Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just Got Back from the End of the Earth...

Some of our partnering Haitian churches are in the epitome of remote.  I think it was Dan Shoemaker who used to say, "It's not the end of the earth, but you can sure see if from here!"

I just got back from visiting Abricot Church, and from there Saint Victor Church and Baptiste Church.  I went with NewChurch Georgetown from Texas.  To say we were remote is an understatement.  I love the RMI church Partnership program because it get's the church out there-- way out there (uttermost parts of the world).  We get to touch lives who need the touch of Christ.  We get to be impacted by people who love Jesus, regardless of difficult circumstances.

Saint Victor Church
I must tell you a story...

We left Abricot, to head up a mountain to visit another district church.  I've never been to this church, but I know better than to fully believe the Pastor when he said the road is "no problem". Abricot is remote, but Saint Victor is remote remote.  The road leaving Abricot is worse than any dirt road you see in the US, but it is the best part of the road to Saint Victor.

After getting a little ways out into a valley, we dipped down into and across a river.  Not too deep, but deep enough to open wide the eyes of our new team members.  The other side of the river was steep, followed by a true 250'ish mud bog.  Deep.  Greasy.  Heavy. Mud.  The ruts (canyons) of mud were filled with water.  No one knew the depth.  I said to myself, "low four-wheel, keep moving, look calm... don't stop."  Then I stopped.  Not by choice, but because the truck hit hard as I bottomed out (luckily our trucks have plates underneath to protect from this).  We try to keep the vehicles on the berm, or on top of, the ruts.  But that greasy mud just pulls and pulls and pulls you right in.  Once you fall in, there is no choice but to ride it out (willing the truck to comply, keep going).  Now I am stopped.  After a quick consideration of the options,  I rocked the truck back and forth, and gave it a little extra gas.  After whining and chugging, the truck started moving again.  Slowly, churning its way through the 50 yards of muck.  Did I mention I had 6 people in the back bed of the truck?  After some more mud, we started our ascent.  So steep at one point, that I had to lift myself up out of my seat to see the road ahead over the front hood of the truck.  Yep, serious stuff.

Finally, we reached our destination.  Saint Victor.  As the team assembled in the half-finished church building with the local church congregation, I lingered on the path in front of the church to speak with a couple of Haitians who were sitting there passing the time.  One was sick with ongoing stomach pain.  One was upset because the school sent his kids home because he hadn't paid their tuition.  He can't pay.  He has nothing.  I mean nothing.  What does one do?  I moved on, another person patting their dirty belly.  This girl was hungry.  What can I do?  What can I do?  Seriously, what can I do?  I walked into the church.  Emotional.  Frustrated.  Angry.  Should I take the shirt off my back or the shoes off my feet.  I can't help everyone.  Right?! Refocus.  In the small, spontaneous church service, we sang.  We prayed.  We shared.  We sang more.  We loved on each other.  We smiled.  We enjoyed the presence of one another.  We shared Jesus.  I wasn't planning on saying anything, but I had to.  I spoke up...  fighting my internals, I reminded the people of my favorite Creole song... “No, No, Chemen an pa Fasil”.  "No, No, the road is not easy".  We sang it.  I told them about the road we had just passed over to get there.  The thick mud.  Running rivers.  Steep hills.  Unforgiving bumps.  It's like life.  I've blogged about it. Who am I to even speak of a hard road?  I don't know, but I am one who can remind the broken that they are in the hands of Jesus.  The song goes on to explain that although the road is tough, although there are many difficulties, Jesus is walking with us.  We are in the hands of Jesus.  It's the truth of the Gospel.

In the church that day, in fellowship, there was and is joy.  Outside of the church, there was desperation and a lack of hope.  Fellowship in Christ encourages.  It encourages the Haitian people.  I was reminded.  I can't give my shirt to everyone, but I can make a difference.  It's why we are in Haiti.  Jesus must have been smiling when we had to stop on our way down to change a flat tire due to a screw.  He must have been laughing when on the way back my truck was teetering on 2 wheels at a moment when I tried to avoid a deep pit of mud.

Yep, the road is not easy, but Jesus has us, and the Haitian people, in the palm of His hand.

Here is a portion of the Mud
Lots of pictures of our visit here.

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