In the morning when I rise...
When I am alone...
When I come to die...
...Give me Jesus. You can have all this world. Just Give me Jesus.
Well, God can most definitely have all of this week. Complete with my even sicker than yesterday children.
Just give me Jesus I've been asking and praying.
You know that EVERY single time I pray that prayer, the answer has been YES? I can't say that about a lot of prayers. But every single time I've begged for more of Him, He's given it to me.
And this week, God gave me some of that much needed Himself through two of our students, which is interesting, because it was through students, past and current, that much of the spiritual warfare of the week has also descended.
Our God can use everything, can't He. It's all at His disposal.
It took the first three months of my English class before Djempson was able to look me in the eye. Until then, he always smiled shyly and responded quietly and respectfully, looking at the ground. For many of our first year students, Emmaus is the first time they have ever spoken with a foreigner. That must be weird.
When I met with him yesterday for an hour and started asking about his story, he began by looking at his hands and speaking softly. But as Djempson shared how God met, healed, changed and called his life, he lit up and gushed the joy of the Spirit and the faith and humility of a man following after Jesus.
His story is powerful, and I am renewed by the hope and knowledge that God is doing a great work in the lives of our students, and through them. I was blessed and humbled to receive his testimony, and I am blessed and humbled to share it with you.
As you pray with me today Give me Jesus....well, here He is.
I grew up in a staunchly Haitian Catholic family. There is a lot of Voodoo integration and influence in the Haitian Catholic church, and they believed, and still do, that to be Haitian is to be of a Catholic Voodoo worldview.
So, I grew up going to Catholic Church, listening to liturgy over and over, always the same thing, always on repeat. I was a good son and did what I was supposed to do and believed what I was supposed to believe.
But when I got a little older, I became really ill. I remember going months at a time with pains in my stomach and weeks on end of fever. I lived in Odess with my family, but my older sister and her husband lived in Cap-Haitian. We never associated with her, because her husband was a Christian and had led her to Christ, and when she fell away from the Catholic church, my family separated from her.
But at one point, I became SO sick and in pain that I couldn’t even walk any more. My family knew that the hospitals in Cap-Haitian were far better than those in Odess, and so they sent me to my sister’s so that I could get medical care.
The next morning my sister and her husband said they were taking me to the hospital…but they didn’t! They carried me to their church, the Church of the Good Samaritan. They took me right into church, told the pastor and the congregation that I had come because I wanted to convert to Christianity, and the pastor and the whole church put their hands on me and prayed for me right there!
I was MAD, and my family was mad, too. I didn’t want converted! I just wanted healed! But my sister explained to my family and to me gently that there IS no healing outside of Christ. Because the whole church thought I had truly converted, and because I was staying with my sister for that time, I felt like I had to keep going to that church with them, until I went back to Odess.
But do you know what? I never did go back to Odess. I went to church, I went to church, and little by little I saw an entirely different thing, an entirely different God, than I had seen in my Catholic church at home. This church was vibrant, it was alive, the Spirit was moving there, the pastor was preaching totally different things.
He said that God cared about my life. He said that God wanted me living a totally different life. He said that God wanted me to change, and that He would help me.
And He DID! As I sat in that church again and again with my sister and her husband, God started to change me, and after several weeks, I converted in my heart…truly this time, with my whole heart and all my desires.
Miraculously, as those weeks passed, my stomach stopped hurting so much, my fever broke, and I can say today that after a few months, I found myself completely and totally healed by the God who heals! I have never been sick like that again.
To this day, I live with my sister and her husband, and to this day, I am a member at the Good Samaritian church. My family never accepted to take me back when they learned of my conversion, and living with my Christian sister and her husband as a new Christian was very good for me.
This all happened when I was in high school, and then when I was getting ready to graduate and go to university, I had a vision while I was sleeping. I was laying down, and someone stood in front of me, and held out their hand to me and said, “Come, I have a very different education for you.”
I woke up and ignored it, still preparing for graduation, and I and I had the same vision again, and the person said again, “Come, I have a very different education for you, that of 1 John 1:1.”
When I woke up I found 1 John 1:1, and it says “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.”
I talked to my pastor and several trusted people at my church and they all said the same thing…they thought the Lord was directing me to teach His Word and to study the Bible instead of Math or Physics, as I had planned.
It wasn’t at ALL my desire. And I felt very ill-equipped, having come from a non-Christian family, and having only been a believer since 2010. I decided to keep praying about it, and to let the Lord confirm it before I did anything else.
It wasn’t long before I had another very weird vision. I was sleeping, and a person came to me and said, “Take your ID, your school papers and 250 gdes and go to Saccanville.”
Now, I didn’t even know where Saccanville was, and when I talked to my pastor and several others, they all said the same thing, “there IS no Bible school in Saccanville! And there isn’t a University in Haiti that only charged 250 gdes to apply. Every university charges 500…it is the standard.”
So I didn’t know what to do now! But I had prayed for confirmation, so I obeyed and stepped out on faith. I got my papers together, I got 250 gdes, and I rode a tap-tap (public transportation truck) to Saccanville, way outside of Cap-Haitiain.
I got out at the Saccanville stop, and there was a big wall that said, “Seminaire Biblique Emamus”. Right there!
So I went inside, and the first person I saw was Pastor Fanfan, the assistant Academic Dean. I said, “Um, I think I’m supposed to study God’s Word here.” And he said, “Well, if so, you need your ID, your school papers, and 250 gdes.”
I never dreamed to be a pastor, and like my conversion, I didn’t even agree to come to Emmaus. But when Fanfan asked for 250 gdes and the exact papers I had in my hand, I KNEW that that vision was from the Lord, and I KNEW that the Lord had just confirmed His will, like I had asked Him to.
I came to Emmaus out of obedience. But after a few weeks, He has changed all my desires, just like my conversion. And like my conversion story, I am now all in. There is nowhere I would rather be, and there is nothing I would rather do than 1 John 1:1. Proclaim the Word of Life.
Pray for me, that as I study God’s Word, He will put it in my mouth.