As some of you know, I have the honor of accompanying a few folks from Frazer on a Mission cultivation trip in Port Au Prince, Haiti. While our church has taken many trips to Haiti for different purposes, this is the second in a series toward a long-term goal of growing and developing relationships with a deaf community here (here because I’m in La Plaine as I type this.) We’re hoping to help them over the next several years, build housing, develop education and most of all show and tell them about the love of Jesus Christ.
Already the trip has been quite amazing – after a long journey that started at 3 am we arrived in Haiti this afternoon and made contact with Tara, a young woman here who is working with the deaf community. Tara introduced us to Ronald and Tompi who are both Haitian men that are also employed by 410 bridge. The team that came late last year for the vision trip had met Ronald at that time. He speaks english well and all three of the 410 staff here are obviously passionate about their work here.
We were escorted by a policeman to a children’s home that has a very impressive walled compound here. We’re staying in the guest house – we had a great meal here – most of the food was grown right here on the compound, its the only way to be sure its clean enough to eat fresh.
John Paul’s Story
After dinner here we were introduced to Pastor John Paul. Now, I’m going to try to tell his story in brief because its amazing, I might not have all the details exactly right. John Paul was born in Haiti. When he was young he went to a revival where a missionary called him down and said he wanted to pay for him to go to the US and be educated, go to seminary and return to Haiti to preach. He agreed because he wanted to go to the US.
The man was true to his word and got John Paul to live with a family in the states where he finished high school and went to seminary. The missionary showed up at his graduation and John Paul didn’t even know who he was, the man gave him $1000 and told him to go back to Haiti and preach the word. John Paul thanked him and stayed in the states. He got an electrical engineering degree. He got married He got a job. He had kids. He lost a job and got a better one. All the while he had a dream in which he said he saw ‘a man’ who said to him “When are you going to go back to Haiti?” All the while he was getting wealthier and more comfortable. One day when he was taking his kids on a vacation in a brand new car when the car lost control – perfectly good weather, first time driving the brand new car and he lost control of it – he nearly drove it off of a bridge when it suddenly stopped.
That night he had the dream again and this time the man said “I could’ve killed you today. Go to Haiti or I will kill you and send someone else.” He was awakened by his wife who said she had a dream in which a man told her that He would’ve killed them because her husband hadn’t come back to Haiti. This was particularly miraculous because in all their time together he’d refused to tell her how he got to the US or anything about his life in Haiti. She asked him “What kind of deal have you made?” and he told her. They agreed he needed to go to Haiti. He came back here eight years ago.
This is all the short version, believe it or not, but today he has a children’s home with 60+ kids and a church with 2,000 members. He told several miraculous stories, but possibly the most amazing was about the day of the earthquake here. He had a meeting with his staff that day because he was tired of the Kids getting dinner late because it wasn’t ready. He told them if they didn’t eat earlier that day that he would fire them all. He even stopped through halfway through the day and reminded them. In the afternoon he felt unusually tired and so he went home early – so he wasn’t there to be sure that they got food on time.
When he got home the earthquake hit and by the time he got back to the shelter he saw that everything was flattened, including the place where they ate their meals. He began to cry and shout, looking for everyone when someone came and found him. “Pastor!” he said “They are all alright… The food was’t ready!” As it turns out the staff had worked hard to get the kids there on time and they weren’t ready. All of the children and his staff survived.
The earthquake’s effects are unimaginable; tent cities as far as the eye can see in some parts of the city. John Paul’s congregation lost over 200 people to the Earthquake, so much prayer is still needed – Imagine one pastor having to comfort 200 grieving families.
There is much more
It is clear there is much to be done here and I could write for hours just on today, but I hope that I’ll be able to get some good footage tomorrow and perhaps tell you more about it tomorrow night. Prayers are appreciated. To God be the glory!