With heavy hearts, we ended our time at Petion ville today. Over 215 children showed up, 23 pastors, and about 20-30 church leaders. Leaving behind those children and new friends was so incredibly difficult. All of our hearts break at the thought. At the end of the day we handed out school supplies, sang all together, and presented each of the church leaders, pastors, and volunteers with certificates. Words cannot come close to expressing the mixed feelings of joy and sadness… Accomplishment of what we came to do, but still so much left to be done. The children loved to play with our hair, hug on us, and kiss us on the cheek. They were so much fun, and very respectful. Our volunteers, organized by Ruth Lindor (a friend and ministry partner down here… also their college professor in education) were absolutely top-notch. They taught with skill and passion, served without reservation, and counted it an honor to partner with us in ministry. One of our translators was telling me this morning that he lives in the mountains outside of Petion ville. Each morning he walked 30 minutes down the hill, took a motorcycle taxi another 30 minutes into the city, and caught a bus ride for an hour… Just to help us, without pay. He said it was an honor to come and give his talents and his energy for the kingdom of God… “Just like you guys are doing, Pastor.”
We gave all the pastors resources on the Doctrine of Salvation, and a commentary on Romans and Galatians… Thanks to our brothers and sisters at First Baptist Church of Crockett, TX for that great privilege. The pastors were overwhelmingly grateful. We were also able to leave 3 sets of DVD training (in Creole – 9 hrs of instruction each) over these same materials with 3 great pastors in key cities: Kenscoff, Petion ville, and Leogan. These pastors will hold training seminars of their own over the next 3 months using these materials. The pastors were very attentive and seemed to really begin to grasp the concept of preparing for expositional sermons… And they absolutely ate up the suggestions for delivery and flow. Practical training on being faithful to God’s word while preaching is something they are all very hungry for. I gave one my shirt, all of them my contact info, and would have given them my shoes and pants if I didn’t need them tomorrow. Their hearts are so big, and their love for The Lord… contagious. One pastor told me today that he had helped with similar things several times in different areas across Haiti but never has he seen a staff (our people) with such great character (his own words). He went on and on about how the people of this team modeled humility, love, and teamwork like no other group he had ever seen.
I spoke with another pastor today who traveled 6 hours – on foot… WALKED – to preach at a church last Sunday. (And FYI – they do not get paid for preaching or pastoring at all here in Haiti). But this great man of God counted it such an honor to deliver God’s word. I pray for more of his passion and commitment in my own ministry context.
The national tv station (only one in Haiti) came and interviewed us today in Petion ville. So Monday morning, they will be broadcasting what this team has done for Christ the past week. Honored that our Lord will receive glory nationwide for His great work throughout this team.
The question all of us got more than any other today was, “When are you all coming back?” Soon, I hope. But we are not done yet. Tomorrow will be a very long day up the mountain in Lone. Petion ville is more urban (if you can call it that) and Lone is far away in a very rural area. We have to cram 4 days of our original VBS plan into 6 hours there tomorrow. Our team has been working hard at this for days. We originally planned to take it easy Saturday and go see some various orphanages, and churches in the area… but God changed our plans and this team is dedicated to working with every ounce of energy for the kingdom of God. They really get it. What an honor to serve with them. We are praying for God to show up in a mighty way tomorrow. Please pray with us!
Grace and Peace,