25 February 2016


Alright, strangers.  What an incredibly full few days...full in every way.

Who thought smack in the middle of the semester, smack in the middle of teaching and hostessing and meetings and girlies we would be brought such encouragement.

Sunday night, the relatively new president of OMS and his wife came for dinner, their first time at Emmaus.  Our time with Bob and Esther was so special and we were truly encouraged to get to know them a bit, to learn about their vision and experience, and to share a bit of EBS with them.
(yes, Matt is ETIRELY drenched in sweat :)
Then, the EBS board and friends came Monday afternoon and things got extra good and busy.

It was the first time several of them had been here, other members of our board lived here for dozens of years, some are Haitian...it's been just such an excellent combination of people.  The community has been lovely.

Some of our NorthRidge family are here, and Linda came just to help and my time with her has been so special as the guys meet!  Uncle Don is here, Vern made his first trip and is now the board chair, Harold made his hundredth trip and has brought just such a wealth of experience and wisdom, Jeff joined us all the way from OMS, and Jerome, our long-time friend and mentor, is a new board member and made his first trip.

Seeds of Greatness Bible Church has been such incredibly family to us these past almost 10 years in Haiti.  Incredible.  But they told us after a rat story in year one that that did NOT mean we'd ever be seeing them down here.  There was no way.

So having Jerome and three other members of SOG come here, for the first time, to be with us?  man.  That has been SO powerful to Matt and I.  They have been such a faithful part of what God is doing here in Haiti through Emmaus, and now they've SEEN it.  THAT is exciting.

So all these great men with such a wealth of experience have been meeting daily, praying and talking, vision-casting and accountabilitying (that's for you, Craig...I know you love when I make up words :), meeting our staff and students, catching up on relationships, becoming community, and it's a blessing.
It's been a GREAT week, with even a huge trip to the Citadel today, Matt's new book finally being out!, and great times around the table, but Wednesday was the best.

Though Matt's been serving as a missionary and pastor for many years now, he had never been ordained. It's come up many times, but the time and way never quite felt right, especially in light of our strong desire to exemplify servant leadership, not any misconceptions of elevation.

But a few months ago, Matt realized that the Seminary is at a place where him being ordained would serve Emmaus and our staff and students, and the Lord opened a bunch of doors and started some great conversations for him to be ordained through OMS.  While he completed all his interviews and the process a while ago, everyone thought it would be special when the board and OMS president were here to have the official service with our staff and students.

And they were right.

Having Jerome--the man who baptized Matt when he was seven and who has played such a huge part in us being here today--preach at his ordination service here in Haiti (and did he preach!) was almost surreal.  I was all choked up.  
Then Dr. Bob Fetherlin went through the ordination liturgy and the board was able to pray for him with our staff and students.

and that was powerful, too.
Then as Rose sang, anyone who wanted to congratulate him could...and THAT had me emotional, as well!
yes.  I was still crying. 
The only thing that dampened a beautiful service was a comment from stage from one of our Haitian brothers about what an accomplishment this was, that Matt was now a grand grand pastor, because everyone knows that the Haitian people are SO hard to work with, and that Matt has somehow managed to persevere nonetheless.

Matt wasn't on the schedule to speak at all, but he leaned over and told me he needed to share a few words, and asked me to translate.

He began by sharing what normal, everyday, sickly kid he had been, from a normal little town to a normal little family, and soon everyone was waiting to hear him talk about how if HE could come from a little place to the grand place he is now, then anyone could.

But that's not where he went.

He talked about how his greatest desire is to become smaller still, that Christ might grow and be glorified and be great in his life.  He talked about why he'd been hesitant to be ordained, not desiring great pomp and circumstance, not desiring to be great.  He talked about how through each of us difficult, small people, like himself, God could be made GREAT.  Glorified, and what an honor.
He said he became ordained to better serve our students.  And that he loved them.  And that working with them was a privilege.

Well I've already been sick, and I've already had no voice, but when he said, 
"I did it because you have my heart"
I could barely get it out.

Because Seeds of Greatness said they were NEVER comin'...and Jerome preached Matt's ordination service yesterday in our chapel. 
Because Matt said he could NEVER do Haiti, and challenges and excruciating heart-break and incredible responsibility has abounded, and he has given up his heart...
and found it full.

And then Don prayed to close and thanked God that Matt was his friend...
and that was when Matt lost it.

Praising the Lord for a beautiful day we'll never forget and for His hand in having so many dear brothers and sisters around us, here and there and where you are.  

That we might all become smaller sharing a great God.

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