A group of about 15 church leaders and members from a town called Lahatte Jolibois have been coming to the ASAPH Teaching Center each Monday. We're studying Solfege...the art of hearing, analyzing, and producing musical pitches. It's the foundation for any true musician.
The folks from Lahatte have the same vision many other congregations have...they want to include instrumental music in their worship services. But none of them are currently musicians. SO, we'll spend some time identifying those whom God has pre-equipped with musical abilities and the capacity to develop in playing an instrument...and who have a heart for worship.
Pray for the congregations connected to ASAPH Teaching Ministry. They include 4 congregations in Passe-bois-d'ormes, one in Flammands, one in Mouillage Fouquet, one in Puits-Sale, one in Lahatte, and two in Bassin Caiman.
May God use ATM to prepare worship leaders who use their gift to glorify God.
Several years ago, some young people in our church organized a group of musicians and singers. They chose the word WORSHIP to be their name. They wanted to offer worship songs in services and in concerts.
The group has had its ups and downs since then. Yesterday they hosted a two-hour concert at the church. They had spent hours rehearsing and organizing. Working together is a tough task anywhere, but especially in Haiti where people struggle with baggage from an upbringing without great parenting.
On Saturday members helped haul equipment from the ASAPH Teaching Center to the church. Then they rehearsed for three hours. Yesterday, they arrived early to the church and prayed for the event and for those who would attend. Then the group offered a string of 16 songs. I served as keyboardist for the group.
The songs went very well, and the worship atmosphere was something we've been lacking in our regular services. Worship (in my opinion) thrives on preparation. Lately, our church has not been willing to prepare worship services. Many Haitian churches improvise worship services.
I'm hoping this event will inspire people to take the time to prepare worship. It was truly a good model for worship.
Several students have been working hard in the ASAPH Bible Academy program. It's a program of Bible memorization. Each level has about 10 verses, and there are 10 levels. This week, we awarded two young ladies a brand new Creole Bible. That's the prize for completing the first five levels.
A great part of my job is hearing kids recite verses in the program. They work often times all by themselves to learn the verses. Then they come to me and recite them. I get to help them understand the things they are reciting and lead them to a deeper understanding of The Word.
It's a great way to spend 30 minutes!
They say there two things in Haiti that will create a crowd instantly. One is the beating of a drum (music). The second is soccer. ASAPH Teaching ministry is using soccer to encourage good sportsmanship, good leadership, and cooperation. In August, we're having our first mini-tournament. There are four teams of under-15 boys competing against each other for the meager prize of lifting a plastic trophy. A few weeks ago we had a pre-season game. We tested the new soccer goals and several other technical aspects.
On Saturday evening there were two games with official results. Team GREEN beat team PURPLE by a score of 2 to 0. PURPLE mounted a bit of an attack in the second half, but never scored. In game two, Team ORANGE beat Team WHITE by the same score of 2 to 0.
Each team has a young volunteer doing the player selection and coaching. The referees are all young volunteers selected for their desire to train young players in good sportsmanship. The sole paid position in the ASAPH soccer program is the role of Director. His name is Jean-Pierre, and he is a licensed referee and coach with plenty of valuable experience in organized soccer in the city of Cayes.
ASAPH SOCCER CLUB is planning a soccer activity each month for a different group of players...boys, girls, young men, young women. Sports is a great way for people to learn and practice honesty, respect, control under pressure, and so many other important character traits. Our goal is to train another generation of soccer enthusiasts who use soccer in a positive way for the rest of their lives. Though the ASAPH SOCCER CLUB does not discriminate according to faith, we are openly using biblical teachings about love and respect.
Matthew 5:16 (paraphrase) When they see the good things you do, they'll praise God in heaven.
Last week our church youth participated in a week-long seminar hosted by an organization that brings together the youth of 3 congregations. A church leader from out-of-town came and taught two days on how to prepare and present a meditation or message. Then he spent two days on how to prepare and present worship. Then another leader spent Friday teaching young people how to choose a mate according to God's plan. All good stuff.
I attended the two days about worship. I was encouraged. There are things I've wrestled with and worked against for 20 years in this community. The seminar presenter supported many of the things I've tried to help people to see. For so long, I was the only voice saying those kinds of things. This man very powerfully presented some of the cases I've been making for years. Things like: pride is the enemy of worship; it is essential to prepare worship; we are sinning when we use worship leadership to push people around; it is critical that we use the Bible (correctly sited) to lead worship; we should never be deceptive in worship; etc. SO, it was a very positive event for our young people, I think.
Pray for our worship leaders. Satan loves to distract and divide those who are blessed with the capacities to lead worship. May the churches in this area grow in their understanding for worship. May we worship in spirit and in truth!
Our church hosted Vacation Bible School this week. As head of the Children's Department, I was in charge. It's the first time I've coordinated the church's Bible School in this way. I've hosted several and taught them kind of on my own. I really didn't teach this year, but arranged and oversaw things.
I am thankful for four young adults who taught the kids all week. L.C. taught the Bible verse each morning. A.P. taught the Bible stories. P.E. taught the missionary story of Amy Carmichael. And Mrs. P.A. did some crafts and memorization work...and led singing. PLUS, we were blessed to have a few church members come along side us as helpers. THAT was great to see. Several young people gave up three or four summer mornings to work with kids...all morning. The snack? A cup of juice and a piece of buttered bread. :)
We used a program developed by the Baptists and used all over the island. The kids learned about prayer all week long. There are certainly things we can do better, but I was impressed with the amount of volunteer work people did. That was even more of a blessing than the kids...almost.
Today I'll be making out the certificates for the kids who recited their verses and answered questions correctly in the exam we did this morning. I always enjoy evaluating kids to see what they pick up from teaching.
So, I'm thanking God for Vacation Bible School...thanking God. That's from Friday's lesson. :)
The program teaches a cool little prayer technique that uses the fingers:
THUMB - pray for your family...those closest to you, like your thumb
INDEX - pray for leaders...those who direct (and point) others
MIDDLE - pray for government...those in HIGH positions
RING - pray for the weak...your ring finger is pretty weak
LITTLE - pray for children...the smallest among us
So go ahead and pray...using your fingers!!
Missionary in Haiti.