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

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???”