Next Year…In Jerusalem!

IMG_1729.JPG

I went to youth choir practice today. While waiting to begin, I took a picture of the work that is going on next door, where our multipurpose building is being erected. It’s been raining here the last few days, so as I stood at the piano working on chords for the next song, I noticed the rain dripping through the old tin roof and observed the puddles of water sitting around in various places on the platform. But, instead of feeling the usual heaviness of watching our choir practice in a building where many folks in other countries wouldn’t house their animals, I felt that warm feeling…..you know, the one that rises up from deep within and fills your chest with that feeling of giddiness and faith. It comes at times when you think to yourself, This is really happening. We’re no longer dreaming about it. It’s coming to pass. We have waited so long for a new building, (we’re into our 27th year) and always hoped that maybe next year we’d get one built.

A friend shared with me the other day something he read in an article. It brought tears to my eyes as I saw the parallel and wanted to share it with you. In his own words he said:

This article said that before the nation of Israel was restored in 1948, every year for centuries all over the world, when the Jews celebrated Passover, they ended by saying, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

While we have (thankfully) not had to wait for centuries, we can now say “Next year” we’ll worship in our new building.

Great Things For Us, Great Things For Haiti

Happy Birthday CFC!

Unknown.jpegYesterday, we celebrated the birthday of our mother church in Petite-Anse. CFC (centre de formation chrétienne) turned 27 years old on 4 February. We had a wonderful and memorable service. It was a time of reflection as everyone knew that next year when we celebrate our 28th anniversary, we will already be in our new church building. Prit recounted to the people how we started our church in an old army tent with a few chairs covered with goatskin. Mostly, our folks sat on a large canvas since our number was few back then. The voudou drums which were played incessantly back then are no longer heard. Most of the people present were not even at that first service. We will never let our people forget the humble beginnings from which we came. There’s no way to describe the excitement of our people over the marvelous things that we will see in 2017.Watching the construction going on right next door only adds to the excitement.

Inauguration of Haiti’s New President

Jovenel-Moise-sworn-in-as-Haitis-president.jpgToday, this 7th of February, Haiti celebrated the official inauguration of President Jovenel Möise. He is Haiti’s 58th President. Our three workers, Cola, Marie, and Anuz sat in our den transfixed as they watched the peaceful transition of government on this historic occasion. Later, Bible school students stopped by to watch the festivities that were still going on. It’s always interesting to watch Haiti’s major events as they unfold through the eyes of our Haitian brothers and sisters. In spite of being the poorest country in the western hemisphere, they still love their country and carry a genuine pride for the first Black republic.

IMG_1715.JPGWe ask for your prayers for President Jovenel. He has so many challenges to face in governing this country. After many, many long seasons of prayer, we have hope that they are being answered. But President Jovenel has many hurdles to face with the economy, the devastation from Hurricane Matthew, and the list goes on and on. After living in Haiti for 34 years, we marvel that this little country is still here. Oh, the prayers of the saints! Speaking of prayer, President Jovenel has declared 3 days of prayer for this nation beginning tomorrow. Looks like we’re getting off on the right foot!

Attention Rehoboth Partners!

images-1Hello Rehoboth Partners! We have mailed all the year-end tax receipts for 2015-2016. If you have not received your receipt in the mail, please let us know. Some receipts were sent by e-mail attachment. Also, if you gave to Rehoboth through another ministry, they should provide a receipt for you unless it was The Lord’s Table. You can contact them with any questions you may have.

For the future, we will be sending out quarterly receipts. This means at the end April, we will begin preparing the next batch. This will simplify things for us here in Haiti and we will send them all by e-mail attachment unless someone doesn’t use e-mail. This way we won’t have to bear the costs of stamps and envelopes.

We are so very grateful to the Lord’s Table Church for lifting a heavy yoke off our shoulders in depositing the support checks once a week and sending us the report. They have asked us to share with those of you that may be giving online and give more than $1,000 at the time if you can please send a check instead. This is because The Lord’s Table has to bear the costs of making such a large deposit. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Thank you so much for your faithful giving into Rehoboth Ministries this year. We could not have done it without you!

We’re Off!

fullsizerender-1
             Prit, our leaders, and the construction crew members praying together
Today, construction workers who traveled from Archaïe, Haiti, gathered together for the first time on our main compound to commence the building of our new multipurpose building. This is a long-awaited dream as the foundation we laid for the building was around 1993!  We had no idea it would take this long for the rest of the building to follow. But, Haiti was plunged into a succession of natural disasters and increased poverty while the exchange rate began to steadily climb. The costs of building materials became so astronomical that we’ve never completed the means to build. After making payroll for our pastors, teachers, and workers in addition to the many other facets of maintaining a ministry of 5 churches, 3 schools, a Bible institute, and a feeding program for over 1,000 hungry staff and children, the rest of the work fell by the wayside. After many unfulfilled promises from others to help us, we truly understood the scripture – “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. (Proverbs 13:2)
 After years of intensive prayer, Orphans Promise, along with some very devoted and generous donors, came to our rescue. Only those who have been here and seen our present church structure firsthand can truly appreciate the enormity of our gratitude for lifting this heavy burden off our shoulders which we could not lift ourselves. In addition to providing the food for our three schools, Orphans Promise has done it once again. They are helping to make our dream for a building come true. With the generosity of our donors, Orphans Promise and Lifeline Ministry are working together to bring this miracle to pass.
 On 4 February, 1990, a fellow missionary donated an old, army medical tent to us so that we could begin church services. After succumbing to the force of heavy, tropical rainfall and gale winds, we next erected a simple structure of poles which supported a palm thatch roof. The thatch eventually caved in from all the rain it was holding and was replaced with a tin roof and some concrete blocks for the side. So, this became our church – dirt floor and all. Imagine spending over 20 years in a makeshift church with no fans or electricity and completely open to the elements. It was not uncommon for roosters to strut past the podium while Prit was preaching or for goats to gather together in the back to escape the rain. Yet, in spite of all this, we grew to a congregation of over 800 and sent out leaders who were raised in this church to plant other churches and schools.
Our dream building should be completed by July. I’ll give more info about it in posts to come. Please pray for Engineer Osmy and his construction crew from Lifeline Ministries, the Orphans Promise team and, of course, our dear donors who are putting legs to the whole project.

Give Your Love Away!

images“One evening before Mary Martin, the great Broadway musical star, was to go on stage in South Pacific, a note was handed to her. It was from Oscar Hammerstein. He had written it to her from his deathbed: ‘Dear Mary, a bell’s not a bell till you ring it. A song is not a song until you sing it. Love in your heart is not put there to stay. Love isn’t love till you give it away.’ “ Mary gave the performance of a lifetime that night and when her friends rushed backstage to ask what caused her to sing with such power, she showed them Hammerstein’s note. Blinking back tears she said, Tonight, I gave my love away!

Tuesday, 10 January, hit the 34 year mark for us since we landed in Haiti to start the work of Rehoboth Ministries. Since then, we have been giving and giving and giving our love away. With the wonderful partners of this ministry, we have founded 5 churches, 3 schools, and a Bible institute. With the help of Orphans Promise, we are feeding over 1,000 children the most important meal of their day – 5 days a week. After performing countless marriages, dedicating an innumerable number of babies and presiding over the funerals of loved ones here in Haiti, we stand amazed at what the Lord has helped us do. It seems, the more love we give away, the more we have for our Haitian brethren!

We thank all our wonderful partners who have stood with us through the years and invite others to come join us in this great work. For a nation that’s riddled with extreme poverty and which has been devastated over and over again by natural calamities like Hurricane Matthew, the needs of the Haitian people continually loom before us. Yet, it’s the perfect setting for demonstrating the love of Christ. We invite others to come join us. Become a regular sower into this ministry. Come to Haiti and give of your talents, your time, and your goods. The more love you give away, the more you’ll discover you have to give!

 

2017 MFI Conference

15941291_10154139254725808_2616666462630168761_n

Pastors Lisa and Marc Honorat, Prit, Dana, and Pastor Ed Allan

We wrapped up a 2-day MFI Conference here in Haiti for our Pastors and Leaders on Saturday. Pastor Ed Allan along with Pastors Marc and Lisa Honorat brought an incredible time of ministry to us. Pastor Allan and his wife, Francine, pastor DayStar Church in Le Duc, Alberta, Canada. It was his first visit to Cap-Haitien and we hope there will be many more!

Pastor Marc and Lisa Honorat founded Haiti Arise which is located in the town of Grand Goave in the south of Haiti. In addition to the incredible ministry they have there, they have been instrumental in bringing much needed aid to victims of the devastation of Hurricane Matthew by building homes for the homeless, among other projects. Marc and Lisa are treasured friends and we were so blessed that they took time out from their busy schedules to travel across country to attend our conference -especially after wrapping up a conference of their own.

IMG_1669.JPG

Pastor Ed Allan sharing on Hearing the Voice of God 

Thank you Pastor Allan, Pastor Marc, and Lisa for such a rich time of ministry and for the awesome fellowship. Thanks also to the MFI Leadership in Portland, Oregon, for making it possible for them to come. Training up leaders is one of our major focuses here in the north of Haiti. Through our Bible institute and the raising up of disciples through our local churches, we are endeavoring to make a better tomorrow for Haiti by raising up men and women who know how to lead by example.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Our pastors and leaders praying for their churches and their nation

We thank all of those who have helped provide scholarships for our men and women, thus enabling us to better equip dynamic leaders for the nation of Haiti. Many of them were greatly enriched by the MFI conference. We would love to provide more leadership conferences throughout the year with needed materials. Haiti is in dire need of Godly leaders who know know how to be standard bearers in a land which has witnessed so much devastation and poverty. The hunger we witnessed in the leaders that attended this conference gives us much hope that God is preparing a people to rise up and pull this post-earthquake nation out of its own rubble. Would you join us in praying for them because their task is truly a daunting one? We ask for your prayers for Haiti’s new President, Jovenel Moise as well. He certainly has a difficult task ahead of him, but there are many Godly Haitians who are standing in the gap for him.

God Is Not Dead, Nor Doth He Sleep

Did you know that Ti Ro-Ro died?, my son asked me earlier today. No!, I said, astonished. Stanley Pierre-Louis had grown up in our church and was a regular playmate of John and Gabe’s when they were little. He was the same age as John. As is common with most Haitians,  he had a nickname. Everyone called him Ti Ro-Ro. Yeah, they said it was something to do with his lungs, he replied. How very tragic, I thought – especially now during the Christmas season. Soeur Rolex is mourning the loss of her son. (Madame Rolex has been in our church for years.) Then my thoughts turned to others who are bearing the burden of a joyLESS Christmas because their loved one just recently passed on. I thought of others still who are close to me – still trapped in the same deep, murky waters of grief.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the most beloved poets in American history, poured out his own sorrow in the familiar Christmas carol,  I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. It has been read, sung, and translated into several languages throughout the years – largely because it struck a nerve that many of us feel at one point or another in our lives. Like so many other rich hymns and carols from the past, this too was birthed in sorrow as the author wrestled to understand just where God WAS in the mix. Longfellow had suffered much in spite of his great success as a writer. He was devastated when his first wife, Mary, died after suffering a miscarriage. Many years later, his second wife, Fanny, died as a result of a horrible tragedy. This particular Christmas carol was penned after his son, Charles, returned home from the Civil War severely wounded. Longfellow penned what anyone who has ever faced tragedy has most likely thought in the midst of their circumstances. Yet, these last two verses change the entire tone of the poem. They are also my favorite. They show that good ultimately triumphs. Why? Because God sits enthroned.

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

One day, sorrow will give way to joy, despair will bow to hope and death will lose its grip on mankind. God sits enthroned. It is my deep desire that all of you have a joyFUL Christmas and lots of laughter this season. May you have memories that last a lifetime. But in the meantime, I ask you to take time to remember those who are not celebrating, but rather enduring the holidays. Pray for them. Reach out to them. Ask them what you can do for them. Better yet, just simply sit in silence with them and let them know that you are there if they need to talk or just want a shoulder to cry on. Your presence will be a reminder that God is not dead, nor doth he sleep and through his people, he brings His comfort.