I do the finances ’cause somebody’s gotta do it. I teach English because it helps me build great relationships with the students. But learning and sharing people’s stories is just my very very favorite.
As I was reading the to the girls tonight about the Israelites, right before Joshua died, our hearts beat faster with the Israelite people as Joshua reminded them about God and Abraham. About God and Isaac. About God and Jacob…and Joseph…and Moses…and.
When the people REMEMBERED the stories, remembered THEIR stories, they were impassioned for God and committed to His commands and inspired for His service.
It was when they forgot, when they spent more time with secular encouragement than inspired encouragement, when they stopped reminding each other of who God was and what God had done, when they wanted what everybody else had more than they wanted the One True God that they fell away. That they disobeyed. That they suffered.
Joshua reminded me how important it is to tell and re-tell and pass down our stories. From Adam on.
I was born into a very poor family, but they sent us to school as best they could. I had two sisters and one brother, and I’m the first born. My family wasn’t a Christian family…we were raised in the Haitian Catholic church and practiced Voodoo, though we weren’t very involved with either. But the family that lived right next door to us was a pastor and his wife and their kids. They were always kind to us and reached out to us kids, and over time, we all came to really love and respect Pastor Clide and his family.
When my little sister was 11, she asked them to please teach her how to follow their Master, and she became a Christian. Not long after her, I asked them the same thing, and she and I grew under their leadership, friendship and at their church. I was nervous about giving Jesus my life because I always felt like there were still things I didn’t understand. But Pastor Clide assured me that even though I didn’t understand everything, I could give Jesus my all, and little by little He would teach me.
Not long after I started following Jesus, my mother came to the Lord. Then my father. And my parents led my other siblings to Jesus. Because of Clide’s family’s faithful testimony in our lives, today my whole immediate family is following Jesus!
After I converted, I was always following Pastor Clide, always asking him questions and wanting to be like him. When I grew up, I wanted to be like him and study like he did, in theology. When I was in high school, I was firmly set on that…and I really grew in my desire to go into theology.
But there was a problem. I had thought through my family’s financial situation. And the difficulty in finding work. And the costs of university. I came to a point of complete despair. No matter how much I wanted to study God’s Word, and live it and give it like Pastor Clide does, there was simply no way it would ever be possible. We had nothing. I was nothing. I knew no one who could help me! I was so depressed.
I was speaking to Pastor Clide about that one day, and he said, “Listen. If you’re desiring to follow God, and you believe God has a call of ministry on your life, then you are looking the wrong places. You are trying to see what your parents can do for you, what your church can do for you, what you can do for you. Instead, look to God. He provides for His calling, He alone is almighty, by His power and by His strength we are to find our hope! This isn’t about our ability, but about HIS. Do you trust Him?”
This new perspective encouraged me greatly.
Pastor Clide went to Emmaus Biblical Seminary, and I wanted to be grounded in the Gospel like he was. So I got together my papers and all my trust and the tiny bit of money I had and I went to Emmaus Biblical Seminary. And with a happy heart I can tell you that I have now completed one semester at Emmaus, and little by little, payment by payment, God has provided for me!
I was also afraid that maybe I wouldn’t have the mental capacity to study here, because classes are taught just entirely differently than the norm. But again, I remembered what Pastor Clide said, and realized that this wasn’t about my ability to learn and grow and succeed. This was about God’s ability to help me, to form me.
My favorite class so far was the Christianity and Voodoo class. I did one day at a time, and God helped me so much to grow and to understand and to be surprised by such new perspectives on things I simply always thought. I didn’t have to worry about my capacity, but relied on His ability.
I also loved the preaching class! I teach Sunday school at my church, and help lead the service, and preach every few weeks…the things I learned in that class about how to pray through and develop and deliver a sermon have already been SO helpful in the ministry I’m already doing!
Pray for me, that God would give me the strength to do His work, give me the energy, give me the ability. I know that because of Him, I can do and be whatever He wants me to do and be!