Friday, August 5, 2016

Serving in many ways, but still much more to do {August 3, 2016}

Bible Training Center teaching in 1 Peter ended today, and Jim began teaching through 2 Peter.  The issue was raised about Haitian culture and how many (churches in Haiti) place culture at a higher standing than God’s Word.  Common expectation is that people dress nicely for church services, but the reality is most Haitians do not have nice clothes.  This ‘prevents’ them from gathering in churches; many say they can’t come because they don’t have the proper clothing.  Some of the students are deeply angered by this and don’t want anything to prevent anyone from coming to Christ.  Let’s pray God uses these young men to change the tide of culture and effectively communicate to the people among them that they can come as they are!

Some team members went again this morning to the hospital, just to see if there was a change.  It was still closed, but there were some divine appointments in the parking lot!  Among other encounters, they were able to pray over a 5-day old baby.  (This baby would have been born the day we arrived in Haiti.)  They gave the family some diapers and formula, and reminded them that these were provisions from the Lord.

The team was able to make another trip to the new orphanage this morning while John and Jim taught at the Bible training center.  This was the 3rd trip.  Remember, at the start of the trip the orphanage director was hesitant about the team coming.  Yet today, upon leaving, she told the team, “Oh, come back every day!  Come back every day!”  We praise God that He has used this team to begin another relationship here in Haiti and open another door of opportunity to be His hands and feet…to 37 children and 4 nannies in need.

Medical Clinic with Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda
A team from Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda, CA joined us at Cross to Light, and a portion of our team was able to assist them in a medical clinic.  Today was an amazing day and a true blessing to see the power and love of God mightily at work in the people and each member of the medical team. Alex, John Godby, and Allan prayed with the patients throughout the day. We prayed for several women who knew the Lord and their only prayers were to stay on fire for the Lord, for strength during persecution, help with fighting sin, protection for children as they sleep, and for more passion for the Word of God. One little girl asked that we pray for her little brother not to be afraid to sleep at night. One elderly lady who glowed with the light of the Holy Spirit had terminal breast cancer with only a short time to live, yet she prayed for us after we prayed for her.  The heat was so bad at the start of the day that some of the translators were asking if we could bring everyone waiting at the gate inside, but we were not able to do so. However, Alex and Allan went under the stairs and prayed for more wind and cloud cover to protect those waiting.  30 minutes later we realized that the clouds moved in and wind picked up… Praise God!  The heat index was to be 100+, but God in that one little section provided protection.  We had 5 people surrender their lives to Jesus as Lord and Savior (4 women and 1 young man).  However, the saddest part was that we had two young mothers confess they knew of God and Jesus and believed Jesus died for our sins, but they wouldn’t repent and surrender to God, knowing they would go to hell if they died today.  The power of the Holy Spirit was so awesome that none of us got discouraged not even for a second.

This evening, Pastor John was able to teach at the BTC church service, a message on Zacchaeus.  He encouraged the people to run ahead of the “crowds” in their lives and separate themselves from anything (including voodoo) to see Jesus.  Several people raised their hands after the message, wanting to draw nearer to Christ.  Team members were able to pray over each person.  There wasn’t a translation, but God hears and understands the prayers!  We also prayed for Pastor Israel - for the Lord to supernaturally empower him to shepherd this flock that is among him.  There is much work to be done here.  

John with Bible Training Center students (left to right: Jovenel, Dossou,
Jonas, Michael, Patrick)

Jim teaching Bible Training Center students

Janelle with our new friend Ralph
Bible booklets were given to the children at the orphanage

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

VBS, Lunch and New Shoes {August 2, 2016}

The morning began with VBS located near Cross to Light of Pastor Israel. Many of the children have been asking different team members when we were having VBS since we arrived on Friday. We were excited to see many familiar faces. The skit and message of Mark 4 about the different soils of the heart were shared with the many children and adults that came to the amphitheater. With a bird’s eye perspective, the skit team members were able to witness many who were focused on receiving from the seed sown in their hearts. The Lord blessed the team with wisdom, and we arranged things differently than previous years and were able to provide shaded areas for the children to sit as they received the message and enjoyed the skit. (Past years the children had to sit in the hot sun.) The team received a special blessing as the children shared beautiful musical solos in both English and Haitian Creole, including “You are my Sunshine”, which brought tears to many eyes.  Pastor Israel and his church leadership were able to assist our team in providing VBS T-shirts and special care packages for the babies in hand. Prayers are being answered as our team is witnessing Jesus touching hearts and blessing our team with strength and unity to match the work He has called us to fulfill, for His glory, honor and praise.

The team was able have a quick lunch with the students from the Bible college and others who helped with the morning VBS. This deepened the relationship between our team and Pastor Israel and the local church members. Together, we prepared lunch for about 250 members of the local community, many of whom just attended the morning VBS.

As the people settled into benches under the palm and banana trees in front of our housing, the team loved on them through special “one things” (items that each team member brought to engage those we meet).  Pastor John then provided a teaching on “Trusting Jesus” using the Gospel where Peter walked on water. When Pastor asked his son Jaden to show what trust looked like through using a trust fall into Jim Hall’s arms, many of the people seemed to begin to understand what trusting God begins to look like. Many hands went up during a call for salvation, and we know that Pastor Israel will be faithful in his follow-up.

Our team was honored to serve this huge part of the local community a large lunch meal. Because many people in Haiti only get one meal a day, the food was a blessing that the CCFred team was blessed to provide in the name of Jesus.

After a time to eat, our team was able to provide many people with crocks, flip-flops and clothing. Mothers of young children received special baby supplies. Reaching out with physical things that are useful to those in this community allows our team to show that we want to do more than just talk about the love of Jesus. We want to share the good news through the blessing provided by people who love Jesus!

A young man that joined us for VBS
Preparing Lunch

In the midst of a meal

In line for a pair of Shoes
Little Guy with a new pair of Crocs

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Shifting Plans, but Still Sharing Christ's Love {August 1, 2016}

This morning, Pastor John began teaching the Bible Training Center students in the book of 1 Peter.  They asked tons of questions and progress was slow, but abundantly productive!  Pray for these young men who are eager to embark upon the journey God has for them.

Orphanage…We had a wonderful second visit to the orphanage. God is so good! The first time we visited the orphanage the middle schoolers were kind but distant. Today God intervened, and we were able to love on them. The team had brought sidewalk chalk, and once the middle schoolers got some they began drawing out games on the ground for us to play with them. It was AWESOME!! We were able to show them that Jesus loves them even when they are no longer little children. To show them that to Jesus they are important. It was such a sweet time. Danielle did a review of the lesson her and Rachel taught during our last visit. It was great to see how much they remembered and wanted to tell the answer. We were able to bless them with some mango slices for lunch. Natasha (one of the ladies here at Cross to Light) showed Janelle the Haitian way to cut up Mangos. We were thankful for her experience and kindness towards us. Everyone here at Cross to Light are so kind and have such a servant’s heart.

We were scheduled to visit the village of Artibonite today and the church plant with Pastor Fednel, but heavy winds (sandblasting?!) and rain storms (mud slides?!) prompted us to reschedule this to Friday.  We were able to spend some extended time in prayer and worship this afternoon, a wonderful treat.  During this unscheduled break, John and Melanie were able to visit the orphanage where our team has ministered the past few years.  We were concerned about the possibility that we would not be able to minister here again this year, as the new management wasn’t as welcoming.  However, after a warm visit with their sponsor child (and his house mom) and incredible favor from the Lord, they have welcomed us back as a team!  So we will be going there Friday morning.  We wish we could go more, but pray we make the most of our one visit, especially to the handicapped / special needs children.

A few from our team went to a local hospital to minister to the babies tonight, but the hospital was closed.  The doctors aren’t being paid, so they are all on strike apparently.  This was such a disappointment.  We will try again later in the week (and a different time of day).  Our desire is to hold the babies and pray over them…provide diapers, baby formula…but His will be done.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Good Day of Serving {July 31, 2016}

Early this morning we piled into the tap-taps (Haitian taxi trucks) and rode out to Pastor Dovic’s church. Coming out of the city of Port-au-prince, we crossed a rocky quarry that had become a shallow river, and quite a bumpy ride. We headed into the trees where Pastor Dovic has recently planted a church. As we approached we could hear them worshipping in the church surrounded by banana trees. It was a beautiful time to get to worship with them and hear familiar songs being sung to the Lord in Creole.

Pastor John preached an inspiring message from 2 Peter with Dovic’s help to translate, and the congregation really enjoyed the encouragement. The children were excited to hear about the t-shirts we brought for them and began to gather from the homes around the church. The team performed the skit about the 4 soils parable and brought some laughs and good lessons from the Lord. We were all graced with the opportunity to do some crafts and get to love on the children and build new friendships with the community. The Lord has truly been working in Dovic’s church and the community is truly coming together to show Christ’s love with one another. The team provided the t-shirts for the kids and and 150 shoes, and we got to sit back and watch the local church body care for each other as they handed out shirts to the kids. At last, Dovic’s church foundation has been laid and the vision that the Lord has given him is truly coming to fruition!

It was truly a good day serving the Lord, and we have only just begun our week here in Haiti!

Please continue praying for the work of the Lord here and the wonderful people of Haiti.

Stuck in the mud

Safe Arrival and Saturday's Blessings {July 30, 2016}

Most of the morning was spent adjusting to the climate and spending time together.  We had some worship and prayer time.  After lunch, we walked to a nearby orphanage. About 40 children are housed here ages ranging from 1-15 years.  Everyone brought out something special to share with the children - hand games, coloring, nail polish, love and hugs. The children especially loved the balloons that Danielle brought. Many a game of balloon toss, balloon soccer and pop-the-ballon games were played.  Students from the Bible College joined us for the visit. Seeing them interact and lead worship with the children was encouraging. We were able to share the skit (4 soils parable).  It was amazing!  The children understood and seemed to really let it soak in.  As usual, John’s ukulele was a big hit.  Many of the young ones wanted to strum and sing.  Loving on the kids and sharing the love of Jesus with them. A rousing game of soccer was played, I think the Haitian team won. The cheering section was quite loud and fun. Please be in prayer for the children, the orphanage leaders, and the future of the orphanage.  

Children at Pastor Dovic's church

Balloons always bring a smile

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Haiti Team Packed and Ready to Go! {23 July 2016}

Packing day was Saturday, and 40 suitcases are ready to go!  Thank you to everyone at CCFred who donated funds and items for this trip.  We go with more than 700 bright yellow t-shirts that communicate God’s truth about accepting His Word and bearing fruit - (Thanks Emma and Tina for the graphic work!)  We go with more than 500 pairs of brand new crocs - (Thanks Juan and Kim and Faithful Footsteps!)  We go with handmade dresses for the little girls in Haiti - (Thanks Dena and Sewing Seeds!)  We go with diapers and formula for the babies at the abandoned baby ward - (Thanks John Godby and the Florida crew!)  We go with Haitian Creole Bibles - (Thanks Jim and the Gideons!)  We go with hundreds of spoons and bowls (real ones!) to bolster the feeding ministry in Port au Prince (great find Adam and Janelle!)  Granola bars, snack crackers, toothpaste, tooth brushes, and much much more - (Thank you family at CCFred!)  And THANK YOU Holy Spirit for ordaining opportunities for each of these items to touch a precious life in Haiti.  Lord, we want them to know that these items come from YOU, and that You love them with an everlasting love.  Please help us communicate that.
700+ shirts sorted and ready to hand out
Praying over the gifts God provided

Haiti Team Loves Head Waters

A huge THANK YOU to Head Waters Lodge for hosting our team retreat!  After several team meetings and socials over the past few months, this was the final time we would all be together before leaving for Haiti.  We spent time in worship and prayer, and we received the Word God had for us.  Also, unity grew as we worked together on team building activities.  (We truly can do more that we tend to think - through Christ, all things are possible!)  Everyone worked together to wrap up hundreds of crafts, and we rehearsed the drama that demonstrates the parable of the 4 soils.  Unexpected rain canceled the zipline, but the extra time inside together enabled us to draw even closer.  Intercession for one another was a sweet time as walls came down, masks came off, and God moved.  Onward to Haiti we go, in His power and provision and for His glory!
Men in Prayer

Ladies in Prayer