Haiti - June 8, 2011
By Joel Troyer
Today was one of the most spiritually demanding days I think I have ever experienced. I'm completely spent. I really pray that God shows up in a big way for the next two days because I really need Him. I think the group needs him.
Started the day by stopping on the way down the mountain so Brent could buy four rocking chairs. After Peter and Brent talked them down on price they were loaded on top of the tap-tap until they found their homes throughout the day at the residences of people who BGM built homes for in the recent past. It was just a final gesture of kindness and a finishing touch to the house. A way to make it feel like “home”.
Our first stop was at HFC. This was one of Dr. Bernard's schools and orphanages and his very first one that he started. We were greeted by about a hundred playing kids who were happy and friendly and all well dressed in their blue checkered school uniforms. Of course, the girls all had the bows in their hair which I just love. American kids should be required to dress like this for school. It only costs $150 a year to put one of these children through school.....so long ND vs. UM ticket. I will watch it on TV.
After taking a tour of the classrooms and dorms we went outside to divide into groups. There was an outside wall that needed to be painted so part of the group stayed to work on that while the rest of us made the trip to the top of the hill to a tent city and slum to do some door-to-door ministry and prayer.
On the walk up the hill I couldn't help but think of how happy those children were. They knew Christ. They were being taught of His love. Their eyes told the story. So did their hugs. Their purity and joy really touched me. They wore me out from too much “Ride your Horsie" though.
At the top of the hill we met a pastor of this little community and he began walking us through the maze and tiny cramped, urine-soaked and trash-filled alleys of this place. What looked like a swinging, two-section barn door would be the front door of a tiny little home.
All the clothes (what there were) and beds and tables and everything we would put in a closet or in our own separate room were all crammed into one tiny living quarter. The heat inside one of these places was overwhelming and it only accentuated the smell of where we were at. Mold grew in many little corners and I could only imagine where the rats and mice hid while the sun peeked into the sliver of a window....if you were in a home that was lucky enough to have a window.
We found ourselves suddenly going up a very steep set of stairs and taking a hard left into.....a school? It was a cramped little one room school where the kids all had matching brown checkered outfits. Four of the students sat off to one side as the main room was too full. One teacher had a chalkboard that he taught from. We interrupted their learning so Brent could ask the teacher about how they could afford to keep these kids in school and the teacher flatly told him they couldn't. They didn't have the money, books, facilities, food or any other of the basic things it takes to give a decent education to a child that age. But the children were smiling and they seemed eager to learn. Brent promised the teacher aid, and knowing Brent as well as I do, that teacher WILL get funding for those kids.
An all too typical one-room
school with no books and one teacher.
We laid hands on the children and prayed over them. It amazed me how reverent the children are in Haiti. During church they are not jumping around and crying, nor are they that way in school. They know they are being given an opportunity that their parents didn't have. Even at a very young age they are keenly aware of what an opportunity they have. They are also in a very somber country which does play a part in that as well.
We left the school with heavy hearts and decided to stop by Tony's house who was acting as a guide to us. Tony's house was a flat piece of concrete with piled up cement rubble around it. It was completely leveled during the earthquake. I remember walking up to it and it was a narrow alley that had mildew all over and smelled like someone had just urinated. The cement incline was just that, no steps. I felt myself losing my balance at one point and went down hard but caught myself with my left arm on the moldy cement. Scraped some skin off so I immediately had someone give me some hand sanitizer and rubbed it thoroughly over the light wound to hopefully kill whatever organism was now attempting to enter my bloodstream. I think the burn only lasted about 15 minutes. Hand sanitizer sucks on open wounds.....but proved effective.
We looked over the rubble of what was once a man's home and as we stood there listening to Tony tell his story through an interpreter the Spirit of God came over Brent and he said to him, “God is telling me to build you a house, brother”. Tony was rather astonished, but Brent assured him that God was calling BGM to have a home built for Tony. So Tony will get a house. AMEN!!!!!!
From there it was more mazes of tiny, dirty alleys up to the top of the hill to the tent city. We walked into a UNICEF tent where they were vaccinating babies. The heat and the smell inside this tent were almost too much to bear. But when you looked at the babies it was impossible to leave. Nothing can prepare you for this kind of sickness and poverty. The sadness in the eyes of these people told me they didn't know Christ. They had an empty, rather blank look and the children had a hard time smiling throughout the tent city. This place was infected heavily with Cholera as well. We didn't get nearly as much prayer done as we wanted to up there, but the children at the UNICEF building had hands laid on them and I believe God will bless that village.
We then started back down the hill to HFC where the painting was wrapping up. At the bottom of the hill Brent began talking with about 5 young men, maybe 18 or 19 years old and sharing his testimony with them. He told them about his past and the life he used to live. How he used to sell women for money in Florida and about his heavy addiction to sex and drugs. He then turned to me and I told them about my past. How I used to do cocaine everyday and drink til I couldn't see anymore.
I told them how I was trying to cover the pain and emptiness of a life that didn't have Christ and pent up anger at God. We told them you didn't have to have worldly possessions to be a Christian, all you needed was a heart that was willing to accept Christ and to let Him rule your life. How He would provide a peace and happiness that could never be taken from them. The guys were genuinely interested and we didn't feel the calling at that point to have them pray the prayer. It wasn't the right time. We introduced them to the pastor and told them that they needed to talk more with him to find out more of what Christ could do in their lives. We left them with a copy of Romans to read. We told them about Paul and his journey and how he went from a killer to a martyr. They said they would find the pastor.
As we walked away I snapped a picture of them sitting their reading the book of Romans. It was awesome. Eleanor Turnbull was right. The Haitians need to lead the Haitians to Christ. We are the enablers. How incredible to put her words to use like that and see it in action. Go God!!!
Reading Romans for the first time.
After lunch, with a couple of very nice interns from Boston and Washington State, we headed to a place that Brent needed to see. Can't remember what it was called, but it had all new buildings and he said the last time he was there, there was a 4 story building that had been completely leveled right after the earthquake hit. It was a staging area that people thought they could come to for medical attention....except they had no medical supplies. He said there were limbs hanging out of windows and people screaming for help.
I really saw the peace that overcame Brent at that moment as he was seeing it again with a sweet serenity. To see what was once broken beyond words, to what is now a peaceful place again. I knew he was at peace even though I saw the tears on his cheeks. One of the girls became overwhelmed and the emotion of the experiences we just had and the place we were in started to take their toll. It wasn't even noon. She was overcome with grief and so we decided it was a good time to just stop for a minute and let everyone catch their breath. It was a tough time. This was one of the places where amputations occurred with hacksaws and no anesthetics. It was a place we had only heard the stories of on the news. It was a place where many people came to die. It was sacred ground and I could literally feel that in a place somewhere deep down in my soul that had never been touched before. A new door was opened for me and I will never forget that hurt. That is all on that.
We made one more stop up the street at a tiny clinic where the clinic director showed us 10 large pages full of names and dates. I asked the lady what they were for and she said they are a list of the cholera patients up and down that street. There were hundreds. She showed me the 5 gallon bucket of hydration salts that they used to treat the cholera with, for that is all they need to live when they get infected with it. If they don't get that they die. The bucket was empty.
Brent immediately called Missy in Nashville to have her load salts from the warehouse for her trip down on Saturday. Funny how the media doesn't really cover the thousands who are dying EVERY DAY from cholera. I learned today it isn't the Haitians that started that disease either. It was brought from the Nepalese UN peacekeeping forces into Haiti after the earthquake. I guess they don't cover how Bill Clinton is taking 20% of the proceeds given to his disaster relief fund that he and Bush Sr. started either for “Administrative Fees”. Yet with BGM EVERY dime that is donated goes to Haiti and God provides for Brent to support a full staff as well. When you are not a Christian it's impossible to understand how God provides. I'm so glad Bush removed his name from that organization. And yet I hear people call the Haitians “pigs”.
We all met up back at the tap-tap and loaded up to go visit some finished houses. The first one was at the edge of a tent city. I noticed a large steeple with a cross hanging upside down, still attached somehow after all the earthquakes. The church itself was gone. This was all that remained over this dreadful place. An upside down cross. YET IT STILL HUNG ON! LOVE IT!
The church was rubble, yet the cross remained
We stopped on the edge of the tent city and the other tap-tap pulled in across the street where we noticed a large crowd gathered around something. Couldn't tell what it was, but Brent got out as Josh Evans followed him. Josh was a trained EMT as well as a Tennessee State Representative. Brent motioned for us to stay in the tap-tap and we saw them praying over someone. The crowd began to disperse and we saw a young man lying there with a large amount of blood around him. We still didn't know what happened and he looked to be unconscious. I spontaneously broke out into prayer in the tap-tap and turned the entire situation over to God. I prayed for healing and the power of the Holy Spirit to immediately intervene in that man's life. As I ended the prayer they began to pick the man up and I noticed the white rags around both of his wrists. What a desperate cry for help. I can't condone suicide and I never will, but as I looked at his surroundings I wondered if I wouldn't try to end my misery in the same way. Life without Christ is bad enough. Try it in Haiti.
|Suicide attempt at the tent city|
They carried him across the street to a small car directly behind where I was sitting in the tap-tap. This man was alive, but motionless and just kept his eyes closed. Maybe from the embarrassment… maybe for the attention… maybe so he couldn't see whatever demons that were torturing him. I guess I will never know.
All I do know is that he had people that cared for him and were praying for him in his worst hour. God's perfect timing. I believe we pulled in there at that time for a reason. Satan was trying to win another battle. To steal another soul from the kingdom. The demonic oppression was stifling in that place, but when light makes its presence the darkness must flee. What a battle we were in today. I felt a confidence in my prayer life like I have never felt before at that moment. There was a new power today and the Spirit is really making a commanding move in my life. Thank you, God, for being there for me and showing yourself to me in a real and more powerful way. But most of all thank you for being there for that young man. He will be prayed for in the days to come. Prove yourself to him, God. I remember then looking back up at that cross still hanging on above us....God was reminding me He was in total control of this place.
We walked a bit after this to a new house that was recently completed in the last few months. We delivered a rocking chair to a wonderful woman who was still simply overjoyed at the gift God had given her. She didn't even want the backside of the house to be painted just the front. That was more than enough for her. Loved it. Took some pics and visited and prayed with some folks and then we loaded back up to the next house.
Delivering a rocking chair to
another finished home. The final touch.
It was in a typically dirty place and the group had to walk quite a ways to get up the hill to it. I chose to stay with Peter at the tap-tap to take some pics and make the ladies that were selling goods on the street laugh. They kept calling me fou (crazy) and laughing. It was a good time. Gave a lot of high fives to the kids as they walked up and down the street and enjoyed their different poses for the camera. It was fun being the silly American and the laughter helped out a lot.
A couple goats and pigs ate their fill in the trash heap nearby and a very mature sow came walking by at one point and made herself at home in a mud puddle right in front of the tap-tap.
When the group got back Brent told us that after leaving the house, Reagan, who is one of the high school girls felt led to talk to a man at the top of a hill. So they did. Another young man watched and listened as Brent shared the story of Jesus with him. The man let him finish and proclaimed to him that he was already a believer, but the young man beside him offered that he was not. When asked if he understood the story he replied that he did and wanted to accept Jesus into his life as his Lord and Savior. They prayed with him and he accepted Christ right there. This was another perfect example of how we need to act when we feel the Spirit move on us. We went from suicide to salvation in about an hour. The darkness was fleeing. We can pray demons out of Haiti and acknowledge them over and over, but as Brent put it to me in the airport we tend to give them too much attention. And the demonic presence is still there no matter how many times they have been “cast out” of that country. The biggest weapon against the enemy and the oppression over that country is PRAYER!!! Don't give satan the time of day, just lay your hands on the people and pray for them. The darkness has to flee!!! The enemy is already defeated and he knows it.
It was a pretty intense afternoon. I honestly have never been involved in such visual spiritual warfare in my life. On this day, I could literally feel the presence of warring angels around us. These people could have destroyed us if they wanted too. They could have taken our money, our food, and our water if they so chose. But God had his best at our side on this trip. The hedge of protection was truly felt and very much appreciated. I loved doing spiritual battle like this and taking it to the enemy, but we were all tired and worn down. It had taken a toll on all of us and there were tears amongst the group and it was all I could even do from completely breaking down. God is good.
With the chairs being delivered it was time to head home for the day. I was thankful for Tobey and Don today as I did text them and asked them to pray for protection from the storm we were in. I can't possibly write everything here that I saw out there today. So much hurt and so much devastation. So many children that just don't have a chance.
I saw heavy spiritual warfare. There is so much more to tell. It was just battle after battle and I don't have the time or the energy. It was a tough day today. We won this battle, but we are not smiling. I didn't even have it in me to go to the crèche tonight.
I am tired.
THOUGHTS AND DEVOTION:
Tonight was the night I was supposed to speak at devotion. Great message on Peter and leaving your comfort zone. Great analogy for a bunch of spoiled white folks in Haiti right?
Something cool happened though.
God took the plans I had and threw them out the window because He had a better plan. I love His perfect timing. We began with singing and the Spirit started to move. The singing kept going and kept going and after a time I found myself on my knees at my chair weeping. The power of His presence overtook the room.
I remember thinking that right now in this place, after the day we have had, we don't need a “lesson” or an “analogy” to be given, we need the power of the Spirit to be spread out over each one of us individually. We needed to be empowered and emboldened.
God knew that and that's exactly what He did for us tonight. We spent the evening simply praising His name and thanking Him for another great day in Haiti. For allowing us the privilege to be called His own and to be used to further His kingdom in this way. I love it when God gives us these moments. When He says would you please just shut up and BE! Quit worrying about and praying for Me to show you what MY will is for YOUR life.
How about praying for my will to be shown to you and you just going along for the ride. It can be a bumpy ride as I found out today, but when He wraps His arms around you and lets you know that you are still His child and that He loves you so much, that's the kind of encouragement that will get me through tomorrow.
That lets me know I'm His and since that is true I am IN HIS WILL!
Tonight was a much needed time to just rest in Him. We got Kanez tomorrow. Day 5 has ended. It was a good day in Haiti. How He loves.