First Big Meeting...With Seating
ASAPH Teaching Ministry hosted the first 'big' meeting in the Teaching Center last Saturday. Just one week after purchasing 16 more plastic chairs, I hosted a youth group meeting from a church where I've been teaching some music. By the time they were all here, there were about 26 of us seated in the room. It's something I used to dream about doing...hosting groups of people. It was a success.
Speaking of chairs, did you ever notice that the Tabernacle from the book of Exodus had no chairs? There were other pieces of 'furniture'. There was a table, and a lamp. No chairs. The priests worked and worked serving God.
Then the Bible talks about Jesus coming as the Great High Priest, offering himself as the Lamb, and sitting at His Father's right hand! Alleluia! The work it done. It is finished. Christ completed the work of salvation...and sat down. :)
Last week we were able to wire the two new buildings here at ASAPH Teaching Ministry. Both the Teaching Center and the kitchen/living room are now equipped with 12-volt lights and 110 lights. And they have outlets for appliances and equipment. I am thankful for this 'finishing touch' on the construction project.
ASAPH sponsors make all of these changes possible. We'll no longer be tripping over extension chords and plugging and re-plugging things with every change of activity, and it's all possible because folks contribute to the ministry here.
We've been experimenting with my new blender! Mango juice was a success. We had a couple of failures as well. The salsa I tried to make didn't come out so well. It ended up being a nice sauce to cook some SPAM, though.
The other night I noticed that many houses in this community have light bulbs (at least one) lit in the evenings. Years ago it was only the missionary houses that didn't use a flame of some kind. It's good to see people living in less darkness. And it helps me to not stick out as the only guy in town with lights.
God, the Father
I was (as I do every April) thinking about the days that led up to my father's death. It was April 1992. This year the actual anniversary would fall on a Sunday. On Saturday afternoon I was asked to lead worship for the Sunday morning service. It was late notice, but the man scheduled to lead was unable to make it back to town in order to lead the service. So, I took the opportunity, as I almost always do.
I thought about God as Father and used that as the theme for the service. How big a blessing it is to go through this life with a good father. It makes it so much easier to understand God as father.
I remember hearing the story about the young man who decided to give his life to Christ after a church service. He understood his sin and God's gift of grace, and he wanted to receive it. When the pastor finished explaining and began prayer, he said, "Our father...". The young man shut him off and said, "What did you say?" If God is a father I'm out of here!
It turns out his own father was the worst of examples and the young man had only negative thoughts about fathers. What a burden that must be! I'm so thankful for the memories I have of Dad.
Playing games. Camping. Fishing. Watching TV. Working in his shop. Meals. Trips in the blue Ford pick-up truck that quit working as soon as its driver was gone.
As a father has pity on his children, so the Lord has pity on his worshipers.
First ASAPH Jam
One of the 'dream' ideas that popped into my head two years ago when I began thinking about my new adventure, was the dream of having a place where musicians could gather to play music in a 'recreational' way. I remember how much I learned when I played with friends is a 'not so formal' setting.
Friday night I cranked up the ASAPH Honda generator and five of us sat in the ASAPH Teaching Center playing guitars, keyboards, and bass. We sang and played from 9pm until after midnight. It was sweet. The first moments were rough as we eased into the new situation. Soon we had one song sounding nice, and then another, and another. People switched to other instruments for certain songs they knew they could do well. I filled in wherever there was an empty seat. It was a great time together.
And all of us are from the same congregation. I am planning on inviting musicians from neighborhood churches to join us in the future.
At some point we should record the sessions. There were some very nice moments. I'm thankful to God that we can be learning and experimenting with music without having to do it in a service situation. So many Haitian musicians end up rehearsing during services. It is not a situation I encourage...or even accept lately. Paul talks about how everything done in a worship service should help the church grow in faith. All parts of the service should be edifying. A guy messing around on his guitar during a song in a worship servicis not edifying...it's infuriating.
Something Happening In Church?
Our church family has been showing new signs of life lately. One of our faithful longtime members has been suffering some 'persecution'. He complains about nightly visits from demons who come to disrupt his sleep and that of his family. Our church has taken to praying for him and meeting with him often. It's encouraging to see real signs of 'brotherhood'.
Our services have been well-attended, and attended by folks who readily participate in the worship and prayer. There's a new feeling. I can't put my finger on it, and I have certainly seen this before in my time here. I can never explain or predict it. But good things are happening right now.
Our church (if I heard the number correctly) has collected over $700 to help a lady build a one or two-room house. That's a lot of money for folks here to collect in addition to regular giving. It's another sign of LIFE.
Christ is ALIVE in His Church. I heard a message from a pastor in the US detailing how some of his fellow pastors have given up on the resurrection as probably not true. They're still preaching, but they're no longer believing. "GET OUT OF THE CHURCH!" the pastor shouted. I myself wonder why non-believers feel called to be teaching in the Church of Christ.
If the tomb held Jesus, the Bible is empty. BUT, if the tomb was em
Sit On It
It has been almost two years ago now that I sat down an designed in my brain a room that would allow me to teach here in Passe-bois-d'orme. This week, the little squares on a piece of paper that represented chairs turned into real live plastic chairs. Well, they aren't alive. But they do have a picture of a hummingbird and flowers on them. Sixteen chairs were delivered here along with a folding table. The good folks at WFL made the delivery possible. I never even left my house.
Now the ASAPH Teaching Center can begin to host larger meetings. My limit up until now was about seven. On the day we received the chairs I showed a film to about 18 kids, and they were seated two to a chair. No big deal for folks here, but not ideal. I know have seating for up to 20 people...each in their own chair.
I'm looking forward to hosting a game night where folks can come and play games...either in Creole or in English.
This month, I'm planning of having the local electrician come to wire the steel buildings with actual lighting and switches. Right now we're dealing with extension chords.
Each day is one small step f
Missionary in Haiti.