Camping: Haitian Style
I would like to thank all of you for your prayers while I was away in Haiti. It was quite an experience to say the least. With around 300 attending, those who organized the conference decided that it would be best to use an unused school ground so that there would be enough room for everyone to sleep and learn. Those of you who have been to Haiti know how the average Haitian lives, well on this trip we were camping Haitian style. I managed to make a bed out of two Unicef desks and I was thankful for the bug spray that I brought. The cooking was all done outside on portable charcoal fire pits and those who cooked did a wonderful job.
Those who were cooking, both men and women, were up around 5:30 preparing the morning meal which was usually ready about 10am as everything is prepared from scratch. This was the first time that this location had been used for this purpose and it wasn’t long until the leaders realized that it was going to be more challenging than they thought. There were only four toilets which didn’t have water going to them and other groups had also chosen to use the premises for their purposes (No such thing as booking one group at a time). Needless to say, there were lots of distractions and the teaching wasn’t going very well. It got to a point where we thought we would have to postpone until another time. But, I remember saying to the Lord that if He wanted it to continue that He would have to provide a way…And He did. Many times, I had to teach in the evening when there were no lights, so I used a flashlight to see my notes. We got behind on the teaching, so I left out two of the modules. On my last night there, I said to the group that if they wanted me to teach the last two lessons that they would have to be in the outside auditorium by 8am sharp as I was leaving later that morning. They began talking and it was decided that they would be there at 7 instead. I jokingly said that if I didn’t hear them singing (they always began the sessions by praise, worship and prayer) that I would go back to bed. I was only joking because in Haiti, I have a hard time sleeping past 5am. The next morning I was up by 4:30, had a Haitian bath by 5 (a bucket of water, a bar of soap, and somewhere as private as possible). And then something wonderful happened. At 6am the singing started. At least 100 of the group had gathered to sing praises and to pray. With all the obstacles that we had previously faced, I gave thanks to the Lord for making a way to finish all of the teaching and it touched my heart to see their devotion to the Lord and their eagerness to learn. We were able to finish the last two lessons just before another group came and tried to usher us out by re-arranging the tables.
Travelling to Haiti can be quite an experience, and this was one of the more challenging ones for me personally, but the Lord was, and is, faithful and I was honored once again to be a part of this experience. When someone there says thankyou to me, they are really saying it to all of you as well. Without your prayers and financial support, these conferences would not be possible. So, I include a short note that Pastor Placide sent to me once I got home…It is written to all of you as well. (Pastor Placide is my main contact in Haiti and is in charge of over 30 churches).
My very dear brother:
Blessings to you my friend. Words are not enough to describe our gratitude to you for all the blessings that we have received thanks to your love and generosity. Already we can feel that the churches are growing after this precious time of teaching on Church Growth. Our prayers are with you.
Pastor Placide, Haiti.
Pastor Placide said it well…thanks to all of your love and generosity they were blessed.
Thank you once again for your prayers and support.
Pastor Jonathan Baird.