11 October 2016

research and follow and give

This past weekend, a young woman came up to me an unexpectedly said something truly profound.

She said she's been searching for a church, and that she has seen a pattern.  She said that she has observed that where Emmaus men and women are pastoring, she hears an entirely different message than she hears anywhere else.

"I'm not sure what it is," she continued, trying to articulate. "They don't go on for hours and hours, they're not screaming, they always have a message well-prepared, the message is clear."

She thought for a bit longer and articulated sweet fragrance for my soul.  "It is like they truly KNOW and BELIEVE the true Gospel.  They're different than anywhere else I go."

Listen, I hope you're following up my last post with a lot of prayer and a lot of following His leading, whatever that looks like.

If you feel led by the Lord to send food to southern Haiti, please do send food to southern Haiti.  If you feel burdened by the Lord to support an orphanage or a road project or outreach or garden project or feeding project in any country or community on planet earth, please do that.  Do you research, follow your God, give generously.

Several of you have asked about giving to Emmaus, and just as I encourage you to send money through relationship, Emmaus is not currently in close relationship with any ministries in the specific area of Haiti hard-hit (about 12 hours drive from here), so we're not going to encourage you to give to Emmaus if you want to send food or housing materials to Les Cayes or Jeremie.

We work hard to do what Emmaus, its staff and its students feel called and led to do, really, really well.

My friend's comment about church affirmed that to me.  We pour it all into developing leaders for transformation in Haiti...pour it all into the projects and outreach our Haitian leaders are feeling called and equipped to do do, pour it all into equipping and empowering them with the Gospel and then sending them all the many places they feel called and burdened to go.

Emmaus was doing that before the Earthquake.  Emmaus was doing that before the hurricane.  And by God's grace, Emmaus will be doing that, through relationship, for a good long time.

If you are passionate about developing community leaders, pastors, evangelists, teachers and church planters for transformation--physical and spiritual--here in Haiti, then pray about giving to Emmaus.   If you are feeling called to be involved in long-term change and transformation here in Haiti, then pray and follow your God and give generously.

Matt and I personally made a commitment to God a year ago that ANY community outreach project our staff and students were passionate about, called to do, initiated themselves, and were ready to go do it, we would get the funding.

If Emmaus had the finances in our "community outreach" fund, Emmaus would fund it. If Emmaus did not have the finances, we would fund it personally. We would find it. We would beg for it. We would bother all our friends and neighbors. We would sell a kidney or two...whatever we had to do to NEVER say no to anyone's God-given vision and passion and burden and calling.

That funded dozens of visions and callings last school year.  Loving on kids at the handicap center in town.  Feeding and dressing homeless people at the poor house several cities over.  Taking the Gospel to dozens of areas.  A Christmas soccer tournament at an orphanage.  Visiting and encouraging pastors and  Christ-followers in incredibly hard to reach places.  Helping a school pay its' teachers one month.  Feeding an elderly Bible study group breakfast.  Whatever the students and staff felt called to do, they went and did it, and nobody worried about the money.

That is Emmaus' commitment to community outreach, and if you feel led, give to that, and if a student comes to us tomorrow and says they are ready to go to the heart of hurricane relief with some friends for the week to share the Gospel and love on the hurting...We will say YES, and your community outreach help will fund it.

Or, like this morning.

This morning, I came back from teaching my English class possessive pronouns to find a "Budget for 12 people to spend fall break, October 14-17, planting a church in Dufou" sitting on my desk.

It's a budget for food, it's Bibles, it's transportation, it's bamboo poles to put up a small structure in a zone where our students have spent every afternoon sharing the Gospel for the last several months.

It wasn't our idea, it didn't come from a position of power, it's not at our urging, and there is no line on this budget for anyone getting paid.

But do I believe that sending TWELVE of our passionate and burdened and trained men and women into this zone, on their vacation time, voluntarily, to relationship-its-socks-off and to continue to spread the transforming Gospel and to disciple those who have been coming to Jesus these past 3 months...do I believe that is the VERY best thing for Haiti?  

Yes, I do.

After the hurricane?

Yes, I do.

Let us die poor, friends.  Let us finish bone-weary.  Let us go out with nothing but a grateful heart, singing His praise.  Let us meet those in need with He-Who-they-need and what they need as generously as this world has ever seen... Left and right, at home and abroad, sacrificially...

Doing everything without grumbling or arguing,
 blameless and pure, 
Children of God without fault in a crooked generation.  
Shine among the world like stars in the sky 
as you hold firmly to the word of life.  
Then we can boast on the day of Christ that we did not run or labor in vain.  

I am glad and rejoice with all of you, 
even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on 

the sacrifice and service coming from your faith.

Philippians 2


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