17 January 2017

hallelujah

First off, I want to say thank you for your prayers, which were certainly felt today.

Secondly, I want to say that I am proud of my husband, who is a Godly man who refuses to quit and who turns the other cheek and who speaks peace and wisdom and relies fully on the Spirit and who blesses me with wise leadership and his friendship.  He is watched continually, constantly, by so many, and while he is imperfect and ornery and human, he exemplifies a life poured out to a holy God, and I continually see the Holy Spirit working powerfully through him.  I praise praise the Lord.

I want to thank God for many sweet moments these past several very intense days...playing basketball with the students and visiting professors, cooking for visitors with my girls, Lily's Foot Washing Society, Rachel helping me love on the girls, awesome times of worship with our staff and students.

So here it is.

One darkness entrenched man who was fired from Emmaus over a year ago, by God's grace, has done his very best these past months to threaten staff, to threaten community members, to destroy the local church, to threaten Matt and I and our children, to threaten our students, to create fear and intimidation, lies and manipulation.

It all came to a head this weekend when he sent community thugs to threaten several local staff members and dear friends and their children, and then announced a major threat upon Matt.  

Threats and darkness and fear--the servants of voodoo, voodoo, voodoo.

I know it seems crazy that anyone would believe it.  But there is much in this culture that is not understood, begs understanding, and is answered by voodoo.

For example: A man who seemed like he was in ok health (and actually has probably been sick for a long time and had symptoms we would recognize as threatening due to a lifetime of education) gets really sick over the weekend and dies.  There's no Web MD, there's no doctor, he was fine, now he's dead.

Immediately, one of our many witchdoctors, or two, or three, say that they in their great power with the help of powerful demons cursed the man, and killed him.   Maybe he says someone in the community hated the man, and paid him to curse them.

Now everyone is afraid of the witchdoctor, afraid of upsetting anyone, afraid of the man who paid the witchdoctor.  

Or a cow drops dead.  Or a motorcycle crashes, or it rains for ten days, or a child fails an exam, or your wife gets a headache, or you lost 100 gdes.

There don't seem to be any other reasonable explanations, so that is it.  Quickly, everyone says that such-and-such killed, hurt, stole such-and-such by Satan's power, and it's good as done and truth. 

Except it's NOT.

It's full of fear and darkness and confusion and bribery and manipulation, and it's how many many communities in Haiti (and probably in many other countries) function.  Out of fear.  Out of darkness.

So when someone doesn't get what they want...they threaten.  And they curse.  And they stir up trouble. And they pay a few witchdoctors.

Except somehow all that dark magic stuff doesn't seem to work on US.

 There's a lot of stuff we can explain.  And there's a lot of stuff we can't.  But it's not about whether we believe any of it or not.  It's because we put our trust fully in He-who-knows-no-darkness, in He-in-whom-there-IS-NO-FEAR, in He-who-doesn't-work-at-night-in-secret.

Our bold and powerful and honest and true God of the day and light reigns in us, and there is no fear.  We dwell in Him, and follow His light and truth example, and that crap DOES NOT WORK.  And it frustrates evil men to no end, to desperate measures, power they once had, now diminished.

But you know what we saw today?  Evil men, and too many guns, and men of authority, and men of darkness, and today we saw brothers and sisters who NEVER would have even dared whisper a stand five years ago, jump to their feet, literally, and YELL, literally, "LIES!"

Today we saw people who would not have even said the names of the evil ones for fear of curses stand up before them and before men who could kill or imprison their bodies, men who have threatened their spouses and children, and yell, "YOU SPEAK ONLY LIES."

THAT, friends and family, is a testimony of God at work.  That is a testimony of Emmaus.  THAT, family, is a testimony of Christ in us, day after weary day, month after month, year after year, TRUSTING and modeling and encouraging and living alongside.

We have not been afraid.  And today, they weren't afraid either.

No matter HOW SUCKY THE DAY (and it was sucky, and we are TIRED) that matters.

And all in front of our students, seeing the mayor and the justice of peace and the head of police and evil and threatening men and lawyers, and not understanding.  

And yet they ALL HAVE these same men in their lives, these same threats to their families and ministries, the same voodoo threatening them and darkening the lives of those they minister to...and tomorrow, tomorrow Matt will have the chance to share with them in chapel what happened today, and how we must be carriers of His Light and Truth and flee from fear and darkness, overcoming it the darkness in this short lifetime or the next forever one.

This is all really big deal stuff.

These are the days that carry NO glory, that carry NO impressive statistics, that carry NO awesome pictures--but that show TRUE AND LASTING CHANGE, that show TRUE transformation, that show TRUE freedom in the TRUE GOD.  

I say Hallelujah. 

I pray over my sleeping children tonight again, I pray over our sleeping campus, I pray over my sleeping husband, I listen to the voodoo drums out our bedroom window and say Hallelujah, whatever the cost, to see sweet fruit of the true Jesus.

The only One who can change how it is, how it's always been.


16 January 2017

praying people

I've written this post three times and keep thinking I'm saying too much...it's complicated and deeply cultural, and reality is, it doesn't really matter.

What we DO need are your prayers.  We live in an incredibly spiritually dark community.  One of the reasons the seminary was built here in Saccanville was because there are fifty-some male and female witchdoctors and temples in within a 3 mile radius, EBS right in the middle.

So we should expect darkness to be pressing in.  We should expect darkness of mind, darkness of heart, darkness of dealings.

We lead and shepherd and serve amazing and godly men and women.  We should expect spiritual warfare.  Matt puts himself daily between darkness and our students, we put ourselves daily between darkness and our men and women, between darkness and our children.  So it is to be expected!

This is one of those expected times, when His perfect love continues to cast out fear, His perfect light continues to illuminate the darkness, His perfect plan and perspective trump ours.  
Pray with us, that the powers of darkness that have such a stronghold in people's hearts and lives might be broken.  Pray with us, that the schemes of evil men might be completely destroyed and thwarted.  Pray with us, for spiritual and physical protection of Emmaus, of our staff and students, our God-fearing neighbors and friends, for our family, for our children.

People often ask if we are afraid of Voodoo, and all the threats within.

We dwell square in His hands, pursing Him continually, He is near, we are not afraid, we have no fear.

Our God?  All this darkness isn't even darkness to Him.  All these spiritual battles?  Our God has already emerged unshakingly victorious, forevermore so.

And we are His!  And we are calling upon His name, that He might overcome miraculously, to His great glory, and use us in the process, if He will.

One alongside after much discussion and prayer today said, "you know what this really comes down to is a sin problem and a refusal to follow God?"

You know what?  That is exactly what IT ALL REALLY COMES DOWN TO.  That is ALWAYS the problem.  It is the very problem He has died for, the very problem we are pouring out for, the very problem we live right here and right now for.  And He is not finished.

And He will use this.

Pray with us and for us, as you are led.  Thank you!


Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.  Psalm 139:12

We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.  Romans 8:37



15 January 2017

reality

It was a good weekend, just what He knew I needed.  Lily and Sofie had a really fun birthday party on Saturday...
Matt, Nora and I took some of the VP's to the beach, and the cloudy rainy day (and minus two children) allowed me to actually sit at the beach and to spend lots of time asking Him to clear my mind and heart and refocus.  So important.

Julie got me Francis and Lisa Chan's book, "You and Me Forever", and I was finally able to get it started.  He noted something important right from the start: "We hear strong opinions from arrogant people all day long. We need to cleanse our minds by reminding each other of God's actual words."

Staring at the waves and His creation (which in my opinion is always close to staring at God) and thinking through God's actual words for my life, our lives...such an important refocusing on not MY perspective on anything, but on what is real and true....not how I feel or what seems to be true, but on who He is and what He says.  
(and I collected more sea glass, which is my favorite!)

The reality is this: in light of who He is, when we truly sit silent and stare at Him in our lives, it is impossible to even dare care what other people might think, or even what we ourselves might think or feel.  It is only His thoughts, His heart.  The reality of His heart is that His love is great, His holiness is high, His truth is TRUE, His grace is abundant, His path is narrow, and not alone.
I needed a moment to lay my feelings down and pick up His, to lay my fears at His feet and to stay there.  Very thankful for that!
Church this morning was just what I needed, too.  We drove out to Granny's church, Sofie immediately disappeared and spent the entire service in the front row on Granny's lap (an answer to many years of prayer itself...that Sofie would grow comfortable enough in the language and culture and in relationships and in courage to actually be at home NOT clinging to mom or dad at every moment), the worship was fantastic, the sermon was solid, we were all able to worship together and with all our visitors and with our Haitian brothers and sisters, and Nora was even able to make some new friends.
...who she befriended by showing them her belly button, of course :)


Afterwards we hung out at Granny's for awhile, and had a chance to pray with her.

Sunday is laundry day
The rest of the day was spent playing and resting and feeding all our visiting friends dinner, and I'm so thankful for all the relationships and dynamics and experiences around the table.  What rich stories and powerful witnesses our girls experience daily through EBS' many visitors.  

Keep in His reality...You are dearly loved.  He offers more-than-stable for our times, in our times, in our hearts.






13 January 2017

the narrow path to Difou

Oh, these are my 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.
I love the beautiful foot in this image!
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! 

12 January 2017

remembering

Today1Today2 January 2011T

Today, somehow, is the 7 year anniversary of "The Great Earthquake", the loss of some 200,000 people in one day.  As the girls and I talked about it over morning devotions, Lily said, "Mom, why do you want us to remember something sad? I don't want to remember anything sad, just the good things!"

I myself often get in that same mindset, but as we remember the sad, we also remembered His hand...and that is why it's important.

As the staff and students worshiped and prayed and remembered this morning, it is impossible to testify the devastation without also testifying all the miracles, it is impossible to remember all the heart-break without also remembering His faithfulness, it is impossible to love our brothers and sisters, and not remember the millions who lost ones they dearly loved, today.

I wrote this post on the one year anniversary, and thought it was worth sharing today...


"Haiti, huh?" has been the question of the year.


"So, were you there when there was that big...storm?"  

For a full year now, everyone from waitresses to doctors have asked us about the storm, hurricane, monsoon, flood or earthquake that shook Haiti.  

It's hard to believe that that was a year ago.  We were in our weekly missionary meeting about 25 minutes from home, and Lily was out playing with Gertha.  We were all singing, and at first it seemed that maybe everyone was just bouncing a bit with the song.  But then at the same time everyone grasped at their chairs, looking around to see who was shaking them.  Finally, I realized that it was the earth, not my chair, that was moving, and after a few more moments, all was still, and nervous laughter filled the room.  I ran to check on Lily, who didn't know anything had even happened, and all was calm.  

There are very few constants throughout life.  Until January 12th, 2010, my list was the Lord, breathable air, and the fact that the earth stays where it is.  You can imagine flooding because you know what rain is like. You can imagine an avalanche because you have experienced snow, can imagine drought because you've felt the sun, you can imagine a tornado because you know something by now about wind.  

But an earthquake?  You never, just never, expect the earth under your feet to start moving.  And you can't run indoors for shelter, or flee an earthquake, bundle up, or avoid the storm.  When the earth is moving, you have no power, no choices, no shelter.

Phone lines and internet connections immediately went down, and YOU knew that those 30 seconds changed Haiti forever long before Matt and I did.  It never occurred to us that what was nervous laughter in Cap-Haitian was the nightmare of all time less than 100 miles from here in Port-au-Prince.  

And of course, it wasn't until I headed south a few days later that what I was hearing from the States about what was happening in Port-au-Prince became real.  

Most schools and businesses are closed today to give everyone a chance...not to worry or talk about what hasn't been done and should have been, but just to remember the many who lost their lives.

This is how I was hit by the loss a year ago, that we might remember.




In an effort to 'prepare' myself for this trip to Port, I had tried to imagine the worst possible things in advance. I had not even thought about the fear. But I had thought about the death. I've shared with you before my experiences with death in Haiti and how they have impacted me. So I tried to prepare for that times, well, 200 THOUSAND.

(Several hundred people are still buried under what used to be a university.)

I don't know how you do that.

I received a grace that most of the millions of men, women and children in Port didn't. The Red Cross and other organizations had obvoiusly worked overtime to clear most of the dead bodies from the streets and ditches, and I breathed a small sigh of relief as Wadner and I continued our trek through the city.

As we walked, we became aligned with a large open ditch of sewage and garbage and water to our right.  This is quite normal in most parts of Haiti, as it is to see people taking water from this source. First we passed this serious little guy, shoving garbage away with his hand to fill his jugs with water, probably his chore for the family.
Further upstream, I saw this man filling a five gallon Culligan bottle from the same "stream", using his cup to filter out most of the sludge and debris. It troubled my heart, as it always does, to see this, and I never can help but think of the SIX sources of pure endless water in my home alone, not counting spigots outside.

But then we walked further through town, further up the stream of sewage, which turned into this...

...which then turned into the most horrific thing I have ever seen. The floating bottles and bags and sticks began to take shape, began to take the shape of people.

I stopped breathing and looked up, only to realize that the canal was spotted with the forms of men and women. Small forms...children. Outstretched arms tangled with limp papers and clumps of bamboo. Feet poked out from beneath cookie foils and scraps of clothing. Unable to look and unable to turn away, I felt my heart just pounding within me, and Wadner, noticing my ashen face, tried to help by pointing out, "Stacey, those are people DEAD."

Thank you, dear Wadner.

And then we just kept walking.
I took one photo, and we kept walking. Walking with thousands of people slipping around us, buses roaring by. My mind was racing, my mind is racing still, but I didn't know what to do. I couldn't cry, I couldn't stay, I couldn't breathe. We just kept walking, and I thought about the vibrant life around me, ALL of whom had seen things far more horrific than this for days on end. I thought about the stern little boy filling his jugs. From that water. Thought of the little girls washing clothes and themselves at the same time, standing in that stream.

I thought about the mothers who had rocked those dead bodies as children. The families who knew who those unrecognizable bodies were. The men who had promised to love and cherish those women, floating with styrofoam trays and coke bottles. I thought of my sister, of my father, of those sisters, of those fathers.

I thought of our Jesus, who died for them, and thought of their Spirits (oh, please Lord, might they have known you, might they be with you) and dreamt as we worked our way through the market day crowd of them joyful and whole and radiant and singing strong praises before His throne.

I began to cry, but there was no time. "Soccer!" Wadner said, and we ducked off the street into a huge fenced off area.

I don't want to see soccer, I thought sourly, realizing we had entered Port's soccer stadium. My tears and thoughts of His people in the canal quickly faded, however as we entered the playing field only to face hundreds of tents and thousands of people...another 'village' had emerged. A tiny naked-butt girl about Lily's age was before me, trying with all her might to step over a little ditch without falling, hesitating just in the exact same fashion that Lily does before stepping down and out our front door.

Habitually, I grabbed her little hand and she used my support to step confidently over the small ravine. Her mother sat a few feet away, scrubbing clothes against each other, and our eyes met and she smiled a genuine thanks. A connection was made. I could be her. Her daughter could be Lily. I could live in a soccer stadium in a sheet.

This father pulled his one month old daughter and three year old son out of their home as it was collapsing around them. 
Their mother, his girlfriend, was crushed behind them.

Life moved on, and for about an hour we cut our way through the maze of sheet homes, talking with people, playing with children, asking families for their stories. Every single person we spoke to had lost family members, dear friends. Every one. Emotionally and physically exhausted, we climbed the seats on one side so I could take this picture, and then sat for a while so I could rest.
Wadner shared with me a happier day he had spent in this same stadium, playing a soccer match whenever he was fifteen, and he met the president. We talked about the day and I smiled as he recounted each detail of what must have been bliss in the mind of a 15 year-old boy.

"Two thousand people can sit here at one time!" he told me energetically, and the release was gone...I started thinking numbers again. I looked around at each happy colored seat...cheerful yellow and vivacious red...too happy. I placed a person in each chair, filling the stadium. I made them dead, in my mind. Two thousand. All dead. Then I tried to do that ONE HUNDRED times. Tears well up in my eyes again as I thought, unable to turn off my mind.


If I could have, in that moment, KNOWN that these people were with my Jesus, standing alongside my mum, and Ben, and Lucy and so many others, praising His name with joyful hands held high, I could have stood up right then with a huge smile on my face and released an exuberant "Hallelujah!"

But I could not.

Does heaven feel the loss, I wonder, of those that might have been there? Does He? Does our Lord feel the loss of every single one of His children who never choose Him...for all eternity?

What I couldn't SEE that day was the loss. There were still millions of people milling about. The roads were still packed with traffic, the streets still crowded. All I could see was who remained. I don't know ONE PERSON who died in those 200,000. But millions of people DO. And so does He.

Already, Port is moving on, cleaning up, rebuilding. But the loss of each mother, each brother, each child, is a PART of the Haitian people now. The loss of 100 soccer stadiums of people in one day will forever be a part of Haiti.

A four story building near the CSI guesthouse. 
The Palace of Justice was ENTIRELY destroyed, with dozens of judges and lawyers still buried.
This house was literally split in half, with the bathtub and shower exposed.

I know I promised you "beautiful things." They are coming! This entry describes the lowest point, but He didn't leave me, or Haiti, there...hang in there with us.

10 January 2017

only in the Lord

Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength God reminds me in Isaiah.

I have not spoken in secret, He continues, in some dark land; I have not told you to seek me in a waste place.  I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay.

I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go, if only you would pay attention to me, then you would be like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.


Listen to me, pay attention.

I will make you a light of the nations,
so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.
I will keep you and give you, 
saying to those who are bound, "Go forth," 
to those who are in darkness, "show yourselves"
They will not hunger or thirst,
nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down;
For He who has compassion leads, 
and will guide to springs of water.

Those who hopefully wait for me will not be put to shame.

Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Who among you fears the Lord,
and obeys the voice of His servant?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on His God.

My salvation will be forever, and 
the Lord will comfort Zion and all her waste places,
her wilderness He will make like eden,
Her desert like the garden of the Lord.

I will set up My justice as a light for the people,
My righteousness is near, my salvation will be forever.

Listen to me, you people whose heart is My law;
Do not fear the reproach of man,
Nor be dismayed at their revilings.

Awake, awake, put on strength
I, even I am He who comforts you.

I read through Isaiah, chapter after chapter, at the oddest stolen quiet-ish moments, and He sustains me.  He makes my doubting ridiculous, He brings my worrying low.  He shatters all our fears of being alone, He answers all our questions of who and what and where and when with Himself.

Matt and I are coming out of a bit of a dark night of the soul-searching season, coming out on the other side with no more answers but far more confidence that He is who He says, that we are beloved,  that He is close and powerful and more than enough, and that we will carry on through dark nights or mountaintops and we will be faithful, both.

Some of you are in there still, unsure the sun will rise.

Maybe it will, maybe it won't, but I doubt it will until that no longer matters.

For only in the Lord are righteousness and strength, only in the Lord is light and hope, and He is incapable--it is impossible for Him--to be unfaithful.

The all kinds of ugly and broken in our lives have NO impact, play NO effect on who He is and the truth that He sustains.

Keep waiting, dear ones.  Keep waiting.  

We must. not. quit.

Take on His righteousness and strength and steady on, no excuses, not waiting for the season to be over, but waiting upon Him, inviting Him in a million times, a million ways every day.

I don't know who this is for.

But maybe you do.  

Maybe we be found faithful, as He will be.

09 January 2017

He remains

Sofie's fever spiked to 104.5 around 2 am Sunday morning, and God answered my prayer to make it clear: I would not be attending the big 50th celebration.  For hours we fed her popsicles and Tylenol and changed out washcloths, and finally got it back down to 102 by sunrise.  All day yesterday I nursed she and Nora and their high emotions, and by today (Monday) they are both doing a bit better.

That didn't hold anything back from the celebration on Sunday morning, however!

An email one of our board members wrote keeps coming back to me as I think about this 50th celebration.  "It's not easy" he pointed out, "sustaining something good, in Haiti nonetheless, for FIFTY years."

He is so right.  Only God could do that. 

A lot of things HAVE been sustained in Haiti for decades....poverty, spiritual oppression, political instability and corruption, terrible roads, very low level living conditions, lack of education for many, the list goes on and on.

Thousands of good ideas have launched, thousands of good efforts and tries and promising ventures, many fantastic people have been or come or tried.

But so few have lasted, have endured, have made it in this difficult country, not even in the 10 years that Matt and I have been here.

Anything that God has done is worth celebrating.  Even if it lasts a fleeting moment.

But I am truly in awe and grateful to be celebrating something God began in Haiti so so long ago, that has overcome just unbelievable obstacles and changes and difficulties, to be the growing and vibrant and powerful and enduring and transforming ministry that EBS is...still...TODAY.

And I'm not the only one.
Yesterday was an awesome service of celebrating just that-- our Jesus King who put Emmaus on the heart of a man in the 50's, and who has been faithful with His presence and provision and power, even unto today.

Dave Graffenberger, one of the founders, and Louis Destine, one of the members of the very first class, shared (full interview with Dave coming soon!) stories from the beginning.
The choir sang, our students led worship, and many of our long-time visiting professors played a part in the service.
Matt preached about our Faithful God who never changes, yet who is always doing something new from Isaiah 43.  He talked about the new thing Emmaus was fifty years ago, and about all the new things that EBS has seen since.  He talked about the new things God is doing in Haiti through Emmaus even today, with so many staff and alumni and students being represented.  
He talked about how great our God, receiver of all the glory, and of how low we might become before Him.  He talked about our calling as His children to be nothing but available, to be used by His grace. He talked about some of the men and women in Emmaus' past and present, like Edlin, our friend and physically handicapped staff member who makes juice for the staff and students every day, and what a testimony and example they are to all of pouring ourselves out for His unshakeable kingdom.

I wish you had been there.  I wish I had been there.

But I'm really thankful that God has been...and excited about what obstacles He still has to overcome, what miracles He still has to preform, what paths He still has to make straight, what Light He still has to bring to Darkness, what freedom He still has to offer those enslaved, what work He still has for all of us to do, for His glory!