I barely held it together in two communion services this summer. The Lord spoke powerfully to me through His Word – though the services could not have been more different. RSVP HERE for our PPI Cookout/Update on Weds, Sept 7 from 6-9pm.
The first communion service took place in Haiti last month. We joined Esau at his church, Église Chrétienne La Boussole (The Compass Christian Church), where he is associate pastor. Esau led us to chairs behind the pulpit and near the praise team. This is the place of honor accorded to visiting pastors, and usually where we’re asked to sit when we attend Haitian churches. On this morning, we had a front row seat to communion preparations. WATCH a video of this post.
While the praise team led the congregation in song, a deacon and deaconess (pictured) carefully unwrapped containers of broken bread. Then as the deacon steadied the tray, the deaconess slowly, lovingly poured wine into each glass, one by one, as I watched.
That’s when it hit me.
I fought back tears as the Lord reminded me that He poured out His life so that we could have not only peace with God but also peace with one another! I looked around me. Three sweaty American believers worshipping the Savior of the World with some 50 Haitian men, women, teens and children. “In this moment, we are a picture of what You died to accomplish,” I thought. I thanked the Lord as the tears flowed. “Lord, you poured out your life to give us peace with God and peace with one another.” Esau then stepped to the microphone, quoted Paul’s teaching on communion in 1 Corinthians 11, and led us in sharing the bread and wine together as Jesus’ people.
After communion, the pastor asked me to greet the church (another common practice in Haiti). As part of my greeting, I read Ephesians 2:13-19:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility . . .”
Last Sunday we shared in communion at a church here in Michigan, my second communion this summer. We sat with the congregation instead of on a platform – which I prefer – and received an all-in-one communion packet. You’re not in Haiti anymore, Dorothy! Like Esau, this pastor read from 1 Corinthians chapter 11. He also included verses 17-22 and did an excellent job explaining the background of Paul’s teaching about communion. He told us that churches met in homes in Paul’s day, often the larger homes of wealthy people because they could accommodate more people. Paul called Corinthian believers on the carpet for their hypocrisy in eating the Lord’s Supper. Sophisticated church members were feasting in one room, probably attended by servants, and leaving scraps – or nothing at all – for more common believers in other rooms.
That really hit me! Too often we limit Scriptures like this to our own local churches – and certainly God is speaking here to our local churches. But what if verses like 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 also apply to the larger Body of Christ? To the relationships between American Christians and Haitian Christians, for example? I have no doubt they do.
I fought back tears again. “Lord, help us to honor our brothers and sisters in Christ in places like Haiti,” I prayed. “Make it our joy to give them more of the feast, while we’re willing to eat more scraps!”
As our Savior poured out His life for us so He calls us to pour out our lives for one another.
I’d love to beam each of you into one of our training courses so you can see it for yourselves. The eagerness, energy and struggle then understanding and joy – church leaders experience all these emotions as they participate in our courses. Especially in Course 1. We want you to see PPI training in action. Through this video you can!
Think about how often you use water in a day. What would you do if you didn’t have easy access to water? What if it was expensive and hard to get?
I arrived home from Haiti just after midnight last night. After hugs and conversation with Rena, I took a shower, drank a glass of water and went to bed. When I woke up this morning, Rena already had the sprinklers running on our front lawn and flower beds.
I used the restroom, washed my hands and headed downstairs to make breakfast – oatmeal (made with water not milk) topped with blueberries, juice and coffee. We don’t have a Keurig so I added four cups of water to our coffee maker, ground some beans and began to brew. My favorite smell in the morning! Rena went outside to turn off the sprinklers before she heads to work.
I couldn’t help thinking about it: How many gallons of water did I use between last night and this morning? My 10 minute shower required 20 gallons of water. I flushed 1.5 gallons this morning and no doubt used another gallon to wash my hands and make my breakfast – all while we applied over 200 gallons of water on our lawn and landscaping! Live-work-sleep-repeat. I take all this for granted. Life in these United States.
What if it were different? What if you and I didn’t have easy access to water? What if water was expensive and scarce? What would we do? How would we live?
Welcome to Haiti. Most Haitian families walk to a community well with a hand-pump to get their water for cooking, cleaning and bathing. Wells in Haiti typically are shallow and contaminated. If the family has enough money, they buy drinking water from local suppliers. Those too poor to buy drinking water drink from the well. Families that live in the central part of a city have access to a rudimentary version of city water called Dinepa, but the monthly cost is expensive so many forego the luxury. And they still need to buy drinking water.
Water is precious, expensive and hard to get for most Haitian people. Even in the oppressive heat of July, I doubt Haitians drink more than 16 oz of water in a day. They likely use less than 2 gallons each day for cooking, cleaning and washing up. Thank the Lord for organizations working to provide inexpensive access to clean water in Haiti.
The same is true of the living water of God’s Word. Bibles are precious, expensive and scarce in Haiti. The Thompson Chain Reference Bibles that we use to train Haitian church leaders aren’t sold by any organization in Haiti. Even if it were, it would cost a pastor nearly a month’s pay to buy it. Creole Bibles are nearly as hard to come by. They now cost $13 USD (over 1500 Haitian gourdes) and are hard to get. Donate toward Bibles HERE
By God’s grace and with your faithful partnership, we awarded Thompson Bibles to 112 church leaders who completed PPI Course 1 last week. We provided over 600 Creole Bibles to nearly 300 Haitian pastors who finished any one of three courses we offered over these past two weeks. These Bibles are so needed – and so precious – to these faithful brothers and sisters in Christ!
Let’s open the faucets, friends! Let’s make God’s living water accessible to as many church leaders in Haiti as possible! They are eager for the Lord to use them to help others drink the water of the Word of God.
How can we keep all the Water for ourselves and live in the delusion that “it’s like this everywhere”? It’s not! May God help us to open our eyes and hearts to our brothers and sisters in Christ in nations like Haiti! Donate toward Bibles HERE
Thanks for listening to my thoughts on my first morning back in the States. Now I need to wash up my breakfast dishes, brush my teeth, and get to work.
When we dismissed for lunch on Saturday, a pastor came to Esau and me to thank us for bringing Thompson Bibles and pastors training to Haiti. “Many said that we could no longer get Bibles in Haiti,” he told us, because of the nation’s political and economic difficulties.
What he said next gave me goosebumps. “A group of pastors prayed together here at this church,” he told us. “After that, an older pastor who had prayed with us had a dream. He saw a plane landing in Haiti. As it landed, seeds came from it that were planted in the ground.” The older pastor told the group not to worry. “God will send us Bibles for Haiti,” he assured them. The pastor looked at Esau and me: “You are the answer to our prayers!”
The Lord is using many good ministries to get Bibles to Haitian pastors and churches. We are honored to be counted among them! As part of our training courses this week and next, we will award 112 Thompson Bibles in Course 1 and distribute 700 Creole Bibles to over 300 Haitian church leaders in all three courses. Pastors here like to give Creole Bibles to new believers when they are baptized to encourage them to learn all that Jesus commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20). We’re excited about these strategic opportunities to help to plant the seed of God’s Word in Haiti!
PPI does NOT just give out Bibles. We award a Thompson Bible and Creole Bibles to every church leader who attends every day of Course 1 and does his or her best on every assignment. Another pastor reminded us why this is important. He told us that a missionary had given him a Thompson Bible in 2004 but that he had had no idea how to use it all these years. His face radiated joy as he said, “Now I know how to use my Thompson Bible for the Lord!” We also give Creole Bibles to every church leader who completes PPI Courses 2-6.
Pastor Pierre (pictured) was so excited to take PPI Course 1 – The Message and the Messenger. He told me that he had pastored in La Romana, Dominican Republic, for seven years before returning to Haiti to lead a church in Ouanamiinthe. He asked if we could consider offering PPI training to the many Haitian church leaders there. “Pastors need this training in La Romana,” he said. I told him that, as the Lord provides funding and opens doors, we will.
We traveled to Cap Haitian yesterday (Sunday) after worshipping with Esau’s church (more on that in a future post). Please pray for us as we begin Course 2 today with church leaders here.