Report by Justin Ray
Before the trip began, God was greatly convicting me on the significance of the joy of the Lord. Talking with our translators here in Haiti, it is evident that they are overwhelmed with joy, standing in awe of God’s beauty, yearning to spread this joy. They have set an example for me – one which I pray will never fade, but will bountifully grow and produce fruit, because of God, and for God. Pastor Dieuvert (translator) gave me these words of wisdom: “Trust, trust, trust the Lord – and love Him always.” So I have come to the conclusion that when we pursue God and keep his commands then our joy will be made complete, and this is important because the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Report by Charis Wiegand
This morning I woke to the sound of squealing pigs, and their smell. (Now I understand why God told the Israelites they are unclean animals!) These pigs aren’t like Wilbur or Babe – they are huge, and sound a lot more like sand people in Star Wars. But before I had time to become annoyed, I heard everyone else laughing. This group is great, and full of the joy of the Lord from dawn till dusk! Before long we could also hear the choir at Jerusalem I singing. Though the sermon did not begin until 10:00, worship began much earlier. The Haitians came up in groups to worship through song, but also to bless the rest of the congregation with their very good voices. It was different, but definitely beautiful and heart warming.
The last mission trip I went on was to a reservation in Lame Deer, MO. On that trip I learned so much about the power of prayer and spiritual warfare, but what stuck out to me was the spiritual oppression. After being in the community for over 14 years, the people still viewed Christianity as ‘white man’s’ religion. The congregation was small and shy, and lacked spiritual leaders, namely, a Cheyenne pastor. Though I continue to pray for the people there and for that veil of darkness to be lifted, I am so encouraged by what I am seeing here. There is not just one church here associated with the mission, but three other sister churches, all with Haitian pastors. They are all in different stages, but all are growing! Even the tent church has a school with a vision of reaching the younger generation for Jesus. The church that doubles as a home for 29 orphans is still being a witness to their community. Tomorrow we will be hiking up to a church that needs paint. Though the building itself is new, the church body has worked hard for a long time to build a nice place for them to worship.
Though not everyone here has accepted Christ as their savior, they are receptive. And though voodoo is a very real thing here, one by one people are realizing that voodoo does not hold the answers they need in life. So they turn to Jezi (Jesus) and even burn their voodoo paraphernalia as an outward sign of their new life. I’m reminded of when Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest sends out laborers into His fields.” (Matthew 9:37-38) I’m so glad that we are here to remind people that they need Jesus, to bring crafts and games and food and love to the children, and to encourage our fellow believers so that they can continue to reach their own community for Christ.