Hi, Everyone. We’re here in Haiti! I started an update a few days ago but haven’t had a chance to finish it until now. Preparation, leading training, conversations, visits, and more preparation fill our days.
Besides a windy landing in Fort Lauderdale, we had good flights to Haiti on Friday and Saturday morning. Pastor Isaiah met us at the airport with hugs and smiles, and we took a taxi van to Ouanaminthe. Then we hit the ground running! We met with our Haitian team to catch up and pray – more hugs and smiles – then worked together into the evening to prepare for our courses, knowing we wouldn’t have time on Sunday. The guys loved our new team T-shirts! (Thank you again for giving toward them.) Isaiah, Jerry and I slipped out for an hour to visit Pastor Philogene, our long-time friend and host pastor for our two courses this week.
Pastor Philo (as we call him) embodies the Biblical qualities of a pastor/elder in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 – welcoming, encouraging, praying for and feeding all who come to his door. He is such an example and blessing to us!
Our team split up on Sunday. Tony spoke at Ulrick’s church (Ulrick is a PPI team member, pictured below sporting our new ministry team T-shirt), accompanied by Jerry and Hebert. Tony told us afterward that he was very moved by his time at the church (stay tuned for Tony’s account). Dawn, Brian and I went to Pastor Philogene’s church, which is hosting our training this week. I had the privilege of giving the morning message with Pastor Isaiah translating.
After lunch we drove to the Apostolic Church of Ouanaminthe to celebrate the very first graduation of the Evangelical Theological College. Pastor Jasmin Joseph, one of PPI’s key team members, established the college three years ago. He is a gifted leader and godly pastor, and we have made it a priority to encourage him and support this important effort. The Evangelical Theological College draw students from all across the North and Northeast Departments of Haiti. Our team enjoyed the ceremony. Jerry and Dawn spoke to the graduates, Brian took pictures and video for Jasmin, and Isaiah and I organized diplomas. I loved the opportunity to help Jasmin “behind the scenes” as he does so often for me. Pastor Jasmin thanked PPI and Jerry for our encouragement and support of the Bible College – a very special moment for us!
For the last three days (Monday-Wednesday), we have been immersed in PPI Course 4 – Make Disciples: How do we do it? Brian tackled registration and attendance with gusto, helped by Jasmin, Hebert and Dawn. Tony, Jerry, Ulrick and Michel organized our materials, and Isaiah and I set up our speaker and mics and led the training. Over 90 church leaders registered for the course, one came all the way from Port au Prince. They were excited and ready to learn and discuss!
When we offer a PPI course for the first time, I like to take the lead in teaching it. That helps me streamline and improve the course for future training. At the end of each day, I makes notes on the feedback from our team and others and also add my own notes and edits. I take all that back to the U.S., revise the course in English then Creole, and print the next edition of the workbooks. We’ll offer Course 4 again in February in Cap-Haitien.
Although I led this new course, I asked Tony, Brian and Dawn to speak at strategic points in the training. Tony shared his personal story, what the Lord used to move him from atheism to faith in Christ. He concluded with Isaiah chapter 6. After encountering the Lord, Isaiah responded to God’s questions, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” with “Here am I, Lord. Send me!” God not only forgives us, Tony emphasized, but also calls us to a life of purpose.
Brian was not feeling well yesterday (Wednesday) morning so Dawn spoke for both of them. She shared how the Lord has helped them grow in Christ as a couple. She told some of their story then related opportunities and practices God has used to draw them closer to each other and to Him. Church leaders soaked it in.
This morning (Thursday) we begin Course 1. Please pray for all of us – our Haitian and American team – as we welcome a new group of church leaders and open the Scriptures together. At our Course 4 wrap-up meeting yesterday afternoon, Michel prayed, “In Christ, there is no color, race or nationality. We are one family in You, serving together in Your mission.” Amen!
Merry Christmas in the One who came to bring peace on earth and God’s favor to all peoples.