Sunday, April 21, 2013

Not A Normal Sunday

I went to church today expecting a normal Sunday...but was clearly reminded of why we are there. I'm not gonna get wrapped up in writing about what Jesus is doing in my life, but rather let you know what Jesus is doing in the lives of other people who call Revolution home.
I was standing in the back parking lot talking with 2 of the Parking Team leaders today about how we can help the flow of traffic on Sunday morning be more efficient for the people who visit our church. As we were talking, one of the other parking dudes pulled up ready to leave to be with his family and stopped to ask us to pray for him. We were like "sure dude what's up?" He said "I feel like God is calling me to start a soccer league for Hispanic kids in downtown Canton"...we said "cool"! He said "you don't understand, I don't know anything about Canton soccer fields, or soccer for that matter and I don't even know a word of Spanish" All we could do was pray over and with him.
You want to talk about stepping out in faith...this guy has it...he's a football coach y'all and I mean like American football, not "futbol". But he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach kids in our community and tell them about Jesus...even when he can't speak their language. I'm honored to know this guy and can't wait to see what God does with him. This isn't about coaching a group of kids to learn a sport, but rather discipling kids to lead a nation. They are the next generation leaders...if participating in a sport is what leads them to Christ...who are we to say that a dude that can't even speak their language can't lead them to Jesus and even lead them to discipling their parents as well?
If you know ANYTHING about soccer, speak Spanish or even want to come along side of this guy to make an impact in Canton, please feel free to contact me or post on this blog. Thanks for reading y'all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Being the Church

I would bet that if you were driving down the road with your unchurched friends and passed a building with a cross on the top or out in front of it and asked them what it was, they would say that it was a church. As a matter of fact, most people would tell you that is what it was. Is it? No, it's a building. Lets face it, most of us that grew up outside of the church, perceive a building with a cross to be a church. We were taught that way, but why? I believe it was because there was no influence coming from within the walls of that building to the community that we were a part of and that surrounded it. We never saw the church being the church that God created it to be on the outside.

The community watches a countless number of people each and every Sunday walk in to all these buildings to hear about something, but they very rarely see what that something is outside of the walls of those buildings during the week. If we don't show them what that something is, the Gospel, they will always continue to think that our buildings are the church. How can we, as Christians, start to change the perception and mentality of what a church is to the community that we live in? Simple enough, by being the church. do we be the church? By being the community. It will have to take a totally different mindset on the way you view things. Instead of the church waiting on a community to embrace it, the church has to first embrace the community to reach it. Which means being a part of it, not apart from it. If there is a local food bank in your community, go and volunteer at it. If you have a local clothing donation place, take what you don't need and help clothe the needy. If someone is struggling spiritually, minister to them. Matthew 25:40 (NLT) says- "And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'

That is why I love calling Revolution Church home. We are not about a building, we are about a movement, or you could say, an action. A revolution in the community. We want to see a change in our city. We don't want to be apart from it, we want to be a part of it. We know that there are hurting people, homeless people and most importantly ...hungry people. I'm not talking about people who are just hungry for earthly food, I'm talking about people who need to be fed spiritually as well. But in order to fulfill the needs of thousands in our community, it's going to take more than just Revolution Church. It's going to take the combined efforts of all the local churches who have thousands in attendance every Sunday to be a part of the community on EVERY day that ends in "Y" and meet those needs. It's time to switch the mentality of the community's perception of the church from just a place where people gather, to a body of people who are among us and who care.

Revolution Church gathered in downtown Canton last Wednesday to pray for our city. We asked that when people came, that they would bring canned goods to support a local outreach called MUST Ministries who were about out of food in their food pantry. MUST is a local outreach who feed the hungry, clothe the needy, teach people skills to find jobs and much much more. We gathered in the park at 6:30pm and I was blown away at the generosity of peoples hearts as they came to pray. We filled the beds of four full size trucks with food and kept a local outreach food pantry stocked for the hungry. Amazing. You will never convince me that a building did was a church, a movement.

Oh...and we prayed. We prayed our hearts out for this community that we are embracing and call home. We are about to move into our new building (oddly enough) within the next few months and I can't wait to hear the stories of people who will walk through our doors for the first time and tell us how the people who call Revolution home met them where they were. Not in a building, but within the community. I pray that the people of Revolution meet people at a well (John 4:14), in a boat (Matthew 8:26) and on the shore fishing (Matthew 4:19), not just in a building. I pray that we are being the church and changing the mentality of the community that we are surrounding.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Fence

What do you see when you look at the picture to the left? I know the first thing you noticed was the tree, right? But then your attention quickly turned to that orange thing surrounding that tree and you probably stared at it to see what it actually was, didn't you? I took that picture today at our new Revolution Church land not because I just wanted to take a picture of a tree with an orange fence around it, but because it really grabbed my attention about our relationship with Jesus.
The orange fence was installed around that tree to protect it from getting damaged from all of the heavy equipment as we begin to build our new home at Revolution. I've seen the fence around it for a few weeks now, but today really tugged on my heart. All I could see when I looked at it was the relationship that Jesus wants to have with each and every one of us if we would actually let Him. Look over at that picture again and imagine yourself as that tree. Now imagine that fence as Jesus. It totally surrounds the tree! That fence is there to protect it from all of the bad things that could destroy it (bulldozers, people, etc.) and to allow it to keep growing. What if the tree was sitting outside of that same fence? It would get demolished because there would be no protection, right? Why would our relationship be any different with Jesus?
Psalm 32:10 NIV says "Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him." If we trust in him, he WILL surround us like that orange fence and he WILL protect us. As I looked around the property today, heavy equipment was tearing everything up, but there in the middle of it all stood that tree with the orange fence around it without being touched. Just imagine the security you would feel if you let that orange fence surround you as you went out into your busy every day lives. No matter where you work, there are always bulldozers just waiting for you to take that step outside of the fence and take you down.
You don't even have to lift a finger to build or carry this fence to where you are in life, its already been built for you and put in place. Pick up a Bible, contact a friend who you know is a Christian or find a church to attend. All three of those can show you how to take that step inside of the orange fence and get the protection that Jesus has to offer.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Come and See" My 2nd Mission to Haiti

Some of you might know, but most of you don't, I went on my second mission trip to Haiti last week. My first trip was amazing and I had the opportunity to see a lot of things that God wanted me to see. But this time around, I had the opportunity to slow down and not only see things, but to feel the things God was surrounding me with.
From the moment I stepped off the airplane in Cap Haitian, God was working my heart. You can not feel the things that I went through, but I will try to paint a picture of the events that I went through while I was there.
Pastor Oris and I arrived in Cap Haitian early Saturday morning and we were immediately picked up by Jethro (a man dedicated to the Haiti Cheri mission) and went into the city to prepare some things for the rest of the missionaries when they arrived. We drove deep into the city and pulled off the busy street on to a sidewalk. Pastor O turned around, looked at me, and said to stay in the car because it wasn't the safest place for a white man to be. Jethro and Pastor O got out and disappeared into the crowd of people. I immediately locked all of the doors and sat patiently in the SUV for their arrival back to the vehicle. As I was sitting there, people were walking by staring into the vehicle and all I could think was "God keep me safe". At that moment, all I had was Him and I was okay with that even while being alone in a third world country. Pastor O and Jethro finally appeared through the crowd, I unlocked all of the doors, they got in and off we went.
The rest of the team arrived, we made several trips to the hotel and back to carry all of the people and their luggage. As soon as we settled in, we got a group of people together to go start part of the mission we were there to accomplish, finish the wiring of the Haiti Cheri Office/Clinic. We originally had three of us who were prepared to do the wiring before we left the U.S.: Aaron Comer, Sam Simmons and myself knew what had to be done. But that Saturday morning we arrived, we chose two more missionaries to join us for some help on the first day: Hernan Deviez and Robert Holland. I want to personally thank each one of those guys for the work that they contributed to such a huge cause. We all worked great together and got a bunch done on the first day.
The next morning, we all woke up and went to Redford Church together. This is when God really started to take hold of my heart on this mission. First of all, you can not fathom the emotional experience you get from the worship that those people give God unless you are there and feel it for yourself. The Holy Spirit was moving big time that morning. All of the preachers sermons were amazing and God was using them to reach His people, most of the time everything that was said was in Creole, but you didn't have to understand the words to know what they ere saying. They invited people to the front who had accepted Jesus into their lives that morning. There's a picture to the left of the screen with an empty chair inviting someone to sit. At the bottom of this page there is a soul sitting in that chair who accepted Jesus as their saviour, take the time to look at those pictures right now, there's no words to describe that moment. Then the pastor invited people to the front who needed prayer and for people to come down and rededicate their lives to Christ (there's a picture over there too). The Holy Spirit was moving, so much so, that our entire team got out of their seats and joined the people in the front. At that moment, there were no Hatians in the church, there were no Americans in the church, there was only God's people worshipping Him and praising Him. I cried like a baby that morning and tearing up now as I remember and write this. Like I said before, this trip was about feeling, not seeing.
After the AMAZING service was over, we all went to the hotel and prepared for the rest of the day. All of the team were going to a new village for Haiti Cheri called Ennerey and Sam and I were staying back to finish the building project hopefully by Tuesday when the rest of the team was coming back through to pick us up to go to the next village. We went to lunch, prayed together and went our separate ways.
The Plan for Sam and I was to wire all we could that day and we told the driver to pick us up at 5:00 pm. We worked our butts off all day and had a great time fellowshipping with one another. But all day my attention was drawn to the alley that we had walked up to get there. Let me explain. We were in the middle of Cap Hatian (busy city), but this office is on a side alley with hardly any foot traffic (no cars) on it what so ever. There were a few people hanging out just sitting around and there was a little boy rolling an old bicycle wheel up and down the alley with a stick through all af the raw sewage trickling down the middle of the walkway from the surrounding buildings. But God kept showing me a picture of the possibilities of this clinic. All I could see was people shoulder to shoulder packing into this alley waiting to be treated for medical care that they normally wouldn't receive. What we were doing at that moment could eventually impact this entire city in the near future. I felt like God was showing me what His plan was for this mission. I was emersed in that feeling the entire time I was in that alley and knew everything we were doing was going to bring glory to His name. We finished the wiring that day.
That evening, Sam and I were picked up by our driver and thought we were going to eat, like we were supposed to. To our suprise, the driver took us back to where we had started off this emotional day, Redford Church. Let me explain something, when you go to church there, you dress nice, okay? At this point in the evening, Sam and I were completely covered in sweat, had on t-shirts and shorts and were completely nasty dirty. We asked the driver if it was cool to go in looking like this and he said "let's go" with a smile. They were having a concert that had a men's choir singing for the people of the church. We walked in, and two people immediately got up out of their chairs and gave them to us. How many times have you done that at your church for new guests? Ouch! That's what I said when I saw them do it. We sat there and listened to them sing without any translation, we didn't need it. Everything was about Jesus. I felt like God had blessed Sam and I after a hard days work of serving Him.
The next day, we had nothing to do but wait for the rest of the team to pick us up in Cap Haitian and go to the next village, Acul Samedi. So we called up our boy Tijo (another dedicated member of the Haiti Cheri team that lives there) and told him that we wanted to see the city. He showed up with two mortorcycle taxi's (I'll have to explain in person the danger of these things)and took us on an adventure for a few hours (really, I'll have to explain in person, too long to type about). Later that evening we met up with the rest of the team.
This was one of the biggest moments that happened on the mission for me. We set up our medical clinic to help with the people who couldn't make it anywhere for care. We had a pharmacy set up, a prayer booth and doctors at tables waiting to treat people. My role was to bring each and every person into the clinic and show them where to sit in front of each doctor. As I was bringing people in, I had my eye on the crowd (since I had been there 6 months ago) and was looking for familiar faces. I had only been there once before and knew there was a slim chance that I would recognize anyone. But it didn't take long for God to start jogging my memory of the faces who had made an impact on my heart from the last mission. I spotted an old man that had cancer from the first trip sitting in the crowd. I was amazed that he was still alive, so I went and told Becky Salko and Dan Merrefield that he was here, you could see the excitement in there eyes when I told them. But when they went to treat him, his cancer had spread. I sat more and more people, but I continued to look into the crowd. Then there was a woman who caught my attention. In May, we went into the village to talk to people about Jesus. I remembered this lady because Pastor Oris tried and tried and tried to get her to accept Jesus as her savior but she fought as hard as she could to deny it. I remember that we couldn't convince her of anything, she was old and stuck in her ways. When I saw her this time, I pointed her out to Pastor Tim May and explained what had happened the first time so he could pray with her and that it might be a different outcome this time around. He prayed with her, but she said that she wasn't ready that day. So I continued searching the crowd for faces. This time there was a woman holding a baby that stood out like a sore thumb. If you read my blog after the first trip, you'll remember that I lead a pregnant woman to Christ, this was the same woman. God had brought this same woman back to this clinic and I had the opportunity to see the baby that we prayed for from my first trip. God is good yall, God is good. I had some people translate for me and she actually remembered me. The picture of her and her baby are to the left. I'm so thankful that I had the chance to see some of the faces that impacted me from the first mission and I pray that I get to see there faces over and over again for years to come.
I had a great conversation with Pastor O about the Haiti Cheri mission statement "Come and See" John 1:46. He said now that God had me "Come and See", now it's time to "Go and Do". That hit me hard. I'm not going to lie. Why in the world would we sign up to go on a mission trip to help spread the Gospel in a place only for a week, and then just leave it there behind us. God called us to be fishers of men (Mattew 4:19) if we would just follow Him. I would love to teach some of the people of Haiti how to do basic wiring someday so it will stimulate their economy and they would have a profession to provide for their families, but at the same time, show them that it is God who ultimately provides for them. I can not wait until the next time God brings me back to Haiti.
This whole trip wasn't just about seeing His presence, it was feeling it. All I have for a closing is that I pray that yall will be open and accept what He wants to reveal to you. It may not be on a mission trip, but He will eventually invite you to "Come and See" something that He wants to use to change your life.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jumper Cables

Sorry for the short blog, but I had to share my thoughts...
A friend and I were driving home from church together today and he showed me a little short cut to bypass a traffic light to make it a little quicker to get to his house. As we drove down the shortcut, we came across a vehicle sitting on the side of the road with a guy standing next to it who looked like he might need some help. I pulled up beside him and asked if we could help out. He said his battery had went dead and asked if we could give him a jumpstart, he already had some jumper cables ready to go for such an occasion. So I pulled up in front of his vehicle, popped the hood and we hooked the jumper cables up from his vehicle to mine. While we were sitting there waiting for it to charge, I asked what his name was and he told me Donnie. My friend Josh and I quickly introduced ourselves to him, then he introduced us to his wife and his daughter. Today was his little girls birthday and he told us he had just started a new job today.
During our conversation, Donnie told us that he still owed money on his vehicle ($2000), he had a ton of miles on it and was about to let it go back to the dealer. After talking for a bit, he fired up his vehicle and thanked us for stopping to help. As he was putting away his jumper cables I heard his vehicle making a weird sound, I looked inside and his wife was on the floor board pushing the gas pedal in and out to keep the vehicle running, he jumped in and off they went.
jumper cables: electric cables having clamps at each end and used for starting the engine of a vehicle whose battery is dead.
After I dropped Josh off at his house, I couldn't stop thinking about Donnie and his family. If we hadn't taken that shortcut, we would have never have met that family and the opportunity to serve them. And why did he feel the need to tell us all of that information about him and his family? Then it hit me. I totally missed the opportunity God was giving me to invite these people to church. God even threw in the jumper cables, the way to connect with them. This dudes car battery was dead and needed a jump, but maybe so was his family's life, and I missed it.
That got me thinking, the next time something like that happens, I will not pass up the opportunity to invite them to church. To someone who doesn't have a relationship with Jesus, we can be that jumper cable to charge someones battery to his, even if they are broke down on the side of the road or we see them on a day to day basis. Just think of a set of jumper cables, on one end it has these teeth that just clamp down hard and don't let go of the energy source, in the middle there is a cord that is fully energized and on the other end awaits teeth for something to latch on to that needs to be charged. Now, think of Jesus as that fully charged battery and we are that set of jumper cables. He is waiting on us to grab a hold of somebody who's battery is dead and we have to be willing to share that power source with them. Don't make the same mistake I did, don't miss out on that opportunity to be that jumper cable for God into someones life.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

God Hit My Refresh Button

You know how your phone or computer needs to be refreshed to update you on the latest things going on after you've been idle for a while? Well, God has totally hit the refresh button in my life and he is blowing my mind right now!
Things have really been changing over the past few months since I've been back from Haiti. God is moving BIG TIME in my life right now. For example... when we returned from Haiti, some of the people who went on the mission tried talking me into signing back up to go again in October. I was reluctant to sign up again because I didn't know how I could get enough money together so soon to return on another mission. But I always knew the May trip was not going to be my last trip with Haiti Cheri, so I signed up to go again and would wait to see what happened. If you have ever doubted that God will provide you with resources to do his work, then listen to this...exactly one week after I signed up, Dan from Haiti Cheri told me not to worry about getting all of the money together for the trip, someone anonymously donated most of the cost for my return trip to Haiti. I was totally blown away, but I knew it was all God's planning, just like the first trip when I trusted him to come through.
Almost 11 years ago my wife gave birth to our son Brandon. He's an awesome kid who loves Jesus, church, Atlanta Braves baseball, BullDawg football and of course video games. We thought he was going to be our only child for a long time, but God has a different plan. We found out a couple of months ago that we will be blessed with our second child! What? We have no idea what the gender is yet but the due date is around the middle of December and we are super excited no matter what it is. This gives me proof that God has a sense of humor, 11 years apart? Really? At least Brandon will be able to drive his sibling to any ball games and babysit when we are in need :)
I work with my brother Mike and his business partner Josh (who is like a brother at this point), I've been with them from almost the very beginning of them starting their own company 16 years ago. We built a successful business together over the years through our hard work and our constant building of personal relationships with different builders and general contractors. I've also built amazing relationships with several employee's over the years (Kitty, Rapheal, Travo, Chad and BJ just to name a few), but I was recently presented with a job opportunity at a different company that God has his hands in, doing something totally different (concrete) and I've decided to take it. Some people might think I'm crazy and think I'm throwing away the last 15 years in a career, but, I'm ready to be "refreshed" and anxious to see what God does through this exciting new career.
Over the past few years I've been learning to trust God with everything in my life and submit to all he wants to do in me and through me. If it's going back to serve him in Haiti, cool. If it's having another child after 11 years, awesome. And even if it's starting a new job after 15 years, bring it on! One thing that you have to realize is that God IS going to hit the "refresh" button at some point in your life when you least expect it and even sometimes when you don't want him to.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Mission To Haiti

The mission trip with Haiti Cheri was one of the most eye opening experiences that I've been through in my entire life, it made me realize how good we have it here in the United States. I left on the mission feeling bad for those people and wanted to help, but I returned feeling bad for us and the way we take everything in our lives for granted.
We arrived in Haiti on a Saturday morning. We exited the plane and walked across the runway towards the building to check in. The atmosphere was relaxed and really quiet inside of the tiny airport building, most of us didn't know what was waiting for us on the other side of the exit. We finished checking in with customs and then we walked towards the back to exit the building, then someone opened the door. It went from relaxed to chaos in a matter of seconds. We started walking to the truck that was waiting to pick us up, I was overwhelmed with all of the noise from people yelling and the amount of vehicles driving around. The first thing I thought of was, what did I get myself in to? Some of us jumped in the back of a pick-up truck and we started driving through the city. The streets were lined with trash, you could smell all the trash and people burning their trash throughout the city. There are no traffic signs or traffic lights in the city, so you can just imagine what it was like to ride in the back of something with no idea where you are headed. The streets were congested with trucks, motorcycles, people pushing wheel barrows, people carrying stuff on their head, bicycles and people just walking. I saw one guy pushing a wheel barrow full of an entire slaughtered cow, there was no telling how long he had been pushing it or how long it had been sitting there, but someone was eventually going to eat it. I watched a motorcycle run into a guy, it knocked him down and everything he was carrying, but he got back up and picked up his things and started walking down the street again.
We finally made it to the hotel that we would be staying at for the next couple of days, it was beautiful. The hotel was right on the ocean right outside of the city, you couldn't even hear the busy noises from the city, all you could hear was the sound of waves crashing on the beach. But all I had to do was look down at the beach and reality brought me right back into the place where God had brought me. The beach was lined with trash from the city that, the waves had carried it back to shore.
The first day consisted of filling little plastic bags with medicine so that we could get a jump start on the medical clinic that we would be doing in Acul Samedi. We just kind of sat around filling the bags, listening to the ocean and getting to know each person that came on the trip.
On the second day, Sunday, we went to church. There were about 2000 people who attended and the service lasted about 3 hours. At the end of the service the preacher was talking to the church and the choir was singing, a few people started walking up to the front and brought their own chairs, I didn't know what was going on. The preacher kept talking and even more people came to the front. Some of those people didn't have a chair to bring up there with them so some other folks in the church gave up theirs for them to sit down. Then I realized what was happening, these people had just accepted Jesus into their lives. I couldn't understand a word that was said because they spoke Creole the entire time, but I didn't have to understand their language to know what God had just done. We also got to see Dan ( Pastor Oris translated) get up and preach in front of the church, that was really cool. Later that afternoon we visited a children's hospital in the city, this was such a humbling experience, just to see all of the sick kids laying in a bed waiting on medical treatment that they probably weren't going to receive. There is no way that any one of us would take our kids to a place like that, but that's all they have and all they can hope for to get well. There were piles of trash just laying on the ground outside with bloody gauze and exposed used needles, and the smell of that place was awful. Most of the children had their parents sitting right next to them, the parents could do nothing, they had no money to go and buy the medicine that their kids needed to get better. While we were there, we prayed for them at their bedside and we got a list of the meds that some of the kids needed so we could purchase them and give them some hope. Pastor Oris told me to go with him to get the medicine. We walked to a corner pharmacy to get prices and compare them with another one, we walked about 20 feet to the next one and got a much better deal. I couldn't believe that within 20 feet you could get such a drastic difference in price.
Monday we went to a town to hand out food and clothes, Haiti Cheri had not been before. When we pulled in and got out of the trucks, we were immediately surrounded by people of all ages. We grabbed the clothes out of the truck and walked into a small building to hand them out, it quickly turned into a huge group of people in such a tiny area and we found ourselves backed up against the wall. Pastor Oris started to hand out shirts to the villagers, a tall mean looking young man walked in to see what was going on, he turned around to walk out and started staring at me. He looked me up and down and asked if I had any money for him, I said no, he didn't believe me. He said " I know you got some for me, step outside with me", I was overcome with fear and said a quick prayer to God to get us out of this situation. About five minutes went by and then that same man entered the room once more, but this time he had a different attitude. He quickly started helping Pastor Oris finish handing out the shirts, at that moment I felt like God had heard me and answered that quick little prayer. WE went outside to hand out food to the children and then that same man took charge and started handing out the food to all the kids. After the food was all gone we prayed with them.
After we left that village, we started our journey towards the village of Acul Samedi. When we arrived, we were welcomed with open arms by the people. We got settled in, they showed us around and then we just chilled out for the evening. We slept in the school, some of us slept on the concrete floor with a blanket laid on it and there were no full walls or doors. The next morning I awoke to the sound of a choir singing, it sounded like angels. The village church was only a few yards away from where we slept and the choir would get to the church every morning at sunrise (5:00) to worship, I made sure I was up every morning to listen to them sing.
Tuesday was the day we started the medical clinic, word got around quickly that we were there. People started lining up early that morning as we were setting up, there were so many people that came through with all kinds of illnesses and diseases. One of the Haiti doctors that was with us asked me to help him for a minute, there was a little boy who looked like he was about 3 or 4 sitting on the bench. His face was covered with some type of fungal infection, the doctor had me pour peroxide on some gauze and then he started scrubbing the child's face until it bled. That little kid sat right there in that seat trying to be tough, but he started to whimper and started shedding some tears. I kept pouring peroxide on gauze after gauze after gauze for the doctor and he kept scrubbing on that child's face, I couldn't help but start shedding my own tears for that boy, I was so thankful that wasn't my son sitting there on that wooden bench. We saw a lot of bad things during the two days of the clinic, we saw over 600 people on Tuesday and Wednesday.
We handed out food on Thursday. We started the day off by opening 100 pound bags of rice and pouring them into individual smaller bags, we poured beans into small bags as well. Everyone gathered in the church to sit and wait for their food, when it was their turn they walked out a side door and we handed them their bags to take home. I think we handed out food to about 500 people that day
After the food was gone, we split up into 2 groups and went into the village to spread the Gospel. This was a little strange to me as I had never done anything like this before. Pastor Oris led our group to people who caught his attention, it was pretty cool to see how he just zeros in on people. 3 of us in our group are fairly new in our faith (about 2 years) but Pastor Oris wasn't about to let that stop us from reaching people. One of the first people we saw wanted to accept Jesus into her life so Pastor Oris gave Eric the opportunity to lead her in prayer, then later on we found a young pregnant lady who wanted Christ in her life and I had the opportunity to lead her to Jesus. God brought me to Haiti to have several different experiences and that that one will stick with me forever. I also got to pray over some people who already have a relationship with Christ, every time I prayed it felt like God was opening my heart more and more to him.
One of the hardest things I had to deal with was the food, but it's not what you are thinking. The people in that village live day to day trying to survive on the food that they gather, I saw a little boy in the top of a huge tree picking mangos and sticking them in a backpack to carry home to his family. But every time we sat down to eat, I felt like we were eating like kings. We had steak, chicken, rice, pasta, bread, clean bottled water, soda, etc... I could never get over that while I was there. The water those people drink come out of a well that the kids (mostly) pump into dirty buckets to take home. We should be so thankful for what we have here in the U.S.
Our last night there, Pastor Oris made me get up in front of the entire church and give a testimony, it didn't freak me out as much as I thought it would. I started out by thanking them for welcoming us into their village and then continued to tell them how God has changed my life. I explained to them how He has really put it on my heart to serve people, I even threw in Romans 12:11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to serve those people through the clinic, through food and sharing the Gospel.
On Friday I got the chance to do some electrical work. Haiti Cheri is building an office. They started it in 1995 and now I got the opportunity to wire most of it 16 years later. We were a little strapped for time so I didn't get to finish the project. Eric, Erika and Becky also helped me do the wiring (thanks yall). Who would have ever thought that I would get to wire a building in Haiti, not me. Maybe I'll get the chance to finish it someday when I go back.
There was so much more that happened while we were there but there is no way I could even begin to explain it all. You will have to go see it for yourself. If you love serving God and his people, I strongly suggest that you step out in faith and go help the people of Haiti. Haiti Cheri does mission trips there about 4 times a year and I can tell you right now that this won't be my only mission trip with them. This trip has totally changed the way I see things as a necessity and the things that are just a comfort that we take for granted in life.
I want to thank Dan Merrefield and Pastor Oris for being such strong leaders in their mission to help the people of Haiti and I also want to thank Donna, Dane, Tanner, Landen, Melissa #2, Becky, Erika, Melissa #3 and Eric for being such a strong and fun team. It was really cool to see you guys surrender and do what God called you to do.