Training church leaders in Haiti is always an adventure – in exciting and sometimes not-so-exciting ways. All the more reason we are grateful for your prayers. The Lord is answering each one!
Creole Bible Delivery
Our Creole Bibles arrived Thursday in Gonaives after nearly two weeks’ delay. It seems a delivery driver from a reputable delivery business in Port au Prince decided to hold out for more money. A few days before, he contacted our host pastor in Gonaives (who would receive the delivery) and demanded more cash or no Bibles. Pastor Robert wisely refused. Magda Victor, the director of Haitian Bible Society, worked closely with the owner of the delivery business and we all prayed. The result? We have 700 Creole Bibles ready for church leaders taking one of our three courses!
When I arrived in Haiti, our plan was to meet a Haiti Customs officer and Vero, an MFI worker, at 7:30am to get our Thompson Bibles and conference materials out of MFI’s shipping container and on an MAF in-country flight to Gonaives. (Missionary Flights International (MFI) flies these items to Haiti for us each time we train pastors here.) We had checked and double-checked this plan to be sure a Customs officer would come early since our cross-country flight to Gonaives departed Cap airport at 8:40am. We were assured the officer would meet us at the airport at 7:30am. Best laid plans . . .
Customs officials showed up at 8:30am, their regular starting time. Vero was frustrated. We were concerned our MAF pilot wouldn’t wait for us since they had another flight scheduled right after ours. We did all we could to be ready to get through security, get our conference materials from the shipping container to the MAF plane and prayed for the Lord to help us once again. Result: We were on the plane to Gonaives with all our Thompson Bibles and materials shortly after 9:00am.
Dangerous Road to L’Estére
More than a hiccup, our biggest challenge this week was deciding whether or not to cancel training in L’Estére. This town lies approximately 30 minutes south of Gonaives by car, and by all accounts the road there can be dangerous, especially for privately owned cars. Gangs have stopped cars and motorcycles to check registrations. If someone lacks vehicle registration papers, their car or motorcycle likely will be taken from them. Who can prove who owns an undocumented vehicle? Gangsters in the area also rob, kidnap and kill.
On the other hand, we knew that taxis and commercial trucks were going back and forth to L’Estere, that schools were open in town, and that the town itself was pretty quiet. What to do? We had initially planned to stay in Gonaives and drive back and forth to L’Estere. After talking again with Gonaives pastors on Friday, our plans changed – especially in light of last week’s violence on the road. Pastor Robert and Pastor Christoph now advised us to stay in L’Estere for the duration of our training here. Fortunately, Michel, one of our ministry team members, has family in L’Estére, who arranged for us to stay with a Christian engineer and his wife. Their home is tastefully appointed and surrounded by beautiful flowering plants, an oasis for us.
So we prayed, packed and set out for L’Estére on Sunday afternoon in a taxi van. We were quiet and watchful all the way but pulled into town with no other problem than a significantly overloaded van. We began Course 1 this morning here with 99 church leaders so thankful that we came and very eager to learn! I was so moved by their expressions of gratitude, I had a hard time speaking as we began the training. What a privilege to spend three days of learning and fellowship with these faithful brothers and sisters in Christ!
Lessons for Disciples
We’re learning more about coordinating in-country travel (in the air and on the ground). We’re figuring out how to navigate potentially dangerous roads. But the greater adventure is in our walk with Christ. We’re learning patience, persevering prayer and trust in God through the hiccups – especially me! God is faithful to work in us as He works out the details we’re concerned about. We can count it all joy as we face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of our faith in our all-powerful, ever-present Savior leads to maturity and joy (James 1:2-4). Knowing Christ and making Him known – that’s the greatest adventure for each of us!