Friday our fourth year class and several visiting professors and Matt had a very interesting trip to the mosque in town. The darkness of mind and life presented there by the Imam and followers seemed so apparent to the students that they couldn’t imagine anyone thinking it was light.
And yet, that’s often how darkness works, isn’t it? “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness.” (Matthew 6:23)
Thankful they had this chance (the female students are waiting in another room, as they are not permitted to sit with the men in the inner room) and also that we all had the chance to hear the Crescent Project’s inspiring presentation on how God is at work among Muslims around the globe. There are places Matt and I would never be able to go that men and women from Haiti may very well…we continue to pray and train and come alongside.
Several visiting professors headed out on Saturday afternoon, with their partners at Emmaus finishing their classes for them this week.
Matt preached at the English Bible Fellowship in the afternoon on Sunday, but in the morning we listened to Francis Chan. Always so good and true, his messages are.
An image he shared this time that was so simple yet powerful was with a flashlight. He had a flashlight in his hand and pointed it all around the room, showing us all the things he could draw our attention to.
Chan talked about how we could shine the lights we have at other things, or at ourselves, showing others all the things we can and can’t do, how great or how wretched we are, how talented or worthless we are, using our light to shin on ourselves.
Or, and turning to face the cross on the wall behind the pulpit, he shined his light on the cross, pointing everyone’s attention to Jesus, making it impossible to even see Chan’s face or to loudly hear his voice.
What a fantastic image of our calling, brothers and sisters, to use the Light with which we have been transformed to shine everyone’s attention NOT to ourselves, but to Christ.
It’s with this image, we head into a new week…
Monday was both our first day of class and our last day with our team from Northern Ireland! After doing lots of service projects, touring ministries and a medical clinic, the only thing they really still wanted to do was “get out in Haiti a bit more.”
There are lots of touristy ways to do this, but the best way I know to get into people’s lives is head for the hills. Enick, one of our graduates from 2009, has been ministering on an incredibly remote mountain village since he graduated, and yesterday seemed like the perfect chance to show our Northern Irish friends more of true life, to give our Vietnamese visiting professor Nheim the chance he’s been looking for to be a part of the “real” Haiti, and to visit, pray for and encourage Enick.
After chapel, at 12:45, I mentioned to Leme that we’d be doing this at 1:15, and he asked if it was ok for a few students to go along, if they wanted…thirty minutes later, I had 7 first-timers, and Lily, heading over the hills with me.
I know Matt thinks hiking voluntarily in Haiti in August on the first day of school is close to purgatory, but I love everything about it. And yesterday–with such a neat group of men and women with such unique cultural experiences and world-views and perspectives–was just SPECIAL.
How awesome to experience that with him.
The students, of course, were a bit nervous that I had lost my way. “It doesn’t seem possible that there is a church somewhere out here! How does he DO it?” they marveled, and I saw the wheels turning. Jacsene was especially moved by all the hundreds of people we greeted.
“There are SO many people up here!” he kept saying. “You just would never have thought it! Everywhere you look, you see or hear or see signs of people. And there are NO churches in this village! How many of these people have never heard the Gospel?”
As we walked, it hit him deeper still.
“How many thousands of OTHER little villages and mountains are there in Haiti, JUST LIKE THIS, where no one has heard? Where no one has the chance to hear? What if Enick wasn’t up here? How far must people travel to hear the Word? Oh oh. Something must be done.”
And at that, he did what he could, talking to everyone we passed, asking them if they had heard about Jesus, asking if they knew about Enick’s church, asking them if he could be praying for them.
And while it didn’t remind our NI friends of their childhoods, nor did they have a completely new perspective on their calling as pastors in Haiti, it did show them far more of life…what it looks like, the hearts of the people, and how to pray for this new burden they have called Haiti.
When we finally arrived, Enick shared with us a bit of his vision, some of his joys and burdens, a bit of his calling, and I was so thankful for all of us to have a better insight into praying for him, and those like him.
My last several visits, he’s been living in one of the school classrooms. This time, however, his straw cot has been moved to the tumbling supply depot, and he explained to me that there are now four youth sleeping in the classroom. After working with these young people, all of whom had struggled with different versions of demon-possession, their families were continuing to take them to the witch-doctor for healing. No matter what Enick said and did, he could NOT convince their families that there would be NO freedom outside of Christ, and finally, he took the youth in, protecting them from well-meaning but entirely lost families. Now, he meets with them continually, praying and teaching and working with them on “cleaning house and being filled.”
Singing with him, praying with him, altogether, listening to all the ways God was touching hearts and stretching minds…it was a GREAT day to be the sweaty lady in the middle.
I know enough to know it was a voodoo thing, but after we walked on, I asked Wileme about it.
He confirmed that it was, and explained that oftentimes when a new baby is born, or if there is someone particularly fragile or vulnerable in the home, it is common for those who are not in Christ to hang shards of glass, knives, or even thorny cacti, from each corner, making it more difficult for evil spirits and curses to come in. It was an effort to threaten away, to trick, evil.
It touched me anew that today, in 2016, there are still people in this world, many people, who live in such fear and darkness that they would do such a thing, would believe that thorns could keep out evil.
In it, you see love of course…love for that baby, that sick person, a desire to protect. But that love is utterly and completely lost. Afraid. Desperate.
The great need in Haiti, in the world, for Perfect Love continues.
Love is NOT all the same. Love is NOT all you need.
It is only Perfect Love, His love, that casts out fear, that shines Light in darkness, that lifts veils from clouded eyes and brings Truth in twisted times.
And any day I get to walk in that Love, with Northern Ireland and Vietnam and Haiti and my daughter around me, with men and women who are determined to live it and give it is a GOOD day…and a great way to start a new year training up.
It was a good day to remember why.
So grateful for all who made our first set of intensive courses possible. Now gearing up for round two.
The Fall 2016 Semester has begun!
Courses being offered this intensive session:
1. Inductive Bible Study (Dr. Nheim Tran)
2. Islam and the Christian Faith (Professors Brett Westbrook and Paul Keller)
3. Evangelism and Discipleship (Dr. Charles Lake)
4. Principles of Christian Leadership (Professor Bob Lucceus)
We are also excited to have new to our Faculty Professor Bill Edler (MA Theological Studies, University of Chester (UK)!
Dr. Charles Lake teaching Principles of Evangelism and Discipleship
Pastor Bob Lucceus teaching Principles of Christian Leadership (with EBS Academic Dean Lucner Pierre in the photo)
Professor Bill Edler
Dr. Nhiem Tran teaching Inductive Bible Study
Dr. Charles Lake teaching Principles of Evangelism and Discipleship
Last night from the stage of one of Crosspoint’s churches in Crestview, someone asked us about the the threats of voodoo, and about how we handle it. For a while Matt spoke about how God handles it, and as I listened and thought about how far, far away the drumming seems today, and how close, close it will be again in just a few days…I realized that in my mind, I STILL think of every drummer, every dancer, every man and woman partying and praising and cursing in the moonlight as Belony. Belony before Jesus.
Taking it back to a post in 2011…
Two nights ago when Matt and I were laying in bed unable to sleep because the Voodoo drums at Noah’s were pounding SO LOUDLY, the Lord gave me a different perspective. (The Noah story is KILLER good, if you have a few minutes). Normally, the erratic and deafening drumming is irritating, or discouraging, or frustrating (because it wakes Lily up!). But Wednesday night, the Lord gave me a spirit of excitement.
This is why: Belony, the evangelist/staff/past student that you have heard so much about, has his own Paul story. A gifted musician, ten years ago it was Belony who was pounding for different witchdoctors, Belony who as a youth spent all of his time practicing and playing the drums and leading various satanic services.
As I lay there, thinking about Belony today, Belony AFTER meeting Christ on the road to Damascus, as I thought about ALL the people who have come to know Him because of Belony…of Pehpay, who was led to the Lord and brought back from the near dead because of Christ in Belony….Belony, leading dozens to the Lord after the earthquake just by boldly proclaiming the whole Gospel…
I felt NOTHING that night but excitement for the young men whose hands were slapping the cow skins right then and banging on 5-gallon buckets. If God could take Saul and then bring about ALL that He did with Paul, if God could take the old Belony and then bring about ALL That He IS doing in Belony today, then I have nothing but excitement for those that are participating in Voodoo today.
One sunny day, Belony just put down his sticks, left the fire and followed Christ and became a fisher of men.
The POTENTIAL of Christ-died-and-rose-again-for-them is ELECTRIFYING. Until He comes, there is hope for the drummers of Saccanville, hope for Konpesh, for Au Bois, for Haiti, for the world.
Thank you for your prayers this weekend!
Very thankful as we’re here, as we’re heading home…as we look at America, as we look at Haiti and the world…very thankful that there is NO Saul that God cannot transform. Very thankful that God works in ways and places that NO one thought possible. Very thankful to be IN Christ, the One who is not damaged or changed by the evil hearts of man, and the One who can actually and truly CHANGE the evil hearts of man….like mine.
There may be drumming, friends.
But He isn’t finished.