PASTOR GORD: It’s utterly incredible how so many things are being transformed in Haiti since we were last here two years ago… Yet many things have remained unchanged!
Today was Sunday… I remember as if it was yesterday the first time I preached a sermon at the Haiti Arise Church here in the compound. The worship was incredibly vibrant as adults and children alike were wholly engaged in praising Jesus, our King of kings and Lord of lords! Absolutely no holding back as the Haitian believers expressively presented their sacrifices of praise to our wonderful Lord! The open air sanctuary was packed full back then with something like 700 believers whose only desire was to worship Jesus and learn how to live with abandon for HIM. Their responsiveness at the preaching of the Gospel puts the North American church to shame! None of this has changed from two years ago!
Those of us who were here two years ago, and my wife Ruth who has been here 3 times, commented how amazing it was to be able to actually be able to understand what some of the French words and phrases meant this time around! Preaching from the book of Hebrews with Pastor Marc translating was as an incredible experience today as it was when I preached in Mexico, Lebanon, and Jordan on numerous occasions during the past 18 years. It’s so rewarding seeing people respond to and interact with the word of God! PTL! I long for our North American church to exhibit half the exuberance of the Haiti Church. While I preached today, the rest our team had about 100 children engaged in Children’s Church at the Elementary School Campus, but I’ll let Ruth share the details about that!
What has changed in Haiti over the past few years revolves around the growing optimism our whole team, as well as the team from Kalispell, Montana, l have both encountered. We’ve seen this optimism everywhere… here in the Haiti Arise Compound where people from all walks of life are hungry to learn Emergency First Aid (101 attending) or Labour and Delivery (55 attending)! The optimism was much more apparent on the faces of the young children we’ve seen in Grand Goave. The new buildings, continually growing fields of corn, the joy on the faces of the people in the community, the number of Haitians visiting the beach area again… everything points to a new day in Haiti! Haiti Arise is making a huge difference in the lives of everyone the organization touches for Jesus in the community… and there’s so much more that must be done. We as a team are blessed to be a small part of God’s amazing plan for the wonderful country of Haiti!!!
RUTH: I am thankful that Graham had the heart and vision to minister to the children here at Haiti Arise. When he found out he was given the opportunity to do Children’s Church during the Sermon and communion so that the regular children’s Church workers could attend the service, and that there would be around 100, children, we were all conscripted to help! Graham planned for us to act out the story of the Good Samaritan while he read the Bible story. Ben K was the traveler, Joyce and Ben A. were the robbers, I was the Samaritan along with Doug as my Donkey. Tannis suggested that since Doug was teaching Wilderness First Aid, that we incorporate a splinting technique using a towel and sticks. Jean noted that the 100 + kids were so quiet and attentive as they watched the bandaging and splinting of the beat up guy, then burst out laughing as I put Ben on the Donkey and led him to the Inn. (which couldn’t come soon enough for Doug as he traversed over gravel on his knees!).
After lunch we spent a beautiful afternoon on the beach, in beautifully warm ocean water while our white skin soaked in the sun’s rays. I think we are still glowing! We ended our day by going out for supper at a local restaurant with Marc and Lisa. We will remember this day with fondness. (especially in a few days when we again return to the ice and snow!)
- The Stock Family