June 17, 2016 Update
“I really like listening to the word of God. I really like what you’re doing for us!”
It’s 6:30 pm on a Saturday evening.
I load up the equipment and make my way out to the town square of Fond Parisian, Haiti.
Upon my arrival, I see a large crowd of people standing closely together. They are watching the large television mounted on a wall at the edge of the square.
All eyes are fixed on the screen.
Emotions are running high as they watch the lively Brazilian soccer game. Soccer is the most sought after sport in Haiti. I was a little apprehensive, as I thought the crowd wouldn’t want to be interrupted with worship music and the reading of The Holy Scriptures. I was wrong. One of the men who is in charge of the square came up and told me to bring in the equipment. Then he proceeded to clear the area where we set up the speaker.
As I pushed my way through the crowd with my equipment a kind older gentleman came by and said, “That’s right! Even though we are watching a soccer game, we can’t stop the work of God. We can watch the game and listen to the Scriptures.” After the music was started, I sat on a bench and began visiting with some of the people who usually come to each service.
Ronald, a mentally handicapped man came over and shook my hand. He almost always has a big smile on his face. He talks to me and then sits down and listens to the beautiful singing and the reading of the Scriptures.
Nicole is a homeless woman who lives under a table at the edge of the square. She has serious emotional issues, but tonight she is very well composed. When she heard the music and saw me sitting on a bench, she quickly came over and exchanged a few words with me. Her lovely smile is so sweet and grandmotherly! Because she is a social outcast, she can’t sit with the rest of the crowd, so after our brief conversation she quickly made her way back into the shadows of the evening activities.
Next came another young man who talks to me every time we have a service. His hair is usually in dirty braids, but tonight as he approached me I saw that he was combing his hair. It was combed into an afro and his comb was stuck just to the right of center of his forehead. He shook my hand, and with a big smile on his face said the same thing that he tells each time we have a service, “I really like listening to the word of God. I really like what you’re doing for us!”
As I look to my right, I see a group of old men who are playing cards. They bear the marks of decades of hard work in their gardens. Their hands look like well worn leather, and their eyes look like oil lamps that have been burning for a long time.
I see a group of young men off to my left. Some of them are buying hand written lottery tickets while others are filling heavily used canteens with various kinds of liquor and beer. Others pace back and forth smoking awkwardly rolled cigars and cigarettes. Each one of these people have a personal story- each one has a soul that will spend eternity somewhere.
From the edge of the crowd I see a woman making her way towards the group of young men. By all appearance she’s a slave. A slave to lies and abuse and tonight she will likely sell herself into the hands of a selfish lover.
Is it work risking our time and character for these people? Does proclaiming the Scriptures right in the middle of all this chaos make a difference? Of course these people are worthy of our time and character! As the Scriptures are read, these people are listening. Just last Sunday I met a few of these people in church. No, attending church doesn’t save us, but there had to be a stirring in their hearts that caused them to come. The Word of God is being proclaimed and people are listening. Only Jesus Christ knows the eternal impact of this small project.
I want to personally thank each one of you who have partnered with us to make this ministry possible. Come join us as we lift high Jesus Christ under the big trees in the town square of Fond Parisian, Haiti.
I’m elated to report that we finally have the “Hands of Jesus” scripture project underway!!
We have now had two very successful evenings and the next one will be Tuesday evening. I’m excited to see how many people sit and listen, turn off the bad music and even some of the really rough guys are enjoying it!
A couple people profusely thanked me and said they love it. I went and sat under the tables for a little bit with my dear old homeless lady and told her I’m doing this especially for her so she can hear the Word of God. She was so happy both evenings and tonight she put her arm around my shoulder in a little squeeze and murmured, “Mwen renmen ou!” (I love you.) Everyone loves the music too, they put their hands up in the air and dance!!
We plan to do this program three times a week. We play some music for about 15 minutes, then an hour of audio New Testament Scripture, then another 15 minutes of music. Lastly, the guy always makes several announcements inviting anyone who has questions or wants to know more about God to come talk to him.
My plan is to do this indefinitely and intersperse it at times with preaching or maybe an evening of music, etc.
Thank you so much! I’m very excited to see how this will impact the community!!