Report by Pastor Jeremy
Title: Joy in the Most Unlikely Place
What a privilege it is for me to be with Bro. Chuck and the team from our church here in Haiti. This is my first time to visit this beautiful country. Some of you may be wondering, “Beautiful? Haiti?” Unfortunately many of the images we see in the media have caused us to miss the true beauty of not only the rugged landscape or the valleys surrounded by towering mountains, but of the Haitian people. We flew into Port au Prince from Atlanta. I just so happened to be sitting next to a woman who was born in Haiti, moved to France as a little girl and lived there until she was a teenager, finally making her home in New Jersey. Before the tragic events of September 11, 2001, she worked in one of the buildings of the World Trade Center. After narrowly escaping death and seeing many of her coworkers lose their lives, she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life helping people. She is now a nurse. After sharing with me her story, she asked me why I was visiting Haiti. I began to tell her about Truth Evangelistic Ministry and all that God has done through the efforts of so many who invest in TEM. As I was talking, this dear lady’s eyes filled with tears and she reached over and took my hand. “Thank you,” she began. “Thank you for helping my people. May God dearly bless you.” I assured her it was our joy to serve and that God gets the glory for anything we accomplish. This encounter with her set the stage for how the rest of my trip is going. I’m learning first hand that the beauty of Haiti comes from the people themselves. And the joy I’m seeing in so many who have so little is overwhelming.
This morning the team and I worshiped at Jerusalem I Church. I had the joy of bringing God’s Word to His people. Long before I preached, I sang and prayed with my Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ. I didn’t understand hardly a single word and although my interpreter would lean over and tell me what we were singing about, I already had a joy swelling up within my heart because we were worshiping Jesus. The joy of the Lord was evident and expressed through His people. Haitian and American, black and white, Creole and English speaking, those differences didn’t matter. The differences didn’t hinder our worship or expressions of love for God and for one another.
Ephesians 3:26-29 tells us that we are one in Christ. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. Because of our Savior, we are free to live beyond those imposed walls of separation and enjoy the fellowship of God and one another. When we understand that our joy comes not from power, prestige, popularity, or possessions, but from being connected to Christ Himself and having the freedom to love people, then we can fully understand what God means in His Word, “The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH!”
I enjoy “roughing it” a bit and am always up for adventure. Cold showers and limited electricity (with all the comforts it provides) make this journey interesting. While many wouldn’t “enjoy” living without creature comforts and would avoid places such as where I am, I have once again experienced JOY in the most unlikely place!