Back in August, a team of 18 of us from Sharptown Church, went to Emmaus to serve.
We spent three days working around the seminary grounds- pulling weeds, mowing, cleaning up leaves and palm branches, painting hallways and doors and cleaning up classrooms in preparation for the students to return for the upcoming semester.
On Sunday, we had the opportunity to go to a church service (a 4 hour church service, by the way!)
... And then sit down to a nice meal at the Hotel Christophe
On Friday, we took a trip to the Citadel (a hike that is NOT for the faint!).
But the most powerful part of the trip, at least for me and I'm sure many others, was the day we spent sharing the Gospel on the streets. We rode for over an hour in the back of the truck (how we ride everywhere in Haiti when in large groups!)
We were broken up into three teams to do door-to-door ministry, women's ministry on the street and at homes, and Vacation Bible School with the kids in the church building in the community. What an amazing experience...
to sing and share stories with children who desire to be loved and held...
to walk the streets and share of Jesus' love and to pray over the sick- both mentally and physically...
to speak truth to women as they sell charcoal or fried goods on the dusty streets.
Later in the week, we took a walk down to the bay. We had heard how beautiful it was (Phil had gone there when he went down to Haiti to work with Don in March) and I wanted to make sure I (and our group!) had the opportunity to see it...
it's about a 20-30 minute walk from the seminary...
When we arrived, and took it in, we all concluded that it was WELL worth the walk. (And now.. in hindsight.. I can say that at a much deeper level... explanation coming soon!)
As we stood there, on the shore, Matt (the president of Emmaus and a fellow Sharptownian!) told me that the size of the bay is very similar to that of the Sea of Galilee.
And that's when it hit me...
At that moment, surrounded by old fishing boats that looked like they were taken from the pages of Scripture, I imagined what it must have been like to watch as Jesus crossed the sea and went up to the mountainside to pray, or for the disciples to pull up fishing nets only to see that they were so full they were breaking because Jesus provided a miraculous catch of fish... or to be on that shore and listen as Jesus spoke of truth and light and love.
Looking back, I know that God wanted me to see that, to experience that moment, because He had something He wanted to teach me. Recently, while doing devotions, I was drawn to read the accounts of Jesus calling His first disciples. When He first called Peter and Andrew, He came to them at the water, while they were working as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee... he provided a miraculous catch of fish for them and then spoke three distinct statements to them:
Don't be afraid.
I will make you fishers of men.
During this journey, I have to tell you that fear has definitely been one of many emotions that we have felt. The question of how will we sell our house? How will our children adjust? Can we raise the money? What will life be like in a 5th world country that doesn't have the same laws, language, freedoms, advances, foods, safety, etc? How can we leave familiarity of home, family, church, friends?...
And yet He says to us... Don't be afraid.
And then there is the reality that God has called us, God has opened doors, God is at work in our hearts and our lives and He has been preparing us to do this work (for years!). He will help us to learn the language, sell our house, adjust to the culture, raise the funds needed to go...
We just have to continue to... Follow Him.
Because He has called us to be fishers of men.
The reason my heart was overwhelmed with joy that day as we shared the Gospel on the streets of Haiti is because that is what God has called us to do! And just like He said to the disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, I can hear Him telling us that we have nothing to fear if we follow Him.
And do you know what the disciples did when Jesus called them that day?
"... they left everything and followed Him." Luke 5:11b
2 Haiti 4 Him.