Oh, these are my (Stacey) favorite kinds of days.
The ones where precious photos from somebody’s cell phone come across my desk, and I can hear the water and I can feel the Spirit and I am touched with emotion, and I drop all the cash count forms and bank statements and cough drops and go find the story….wondering if it is as rich as it looks, and it always is. More.
Praise the Lord.
Many of you have been asking about Difou, one of the several areas where our students have been carrying the Gospel to totally unreached people. They’ve been going, Difou’s been growing, all little by little, the bird makes it’s nest, we proverb in Haiti.
And without me even knowing, there were more and more people, upon studying the Word with our staff and students and being personally convicted of their sin and need for Jesus, asking to please be converted, asking to please be baptized.
So they went, Belony and Jacsene and Phida and Nosebin and one of their buddies, this past Saturday, to baptize 25 men, women and youth, taking the narrow dirt path down to the river.
But when they got there, there was conflict.
Some leader in the area had been stirring up trouble for all the new followers of Jesus, telling them they surely could NOT be baptized until they were absolutely without sin. He pointed out to each of them all of the badness and sin in their lives and hearts, and told them that until they were perfect, they couldn’t be baptized.
Many of the 25 drew back, not yet ready to claim perfection, not yet ready to lay down certain sins, many living with men and women not their spouses, or still feeling entangled in voodoo, or still want to try to satisfy some need outside of Christ, some simply still feeling very fallen short.
What an awesome opportunity for Belony, Jacsene, Phida and Nosebin.
They started talking about our great need not for perfection, not for sinlessness, but for Jesus. They started preaching about His great grace and cleansing and profession of faith that baptism represents. They opened the Word with the large gathered crowd and talked to them about Jesus’ great desire for hearts that are wholly His, not men and women perfected in their holiness.
And seven stood. Five women and two men said they couldn’t go another day. Testified to the crowd what coming to know Jesus, and growing in Him daily, has done to transform and shape and redeem their lives. Said they couldn’t wait another day to make public the beauty growing in their washed clean hearts.
So with everyone watching, believers and not, they baptized the seven who said, NO TURNING BACK. They dipped the seven ALL INS, and it brought them such joy, and Phida says, powerfully touched and convicted the hearts of the many who are almost ready, who have their hands to the plow, but keep looking back.
The most beautiful story, in Phida’s mind and heart, is that of Ghin-Ghin.
A young man 17, 18 years old, Ghin-Ghin seemed to have been waiting for them, waiting for the Gospel, his whole life. From the day EBS first tread softly into Difou, he was there, at their sides, hanging onto every word, helping in every way he could.
When the service starts at 8, he is there at 6 am sweeping, sweeping the dust under the mango tree into an even and fragrant temple floor. When someone new wanders over to Bible study to see what is happening, Ghin-Ghin runs to find a chair. When Phida meets with the children, he helps keep them all organized and focused. When there is a passage of Scripture to be read, he begs for a Bible.
“From day one,” Phida told me this morning in the cafeteria, “his heart has been set on Jesus, and I can’t tell you how we have seen him grow all these weeks. When we showed up for the baptism on Saturday, his countenance was already set, there was no wavering. It was like he’s been waiting all his life for someone to come and tell him about Jesus, for someone to come and baptize him.”
He was the first one to jump in the river, and it brought Phida such deep joy to see him baptized, to testify of the growth she’s seen already in his life, and to dream for his future in Jesus.
After weeks of fasting and prayer, the “Reaching the Heart of Haiti” staff and student team unanimously appointed Nosebin (far right in the group picture, blue shirt and tie) as “pastor” of the group of believers, new and almost and not yet and much prayed for, in Difou.
Pray for Difou. Pray for those who have heard, which is now ALL of them. Pray for those many seeds that have been planted on all kinds of soil, and against the darkness that would try to pluck them up before they have a chance to root.
Pray for Nosebin as he goes every Wednsday for Bible study, for the whole team as they go every Saturday and Sunday for Bible study and church, prayer and discipleship. Pray for Ghin-Ghin and the 6 others who joyfully embraced baptism this past week, the first seven publicly declared Christ-followers that Difou has EVER had, as far as they can tell, and for the many others who desire to.
Continue to pray for Emmaus and the many men and women equipping and growing and forming and sending these men and women…as they equip and grow and form and send others!