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Friday, December 3, 2010

A Corpse and death of a man



A human corpse, used in horror films to frighten the heart, depicted in literature to bring distaste, is a taboo to the sensitiveness of the human heart. With sunken eyes that stare frightened into the unknown and a gagging stench of decaying flesh, the stiff lifeless form reminds us of what once held the soul. All of this makes up this thing which defiles the nature of the human heart.
But what I want to see here is not the corpse itself, but the distaste and withdrawing fear that naturally births in our hearts when we are newly confronted with death. For some it’s debilitating, for others a mere prick of the heart. But for all it is something that, after time, we grow a “thick skin” or “hard shell.” We become tough, callused, pressing on accepting this fact of life as normal.
So where does this physical reaction integrate itself into our spiritual life? The Apostle Paul said in Romans 6:11 “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our lord.” Here (and in the rest of chapter 6) he is calling us to die to the old man, the man of sin, selfishness, and pride. That he is to be crucified and cast away in order for us to blossom in newness of life. In the same way that we feel defiled by the human corpse, we are likewise to turn in distaste at the sight of the corpse of our sinful nature. For we have tasted of the sweetness of our new life in Christ. And now, to be confronted by the stench of our sinful flesh is to stand revolting in our eyes.
But where do we stand here? For, I know for myself that too often I try to cover the gagging stench of my sinful flesh with spices, thinking that in some way it can be made more tolerable; when, in reality, it needs to be buried with Christ, left at the foot of the cross. That we would turn in disgust at what once drove us to sin, to press on in the love that motivates us to holiness. Then the beauty of a life sacrificed to God might be made a reality, not an ideal.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 3, Cholera in Fond Parisien

( a journal excerpt)
Nov. 16th, 2010
Today started at 12:00am Prosper had called me at 11:06 with someone sent down from Thomas asking for the ambulance. And by the time the new day started I was on my way to Port. with a woman having trouble in labor. The Police stopped me on the way in. And even though I was in the Ambulance with all the lights going and a pregnant woman screaming bloody murder they still asked to see in the back.
Dropped her off and got back in bed by 2am. Zoe called me at 3am to go pick up more people with Cholera from across the lake and take them to the clinic, slept from 5-9am.
Didn't get too much done in the afternoon. Put the starter back in the clinic delco and went to look at a house to rent for the Tisimon's.
Worked the night at the clinic with Claudine Pastors oldest daughter who's a nurse. spent the night emptying vomit buckets and moping the floor with bleach. Case number 5 came in about 11pm, a very old man from Bwa Bla. They said he had started vomiting at 5pm and by the time he got here he was pretty well waisted, eyes sunken and fingers shriveled up. He held on till 4:17 when he let life go.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rebuilding Underway

Our earthquake housing project has begun.

Haitian boss mixing cement.
And laying the stone foundations.


After many months in obtaining the land we have begun laying foundations for 14 duplexes. We are employing Haitian boss to lay the stone foundations and pour a cap to get ready for the block. Also once the block is layed they will smooth the block walls inside and out. But in the mean time we are looking for American work teams who want to help in rebuilding for : laying block, pouring floors, framing roofs and painting.

The duplexes are 28'x22' divided in the middle giving each family a porch with two 10'x11' rooms, coverd with a metal roof.

If you have a team that wants to come. You can contact: International Faith Missions at
ifm-hdr@juno.com. Or if you are interested in helping but cant come on a team or construction is not your cup tea. Please consider employing a competent Haitian boss at $125 USD a week to lay block for you.

We praise God for enabling us to help in this way. And we thank all those who have donated to make it posible.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Eske ou remen Ayiti?


This is a question that I have gotten asked quite a lot. "Do you like/love Haiti?." Its one of those questions that I never knew quite how to answer. And many times would answer by asking in what sense there asking it (People, landscape, Government, ect....) only to be replied with "everything together". Then for me to rattle on trying to say in a nice way that there is some things that I like and many that I don't.
But after many times of answering this question I have to ask myself "What kind of question is that". In our human reasoning its a very good question. If you don't like were your at them thus your not happy, commitment is minimum and your performance is poor. But for me, since when is what I like supposed to effect any of that anyway? I as a child of God, having tasted of the peace and fulfillment of being in His will can not help but want to stay there.
If I live in Africa with God wanting me to be in New York all true purpose and joy is lost. Or if I am a preacher with God wanting me helping my father on his farm. True happiness will not be found. Nothing else but being a living part of God's vision will bring true fulfillment.
Now don't get me wrong there is those places and things that have a hold on our hearts. There is nothing like hiking up the Blue ridge before a the smallest hint of day and watching the forest come alive with each new ray of sunshine. Or living in a remote area were silence is king and peace and quite is easily indulged apone. But how much do we let those things (whatever they are) direct our lives.
How many of us Christians today seek the best location for our houses, choose the church that suites our taste, or the job that we enjoy the most (or brings the most money) . Without ever really seeking to know what God wants for our lives. Or worse yet, knowing God's will but yet trying to suppress it because it just looks to uncomfortable. In Matthew chapter 10 Christ said " He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it". But when does this actually come into play in our Christian lives. We say that our lives are wholly Christ's yet we are always seeking that which brings us this counterfeit pleasure. Just a temporary buzz until off we go seeking the next thing that we think will make us happy. But the truth of the matter is that true fulfillment can only be found in the laying down of our life. Anywhere there is a true gain there is a true sacrifice. Just as Christ sacrificed His life for us to gain a right relationship with Him, so we must sacrifice our life in order to gain completeness in His will.
In this life we see people that have almost nothing and yet have a joy that seems to just overflow. Or those that have an abundance and are truly content. But the cause of true Happiness is not in the abundance or lack of possessions but in being in the place God desires you to fill.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Trip to Cap Haitian



About three monthes ago three of us guys (Clit, Ray and myself) decided that since we had never been to Cap. Haitian We wanted to take a week and go, on motorcycles. We had heard many stories of how bad the roads are and how different the creole was so off we went.


Above is a map of the rout we took. Four days, 712 KM and five gallons of gas each. No plans just going to see the country.

Day 1: 185KM. Towns: Mirebalas, Thomonde, Hinche, Pigon, Saint Raphael.
Day 2: 65KM. Towns: Dondon, Grand Rivier, Cap. Haitian.
Day 3: 137KM. Towns: Caracol, Terrier Rouge, Fort Liberte, Ouanaminthe.
Day 4: 325KM. Towns: Limbe, Gonaives, St.Marc.

A mountain lake in Thomonde. The other end of this lake holds a hydroelectric Dam which supplies a part of Haiti's power grid.

The rice plains between Gonaives and St. Marc.

Fixing our first and only flat tire (praise the Lord).

A view of the Citadel 5 or so KM away. The Citadel is a fort built in 1806 as a protection against the possibility of future colonist invasions of Haiti.

A view of inside one of the Citadel's courtyards.

The green and fruitful mountains of the north were a real refreshment compared to the barren and sunburned mountains of Fond Parisien.

These mountains stand rugged and firm but sadly in many places are only the skeleton telling us of what once was. The beauty of my God's creation can not be described with words or captured in a photo but only beheld with our eyes taking away our breath and declaring the might and love of He whom we serve.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Poverty


I spent this past week in the city of Santiago (northern Dominican Republic). Yes I had a good time but it made me take a step back,to think and to pray. Leaving the poverty and cruelty of life in Haiti and coming to the wealth of Santiago brought me to my knees. Some call it culture shock but I'd rather see it as God teaching me something.

Living in Haiti people in abject poverty becomes a part of life. Empty stomachs, bare feet and houses that you would not want in your neighborhood. It seems hopeless, just a downward spiral that is picking up speed. And it hardens you, what at one time broke your heart now seems normal, your human compassion is callused.

Going from this to a city were the ice cream parlors deliver, were McDonald's is not a foreign word and were garbage is picked up at your doorstep rather than being burned in the street. Caused a shock that brought me to a fresh realization of the desperate needs of our world. No I'm not talking about empty stomachs but empty souls. If you give a man a piece of bread and not Christ he is just as poor as he was before. And yes Christ called us to feed the poor,. But its also harder for a rich man to enter into heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Because the whole world weather rich or poor is in desperate need of truth.

Its easy for us Americans to write a check to feed the poor. Or to slip our extra cash in the offering plate to help the homeless. But we don't realize that we ourselves are among the poorest. We may have a nice house and money in the bank. but our souls are empty, our hearts are filthy before God and that which we say with our mouth is not lived out in our lives. This world does not need anymore wealthy business men or middle class families. It needs men and woman who will stand for the truth. Who will walk every moment of their lives in the presence of the almighty. And those who will seek to change this world starting with their own heart.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pays Pourri




This past Saturday some guys from church invited me to go along to Pays Pourri. Our church here in Fond Parrisien has reached out and is planting a church there so the plan was to go for their communion service.
There were twelve of us all together including two of the deacons from church and two older ladies. I had lot of Haitians tell me how hard the hike was but then at the same time the mountain people hike it no problem, so I didn't know what to expect.
It actually turned out to be not to bad only about 2 1/2 hours up and 1 1/2 hours down.


Once you arrive it is even more beautiful than the hike up. lots of fruit and coffee trees the smell of fresh turned soil and the beautiful view.
The mountain culture is so much different. A more of a peaceful hospitality, simple yet ever grateful. I still admire the simple constant acknowledgement of God. Its not "I'm fine" its "I'm fine thanks to God" or the ever constant "If God wills". And to see someone who (to our country's standards) has nothing, pray with such gratefulness really makes me see the selfishness in man.








Then sings my soul how great thou art

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Early Morning on the Lake

An early morning on the lake proved to be refreshing



A small Fishing boat nested to shore



Some boys at it early, pulling nets.



The view back to the mission (to many trees ya can't see it).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Creed or Christ?


Something has begun to disturb me. It started after I heard a fellow missionary say "He has left us, lets pray that he will come back". Now the context that this was said in is this; He was once a part of the church and now he is not. He is backsliding, gone astray or however you want to phrase it. But this brings to my mind a question. What is it that makes you "a part"? In this situation "He" had begun an improper relationship with a woman outside of marriage. So does that mean that as long as he doesn't do that than he is "a part"? I'm afraid not. I've had people ask me questions like "can a guy have two girlfriends and still be a Christian?" or "can you make bets at cock fights and still be a christian?". And to many times we direct them to "our creed" and don't hear the real question. Because what there really asking is; how much can I do and still be a part? How much can I do and not break my relationship with "?". So who is this relationship with "the creed", with the social group within our church or Christ. Because what they should be asking is "If I do this how will it effect my relationship with Christ?". Because what do we do? We tell people they are a sinner, we bring them into "our" church, teach them "our" Creed, make them walk like us, talk like us and then everything is good. Right? No. People say things like "they were so close". Close to what? A part of what? "Our creed" or Christ? Because Christianity is not about; whether your a Mennonite or a baptist or what you cant do if you want to go to heaven. Its about an active growing relationship with Christ, its about knowing Christ.
Christ did not tell us "make more people that put those little white things on there head" or "Make more people that were ties and tithe 15%". He said "feed my sheep" He said "make disciples"(of Christ). So next time you find yourself in one of these situations I challenge you to ask yourself. Am I making someone a good follower of my creed? or am I leading them to the well of living water, Jesus Christ. And I challenge you to ask yourself are you following a creed or are your following Christ?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rain


The month of May brought lot of rain to our part of the country. It seemed to rain almost every night (but not quite). But with the rain comes the consequences of deforestation,flooding. Not terrible massive floods, but enough to bring to our attention a small zone in the mountains maybe fifteen miles or so from the mission. It was told to us that there were close to sixty houses damaged by flood waters. So this past Wednesday we decided to hike up to this little village and see how much of what we heard was true.
I was not feeling very well that morning and was sceptical of hiking for several hours on an empty stomach but I went anyway (and don't regret it). After hiking up a long dry river bed we turned up the mountain into a small hollow, sort of flat hung between the two mountains, sprinkled with mud huts. Our group was kind of split up (due to some walking faster than others) And I ended up by myself with a local pastor showing me the way. After some questions I found out the village contained about one thousand people with a small Catholic church and school. The school was very small, Which meant that other children had to hike a good five miles to school(which I was shocked how many did).
Our finding were less severe than we had anticipated. Most of the damage to houses was mud huts that needed shoveled out and maybe a hole repaired. What I was more concerned with was the crop damage. What was once corn field now washed away and seemed to tell the future,empty stomachs, poor families, long days.
After more questions (and hiking) we found that the water came from a change of patterns in the drainage from further up the mountain. Not really a fixable problem without a couple million dollars to spend in excavation. The food however is going to be provided by local sources to relief food.Lord willing it will help the familys through till next planting season.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Trip to pine forest


This Saturday several of us took a trip too the mountains to distribute donated clothes that were just a bit too warm for people in town. We had around twenty boxes or so and four Churches as drop off points.
Since we were going so far up the mountain already we decided to go to Pine Forrest. Pine Forrest is one of the only places in Haiti that is not deforested. It makes you dream of what the country looked like 150 years ago.

So on we went. By the first church we had our first flat tire. And unfortunately it was not fixable so on went the spare. The next two stops went smooth but after leaving the last church it was obvious that another tire had a leak. But as we neared the end of the trail to the main road we realized we had a bigger problem. The main pressurized fuel line busted.

So off went the tire and Mike left with it to find a moto to Pine Forrest to have it fixed while Ray Clint and I went about fixing the fuel line (Thank the lord for Leathermans). Well after robing a radiator hose (will see how long that last as a gas line) and Mike coming back with the tire. off we went to Pine Forrest. I cant say much about Pine Forrest except it was like I was in a different world. Clean air lots of trees and agriculture that I had never seen before. It just made me see again how great God is. Well to make a long storey short after leaving Pine Forrest and stopping to repair our fuel line several times we made it safely back to the mission just in time for supper (God is good).