Wow. I road a motorcycle (back seat, mind you) to the highway today. The difference is amazing. It used to feel like a bad boxing match...kidney punches and occasional cross hooks. Not any more! The road is smooth from one end to the other...well, almost. I actually enjoyed the ride. No dust to speak of. No bouncing. Just cool morning air, green trees, and the smell of someone's breakfast from time to time. What a dramatic difference.
The road is still just a dirt road, but it's twice as wide. There's something about being able to see further that makes you feel better while travelling, I noticed. The skinny path we had added to the tension of the trip. Now the road feels so much like an American experience. This place is really, really changing fast.
I've been busy on the computer lately working on the 501c3 status of ASAPH Teaching Ministry. Good stuff, but it takes time. Hope to contact the PA Dept. of State this week. Then we're on to the IRS. I actually have a payroll number already. The things you learn!
I'm setting up a new mailing address. I'll publish it as soon as I know it. I'll be able to receive mail w/o the help of Water For Life. I have to pay for poundage...twice, actually, so I am NOT asking anyone to mail anything but letters and cards for now. More on that later.
We hope to begin building in the month of April.
Remember that God takes pleasure in our obedience. Ma
He chose a peculiar mode of transportation to make his entrance. He arrived with his entourage...out in front. He was welcomed with waving branches, singing, chanting, shouting, jumping and general excitement previously unseen. He stopped and shook hands. Shared smiles. And then he spoke, saying: "Meet me tonight on ahead. We'll be giving away motorcycles."
Last friday I witnessed a strange scene. Popular President of Haiti Michel Martelly came through our little town on his way to the place where his family has its roots. The people who welcomed him were of all varieties. Our town criminals were among those who came out to hug him. Church leaders ran to touch him. School teachers and students had personal encounters with him. Old and young, rich and poor, black and white. I really did see waving branches and hear welcoming chants. I couldn't help but draw a parallel to Palm Sunday. And as I watched people whose faces were lit up with glee, I thought about our Sunday morning services. Sometimes it seems like we're being emotional if people actually sing! How can we be so joyful about a political leader and at the same time be so cold about a Saviour who died in our place purchasing eternal life for us?
...from the rapidly changing community of Passe-bois-d'ormes, Haiti - - where dust is going to be a health issue. The roadwork has been sending dust up into the air all day for the last several weeks. I'm guessing 100 dump trucks and other equipment go through our town somedays. The road they are building is really going to be a road...not the 'path' we have had. The president is scheduled to come and visit the work this weekend...while on his way to a party in his hometown further out the road.
I've been working with a young man who never had a chance to go to school...not even one day in his life. I'm trying to teach him to read. It's been a learning experience for me. He can quickly distinguish between written images (letters, words...) but he really struggles to connect the letter with a sound. Sounds, for him, seem to be all mixed up and all the same. We're going slowly and trying to keep him encouraged. Pray for a breakthrough. I remember another case like this years ago where a boy struggled and struggled and then showed up one Monday morning able to read. It all clicked.
I've been teaching English to Jean-Luke and Wayens...two young men. I've never really invested much in teaching people English. I've done some classes, but never really got very far with anyone. I was able to tell them the old joke about the hunter and the sign the says BARE LEFT. With a bit of explanation, they got the joke...in English. Progress. One of my goals with Asaph Teaching Ministry is to make future English teachers. Our community has had Americans living here since before I came, and the schools are still forced to hire people from out of town to teach English. That embarrasses me now. I want to work to improve that so that our town can export English teachers...who teach with correct pronunciation!
Our worship team has really been a blessing. They 'jell-ed' while I was away. Now I almost feel like an extra wheel. The two biggest errors in our services last week and this week were both mine. Ew! I'm going to keep teaching them new things on Wednesday nights, but allow them to lead rehearsals and do all of the weekend 'stuff'. I'll just be there as 'the guy playing trumpet'. I spoke to a neighboring pastor about working with his musicians. No reply yet. I really like teaching here. I've been so encouraged lately. Wayens (mentioned above) is learning guitar and trumpet. He really listens when I say something to help him. Some people only stop playing enough to let me finish, and then they go on making noise. It's great finding real students. Those are the folks that make fast progress. I set up a bank account in US dollars that will allow me to transfer money here. I got my 'residence permit'. We're working on setting up ASAPH Teaching Ministry as a tax-exempt 501c3 corporation. AND, we're clearing the land where I plan to build.
So much happening. All good. God bless all of you 'back there' in the USA. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever...and ever...and ever...and ever...and...
I was asked to do the message at our church this past weekend. During the week, we all stood in awe as a huge swiveling tractor-like piece of equipment rolled into town and took out the school's cement/stone wall in order to widen the road they are building. The wall fell over like those cardboard bricks they made for kids years ago. It got me thinking about the wall of Jericho. I read the story again and ended up back in Numbers where God instructed the people how to move with the Arc and how to camp with it. The Arc is a picture of Jesus Christ. It was wood (man) and gold (God) at the same time. It was of primary importance, but not seen. Whether the people were moving around in the desert or camping, the Arc was central. When they moved, six tribes went in front of the Arc and six tribes remained behind it. When they camped, three tribes camped on each of the four sides of the tabernacle where the Arc was placed. Christ was central whether they were 'at home' or 'in the street'. The Old Testament is full of pictures of Christ. They are fascinating and convict me of the fact that the folks who wrote down those stories MUST have had help. Glory to God. How could they have possible known that they things they wrote about were to take on new meanings thousands of years later. Our God is an awesome God. He reigns!!
AND THEN!!! AND THEN!!! There's the story of crossing the Jordan River. After years of being in the middle...always in the middle, the Arc comes forward and the priests stand in the edges of the river with it. The river dries up and the people all cross without getting wet. The Arc (Christ) went first into the river (death) so that the people could cross without getting wet (dieing). Christ took the sting out of death by going there first. Oh, my!
Missionary in Haiti.