I live in a tiny community we call Delmas. The real Delmas is the 'nicer' part of Port-au-Prince. We took the name from there. Ours is a nice community.
I was encouraged last night to see the community 'rise up' in the face of a group of suspected thieves. As the story goes, a group of young men with 'checkered pasts' wassighted in town lately. We've learned (apparently) that some of them recently passed off bails of flour as if it was bails of cocaine. They made terrific money and also made some terrific enemies...as you can imagine. The story says that the deceivers (who are from around here...one was a former student of mine) are back 'home' in order to collect the money they need to get the big dealers off of their backs. Their targets are houses where foreigners or business people live.
SO, last night someone spotted them after dark. He called someone, and a makeshift phone chain (made possible by Digicel - - Thank God for Digicel) was initiated. Young men were out with clubs moving around and occupying intersections. It was good to see. So often people in Haiti close their doors and turn out the lights at the sign of a security risk. I felt good that some folks came by to check on me and the people at my house. They lent me two young men for the night as added security. We finally caught some sleep at around 3:00 or 4:00 this morning.
Tonight there are plans for an even more organized 'brigade'. Let's pray that it is an eventless evening.
I spent three mornings this week translating for some Americans who are here in Haiti teaching at a church leader conference. They are Mennonite gentlemen from Kansas. It's always encouraging to hear teaching from men of real faith. They are living close to God, and being near them makes me long for Him more.
I enjoy translating for preachers. You get to preach a great message without ever preparing. :)
I had to ride a motorcycle taxi to get there, though. I rode in what I call the Oreo formation. The driver is Haitian. I'm right behind him. And there is another Haitian on the back, back, back seat behind me. A mobile Oreo cookie.
May God bless the seeds swn this week.
Weeks of Confusion
The semi-annual time change. It happens so easily back home. One person in a thousand is not on time for a Sunday service, and then everything moves along normally by Sunday evening.
Not like that here, I'll tell ya. We are in the middle of the second week of utter confusion due to the time change. In the old days, everyone just kept going by the sun so there was no real tension. Now, one portion of society trusts the sun and another (younger) portion trusts their Digicel telephone to tell them what time it is. On Sunday (week 2 of the change) we had a near argument before church between two leaders. One said that Sunday school should begin now and the other said the time for Sunday school is GONE! Sparks flew. Each side saw it's own argument as defending truth. BUT, is the sun the truth? Or is it the Digicel telephone that gives the truth? Wasn't it Pontious Pilate who said, "The truth? What is that?"
Satan uses confusion. It's a weapon of choice for him here in this place.
Great Strides in Haiti
I rode the plane into Haiti with nothing seeming new or different. But when I got off of the plane and walked into the airport, for just a second I thought to myself, "Did I fly into Jamaica by accident!?!" The new reception area for arrivals is amazing! It feels nothing like the 'old' way of entering Haiti. How nice! It was smooth, easy, and relaxed. Not hot, difficult, and frustrating as it had been for so long. Congratulations Haiti on an improving first impression!
Then, after riding public transportation all the way to Passe-bois-d'orme, I was greeted with another great improvement in our little town. The folks who began preparing take-out orders of sandwiches and pizza back in January now have a dining room where customers can purchase and enjoy 'fast food'. On my first evening in town I enjoyed a hamburger and fried with my friends. The white Christmas lights that light room together with one huge window and two big mirrors give the place real atmosphere. And the food is good. AND, the folks running the place are good people. Nice welcome back to Haiti.
Man? or God?
The UN offers peace. Jesus IS the Prince of Peace. Doctors, diets, and pills offer long life. Jesus IS life. Products on TV offer joy. Jesus IS real joy. Drugs, alcohol, and sex offer comfort. The Holy Spirit IS the Comforter. Societal evolution offers a better life. Heaven IS a better life. Psychics, astrologists and authors offer insight. God's Word IS insight. Abortion clinics offer freedom from mistakes. Jesus' death and resurrection IS freedom from mistakes. Governments offer all good things. God IS good. Liberals and Democrats preach a Christ-less fairness and justice. God IS just. Republicans and Conservatives preach Christ-less righteousness and strength. God IS righteousness and strength.
Am I following man? Or am I following God?
I attended one movie while at home...LES MISERABLES. It was at the cheap theater. During an emotional song by the prison guard trying to deal with a transformed ex-prisoner and his duty to capture him, I noticed the camera panning up slowly. The singers mouth disappeared, then his nose. We watched his eyes and hair as he sang. It seemed like pretty 'modern' camera work in the middle of a traditional kind of movie. Then I realized the top of the screen was all black. The projector had been sliding downward! Someone ran out of the theater and in a moment the projection jumped back up into place on the screen. I guess that's what you get for $4.00.
BUT, in that movie I realized something. A leader of 'organized religion' actually has a positive influence on another person. Wow! How did that get through the Hollywood filter that preaches against organized religion in every TV show and movie?
My time at home in the US heightened my awareness of what I call THE CAMPAIGN going on in America. THE CAMPAIGN is our culture's constant pressure to move further and further away from God...to evolve. I pray for those of you who have to live there in the US that you will recognize THE CAMPAIGN and not get flushed away in it.
Missionary in Haiti.