap and laundry soap purchased in Haiti, and other toiletries that were brought along. Dr. Lou and his son Kyle (Who is a med student) then provided check ups for the widows, which was much needed. Thank you Dr. Lou and Kyle for your time and talents given to the widows this day.
Another project was to build and instruct on how to grow a key hole garden. Sherry was in charge of this one with her heart and knowledge for anything green. The idea is that your waste water and compost will feed and nourish your garden so that you do not have to haul water special for your garden. We were able to start 4 gardens, and complete one. There is money for a 5th and hopefully it is being done in our absence. The completed one was done at Tallways home (7:10 Haitian staff member) with the idea that when we do not have an active project at the widowage that he can help others in the village make their own gardens; That he will be able to share seeds and plant cuttings to neighbors to help start a more self sustainable idea in the community. He will also be helping and instructing the other four families with their gardens that we started. Learn more about key hole gardens HERE
The property. Wow…. another “God thing” We were blessed with funds for the fencing just days before our trip. $3500 is what we had been quoted to do the fencing on three sides of two pieces. On Monday morning I had the opportunity to go with our director Rodnald and driver/translator Julmeis to Port-au-Prince for supplies. I could talk for hours about how different it is to shop in Haiti versus America. Let’s just say it isn’t a quick trip into Home Depot to pick things up and be on our way home again. BUT…. again the hand of the Lord was with us at every turn.
We ended up coming in WAY under budget. So, we bought a water pump and hose and still had extra money. So, now planting can begin. From what I understand, vetiver grass will be planted on the side where you see the fence posts above, and some plantains and other fruit trees at the back side of the property. I am anxious to see the progress in August. Now, we can start raising money for our first home! This is a place that I was not sure we would ever get to… and look what happens when I wait for things to happen in the Lords time and not expect it to happen in my time. We are working with someone that is skilled in building Earth bag homes. This will be a less expensive way for us to build homes, while providing a safe place for widows and single moms. These homes are earthquake proof, flood proof, hurricane proof, and maintain a cool internal temperature. We are working with our contact to work out the details and I will post more when I know. I think that we should be able to build one of these homes for about $2700.00 which is almost half of what we were building before. When we are ready to build our first home, I am hoping that we have enough money that we can build a home for the family that lives right next to our property. It would be horrible to think of building new homes and leaving this one.
This structure is what six people are calling home right now. It is tarps, and sticks….. Please pray with us that we will be able to provide this family with better living conditions. We know that taking care of our neighbors is also very important.
Again, I ask for your prayers. Why are we so blessed? Because we know that anything that we are able to accomplish is only because Jesus is with us, we know that our prayer warriors are looking out for us and diligent in their prayers for the foundation…. Thank you.
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And, just because I think they are adorable, here is a photo of two of Tallway’s children……. He looks just like his daddy!
Blessings to you all!