Trying to make a difference in people’s lives for Christ is an up and down road. At times people are eager to learn from and follow Jesus. At other times they’re distracted, even resistant. That’s why Paul urged his protégé, Timothy, to “proclaim the Word in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). Paul knew Timothy – and we – would experience “in season” times of great response to the Lord and “out of season” times of resistance and little fruit. So enjoy and make the most of times of fruitfulness, and press on through dry times, knowing that God is still at work.
We are enjoying an amazing “in season” time of response to our training in Haiti right now! Courses fill up quickly with several people on a waiting list. Pre-registrations are higher than ever. Pastors constantly tell us that many other church leaders desire to take PPI courses. They ask, “Can you come to our city/town?” and “When will you come back to offer the next course?” Isaiah told me, “Everywhere in Haiti, pastors are running after PPI training!” This is the Holy Spirit’s work to the glory of God. We want to make the most of this season by training as many church leaders as possible in as many cities as possible. Thank you, friends, for helping us press forward in this exciting, fruitful season!
Training in Cap-Haitien and Limbé
I returned from Haiti on Tuesdauy morning, weary from the travels but so grateful for the opportunities the Lord is giving us to gather church leaders together for encouragement, training and resourcing. Our risen Lord is building His church in Haiti, and we’re humbled to have a part in what He is doing. Between Palm Sunday and Easter, we offered Course 1 in two cities in the the North Department, awarded Thompson Bibles, certificates of completion, and gospel tracts to 222 church leaders. Some highlights of this trip –
112 Bibles for 113 Pastors
Both courses were filled to capacity on this trip (112 church leaders each) with waiting lists of around 10 people. If pre-registered pastors don’t arrive by 11:00am on the first day of the course, our team gives their place to a person on the waiting list. Pastor Eliance Bastien was on the waiting list but, unfortunately, didn’t get a place in Course 1. In addition to serving his church, this young pastor also works as a lawyer. He is intelligent, articulate and, as it turned out, also filled with faith. The Lord rewarded his perseverance and confidence that God would make a way.
After all spots were assigned, Pastor Jasmin expressed regret to the church leaders who didn’t get a place in the course and encouraged them to register early for the next course in their area. All departed except one – Pastor Eliance. Jasmin repeated that all places were now taken, that he could go now, but Eliance didn’t move. He told Jasmin, “I’ll wait. You never know what the Lord may do for me.”
A half hour later, our team realized we had assigned two Thompson Bibles to a blind pastor and his wife. We talked with the couple, had a good chuckle about it, and left the couple with one Bible to use in the course. That left us with one extra Thompson Bible and one remaining person on our waiting list – Eliance. We had 112 Thompson Bibles for 113 church leaders! The team registered Pastor Eliance as student #113, and he happily joined the course. Two days later during our graduation time, he shook our hands warmly and held his Thompson Bible high. You never know what the Lord may do!
A Decoration Put to Use
We conclude each PPI course with a special time of recognition and celebration. Church leaders are filled with joy and accomplishment. Each one who successly completes the course receives an official PPI certificate, ministry resources, and in Course 1, a Thompson Bible. As part of this closing time, we invite a few pastors to share their thoughts on how the course will help them, their church and their community. They consistently thank our team for coming to their city during these difficult times in Haiti, and express joy in learning to use the Thompson Bible for all aspects of their ministry.
One young pastor shared that his church’s former pastor (now retired) had left a Thompson Bible with the church. Someone had given it to him years ago, but he didn’t know how to use it. The Bible sat on the communion table as a decoration, rarely opened and never used. The young pastor kept it there. He shared that he heard about PPI training and wanted to come.
He was so excited to learn how to use the Thompson Bible! He told us that for Assignment 3 (for which pastors choose and study a Bible topic that would be helpful to their church), he thought of the topic “Christ’s sacrificial love.” He worked hard on this topic and wrote notes on a separate piece of paper as well as in his course workbook. His church met Monday evening (the first day of the course) as part of Passion Week, and this young pastor used his study notes from the Thompson Bible for that evening’s message. He smiled from ear to ear as he told his story, hardly containing his excitement. He said, “I’m going to take the Thompson Bible off the altar and teach our assistant pastor how to use it!”
Our team typically works 10-12 each day of our training, from early morning to early evening. But we also enjoy eating together, conversations, laughter and, occasionally, a game. Our lodging in Limbé had a domino table on the patio so we decided to play. I think I learned dominoes from my mom and grandma. You sat quietly studying your pieces and placed them neatly on the table. In Haiti, dominoes is akin to dominos-meets-cage fighting, a raucus, fast-moving contest. Call it Haitian “power dominos.” Depending how the winner “fell” (went out), the loser had to stand from one to as many as eight games. (I stood for two games at one point to a lot of teasing and laughter.) The next night, Jasmin was chen an (“the dog”), standing for six games. Power dominoes was a fun way to relax with our Haitian team after full days of training church leaders.
Enjoy more pics from last week’s training below.