For years now, I have kind of divided my day into three parts. Each morning I sit and translate for another mission, or I sit and prepare materials for the work I do here. That is part one of my day…documents. Part two begins after lunch. Music students come by for lessons. I teach individuals and groups. I arrange for students to practice on ASAPH instruments. I lead rehearsals and meetings. That is part two…students. Part three of my day is the time I spend here at my house with the guys who are staying with me…right now three young men from 17 to 23. That is part three of my ministry day…family.
Over the years, I have noticed that God would always shine His light of encouragement in at least one of those parts. When translating was rough or discouraging, my lessons would be rewarding. When lessons were dry and seemingly hopeless, the guys at my house would lift me up. There were times when all three would be positive. Those days were great. Even the soap smelled better on those days.
Then, there are the days when not one of those phases seem to have any hope. Lately, I have been experiencing days on end of not much promise. It is part of ministry, I know. God has been faithful to me long enough for me to know He is working when I can’t see it. I find my time with Him to be more important and more meaningful during these periods. Here’s the situation…I share it with you so that you can pray for us :
Part 1) My translation work has suffered greatly because I have no internet. I clearly lost one job because of that. I can’t even say for sure how many others I have lost.
Part 2) The ASAPH Brass band, at one time 25 musicians, is now down to about 10 at a regular rehearsal. Many have finished school and left town for advanced studies. Some have just become distracted. We do have younger musicians in the pipeline, but the level of music we play will go backwards about three years when we integrate them. It’s sad that nothing good lasts very long in Haiti. The soccer team has weakened as well. Our coach is busy with university studies, and has very little time for the team. We haven’t played a match this year. Some of my afternoon activities are fresh and positive (youth worship team, girls choir…), but the Big Two (band and soccer) seem to be dying on the vine.
Part 3) The guys at my house have been a challenge lately. There are three of them. Two are brothers…each from different fathers. None of the 3 has had a father active in his life for longer than a year at a time. In my experience, these are the toughest kids to help. They have a chip on their shoulder, and resist help : “I don’t need anything from you.” They find it hard to trust God. I have worked closely with many such kids over the years. They often end up fairly balanced, but there are years when you feel the road will never straighten out for them. Right now, with the guys at my house, I am lucky if they say good-morning or good-bye…or hello. The two brothers seem to use their silence as punishment against me. I have dealt with this a bit before, but usually not when it is two against one.
I invite you, if you believe that God hears us, to pray for each of these three prongs of ministry here at ASAPH. I love translating (#1), in that it allows me to teach great truths to thousands of people, and I can do it from my office chair. I love teaching and training (#2) people. I have seen God use those activities to make His children grow. I love working with young men who have been abandoned by their fathers (#3). It is a tough row to hoe, as they say. I enjoy being a positive voice for them while they attempt to make sense of their own lives…in the hand of the Father who will never leave them.
Pray that God will continue to use me in each of these three areas.
Missionary in Haiti.