25 February 2013

Wood of the Low Humanity

He says they get their water from a little crack in the side wall of a small hole, where the water drip, drip, drips into a bowl.  When the bowl is full, it is emptied into a bucket and quickly replaced.  

That's the water for everyone to drink.  That's the water for all the laundry.  For all the dishes.  And for the pigs.  The goats.  The chickens.  

People sit by the hole around the clock in shifts, waiting to get their bowls worth.  24/7.   

He says the church is not a church, just a group of people.  They tied a tarp in the tree, and everyone huddles under it to hide from the blazing sun.  100 people. 

He says the school is at the church, which is not a church, and has 161 children, hiding under the tarp.   

He says the cost for schooling is 200 gourdes A YEAR.  $4.76.  And that when they started the January semester, under the tarp, they had to send 22 kids home, because they just didn't have it.

He says if someone gets sick, God heals them.  Or they die.

He says it took them four hours to drive there, and that whenever he got there, it was as if he were a president.

"Everyone wanted to shake my hand, and touch me, and be near me.  They just wanted me to talk about Jesus, and they just wanted to listen to everything I said."

He says when he met with the group of believers under the tarp on Saturday, he split them into three groups.  One group to pray for a well.  One group to pray for the church.  One group to pray for the school.  They started praying right then and there.

He says he went behind his car and cried.

And now Vilmer's crying again, just thinking of it, sitting in my office this morning, telling me about his trip to Bois d'Homme Bas, which is so remote and poor (read: non-existent to the western world) it has no name in English, directly translated..., ah, something like Wood of the Low Humanity.

Vilmer's seen a LOT of things I've never seen.  He's seen a lot more "low humanity" than I could ever imagine.  

But he says this morning he's never seen anything like Bois d'Homme Bas, never seen people so desperate for the Gospel, so incredibly poor, and that since he spent the day with them Saturday, they're all he can think about.

That, I do understand.

Ernst Pierre was born and raised in Bois d'Homme Bas (pronounced "Bwa Dome Bah").  Ten years ago he went to Emmaus, and met Vilmer.  When he got married, he asked Vilmer to be his paren, kind of like a godfather.  

Two weeks ago, at the conference we held for former and present and future students, Ernst and Vilmer reunited.  Ernst told him about the church he planted (the tarp) in his village of Bois d'Homme Bas, noting he'd been sharing the gospel in the zone since he graduated, knowing that no one was going to bring the Gospel to such a terrible, far away and poor place if he didn't.  

Hence the 100 people.  

He asked Vilmer to come alongside the church, making it a sister church of his own.  Supporting them in prayer, preaching there every few months, helping them.  

Hence the Saturday visit, which included 8 hours in the car, a celebrity tour, meeting everyone in the community, and the tears behind the tailpipe.

Vilmer told Ernst to go find those 22 kids, and to get them back in school.  "Send me their names," said Vilmer, "and I'll send you their tuition."  

Says Vilmer, with 4 kids of his own, 3 additional kids of people who can't take care of them, and the best salary we can possibly give him for a school in Haiti that charges students less than $250 for 18 credits, 21 meals a week, electricity, laundry, beautiful housing and clean flowing water.  

On Saturday, the tarp people asked Vilmer to please give their church a name.  He named it immediately after his own church in Cap-Haitien, Eglise Carte Celeste, or the Heavenly Brightness Church.

The Heavenly Brightness Church of the Woods of Low Humanity.

"I really see in them," Vilmer says, "such a great and simple and ferocious desire for Christ.  For more of Him.  All I can see is how much NEED they are in, and all they could talk about is how much they need God."

At this point I am ready to leave my inbox, forget Lily at school, send Matt a text and go get in the car with our life savings, the girl's college fund, everything in our refrigerator and fill the trunk with jugs of water and go live in Low Humanity with Jesus.  

Maybe I should let my brain catch up with my heart first, as Vilmer is clearly struggling hard to do himself.  My mouth feels as dry as the terrain he's describing.

"Can I go with you?" is all I can articulate.

He says oh please.