TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
January 30, 2007
It is easy to forget how precious the written Word of God is. I was reminded of this on my first visit to a small, struggling congregation in the slums of Les Cayes. The skeleton of a church structure was wedged against the shores of the Caribbean Sea. The worship center, with its tarp roof and partially finished walls, was nestled amongst the tiny shacks, grunting pigs, muddy streets and the overwhelming odor of human waste and rotting garbage. But it was there that God would show me what really is important in life. Leon and I had chosen to visit this little church because, in the past, Leon had been the guest pastor there. He knew of their struggles and wished to offer them some encouragement by bringing some French New Testaments to distribute. I felt somewhat uncomfortable during the service because I had arrived finding that all the women wore a head covering. Not knowing this was their custom, I had arrived without something for my head. But soon, as a watched their devotion to their God, I settled back and relaxed a little. Before the church members took communion, they washed each other’s feet and then knelt on the cement floor surrounding the communion table. It was a beautiful resemblance to what Jesus did for his disciples. The long service continued with lots of singing and several prayers. At the end of the service, Leon was asked to present the gift that he had brought for the congregation. As the package of 40 Bibles was unwrapped, the congregation sat in anticipation. As I watched, the pastor began to hand out the Bibles. First the men in the congregation received the Bibles. I noticed some young men passing their hand over the cover of the Bible in a reverent fashion. Another man placed the Bible to his lips and kissed it. An elderly woman immediately opened the Bible and began reading it. She would only close it once the last words of the service had been spoken. Leon was asked to give the benediction and we were then greeted by warm handshakes and hugs. For me, it seemed a holy time, a time when I realized that I had taken my possession of a Bible for granted. My hope is that the Bibles received will help change the life of at least one of its readers!
It was my joy, during the month of January, to see an event come full circle. In February and March of 2006, I had worked at getting a 16 month old baby girl to the states. She had been severely burned with a sizzling hot cooking kettle filled with boiling water. The doctor here in Les Cayes was fearful that the child would lose the fingers on her left hand because they were so severely burned. Through the generosity of Healing the Children, this little girl was able to travel to Ohio to be treated by the Shriner’s Hospital for burned children. After 10 months of treatment, this little princess returned home to Haiti. It was so fun to see her looking out the windows of the van and asking her mama where she was. When we would pass by someone who was playing loud Haitian music, she would move her little body to the beat. Before heading to her home, we stopped to see the doctor who initially treated her in Haiti. He was so amazed that her hand looked almost perfect. He declared it a miracle. He was so very happy! After leaving the doctor’s office, we traveled to the home of her family. Waiting, on the side of the road, were some of her family. I beeped the horn of the van all the way down the street. People came running from everywhere to greet the little neighborhood celebrity. Hugs and kisses abounded. Expressions of joy spilled out of everyone’s mouth! I was invited into the home to witness the reunion with the immediate family. At first the baby did not recognize her papa, but then, a glimmer came to her eyes and she called out to him! Then she started recognizing some of her uncles. What a joy it was! The family now says that I am a part of their family. I am the little girl’s second mama! They first expressed their thanks to God and then to me! Out of so much sadness in Haiti, it was wonderful to see the smiles at this happy homecoming. I feel privileged that God chose me to be a part of this wonderful event!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time ………….