Thanksgiving Reflections from the Fourth World

61qzgxode9L._SL1100_.jpgToday marks a very special day of giving thanks. Yet, every day, giving thanks should be what marks us. Long before a day was set apart for this occasion in the United States, Psalm 95:2 declared:

“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.”

Writing from Haiti this morning, we missionaries tend to see this world and this day through different lenses. Dealing with fourth-world problems such as lack of electricity, water, lack of internet service (only to name a few), reminds us of what we walked away from almost 35 years ago. One only needs to spend a week here to truly appreciate the comforts of home in the United States. One pastor did so several years ago and when he returned stateside, he knelt down at the airport and kissed the tarmac! Only then did he realize how very blessed he was to be a citizen of the United States.

We grew up in a country whose infrastructure works. You can’t imagine the joy it gives us to drive down nice roads in North Carolina that are not flooded by heavy rains and not have to dodge trash filling the streets because there’s already a system in place to take care of these things. There are actually stop lights and rules that people must follow that create order instead of having to swerve around cars and motorcycles every time one goes to town. As an American, the lack of a normally functioning system vexes us to no end. Why? Because we did not grow up that way.

We have no regrets for moving to Haiti. This is our mission and this is our call. But, we are thankful for the time we have to return home and decompress after living in a nation with few laws and much instability. Yes, America has other problems and they are serious problems. We can’t be like ostriches burying our heads in the sand and look the other way when we have such major issues glaring at us from without and from within. Our country is spiritually sick and we pray for America now as much as we do for Haiti. Yet….. having said that, please be reminded that everyone around the world still wants to go to the United States. No one wants to be deported from there. On this occasion when Americans come together to give thanks to God, a part of us wishes we could be there too.

We want to encourage you to be truly thankful from the heart if you’re so blessed to enjoy the comforts of our homeland or that of another country where you have reaped manifold blessings. Pray for that nation which has contributed to so much of your happiness and welfare and remember to give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” — Epictetus

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We Miss You, Vic!

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                                                        Left to Right: John, Vic, Prit

 

Last week, we were so blessed to have a great friend of ours travel all the way from Tacoma, Washington, to spend a few days with us. Vic Langel loves missions and spends most of his holiday time from work traveling to other countries like Nepal, Uganda, England, and Haiti. This deeply touches our hearts knowing that he could spend his vacation time elsewhere. Vic is a member of Trinity Church which is a longtime supporter of Rehoboth Ministries. I asked Vic if he would like to share some thoughts about his trip. Here’s what he said:

Flying into Cap-Haitian, looking at the mountains and the coast line, I was again reminded why it is called the “Pearl of the Antilles”. A truly beautiful country.

John Adams picked me up and we had to take the back roads to the Adams’ compound. I was again reminded of the unique issues they face in Cap. Students were blocking the main roads in protest to something. These types of protest sometimes produce adverse results and can occur most anytime. It makes traveling around the crowded streets of the city center of Cap even more interesting.

The Haitians I interacted with were always friendly and kind. The Haitians that work with the Adams are true servants of God.

The new church, which is almost completed, is amazing. I do not think there is another church like it in Cap. The people will have an experience similar to Joseph in Genesis going from the prison to the palace.

I have seen Prit, Dana, and their son, John faithfully work long hours. They face phases of really hot weather, unreliable Internet service, and power outages. They continue on because they know God is doing a great work in Cap. THE BEST IS YET TO COME.

I have always had a wonderful time when I have visited the Adams at Cap. I would encourage any church to work with the Adams and arrange a team to come and help with their work. You will not be disappointed.

I would encourage you to financially support Rehoboth Ministries. It is a great work and your help would be a great blessing to them.

Back on French Soil

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– Evangelist Emmanuel Maennlein 

We just wrapped up our two-day Youth Conference for 2017. More than 800 young people from different corners of the north of Haiti came together for a powerful time in the Lord. They were nurtured both by the Word and by a fully cooked meal prepared by our own youth. Evangelist Emmanuel Maennlein (our guest speaker) came all the way from Alsace, France, to share the message that we are Plus Que Vainqueurs – More than Conquerors. We thank all of you who were so generous in helping to provide the funds to make this happen. We have a burden for the future leaders of a country which is devastated on so many levels. Our vision is great in that we want to invite young leaders and pastors of local churches to come and be trained in the Biblical principles of leadership. This is a great vision and requires the help of many donors. Pray for us that we may be able to make the greatest impact possible in this vineyard to which we have been called.

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Bomb Scare in Strasbourg, France

We thank Emmanuel for working tirelessly in the ministry here. From the beginning of his journey, he was detained at Strasbourg due to a bomb scare. Next, he made three different flights to join us in Haiti. He not only was our guest speaker for the youth conference, but he also preached in two of our churches and had a special meeting with our key leaders. Merci beaucoup, Frère Emmanuel! We are glad that you have returned home safely and thankful for the investment that you made into Haiti. When you return, we will give you some more Haitian Pumpkin Soup.

23031526_10213509825487510_727434075289238424_n.jpgOf course, after giving 100%, we had to have a little fun time. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. We thoroughly  enjoyed spending some down time at Cormier Plage before sending Emmanuel on his way back home. Right after Emmanuel left, the rain started falling   again and Cap-Haitian was flooded. Since then, we have been under a very thick cloud cover. Here’s a pic of Emmanuel “suffering for Jesus.”

 

A Melancholy Post

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                    Cap-Haitian, Haiti

I wrote this a couple of days ago. I find it therapeutic to write my feelings down. Ok, it’s also a justification for complaining, venting, and seeking solace. But, it does give you an inside glimpse into life here on the mission field. Sometimes, it’s just no fun. Since then, I’ve returned to seeing the silver lining behind the cloud (for there always is one) and knowing that we have so much for which to be thankful. Discouragements come and go. But, thanks for allowing me to be human. I know that many of you have your own stuff you’re going through. I’d be happy to listen to your story too. 🙂 My next post will be more cheerful and I’ll share all the great things that have been going on around here. I promise!

 

”This has been an incredibly discouraging day. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a list of goals written out – things that really need to get done, but then only one of them gets marked off. The whole morning I wrestled with the internet and the internet won. The signal was off and on. It taunted and provoked me until I was physically exhausted.

Prit and I went to price some generators so that we could send the information to interested parties in the States. We fought through heavy traffic and finally got the info. from the two places we visited. We decided to go into town and use the internet signal at the hotel only to find that it wasn’t working either. After many failed attempts, we headed back up the mountain to get home just before the rain burst through the dark cloud cover that had been threatening to overtake us. Knowing that the city of Cap-Haitian was flooded the night before was enough incentive to hurry home as quickly as possible.

Now that I’ve complained and let off steam, I feel guilty. There will most likely be folks sweeping the water out of their homes tomorrow. Their little makeshift structures are no match for the torrential rains that threaten to sweep them away. At least our little cracker box of a mission house is safe and dry……well, except for the office area that had water seeping through the tile. What is that all about???”

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Remembering Martin Luther

UnknownToday marks the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Revolution. In Wittenburg, Germany, a simple monk named Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church. His hope was to spark an academic debate but instead rocked the religious world to the core. We have never been the same since that infamous day. We look back at the history that has shaped us and made us what we are today. You can read about this man’s fascinating life in Eric Metaxas’ book, Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World.

Welcome, Emmanuel!

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Evangelist Emmanuel Maennlein

Interestingly, a French evangelist with a German name arrived today and will be the guest speaker for our Youth Explosion Conference. The theme for the conference is More Than Conquerors. Emmanuel Maennlein was here in 2009 for our first youth conference in which we had over 1,600 young people. Tomorrow, we will have 1,000+ youth to gather in Petite-Anse for a 2-day conference. We are anticipating a move of God as these future leaders gather together. We also pray that this conference will ignite a fervor in them to go out and rock their own world as agents of change in a country which so badly needs it.  Please pray for the youth of Haiti!

You Are Making It Happen

IMG_1425_preview.jpegBeautiful children. Eager minds. Ready to learn. Exploding with energy! Thanks to your generosity, this describes the precious children in our three schools. Because the majority of our kids do not eat breakfast at home, lunch is served at 10:30 a.m. in order for them to be able to concentrate in class each day. Unfortunately, many of them will only find empty plates when they return home after school. The nutritious, vitamin-packed meal they receive five days a week in school is what literally gets the majority of them through the day.

Thanks to Orphans Promise, the food we receive is assembled, packed, and shipped to Haiti which requires a lot of administration and a huge investment from their generous donors. We wouldn’t have a feeding program without their help. On our end, it is costing around $3,100 (US) monthly to provide for gas tanks, cooks’ salaries, and extras such as cleaning products and sending our driver back and forth to the market. Without the combined effort of Orphans Promise and Rehoboth’s regular monthly supporters, children would go hungry, be unable to learn as well, and many would get sick. But……YOU are making it happen and we say a big THANK YOU! These lovely children say thank you too.

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Would you like to be a game-changer and join us in this life-sustaining miracle? Here’s how: Write a check to: The Lord’s Table and earmark it HAITI / FEEDING

Mail to:

The Lord’s Table / PO Box 11049 / Goldsboro, NC  27532 OR give online at thelordstable.org and add a note that it is for HAITI / FEEDING

 

It’s Been A Hard Day’s Night

UnknownLast night had to be one of my most miserable ever in Haiti. We returned to find one of our generator batteries not working which meant we couldn’t use the generator. Also, the electrician couldn’t come until this morning to fix it. To sum it up, we had no electricity in our house all night and the heat was stifling. John and I went up on the roof for a while until we couldn’t sit on the hard cement any more. I tried sleeping on the sofa in our living room and finally woke up in the middle of the night sweating. During the time it was pitch black and local warring gangs in the neighborhood came together to fight each other. Hurling broken bottles and rocks, they threatened each other and created quite a ruckus. It was the second time this week. The old man who works on furniture right across from our gate had his makeshift structure destroyed (again.) Another fellow who makes and sells concrete blocks stepped into the street this morning only to find the majority of his blocks broken up and strewn through the street.

It was hard to discern in the darkness where exactly the gang was located and it sounded as if they were hurling rocks at our front gate to get in. Finally, I heard two shots and thought it was our guard scaring them away, when in reality it was the police. The rest of the night, I had a nervous upset stomach. That, and the smothering heat left me exhausted. Of course, Prit slept like a log through it all and John slept on the cool tile in the hallway.

It’s amazing how one situation can cause your goals to shift completely! Now, all I can think about is getting a couple of solar panels to put on our roof to avert ever having to sleep in the dark again, not to mention the maddening heat. I will post the prices when I get them, but would you like to help us get started? If so, you can send a gift to:

The Lord’s Table
PO Box 11049
Goldsboro, NC 27532

** Please make your check to The Lord’s Table and earmark it HAITI / SOLAR PANELS

Meanwhile, we also ask your prayers for protection over this neighborhood. We were glad that our team from CBN had already returned stateside before the electricity failed us.