Reporting from the Frontlines of Haiti – February 2013
Going back to Haiti was such a blessing!
The Lord is so good in allowing me to go back again. Going into the trip there were many new challenges and uncertainties that came along. This was one trip that I really had to be prepared more for and put my trust in the Lord more than ever. However, with great challenges, comes great opportunity to bring the Lord glory.
As I joined the team to go, there were going to be new challenges as I was to doing a lot more leading. With it comes responsibility and for me, stepping up to the plate. There was also uncertainty in what would be my role outside of leading. But shortly before the trip, the door opened for me to have the opportunity to teach again. This is what really got me excited about going and seeing the Lord be faithful in helping me prepare for teaching with such limited time.
As I go into the highlights of the trip, I will break it down. First I will talk about what we did and then some of the main things that I learned from the trip. I set out for an extended trip that included me staying back with two others for another week. But I was glad that I signed up for the Signs and Wonders package as Pastor Brian named it.
The first week, I set out with 13 of my brothers and sisters. This group was very unique in personality and had many going for the first time. This made it an amazing trip. I honestly was more excited before going about all the first-timers because I knew that it would bring transformation to their lives and I continue to look forward to what the Lord is going to do in their lives as they returned and reflected.
The initial 10 days that I spent with the group was action-packed from the get go. We were always going. We were split up and everyone had a part to play whether big or small. We had a big construction project going while we fit in ministry in between.
Our big project was to get drainage in before the rains come. The new Missionary Training Center that is being developed is a place that will disciple Haitian families in the Word and provide a base camp for mission teams. So as the property sits up on a hill, there are people that live below a fifteen foot wall that is in no way a retaining wall. It was vital to get in the proper drainage and French drain to keep the hillside from coming down on the people below. This was a trying project to many, but was so rewarding to see done. It was a little bit that we did, but a big piece of the puzzle checked off to see the gospel be proclaimed in the future. To see what Brian’s vision for the property is and to see it as another phase in his ministry to send out Haitian’s with the gospel amongst the land is such a blessing.
In between the projects, there was a lot of ministry going on. We had some of the guys teaching the students at the college in the mornings as we were out either at the property or at the orphanage spending time doing therapy and stretching of the handicapped kids. What a joy they are to be around. It is humbling to think of what we have in mobility that we take for granted.
After lunch, we would normally unite and be busy supporting the different ministries that went on. We went to feeding programs, tent cities and church to teach the word, share the good news, and be a light to the people. We also had the opportunity to go to the hospital to pray and be there for people. This was a new and awesome experience. It was definitely something new for me and just seeing how the Lord went before us.
We held a soccer clinic and games with a number of kids at a local church. The Lord opened the door to use their facilities along with uniforms, and balls to the kids. It was awesome in that we were able to play, teach and feed physically and spiritually.
Then we came to the end where we had most of the team leave as we stayed back. This part of the trip took on its own path. As they left, we were accompanied by a new team of three from New Jersey. We also had a missionary from Brazil there that was there through the end our time. It was somewhat of a letdown to see our friends go, but it brought blessings in meeting and living with the others. We got to spend some good time together and spend some great quality time with the students there. They are such amazing men of God!
Our last week took on a new direction in the ways we served as well. We took on a smaller project in adding more water lines and area ready for gardening at house. This we called Operation Watermelon as they will be able to plant watermelon, squash, and tomatoes.
But the biggest change in the trip was the opportunity to pray, teach and preach the gospel. This was the highlight of the trip for me as I will go into more later. There were four of us that taught the students in the mornings and then we were out ministering to the people.
We had many opportunities to share the gospel and lead worship throughout the tent cities. We had an amazing opportunity to drive two hours – sitting in the back of a truck in the sun – only to have ten minutes by the grace of God to preach the gospel and hand out bibles to hundreds of prisoners. Many accepted the Lord! It is only the Lord that will get us to travel that far to have His work be done in 10 minutes.
We did many studies with the neighbor kids and other ministries that the students took us to. It was a major blessing to teach them and to see there hunger for bible study. The kids would seek me out asking for bible study. It was a major blessing to address common issues that plague the church and be able to give an answer for our faith. For many, the study and praise to the Lord was just as important or if not more than the physical food that they need.
On top of that we had many opportunities to see and experience the lives of those that are truly struggling. It takes getting in deep with some of the students to see what some of the people are really going through. Even there, you have to get off the beaten path to see the struggles that people are going through on a daily basis. Through that we were able to spend a great amount of time encouraging and praying for the people. What was so amazing to see was the joy of the Lord being the strength in these people’s lives. The spiritual richness that these people have is so amazing.
Each of the things that we did had great impact not only with the people of Haiti, but the team as well. The Lord uses us but probably is teaching and speaking to us just as loud if not louder.
What I Learned
This is my third time to the Haiti Bible Training Center and there is so much that I took away. Not only do I learn new things as the Lord is showing me things, but also He is faithful to reinforce what is the underlying theme of our walks with the Lord.
Faith and Obedience is the theme that is constant through all my trips there. Much of it has a lot to do with the example and miracles that the Lord has done through Pastor Brian. Each time I go, I am given testimony from Brian in how we are to be obedient in trusting in what the Lord has told us to do. Through all the road blocks, God remains faithful to what He tells and shows us to do. This trip, I believe that the Lord showed me the most into His faithfulness through the ups and downs that came through the trip.
The Lord taught me a lot about spiritual warfare, His faithfulness, using my gifts and finishing the work.
The first thing that stood out a lot was spiritual warfare. For me, this was in the works before we even left. When it came down to it, it was in relationships among people that I saw the most attacks. Then we were accompanied by many getting sick as well as those with nightmares. When you’re in Haiti, just as there is much evidence in the Lord moving mountains, the presence of the enemy is very evident as well. With the busyness of life stripped away that we have in America, you begin to see the war in the spiritual realm is very real. This is the first team that I have experienced all of this.
This was very evident to me as I witnessed others actions and in what people were saying. It really had me worried and I had to guard myself. It made me step back and I think that the Lord heightened my realization of it. It caused me to be on guard in regards to what people’s intentions were. While it may have caused me to be hesitant to accept what others were saying and I even expressed that to some. I felt that it was best to be able to be at a distance at times. The enemy comes in more often than not to divide God’s children which leads to destruction. Matthew 12:25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them. Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. This verse struck a chord with me as I saw the many things that were coming up.
Through my experience there I recognized things in my head, that my thoughts would wander, and began to train myself to guard against that. I began to notice that I had selfish thoughts the first day or two and had to refocus on the Lord at times when these feelings would creep in. I have never had this experience before at this magnitude, but it was a great learning experience to learn to fight through it and give it to the Lord. I can praise the Lord through it as the Lord was faithful to get me through the trip. Even in the struggles I believe that everyone grew stronger and benefited from our experiences.
Going into the trip, I was praying a lot that we wouldn’t get in the way of our focus on the service we were called to do. There definitely was a reason that the Lord was preparing me for it. I felt that it didn’t come in the way that I was expecting it the most, but I was able to adapt. This was my greatest desire going into the trip in that there would not be any division. But through it all the Lord gave me a greater understanding of the war that we are in and how we need to be suited up at all times. 24/7. Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of god, that you are able to stand against the wiles of the devil. I am thankful that the Lord has shown me these things to make me stronger and gave me more wisdom in regards to the fight that we fight every day. It is real whether we see it or not.
While I may have shaken you up and seemed to express to you a message of trials, there was much fruit that came out of it and in other things the Lord was showing me. Like I said earlier, the Lord was making faith and obedience a reality in my life there. Over the last few years, I have been stretched and shaped in many different ways. But on this trip, I believe the Lord took me to a whole new level. I can’t say that it was me, but the Lord continues to show His power and grace in my life as I accept what is being thrown at me.
For example, the second day in, I was put on the spot when we were at the tent city to give a message. I get that knot in my stomach but seemed to always say ok. Well I was worried, but the Lord gave me remembrance of His word and I was able to teach them. It was not only that, but He gave me a peace in whatever situation I was in. Another example was going to the hospital and having a peace instead of being uncomfortable. The Lord is always faithful to go before us. Joshua 1:9 Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
The Lord was faithful to give me the words so much during the trip whether teaching or just talking and encouraging others. God is faithful to give us what to say when the time comes. Matthew 10:19-20 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you will should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. There were so many situations that presented themselves where the Lord gave me the answers to what the people were asking. The Word of God that we take in is not lost. The Lord definitely showed me that I have the truth in me and He can use me more than I think. We have to learn to surrender and allow the Spirit to lead us.
The third major thing that the Lord was showing me was to use the gift He has given me and the desire to use it. If you asked me, I would have never even considered teaching let alone think that I would be good at it and enjoy it. But thanks to brothers challenging me, I have had the opportunity to do it more and more. A year ago is when I was really challenged to teach and to see how the Lord has put it on my heart is such a blessing.
Going into this trip, even though I had new challenges of being a leader, I felt a void because I wasn’t sure what my purpose was. It wasn’t until a few weeks before, I was asked to be ready to teach. I was hesitant at first due to my schedule, but went for it. It was then that I was really seeing the Lord’s gift was becoming a part of me. 1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. The Lord definitely has shown me to use it more and have a desire to.
It was probably the highlight of the trip in that while I didn’t teach the students the whole time, I had the opportunity to teach and minister to the kids and neighbors on a daily basis. Not only was it a lesson to me in realizing my gift, but to see them hungry for study. They would be asking me when we were going to do it again. It definitely made me think of when the next opportunity I will have to come back and teach.
To wrap up the major things that I learned is learning how important it is to finish what we set out to do. In life there are so many things that we start but don’t finish. This is what Satan wants us to do. This was evident with the projects we had. Whether it was the drainage at the property or doing the garden, there is always opposition because the enemy doesn’t want us to finish.
But there was much to learn from it. Yes it was a challenge getting the Haitians to understand what to do and keeping them working. Yes there were challenges as not everyone is cut out for the heavy manual labor. But what it boils down to is that we are running a race. God uses everyone and their abilities and makes it work. It’s like the parable of Minas. It doesn’t matter who did what or if you’re good at it. God just needs us to be willing. Matthew 25:21 talks about how we need to be faithful with whatever was given to us. So we all don’t have the same talents, but if we stick to it, the Lord will use everyone to finish the task. We just need to be willing.
Also, we have to learn to have self-control and be disciplined to finish. We have to push through the thoughts of when we think we can’t. This is why God told the Israelites to make memorials to help them remember what the Lord did as the trusted in Him. Then we have to die to self and keep pressing on.
When I saw the vision of what the use of the property is going to be used for, it just gave me more of a drive to keep pressing on knowing of the fruit that is going to come down the road. It’s through tough and ugly that we see to it that the work will be finished.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus; not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
God has planted us in good soil and some do hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty fold Matthew 13:8-9. So we all need to run our race according to what the Lord has given us and finish strong. God will complete the task at hand. We just have to be faithful to show up and do our part.
Well I hope that I didn’t bore you, but there was so much application and things to share with you. I thank everyone for their prayers and support for our trip. While I can’t give you the experience that I have had, I hope that this letter won’t just be an itinerary of what we did and accomplished, but bring application to your lives. The hope and joy of the Lord is alive and multiplying in Haiti and I long for the same in you as it is there.
I can say that every time you go out help the needy, you come back realizing how you were the one that needed it more. We are so spiritually poor, it is unexplainable. It’s time we pick up in the race that we first started to run. Let’s put all in and see the Lord run before us. Let us follow in obedience knowing that God has given us a purpose and He is faithful to finish the work. Maybe you aren’t called to travel the world, but the Lord has gift(s) that he has given you and is waiting for you to answer the call.
We read stories and share experiences all the time and are in awe of what is being accomplished. But let us rise up to answer the call. The church is stagnant and dying here in America. I pray and encourage you to answer the holy calling He has put in your life.
Thanks again to everyone for your support and prayers!