Thursday, August 4, 2011

Haiti - Day Two

Here is Day 2 of the ongoing series about Joel Troyer's trip to Haiti.  You can read Part 1 here.

by Joel Troyer

Woke up to Brent complaining about my snoring. Shocker. We loaded up and headed to the Mayotte Baptist Church. Pastor Tommy was to give them the message so he assigned myself and one other person to run cameras for him. 
The children's Sunday School class at Mayotte.

As we arrived at the church there was a simple 2x4 structure with no walls and a tin roof to the side of the church. The actual church was made of cement. White building with a barely sufficient tin roof and HEAVY foundational damage from the quake. The only beam holding the roof up had a large crack in it. Thank you God for no tremors during church.

There was a Sunday School class outside the building in a tin hut with tarps and some shoddy wood paneling as well. Dirty, muddy floor with three little ones and their teacher inside teaching them about "Jezi".

I snapped a quick picture and wondered to myself if I knew that places like that existed at their age. The service began with an older woman leading the singing. Six more actually very beautiful girls accompanied her from the stage.  If you mixed their singing with a Mennonite church's 4-part harmony, the angels might actually stop singing just so they could hear it.  It was absolutely beautiful.  I couldn't understand a bit of it, but I found myself singing along anyway and soon my hands were raised in praise.  It's hard for me to scale back my emotions when it comes to really good music.  This was like nothing I've ever heard.  I couldn't hold back tears as I watched these people praise God.  How dare I ever complain again.  Shame on me if I do. 
Pastor Tommy Clements telling the
church leaders that they will be getting a
new building. What a moment!

Tommy gave a short message and afterward we spent time shaking hands and saying “bonjour”. Brent, Tommy and I sat down with the church leaders after to discuss a new church for them. That's when Tommy told them about the $75K he had for them to rebuild their church. You don't see faces light up like that every day.  It was one of the most moving things I've ever seen. 

Right after that Brent went over to a group of people that had walked for miles from a tent city.  They heard Americans were going to be at the Mayotte church and hoped we would have some food.  Brent had to tell them that we didn't have any, but we would be back and he promised on the next trip we would bring rice. You could see by their faces they took the news hard.  Back to reality after such an uplifting moment.

The tent city visitors at church react to the news there is no food for them
We left the church and went for burgers and fries after a change of clothes. A rare treat for a BGM group, but we had the luxury as we were the smallest group BGM has ever taken to Haiti.  

We then headed for the hell that is Port Au Prince and stopped at the cathedral that was completely destroyed for some pictures.  

We were soon being mobbed by naked children and people asking for help. Women carrying babies wanted to give them to us as they couldn't feed them anymore.  I can't describe how that makes one feel to have that experience.  That is all I will say on that.

A woman and child walking outside
the destroyed cathedral less than a block
from the Presidential Palace.
From there we went to the Palace which still lay in ruins.  More of the same there.  Ironic that every government building was destroyed in Haiti?  I think not. 

Directly across the street from the palace was a huge tent city.  Amazing.  A destroyed presidential palace on one side of me and a tent city with a hundred thousand  homeless people on the other.  Talk about God bringing a nation to its knees.  It was already so bad, then the earthquake happened.

Overlooking Port Au Prince
From there we went to a mountaintop called Boutilier.  To say the least, this view was amazing and so very beautiful.  It overlooked the entire city of Port Au Prince and much of the country of Haiti.  It felt so majestic up there, but looking down we knew the devastation that really lived in the depths of such beauty.  Analogy???

From there we went back to the compound and unpacked the supplies.  So much food, medicine, and soccer equipment. Those kids at soccer camp in July are going to be in Heaven.  Their very own cleats and jerseys? 

Didn't take very long so we had some time to visit the crèche and play with the orphans - this was an adoption agency / orphanage in the same compound as we stayed that Dr. Bernard owned.  

These children were awesome and SO beautiful. Every one of them was desperate to be held.  Desperate to be played with.  Desperate to be loved. AND THEY WERE LOVED!!! What a blessing to just roll a ball back and forth with those children. They are so precious and so fragile.  I can't imagine what their future holds.  Why are they there?  

Was the little girl I was holding an orphan because her parents were both lost in the quake......probably.  I can't imagine.  I could only hold them.

After this we went to have dinner and had a wonderful surprise - Chris Lieb and his family showed up to join us.  He is the new director of the Baptist Haiti Mission.  Shortly thereafter Wallace and Eleanor Turnbull arrived to join us.  They came to finally meet Brent.  He was in tears.  These folks started the Baptist Mission 57 years ago.  They have started over 350 churches and have been directly and indirectly responsible for over 1 million salvation's.  Haitian history books that are used in schools tell their story.  DUDE! It's like having dinner with Billy Graham!!!  What an honor to visit with them.  They had to be in their late 80's or early 90's.  Eleanor was so sweet and loved that I was a Troyer. She loves the Mennonites and Amish.  She worked with them many times over the years and spoke very highly of my background and upbringing.  

She took the time to speak to Tommy and I directly on how this is not our country and therefore not our duty to change Haiti.  We can't.  It's up to God and Haiti to do that.
Our job is to help them along and give them the tools they need in the church so the Haitians can start helping other Haitians.  The Haitians need to spread the gospel to other Haitians.  It just isn't the same if we make it our job to do it.  We teach them nothing if we do.  We are there to enable and disciple.  This woman was PASSIONATE AND ADAMENT about this subject.  She was nearly yelling.  Why wouldn't she?  This was her life.  Her passion.

I had the chance to speak to Chris Lieb about Cement Trust and Cart Away Concrete Co. and he asked that we sit down on Friday to discuss it further.  He was definitely interested.  Do work God!  

Off to devotion with the group and found it a bit sporadic, but it was good.  Brent wanted us to look at the eyes of the people when we arrived in Haiti.  In less than two days I could tell what he was talking about.  The eyes of these people - they all have a story.  It is so very obvious on each face.  It's not about the poverty of having's about the poverty of having not Jesus.

THOUGHTS: I'm not going to change Haiti on this trip.  I'm not here to change the world.  I'm not going to lead thousands to Christ this week.  I will touch many lives, however, thru the power of Christ in me.  

Each person I touch will touch another life, and that person will touch another, and so the cycle goes.  The Holy Spirit is at work here.  I also feel that the true hope lies in the children.  They see the light in Christ and where there is light darkness must flee.

The children in the crèche all have that light that only Jesus can give.  If we are reaching them we are reaching into the future of Haiti.  This is where it begins.  Right now God just wants to use me as His tool to help plant the seeds for a huge harvest.  Do work.


Jesus couldn't feed ALL of those that were hungry or heal ALL that were sick.  Why must we think it's our duty to do the same.  I can imagine it crushed Him that he didn't, because I know how I felt today walking in Port Au Prince.  And His love and compassion is so much deeper than my own.

The eyes in the church had HOPE today.  The eyes were smiling.

The eyes at the palace had no hope.  They were completely empty and hopeless.

Such obvious differences.  I don't think it would have taken Brent telling me to look for it, it was blatant.

Verses from devotion tonight:
2 Corinthians 4
Present Weakness and Resurrection Life
 1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Psalm 116
 1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
   he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
   I will call on him as long as I live.
 3 The cords of death entangled me,
   the anguish of the grave came over me;
   I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the LORD:
   “LORD, save me!”
 5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
   our God is full of compassion.
6 The LORD protects the unwary;
   when I was brought low, he saved me.
 7 Return to your rest, my soul,
   for the LORD has been good to you.
 8 For you, LORD, have delivered me from death,
   my eyes from tears,
   my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the LORD
   in the land of the living.
 10 I trusted in the LORD when I said,
   “I am greatly afflicted”;
11 in my alarm I said,
   “Everyone is a liar.”
 12 What shall I return to the LORD
   for all his goodness to me?
 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
   and call on the name of the LORD.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
   in the presence of all his people.
 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
   is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, LORD;
   I serve you just as my mother did;
   you have freed me from my chains.
 17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
   and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
   in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the LORD—
   in your midst, Jerusalem.
   Praise the LORD.



So long, day two.........

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