Saturday, February 27
Thursday, February 25
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing
Wednesday, February 24
Sunday, February 21
Saturday, February 20
Friday, February 19
The irony: Cineas is the son of a voodoo priest.
"It gives me joy to [share Christ]," Cineas says as he moves through the rows of tents. "I love to do that. It is my life."
Cineas, 26, who prefers to go by Junior, has had plenty of opportunities to share his faith since disaster struck. He says voodoo's influence has diminished and many Haitians are now calling on God.
"There are a lot of people who came to Jesus from voodoo ...," Junior says. "I heard that during the earthquake, my father called on Jesus. He said 'Oh Jesus. I know what You can do.' But I wasn't there. I do not know if it's true."
Some Haitians were awed by the power displayed in the earthquake -- a power greater than anything they see in voodoo, Junior says. Others are grateful to have survived and want to give their lives to the God who saved them. It is rare for Junior to meet someone who does not want to be prayed for or to hear about his faith.
And much like the Apostle Paul, Junior helps disciple those he leads to Christ. He plans to buy five Creole-language Bibles and return to the tent city to teach his five new friends to study God's Word.
The transformation of Junior and many of his countrymen has not come easily, though.
Junior grew up in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, in a family immersed in voodoo religion. In Haiti, Voodoo is a mixture of Catholicism and African Traditional Religion and deeply rooted in the culture. Like most voodoo priests, Junior's father has multiple wives and so many children that Junior doesn't know them all. He was alienated from his family early on when his father's wives rejected him and made him live in a peristyle (voodoo temple) in the yard.
Junior grew up not knowing his mother -- she died when he was young -- but he knew what his future held. He was expected to follow in his father's footsteps and become a voodoo priest.
"I didn't know [all that my father knew about] voodoo -- but what I knew, I loved," Junior says.
Much of his childhood revolved around voodoo and learning about its mysticism. But he also learned about the darker, dangerous parts -- the belief in the ability to kill people by sending evil spirits.
Junior's future changed at age 16 when an International Mission Board missionary visited his father's house. The Southern Baptist missionary told Bible stories, and Junior heard the Gospel for the first time. His father did not accept the stories and continued to practice voodoo, but he gave Junior permission to become a Christian.
"I love God so much," Junior says with a smile. "How can I explain?"
He began ministering with the missionary, helping tell Bible stories to fellow Haitians. Before long, Junior's father changed his mind -- he no longer wanted his son to be a Christian. Junior's new faith began causing conflict in his father's house.
"It was very difficult for me," he says. "I prayed for God to take me away from that family."
When his missionary friend returned to the United States, Junior met IMB missionaries Mark and Peggy Rutledge in Port-au-Prince -- and found a new family. He was able to escape tensions and voodoo activity at home by staying with the Rutledges on weekends. When Junior finished high school, their house became his new home.
"Peggy and Mark are my family," he says. "I owe them everything in my life. Without knowing me, they took me into their home. I love them so much."
Living with the Rutledges and their two daughters, Junior experienced a loving home with both a mother and a father for the first time.
"Peggy showed me what is mother," Junior says in broken English. "Before, I didn't know mother. I didn't call anyone mother. Now I know what a mother is like."
"Junior became like our son and a big brother to our girls," says Peggy, referring to daughters Shannon, 14, and Abi, 11. "As he lived with us, we tried to disciple him and show him what a Christian family is all about. We saw so much potential in him. We grew to love him as part of our family."
Junior also learned about living in a home that worships a loving God.
"He was part of our family Bible studies and often he sat in when we did Bible study with the girls [during their homeschooling]," Peggy says. "He began devouring God's Word. He loved it. And like all of us, he went through rough patches in life, where God was teaching him things that might be difficult. But we kept encouraging him to always go back to God's Word as the plumb line to measure by."
As he grew in his faith, Junior discovered what it is to be part of God's family, too.
"When I have Jesus, I am surrounded by family. For this, I love God," he says.
But Junior still cares about his Haitian family and wants them to experience Jesus' love the way he does. Still, tensions persist.
"I love my father. I really, really love my father. I want him to know Christ," Junior says. "It is really, really difficult. I try to be wise and share Jesus with him, but after a while, he doesn't want to talk to me anymore."
Others in Junior's family have been more receptive. He led a half-sister to Christ last summer and is currently witnessing to another half-sister.
And Junior's relationship with his heavenly Father is flourishing. He has a passion for evangelism and is a first-year theology student at Emmaus Biblical Seminary in Cap-Haitien, Haiti.
"He has such an exuberance for God," Peggy says. "He feels called to be an evangelist, and he's so gifted at it. He knows just what to say to people [when sharing his faith]. God really speaks through him."
"There are many people who have not heard about Jesus," Junior says. "Many people are lost. This makes me sad. I want to do what Jesus said. I want to evangelize. He gave us the Great Commission."
Thursday, February 18
Tuesday, February 16
Sunday, February 14
“It’s so ENCOURAGING to see/hear how God is moving in a mighty way in Haiti, bringing “beauty from ashes” – IN HIS TIME. Your reports have brought tears of joy to our eyes many times – mingled with tears for the suffering of the Haitian people.
It puts all the years of many missionaries & Haitian believers patiently plowing, planting, cultivating, watering, feeding & praying (sometimes with discouraging setbacks) into perspective – just a brief moment from God’s point of view! You’ve been blessed to see firsthand what many missionaries and Haitian believers and friends of Haiti have been hoping and yearning and praying for for a lifetime!"
Just this past Friday, a group of fellow-believers were here, crowded onto our couch and talking about all that they are hearing and seeing. Though they have sought the Lord for years, they clearly just never expected to see their fellow country-men turn from their ways and seek Him.
They had never even thought to pray that Mardi Gras celebrations would be replaced by days of prayer…it just couldn’t happen.
And yet for 3 days now, we have heard loud songs of praise ringing out in Sakenville, the two Christian churches boldly broadcasting a God that has been waiting and waiting and waiting for His people. And since the day after the earthquake, we have heard NO voodoo drums, in an area that we frequently fell asleep to the pounding and chanting of demonic ceremonies.
They had never thought about having a Christian leader, as that president after president has been a “different driver, same bus” polluted by corruption, brutality, dishonesty and partnerships with gangs and far worse, with Satan.
And yet for over a week now, we have heard claims that Port-au-Prince is demanding a Christian leader, a God-follower to lead Haiti in an entirely different direction.
The area of Diquini had never thought of, or even desired, a church. Now, after only three weeks of seminary students and staff doing one-on-one evangelism there, over 500 men, women and children have become Christians, all begging for feeding. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that it was our dream that a seminary student from Port-au-Prince (we thought, one that would be coming in the next weeks) would return to Diquini one day to begin a church.
Yesterday, our one and only current student from Port-au-Prince answered the call to go, even though it means falling behind in school, and Tuesday he leaves with three others to begin house churches, discipleship and leadership training throughout the mountaintop of Diquini.
Our friends had never thought about masses of their countrymen ASKING for the Lord, and instead had continued to pray that they might bring one here, another there, to His throne throughout years of evangelism and Godly-testimony.
And yet this morning a student came to our door, unsure of the details, but claiming that he received a phone call this morning from Port-au-Prince that thousands, perhaps TENS of thousands of people received an invitation to make God THEIR God last night during a huge prayer service that had taken the place of Mardi Gras. (more details as I find them).
They had never prayed for these things, never dreamed of these things, and honestly, neither had we. And yet, as Linda reminded me this morning, for dozens and dozens of YEARS, so many people have dreamed and prayed and worked and died and hoped and evangelized and lived for such things.
And today, I am seeing it.
Might we all dream bigger dreams, family, pray bigger prayers, lift bigger hopes, before our Bigger God.
For He who is able to turn decades of prayers and planting and a month of horror, death and sorrow into beauty and LIFE is able to do far more than we had every dreamed or prayed or hoped.
Here is an email that an engineer consultant for Port-au-Prince Christian Radio sent to his friends…
I think that I will remember this day as one of the most significant in my life, not because of what I did, but for it's meaning. In fact, what I did today was insignificant, and may have even distracted from me fully engaging in the day.
Today was the one month anniversary of the great Haitian earthquake.
About 3 days ago the Haitian president announced that there would be 3 days of holiday from work for the purpose of fasting and prayer. This is absolutely historic. If you have ever been in Haiti as a visitor or missionary, could you ever have imagined such a pronouncement? Could you image such an announcement from the U.S. president.
This morning I saw a young Haitian-American woman, the leader of a work team, crying because the Americans could not understand the incredible importance of this day and wanted to go about business as usual. Remember, it was only about 6 years ago that a former Haitian president called the nation to come together to rededicate the nation to Satan.
This was not "a minute of silence for the deceased" or something as equally insignificant. Whatever the president might have originally intended, this because a real commitment for the Haitian people. As I sit here this evening, I can hear the preaching coming from a nearby church. Services have been going on all day. Let me tell you what I saw and felt today.
Peniel and I had planned an inspection trip up to the Artibonite Valley today. Right or Wrong, I don't really know, but since it was the only opportunity, we went ahead with the trip. As we left the guest house about 7:30 am, we were met by throngs of well dressed people headed to various churches. The sounds of Christian music and worship filled the air everywhere. The next observation was that there was NO traffic.
Port-au-Prince streets are always clogged and overflowing with bumper to bumper traffic. This morning there were only a few vehicles on the roads, a few small buses (tap taps), some UN and military vehicles, and a few private cars. We had clear sailing through town. The same was true of foot traffic. Usually the streets are clogged also with people walking. Today there were only a few and many of them dressed for church. The only place that there were traffic blocks was in front of several churches where the congregations had overflowed the buildings, and the yards and had moved out into the streets as well.
The next observation was that EVERYTHING was closed! We could not find even one business or gas station open. There were no intercity buses running. Whereas the sidewalks are usually overflowing with millions of street venders, we only saw a few here and there. The huge outdoor market near the wharf where thousands work each day and spread out to cover most of the street, was EMPTY.
Where were all the people? They were in churches and makeshift meeting sites. Every church (except a JW church) had services going on, almost always overflowing into the streets. Beside broken down churches, services were taking place outside. In homeless camps, there were services. Everywhere the nation was gathered to worship and pray. No, I did not see any voodoo, Islamic, or Buddhist services. This scene was repeated in every town and hamlet that we passed during the day.
Tonight, Pastor Ignace, who is sharing the room with me, asked this question: "Can people still say that Haiti is a voodoo country?"
What has been happening and is continuing to happen in Haiti did not happen because of the earthquake. It has been happening because the Haitian people know how to pray. This is a tremendous outpouring of God's power as the result of prayer. Twenty years ago I started praying for the Gospel to change the Haitian culture. I think that I am seeing God do that work.
The only sadness that I feel today is for our own nation. While a nation that has long been under Satan's domination is turning to God with total commitment, our nation, founded on Godly values has rejected God and rapidly trying to forget that his name even exists. Let us pray for revival.
(all photos from the road between Cap and Port)
Happy Valentine's Day!
Saturday, February 13
Cammie returned from Port-au-Prince yesterday afternoon, so we had one more wonderful evening with her (and the community that kept coming to see her :) before she returned to snowy Colorado today. So thankful, so thankful, for good friends! Being so far from all of our family and most of our good friends makes us so greatly appreciate a few precious hours of actual "face time" with a dear friend. We always need encouraged towards Christ!
Thank you, from the depths of our being, for all of your prayers...How much we need them and count on His presence and the presence of your prayers.