What a fabulous new year! I believe this is going to be a great year, a year of accomplishment, fulfillment and God's promises coming to fruition! We flew back into Haiti Dec 31st, just in time for our New Years Eve party with the church. And boy, was it a party! We had a great time celebrating all that God has done. The church committees- cooking crew, setup crew, sound crew etc, worked all day getting set up. At 6pm the festivities started with a great feast and then moved into a lively service at 8pm that lasted to 2:30am. We had praise, praise and more praise, worship, dancing, a great message from Pastor Ed Allan, and more praise! Right at midnight we brought the New Year in with loud, lifted voices in prayer and praise, followed by more dancing and praise. It was such a great party! We raised the roof, and the dust! In this picture I captured, it looked to me like the Holy Spirit was all over the place!
We then handed out gifts that people in Canada and US purchased through our online gift catalogue to honor their loved ones and to give to someone here in Haiti. Well, give we did! First, as a church body, we bought gifts for our leaders and honored them for their years of service to the church and community. Then, Sister Leah (a great woman of God in our church) and I distributed the gift catalogue gifts, things like Bibles (which were the most prized gift), baby packs, food bundles, rice, tools, trees, even goats and chickens. There were even two bicycles! The people were incredibly happy and blessed! I think just about everyone got a gift. And it was such a joy to share together right at the New Year! I smiled so much my face hurt.
We did not have Sunday morning service, as you can imagine everyone slept in til the afternoon. But we did have a service and planning meeting for our Pastor's Conference at 4pm on January 1st. We got all the committees motivated again to get ready for the conference- some were already on their feet in preparations. We have the hospitality committee to help lodge pastors that would be visiting from other towns, such as Port Au Prince, Les Cayes, Jacmel, Leogane. We have the transportation committee, who is responsible to pick up chairs, tables, and large cooking pots from church members who have given them to be used during the conference. We have the set up and clean up committee, who are in charge of making the yard and church clean and beautiful. We have the kitchen and welcoming committee, who do all the cooking of three meals a day for the three days of conference, including the slaughter of a cow. We have the registration committee- pretty self-explanatory. And of course, we have the worship team and sound committee, who I happen to be a part of since we are recording the sessions for CD's and DVD video, as well as getting the notes ready for the sessions. Oh, I don't want to forget the translation committee- they translated all the notes Monday, which took six guys, five dictionaries and a girl typist.
Today was the first day of our conference with about 150 pastors. There are not as many this year, since last year we only had a local seminar and motivating pastors to come now, when there are Earthquake Anniversary activities planned is challenging. At any rate, we had a great first day. Ed Allan, from Leduc, Alberta, spoke two sessions in the morning on Strategic Vision and Cathy Bergquist shared in the afternoon about Leading Your Marriage and Family Strategically and with Vision (can you see the theme here?) Chris and Cathy Bergquist will be with us here for 3 months serving as Team Hosts and Project Managers. Chris is a retired geologist and Cathy used to run her own travel agency. We are having a good time with them already. You can follow their blog at: Chris and Cathy's Excellent Adventure.
The kids are glad to be back. While we had a great time with our stay in Canada, and it was not that cold, they were all sick with fevers and coughs from the climate change. So they are recovering and Asher is happy to be back with his buddies. Jan 10th we have two teams arriving from Prosser, WA and Nelson, BC. You can follow their blog soon. Roy Ralph is also returning to help us with engineering on the tech school building. Until next week...