2 Haiti 4 Him

The Heckman family serving the Lord in Haiti at Emmaus Biblical Seminary

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Power of Pentecost

Its official. On Saturday we reached a milestone…

We have been living in Haiti for 6 months!  I can hardly believe it.  I am so very grateful for how this transition has been for our family…  we have adapted to our new life and responsibilities here, our kids have embraced this calling and are flourishing, and the community here at EBS truly feels like a family.

With all of that being said, I must admit that the last couple of weeks have been a struggle for me, in one particular area.


As most of you know, I like to communicate through spoken word.  I thrive on relationships and conversation.  To put it bluntly- I LOVE to talk.

I also love to learn.  I have enjoyed learning about Haiti and especially learning Creole. I have notebooks filled with new words and phrases, new proverbs and cultural facts about this beautiful country…

but here is where I am struggling.

Despite my willingness to make a fool of myself in some ways (this is definitely a prerequisite for working in youth ministry!), I don't like to look like a fool when I am speaking.  I don't like to NOT know what to say.  I REALLY don't like not being able to adequately communicate.

And two weeks ago, I felt completely DEFEATED.

Over Christmas break we did not receive tutoring and with the busyness of the holidays, and then with a month of visiting professors and visitors, we had very little time for Creole learning… let me rephrase that… we didn't make time for Creole learning like we should have.

When we started back into the normal schedule and tutoring began again, I could feel my anxiety begin to take over.. and as soon as I began to allow those feelings to fester, the devil began to inch his way into my thoughts and do what he does SO well. I could hear him say...

"You are NEVER going to learn this."

"You sound ridiculous."

"You don't really NEED to learn the language…"

"Give up."

One night it all seemed to come to the surface and I began to feel sick with all kinds of emotions.  Guilt for not knowing more, anxiety about speaking to people, anger at myself for not being more disciplined, frustration about feeling everything I was feeling.

And yet, with all of those thoughts swirling around in my mind, I could still clearly see that I needed to STOP letting the devil defeat me.  (Its in these moments that I am so very thankful for His Spirit alive in me… speaking truth. reminding me of His presence.)

I knew that I needed to keep moving forward and to ignore his lies.  I also knew that I needed some encouragement… some encouragement to press on.  To STOP feeling sorry for myself.

A reminder that its NOT about me!  (Isn't it interesting how the devil almost always uses self-preservation as a tool… he turns everything around so that we are more concerned about ourselves than about others in the situation we are faced with.  He turns the focus onto OUR "needs", convincing us that WE are more important.  UGH!)

Amidst all that I was experiencing- God showed up in a powerful way that night.  He always knows exactly what we need (and He knew I needed a good kick in the (sorry) rear-end!).

As I sat down to do my devotions, I opened up my favorite devotional book by Dennis Kinlaw, This Day with the Master.  And this is what it said:

"Wise is the one who can speak in such a way that identification takes place between the people listening and the one speaking.  That is what language is all about.  It helps us to know one another; it helps us to understand each other; it means that we value one another.  Most of all, it enables us to effectively communicate the message of salvation."

Seriously.  THAT is what it said.  Could that have been ANY more convicting?!?! or beautiful?!

As I sat and read those words I could see so much more clearly why I HAVE to learn this language.  Because God built me for relationship.  He designed me to thrive on conversation.  He sent me here to share His message of truth with the people of Haiti…

Its no wonder the devil uses THIS to discourage me!

This past Thursday we facilitated the first symposium of the new semester.  I have been working through a discipleship training manual with a great friend and I have been loving the content.  Its SO good.  As we sat with Lèmè in tutoring the Tuesday night before, he encouraged us to teach it in Creole… And as I prepared for the symposium I knew that I NEEDED to do it in Creole.

I could hear the words of that devotional in my head… "it means that we value one another".  I want the students to know how much I value them.

Around midnight, the night before the symposium, as I sat at the table going over and over it all in my head, I felt prompted to open up that book again, and read the devotional for that day.

The title: "Pentecostal Language" Acts 2

The devotional spoke of what happened on that Pentecost after Jesus ascended into heaven… the coming of the Holy Spirit.

"It is no accident that all the people present for Pentecost heard the message in their own tongue… The baptism of the Holy Spirit with its cleansing, transforming, enlightening, and educating power produces an identification point with other people..."

And here is where it hit me:

"Suddenly we are able to build bridges to people we never expected or hoped to reach.  This is the power of Pentecost.  When a formerly ineffective preacher or lay witness comes under the anointing of God, that one speaks a language that every person can understand and with which everyone can identify."

God spoke to me that night and reminded me that YES it is MY responsibility to learn the language to the best of my ability…. but it is HIS Spirit that is going to do the work of identifying HIS message to the hearts of HIS people.

Instead of worrying about getting every word correctly translated or whether or not I was going to communicate the message without messing it up… I went to bed that night trusting that God was going to do the work that only HE can do.

And Thursday's symposium was truly amazing.  I did it in Creole, almost entirely in Creole.  I could sense His Presence with me the entire time, giving me the words, calming my nerves.  I had a sense of peace that certainly passed my understanding! And in the end, to see the look of joy and encouragement and excitement on the faces of the students was humbling and empowering and inspiring.

At the end of the symposium we informed the students that its our desire to help their churches in any way that we can.  In fact, we were already scheduled to go to one of the student's churches and help with training their youth team the Sunday after symposium. (Up until this symposium I was really unsure of what direction to go in for that training time… but God made it clear that THIS is what He wanted us to do!)

At the end of our time together on Thursday, we were asked by 4 more pastors to help equip their youth teams to make disciples for Christ.

THAT is the power of Pentecost!

Our desire, God's desire for us, in doing these trainings is to help instill in youth leaders the importance of making disciples (who make disciples) in their youth groups… and equipping them with the tools to do so.

So this past weekend we did our first youth training outside the walls of Emmaus, at Emanie's church in downtown Cap-Haitien.  We headed into town on Sunday afternoon, with Junior graciously coming along to help.

We began the training time the same way we did the symposium… in fact, its the same way we have started every teaching time here in Haiti…. with an object lesson! (We ARE youth leaders remember!)

First, we showed them a model of something that we wanted them to make out of folding paper (like origami).  They had 5 minutes to complete it, by simply looking at the model in front of them.

At the end of the five minutes, no one came even close!

THEN, we gave them each another piece of paper, but this time the instructions were different. Instead of just looking, they listened to Phil's instructions as he went through them, step-by-step.  They watched him as he folded the paper along with them.  They followed his lead.  We went around and helped them fold it properly.  We corrected them kindly when they did it wrong and helped them to do it the right way. We walked through it with them until they all had completed it successfully.

Do you see where we are going with this?

I then asked them how THIS example is similar to disciple making.  I shared with them that Jesus gave us this model of discipleship and that the way HE made disciples is how we need to make disciples…

At the end of our time together, we fielded some questions and had some dialogue, and we asked if they would be interested in ongoing discipleship training in this area.  They all said YES.  We go back on March 16th.  Isn't that awesome!?!?!

Below are some pictures of us with some of the youth leaders...

 Romual (next to Phil above) is a current student at EBS and a good friend!

(And above is the president of their youth group)

(This is us with most of their youth team… You can see in the picture that some of them are holding their folded-paper creations... LOVE it!)

Through broken Creole, a lot of hand-gestures (I'm thankful God gave me hands to speak with!), the help of Junior, and most importantly the POWER of the Holy Spirit, we saw a spark in the eyes of those youth leaders through the time that we shared together.

I am so excited to see where God is going to take this in the coming months.

I am BEYOND thankful that God speaks to us through His Spirit in times of weakness, temptation, brokenness, and selfishness…. to see past ourselves and through to the purpose that He has for us.

The devil wants nothing more than for us to fail. To give up. To throw in the towel.  To feel defeated.

And yet God's Spirit is with us, encouraging us to keep going, empowering us to trust in His abilities, convicting us to set aside our own doubts and fears, equipping us to do what He has asked us to do.

What might His Spirit want to do in you today?

How might He be calling you to trust Him… to trust the power of Pentecost at work within you?

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."  Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Praise God for Community!

This past week has been full of activities (as usual) here at EBS…

With all of our visiting professors gone now, things have settled into a new pace… and even though it is LOTS of work to have visitors here- between cooking and cleaning and laundry-  we love it!  We miss our guests and are so grateful for the time we were able to have with each one of them over the past 6 weeks.

God has definitely built us for community and at EBS we thrive on community!

Even though all of the VPs have left, we still have a few guests and they are an absolute joy to have around!  Rod, who has come here with Men for Missions to help with the apartment, has been a huge blessing.  He and Uncle Don (a dear friend of ours from church!) have been working TIRELESSLY alongside of Phil and Sam to get the apartment finished for Ryan and Cheyenne….

Look at how much has been accomplished!...
(Sam's dad came for a visit and started the work on the cabinets… they look great!)


and speaking of Ryan and Cheyenne… they arrived yesterday morning!  Woohoo!  We are so very happy that they are joining us here and are excited for them as they embark on a new journey, just like we did nearly 6 months ago!

With that being said… this coming weekend is our 6 month anniversary and I can hardly believe it…  6 months!  Where does the time go!?!?  We can't believe how much growing has happened since we first arrived…

our kids have grown taller (and grown closer to one another and their friends here)
our relationships with our missionary friends have grown deeper
and the times we spend with our Haitian friends have grown richer with each passing day!

Community is where it's at!

Here are some pictures of the amazing community that we have here at EBS (and with our OMS family in Vaudreuil) and the life that we have been sharing- just the past few weeks!

Meals around our table...

with guests: Larry, Jerry, Enick, Brent, Jake and Pam
and also with Chris, Nigel, Tim and Leroy

and even a special Valentine dinner with heart shaped pizzas...  Sofie and Lily sure do LOVE Uncle Don!

Hanging out at the beach together…

(Ethan, Caleb and Samuel always have a BLAST together!)

Fellowship with OMS mission teams coming to serve here in Haiti through work, evangelism and radio distribution...

Listening as the students learned and discussed together about what revival looks like in Haiti…

 (This conference was led by Peter Burritt, a pastor of 18 years from Canada)

Getting together with our friends, Simeon, Lémé and Junior is something we SO look forward to...

 Each time we get together we spend time eating, sharing stories, playing games, and laughing together… A LOT!!!  They are such a blessing to us and to our kids!

 We introduced the guys to 2 new games this past week… Clue… 

and Jenga…  (I LOVE the suspenseful look on Lémé's face!)  It was a blast!

not only is our "people" community growing…

but the community of goats continues to grow too! 

We are up to 10 baby goats now… and 2 more VERY pregnant goats!  Those babies are SO stinkin' cute!

This idea of community has been on my heart recently and something that I am exceedingly thankful for here at Emmaus.  God built us to be together, to learn together, to serve together, to lean on one another and share the load…  time and time again I am thanking Him for community.

We are blessed with community…  God desires for ALL of us to live in community.

Who is your community? 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Something Beautiful for God

The last few weeks, in homeschooling, we have been studying India.  Indian culture, economy, land, people… and each morning we read together a story that is relevant to the country we are studying.  Sometimes the stories are just that, stories.  But in this study of India we read the biography of Mother Teresa.

In one word.


Mother Teresa's life was amazing.  She was an inspiring woman who touched the lives of SO many people.  I am in awe of how strong her faith was, of how bold her witness, of how beautiful her love for Jesus truly was… and how she didn't just say it, she didn't preach it.  She LIVED it.

What Mother Teresa did for the dying and destitute in the slums of India… how she poured herself out for the orphaned children and for the outcast lepers… how she inspired others to follow in her footsteps and, how in humility, she wanted absolutely NO credit for what she did…

How can you not be impacted by her life?

Of all of the wonderful things that Mother Teresa said, that were captured in that book, there is one statement that I just can't get out of my head.

When Malcolm Muggeridge asked to interview Teresa for his BBC program he was not expecting the response that the broadcast received. She was not the person who enjoyed being in the limelight at all!  (And it showed in her interview.)   But TONS of people watched the program, and it ended up being re-aired as per request of many viewers and many who had missed it the first time.  They wanted to know more about this Mother Teresa and what she was doing in India.  Malcolm contacted Teresa and asked if a film crew could come alongside of her and the Missionaries of Charity and get video footage of all their work.  With much hesitation (and encouragement from others that the publicity would help their efforts), Teresa agreed to it.  In her letter to Malcolm, agreeing to the filming, she closed by saying this, "Now let us do something beautiful for God."

After filming, as Malcolm searched for a title for his film, and a subsequent book he had written about her life, he came across her letter again and knew what he would call them:  "Something Beautiful for God."

That was her life.  She spent her life doing beautiful things for God.

Despite her initial feelings about the documentary she realized, in the end, that the film was truly a great thing because it brought people closer to God; it showed people what loving God through loving others looks like.

Following the production of the film she continued to encourage Malcolm Muggeridge to devote more of his life to God. She told him,

"All that you have and all that you are and all that you can be and do-- let it all be for Him and Him alone…"

There was nothing about Mother Teresa that gave her any kind of advantage for reaching so many people.  She didn't have money, or power, or prestige.  She was an ordinary person who did the extraordinary.  She had a heart to serve and love those around her.  She saw the needs of people around her and she did what she could to care for those people. She poured out her life because of her love for Jesus and His command to love our neighbors. And because of her faithfulness, God provided.

I am so very inspired by her life.  I am inspired to wake up every morning and give each day to God, to look at every opportunity to serve others as an expression of my love for Him…

Inspired to do something beautiful for God…

What beautiful thing might God be calling you to do for Him today?

Monday, February 3, 2014

An Unexpected Blessing… A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice

This week is the last week of visiting professors and intensive courses at the seminary.  Next week, residential courses begin and life here will slow down… a bit.

We have some more visitors coming to help finish up the new apartment (Uncle Don being one of them!  woohoo!) and Ryan and Cheyenne move in two weeks from tomorrow!   They are from Northridge Church, Sam and Cammie's church, in Kansas. We are excited to have a new couple coming to serve alongside of us here and can't wait for them to arrive!

Last week we were blessed to have 3 guys from the U.K. (Wales) come to stay with us.  Chris Palmer, a fellow OMS missionary, came as a visiting professor to teach at the seminary, and his brother Tim and friend Nigel came as well.  Tim and Nigel spent last week working at the Bethesda Clinic in Vaudreuil.  

But, before I tell you more about what they did, I have to give you a backstory that made their visit even more of a blessing than we had anticipated!

Two weeks ago, Ethan began complaining of blurry vision when he was reading.  And then he started complaining of headaches.  Ethan's new school curriculum has A LOT of reading… and we realized that the symptoms he was experiencing were happening during his school day.   

The conclusion that we came up with was… Ethan needs glasses.  

And… as you may be thinking (just like WE were thinking)  HOW are we going to take care of this.. IN HAITI?!?!

Our prayer was that Ethan would manage okay without them until we could get him back to the states this summer and get him an eye exam.  

And then…  Tim arrived.  

And guess what Tim does for a living? 

Yep.  He is an optometrist.  

And guess what else?

Tim came to Haiti, with Nigel as his assistant, to work for a week in the clinic doing… you guessed it... eye exams!

And you know what ELSE!?!?

Tim and Nigel brought along a suitcase FULL of eye glasses (or specs as he calls them..  love it!).

And here is the best part.  

Tim gave Ethan an eye exam and found out the prescription he needed to correct his problem… AND he happened to have HIS prescription glasses with him, in his suitcase!

(Doesn't he look so handsome?!)

Isn't God SO good?

As Ethan walked in the house, sporting his NEW glasses, I nearly cried!  And now as I am typing I am tearing up just thinking again about how He has blessed us.

Welcoming others here at the seminary, and into our home, blesses us and our children with sweet fellowship, fun and laughs… 

(we celebrated Tim's birthday too!)

They have blessed the seminary with solid Bible teaching and preaching, not only here but in church  (we went to a wonderful church yesterday in downtown Cap-Haitien, below are some pics)…

(Leroy, a fellow OMS missionary who served in Mexico for MANY years, has become a regular VP here at EBS… he preached a powerful sermon on forgiveness yesterday, as Junior translated.  The church service was beautiful and Spirit-filled!)

They have blessed the people of Haiti through their long hours of work at the clinic and here at the seminary… 

(Doesn't Lémé look great?!)

As if this wasn't enough of a blessing from God…

He blessed us even more than we could have asked or imagined through taking care of Ethan's needs!

It reminds me of one of my favorite passages of Scripture in Philippians 4:18-19.  Paul is telling the church in Philippi how very thankful he is for the blessings that have been sent to him… 

He says this,

"At the moment I have all I need- and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me… they are a sweet smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.  And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus."

What an unexpected blessing and sweet-smelling sacrifice those glasses are to Ethan…

What a sweet-smelling sacrifice of time and resources these visitors have given to the seminary and the clinic and to US!


It is an honor and privilege to serve alongside of them!