“Father, your will is for your ways and your saving power to be known among all nations.” (Psalm 67:1-2) I awoke this morning with this prayer on my lips. This amazing opportunity to gather church leaders, open the Scriptures and train them in Biblical pastoral ministry is God’s work, not our idea. I’m convinced of it!
The Lord is answering all of our prayers! We began our first day of training this morning with 115 pastors – our absolute maximum – and several on the waiting list. The pastors are eager to learn, and the Lord continues to teach us how to be clearer and more effective in equipping them. At the end of the day, we asked Pastor Christoph, the president of the Gonaives evangelical pastors organization (FRERH), to tell the pastors about the association and to close our first day in prayer. He took more time to share how the Lord had answered their prayers in bringing PPI training to Gonaives. He said, “We are privileged to participate in such a high level of training that also speaks to their hearts.” Praise God!
Will you pray for our continued strength, love, joy and wisdom as we continue the next two days of training? Please ask the Lord to keep these church leaders healthy each day – that’s not a given in Haiti – attentive and receptive. Pray especially for them to continue to use the Thompson Bible in their ministries long after we leave, to grow in their love for God and His Word, and to shepherd their churches humbly and effectively.
As promised, here’s another faith story from Haiti.
Love draws hard people to Jesus.
Pastor Ulrick is a member of our ministry team. He speaks passionately about how PPI training has helped him and his church grow in Christ. He says he now focuses on teaching the Bible simply, clearly and to the heart of his congregation.
Ulrick’s church is located in a very poor part of the city of Ouanaminthe. He realized early on that many families were too poor to send their children to school. Parents must pay for their children’s education, even in government schools. But the Lord continued to nudge Pastor Ulrick about the need to help families in their neighborhood. So Ulrick and members of his church established a small elementary school and invited families to enroll their children without cost. This was a big step of faith for them because they have very little money themselves. But they believed the Lord wanted them to take this step and trust Him.
This act of love with no strings attached has drawn children and their parents to Christ. Ulrick told us that, on the Sunday before our training conference in Cap Haitien, a well known witch doctor from their neighborhood came to church. He sat near the back. Ulrick saw him and immediately walked to him and welcomed him to the service. Congregation members watched uneasily. In Haiti, witch doctors and their disciples often show up at baptisms and church services to heckle believers and drive people away with their curses. Not a few Haitian pastors have told me about open demonic activity at these times. Christians here naturally are concerned when a witch doctor shows up!
As Ulrick smiled and gripped the man’s hand, the witch doctor thanked him for allowing his two children to attend the school even though he could not pay. The church is praying for this man’s salvation. The love of Jesus, warmly and freely expressed, draws even those far away from Christ!
A few more pics from our first day of training in Gonaives below.