Get ready to get REALLY excited about this blog...
Side note: Our internet issues make me want to SCREAM! A few days without internet is no big deal, but by today, day NINE, I am nothing but irritated at our inability to communicate, see pictures, show pictures, upload an interview which is already late, talk to our families, upload Matt's master's assignment, download his lectures, order materials for the seminary...all of which is dependent on internet! You are missing out on some GREAT pictures!
Pray that whatever the problem is would become resolved, or that the Lord would work on my attitude and teach me something from all this!
Besides, I have lots to be content about, and today ended up being downright exciting...no computer required.
I had shared with you a few days ago that Junior was to begin a "Front Gate" ministry today with community members that want nothing to do with church, but want to know more about the Bible.
Well, this afternoon at the set time, no one showed. I would have been disappointed, but would have appreciated the afternoon off. But not Junior.
He decided instead to spend the time he had dedicated to evangelizing, and just "headed off" in search of an un-evangelized area. Heading straight out the gate to the first house across from us, he asked the grandmother if there was a zone nearby that had no church or Christians.
She kind of looked at him funny, and said, "Uh, YEAH. I mean, haven't you heard of Konpech?"
"Well, yeah," Junior said confused. "Of course I've heard of it. Everyone knows that is a "mystic zone". (an area in Haiti with a history of being a choice dwelling place for demons and spirits) But I had meant someplace I could walk to!"
She laughed at him again. "Uh, it's a 15 minute walk from here. Straight back. Just keep going straight back. I'll send the kids with you to show you, but don't touch ANYTHING once you arrive. Even just touch one of the trees, and you will surely die. And DON'T tell them about Jesus, because the last time a group tried to evangelize that area, they threw stones and bottles at the pastors, hurting several of them."
I would have been nervous, and come home to plan and prepare a trip to the area with a large group or something. But again, not Junior.
He happily headed off with the kids, excited to have discovered an area "in desperate need of Christ" only 15 minutes away. Upon arriving, however, he was not warmly greeted. At all. As soon as he announced to the community, a series of about 20 homes arranged in a circle with several large trees in the middle, that he came to tell them about Jesus, they firmly asked him to leave.
"Unless you're here to tell us more about Satan, you can leave" he was told. "And don't touch the trees, or you will die! Our spirits live in them."
"OK, then! Let's talk about Satan!" Junior said (ah, I LOVE this guy.) So he began at Story # 1.
Junior's the one that taught me the Bible Story Telling Method of evangelism that I use on Saturdays. There are about 200 stories, working through the Bible, to be taught ideally each one a few days apart for a full year. Junior has these chronologically memorized, but I look up each pre-assigned passage ahead of time, review the facts and memorize the story and the questions. And Story #1 is about the existence of God, and how Satan fell and came to be.
So, Junior told them all about Satan. Who he was. How he fell. How he came to be. Junior told us this afternoon that everyone in the village seemed to be there...very excluded area, nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon.
When he finished, he walked over to a tree and put his hand on it. Immediately, everyone (who was beginning to like Junior) apparently freaked out, warning him to quickly offer a sacrifice in order to spare his life. (How can it be that this community has existed for hundreds of years and today still lives in complete fear of their TREES!)
"Next week," Junior told them, "If you want, I'll come tell you about how these trees came to be (Story #2, Creation), and about why I am not afraid of what you have been afraid of your whole lives."
In the middle of the path upon entering the village, Junior saw the communities "battry." This is like a spiritual booby trap, something unusual or attractive that people would want to touch that has been cursed and is said to hold much evil power. Anyone who touches a "battry", a sign of power for the community or witch doctor, is said to die soon after.
Junior said that he could see that this object, in this case a small plank of wood that looked like a small door and wrapped in some kind of ribbon, was highly regarded as a symbol of Satan's great power. Before he left, Junior picked the embedded "battry" out of dirt path, and quickly broke it between his hands.
"This doesn't have any power over He who is in me" Junior told them.
"Come back soon," he was told, "So we can see if you are alive and to tell us more stories about our trees."
Junior came home pumped, excited to be back at Story # 1 for the hundredth time in the hundredth place, excited to have found Konpech in his backyard (Konpech is mentioned in Emmanuel Felix's book on Haitian Voodoo), and thrilled to have actually been invited back TO tell them about the very Person they insisted he not mention.
His excitement is contagious...it was all Matt and I could do this afternoon not to leave Lil with Dodo and Bubba and head back with Junior. We'll have to wait till Wednesday. (Don't worry, family :) Unlike Sophie, Lily won't be telling Bible stories in Konpech anytime soon!)
Why had I never tried that? How have we been here for over a year now and not even know that this community existed ACROSS THE STREET? Why had it never occurred to me, once everyone in Saccanville had heard about Jesus, to just ASK someone, "Are there any people around here that don't know about Jesus?" How's THAT for an evangelism strategy!
I'm so thankful...as we continue to learn from, be inspired by, and be challenged by the men and women we are here to serve and teach. Please be praying for this exciting new opportunity to share Him with a lost people.