We, humans, are lazy and slow...sometimes. I am like that. I was tasked with preparing the plan for a worship service that the Jr. Youth team would lead. It's hard to do. You have to choose things that can work. I pieced together a series of songs, a sketch, a bit of a film, and a message.
Without my knowing, the church was experiencing some verbal attacks from our community at the time. Members of the church felt exposed and discouraged. I didn't really understand much of that.
Without thinking, I had prepared a sketch with the kids based on Ezekiel 27...the dry bones story. I chose it because it allowed us to use the BOOMWHACKERS that I had purchased and had yet to use effectively. In the sketch, though, I did write one line about how God will work among us when we gather IN HIS NAME. That doesn't mean just sitting on the same bench, but really being unified IN HIS NAME.
Without thinking, I also included a video that I had been hoping to use ever since late winter. I finally found a way to stick it into my message for the service. The video was a nature film showing a herd of caribou being attacked by a wolf. The wolf panics the herd, then isolates one young caribou, then runs it out of energy and leaps onto its back. The moral of the story is that unity is key when the enemy is attacking the group. Isolation leads to death.
After the service, days later, I was told that the two different lessons were powerful for many people in the congregation that morning...with the same lesson : we must stick together now!
God prepared those lessons. I thought I did. Teaching is always more effective when God does the work.
May He continue to use both you and me !
I often play keyboard in our local church for worship services. We rehearse on Saturday evenings. On Sunday, the service flows according to the song leader. Usually we stay on track in general, but with some variation. Sometimes we go quite a different direction. Thankfully, the worship musicians are adept at following the leader. That is the fruit if the work ASAPH does with young musicians.
On a recent Sunday morning, we had our list of songs. The service was moving along. The leader, a young lady who played in the ASAPH Brass Band at one point, left the written program and moved into a song called YOU ARE ENOUGH FOR ME. It was not on the program. It is a song that I wrote and taught to the church years ago. The song (like so many of my songs) will lie dormant for months or years, then they tend to bubble up for no apparent reason.
In that service, the worship took a different direction as that song began. You may know what I am talking about if you worship regularly. Worship services can be coasting along with not much energy, than at the beginning of a new song, the energy increases dramatically. It seems the song speaks to most people in the congregation all at once. People stand. People sing out. People move.
That happened as we sang YOU ARE ENOUGH FOR ME. The worship transformed. It is a meaningful thing for me. Worship songs I have written come from my own personal experience with God, my own time in His presence. When someone else seems to share that experience, it is a powerful moment.
I love those moments in a worship service. I love when the Holy Spirit moves in a congregation. I love seeing God work in people.
Here's hoping that you are worshiping Almighty God. May He move in you and those around you as you submit to Him in worship.
God is good. Give thanks.
Many mornings, I am sitting at my computer translating. Christian Aid Ministries is a Mennonite mission that is active in Haiti. They pay ASAPH Teaching Ministry to translate documents from English into Haitian Creole. Some of the projects I have translated over the years include : pastor training materials, magazine articles, agricultural materials, and other smaller projects.
Several years ago I worked with CAM to actually write a series of books that are being used in primary schools across Haiti. They gave me a skeleton plan for six books, one for each grade from grade 1 to grade 6. My job was to write the individual lessons and evaluation materials, plus a teacher's guide for each book. Those six books are printed and in the hands of Haitian students.
CAM is now planning to continue the project for three more grades, 7 to 9. I look forward to writing those lessons in the near future. It's one way that I can teach from home. :)
Recently, we finished a book called FARMING GOD's WAY. That book is now in print and being distributed in Haiti.
Last year during the Covid lockdowns, I spent long days translating a book called RESTORING THE SOIL. It is a fascinating list of plants that can be used to turn bad soils into fertile soils once again. I learned a ton of information about beans! The book's author spent years working in Africa. The subject matter is ideal for Haitian farmers who wrestle with so many of the same issues as African farmers. In 2021, I spent time going over that translation once again. The book is now about to be laid out and printed for distribution. It is a project that I believe will help farmers all over Haiti to make their gardens more profitable long term. That is exciting. Haiti depends on small farmers. Small farmers depend on the soil. Restoring the depleted soils of Haiti will be a huge step toward food security in the years ahead.
It is good to be part of powerful projects. I love doing my little part in big projects...being one little link in a great chain.
It is teaching. It is big scale. It is one part of ASAPH Teaching Ministry.
Missionary in Haiti.