New Name, New Family, New Country

Andy, Ruby, Guerline, Savannah Ivan

On Palm Sunday, Prit and I were invited to share his healing testimony at the English Bible Fellowship that meets on Sunday afternoons outside of Cap-Haitian. This English-language gathering consists of both missionaries and Haitians. We had a great time sharing the story once again as well as spending time with fellow missionaries that we don’t get to see very often. Usually, our schedules conflict or the bad roads just keep us from getting together as often as we’d like.

Before we were invited to speak, we had the privilege of dedicating a beautiful baby girl. Her name is Savannah Elizabeth Ivan and she has been adopted into her new family.  Her mother (Guerline) was friends with our children while they were growing up here in Cap-Haitian. She, her husband, Andy, and their daughter, Ruby, now reside in eastern Canada. As soon as her adoptions procedure is cleared, Savannah will join her new family to put down roots in a new country. Would you pray that this process will be accomplished quickly and efficiently?

 

Money Is Life

Since we returned to Haiti, there seems to have been a neverending list of things to do, all of which require money. Everyone and his brother seems to be in need. The average Haitian makes between two and four U.S. dollars a day, and that’s if they have a job. Unemployment hovers at around 60%. Most people here live on a shoestring budget, with each individual trying to earn just enough money to carry them through the day. It also takes money, and lots of it, to keep a ministry running. At times, we feel like acrobats twirling plates atop sticks. The plates have to be in constant motion or else they’ll come crashing down. Keeping the plates spinning looks so effortless, but in reality it requires the performer’s undivided attention. Keeping the whole thing going is not always as easy as it looks.

The other day, I was complaining to Prit, saying, “It seems that every time I turn around, somebody needs money.” His reply was profound: “It takes money to live and to someone that is in tremendous need, but doesn’t have the resources to meet that need, money is life.” That statement totally changed my perspective about people. It was a genuine “eureka” moment for me. It made me realize that we can extend LIFE to others with the resources the Lord has entrusted to us. Whether it is the means of giving someone an education or sending them to the doctor, money is life.

Of course, with our giving, we become recipients of that life-flow as well. I think of the sheer joy we receive when presenting a worker with a brand new laptop of his own, knowing he has never owned anything that nice in his entire life. Then there’s the young man that hugged his computer bag we brought back for him. When I offered to cut the price tag off for him, he told me, “No, leave it on. It just reminds me that it’s brand new!” Every time we return to Haiti, we always try to bring back a new shirt and tie for our leaders. It seems like such a small thing to do for those who labor tirelessly out of love for God and his church. The smiles radiating from their faces make all the shopping that went into the gifts totally worth it because they imparted life.

As we reflect on this Easter weekend and celebrate the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, we give thanks that the Lord has given us the privilege of partnering with him to impart his life to others. Whether it’s helping someone start a small business or helping someone else bury their loved one, we become channels of blessing to those less fortunate than us. And like our Father, who bankrupted Heaven to send us his son, may we always be willing not only to give to others, but to give in a lavish, kingly fashion as well.

A Faithful Servant

Brother ColaHis name is  Coeurcius Jacques Colas (pronounced “cola”).  He is sixty-six years old and was born under the presidency of Durmarsais Estimé (1946 – 1950). Brother Colas (as we know him) has been with us since 1991. He is a longtime, faithful church member and his main role in working for us is that of a security guard. He sleeps at our home during the night, yet Colas is so much more than that. He is truly the “go to” man for everything. His jobs range from shopping at the maché for us and keeping our generator running smoothly, to caring for our dogs and fending off the neighbors that come to our gate asking for money. For this reason, Colas is not very popular with our neighbors. They constantly hurl insults at him and throw trash over the wall into our yard just to provoke him. It is not uncommon to awake in the morning to hear Colas outside arguing with everyone in the neighborhood.

Brother Colas came to our church a very sick man. He was under treatment for tuberculosis and was so weak, he couldn’t sit up. But he’d come to our early morning prayer services and friends would lay him on the back bench. There he would lie, soaking in the worship and listening to the meditations that were given. Slowly, his health was restored and he became one of the many marvels of restoration that we have witnessed in our church.

Colas cannot read, yet he has the memory of a steel trap. For some reason, he asks me (Dana) to write out  a list for him of the things we need at the “marché,” (an open-air market downtown) even though he’ll never refer to it. But, he will remember everything that’s on that list and return with every item. Maybe in some small way, this helps him retain his dignity for a skill never learned.

Because Colas is so greatly loved, he is often teased by us and everyone else. He laughs along with us, knowing that it’s our way of showing him he’s special. But, there is something else special about Colas. Colas was with us that Sunday night in 2006 when we were kidnapped. The gang that forcibly commandeered our jeep were concerned that Colas (being a Haitian), would recognize one of them. As they raced our jeep out into the countryside at breakneck speed, the gang members wrapped a t-shirt around Colas’ head and forced him to put his head down while sitting in the back seat. At that moment, Colas, terrified and certain they were going to kill him right then and there, began to vomit in the back foot of our vehicle. Fortunately, no one was killed or even hurt, and everyone’s subsequent release was one of the many miracles we have experienced while on the mission field. But because of this incident, the bonds already forged between us and Colas were intensely strengthened.

Proverbs 20:6 aptly applies to Brother Colas and we are happy to share this post with our readers about a faithful man who deserves to be honored.

“Most men will proclaim every one his own kindness; But a faithful man who can find?” (ASV)

Happy Birthday Gabe!

Today is our son’s 25th birthday! Gabriel (or, as we know him, “Gabe”) is currently living in Vancouver, Washington. Gabe graduated from Portland Bible College in Portland, Oregon, and is very active at  City Bible Church in Portland. He plays guitar on the worship team and has been used in recording albums with City Bible Church as well as various other artists. Gabe has also been instrumental in teaching the youth and has a tremendous compassion for the hurting.  It’s hard to believe that he came into this world a quarter of a century ago. A high salute to you on your birthday, Son!

Love, Mom & Dad

Saying “Goodbye”

ImageYesterday I (Dana) attended a ladies’ gathering to honor a fellow missionary sister, Pat Moore. Pat has served in Haiti for twenty years as a nurse working in a clinic out in the countryside. She and her husband, Clark, will be returning to the Pacific Northwest tomorrow.

Pat has been a very dear friend to me and will be sorely missed. She has listened to many of my “woes” through the years, watched our children grow up and leave, given me medical advice, and we have spent precious time in prayer together. As the ladies around the table took turns making remarks about Pat,  the comment I heard repeated over and over was that it was her positive attitude that always amazed them. If there was ever one that saw the glass half-full instead of half-empty, it would be Pat. So, with a whole lot of love sprinkled with a tinge of sadness, Pat, I dedicate this post to you.

Génération Joseph!

GJ (pronounced ”Jay-Jee” in French) is in full swing! GJ means The Joseph Generation (La Génération de Joseph) which represents the youth of our church. Pastor John Finochio (Hamilton, ON) prophesied over our youth that they would be like Joseph. Joseph, in spite of his affliction, would overcome his suffering and learn how to reign. We have a tremendous youth movement going on in the churches here.

Our youth choir was practicing for the upcoming Easter service and were thrilled to get a box of Valentine candy for their labor. They are doing an awesome job and if you should ever travel to Haiti, you will be so blessed by the beautiful voices of the youth that are lifting up their voices to God with intense worship. Go GJ!

Precious Are the Feet of Those…

Posted by John Adams.

This video is part of the “Voices from Haiti” project, a series of videos capturing life in Haiti after the earthquake with a focus on those suffering from HIV/AIDS. It is also a moving audio-visual snapshot of how the Holy Spirit is breathing new life there, as the Word of Christ comes like healing balm to a dying land.

English version of the visual poem Precious Are The Feet of Those… with poetry by Kwame Dawes, images by Andre Lambertson.

I will clap my hands,
bundle my fingers into fists,
lift them and shake them
and laugh, this belly laugh
of pure simple joy
for the precious feet
that have come through
the stone and dust
to my shelter to find me
to echo my prayers,
to rest a warm hand
on my fevered head
and shower me
with the falling leaves
of the scriptures,
to embrace me
to embrace this broken body
to embrace this flesh
to whisper the balm of love;
yes, I will clap my hands
raise them like the lively
limbs of the trees
up to those hills
joyful together
over this city of stones.