Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Junior and the seminary

I want to tell you about one of our seminary students who I met while I was in Port-au-Prince. His name is Junior and I want to tell you his testimoney and how God has completely changed his life including through being in Port this past month.

Junior was born in Port into a family which were involved in Voodoo. His father was a witchdoctor, with that comes having multiple wives. Junior's mother died when he was young and also Junior was forced to live out in the yard. He was expected to grow up  and become a witch doctor just like his father.

BUT God had different plans for Junior's life.

When he was 16 Junior heard about the gospel, he heard stories from the bible, he heard that God loves him so much so that he sent his only son Jesus into the world to take the punishment for his sins by dying on a cross. And that he can be forgiven, that God has a plan for his life and hope of being in Heaven with God forever. And he accepted Jesus as his Saviour. His family disowned him and he went to live with a new family of American missionaries.

After high school Junior wanted to be a doctor and went to medical school for nearly 2 years (I'm not sure exactly how long), while he was there he felt God asking him to leave, but he had no idea what he was going to do . But he obeyed and he left. With nothing to do his spent time in prayer and asking God to direct him. He thought about going to seminary but wasn't sure. At the same time someone he knew in America had met Matt who teaches at our seminary here in Haiti, after meeting Matt he phoned Junior and said I think you should go to seminary, I know of a good one in Cap Haitian.

So He came. Junior started seminary in September 2009, he is just halfway through first year. Im sure he thought this would be it for the next 4 years go to seminary where God has so clearly directed him.
BUT God has even better things for him.

As you know OMS had teams in Diquini (an area of Port-au-Prince) doing mobile medical clinics, also evanglising and we saw between 500-600 people come to know the Lord in that area, yet with no church, with no leader with no discipleship. When I was in Port we were praying that God would open doors to plant a church up there. Back in Cap Haitian the missionaries were praying the same thing, maybe even someone from Port to go work in that area. Maybe you can guess what happened.

We got back from Port on a friday, our team including the seminary students one of which was Junior. Over that weekend he felt God's very clear call to go back to Port to plant a church. By Monday the decision had been made, God had called Junior, OMS had felt called to plant a church there so a team of a few people went back down to Port on Tuesday until Friday(last week) to work out the practical details. So here we were praying, not expecting God to answer our prayers so very quickly, yet he did!

Junior and Bellany who went down to Port last week

Junior just went back down to Port-au-Prince today for church planting training with the plan being to plant a church up in Diquini. We have been given permission to put up a tent in the compound where we had the clinic right up ontop of the mountain to have church in. And 3 people have come forward from the community to train as leaders. Its all very exciting, who would have thought God would answer so quickly and make the way so very easy. That is Junior's story, completely amazing how God changed his life and is continually leading and directing him.

The view from Diquini

Speaking of the Seminary, OMS just built a brand new seminary well when I say just its been being built for about 3 years but it just opened in January, its dedication was the day before the earthquake. The old seminary had been there for a long time, a couple of times after breaks the roof had fallen in on a couple of the classrooms. It just wasn't ideal. The new seminary is beautiful, you would hardly believe you were in Haiti. It can sleep 140 students, has a library, a study hall, lovely classrooms, a ladies and mens dorms, a beautiful kitchen and dining hall and a chapel.

Pastor Lucner in his office. He teaches and translates. Lucner is also studying for his Masters through an online programme at Wesley Biblical Seminary in the States.

Part of the library...as you can see its pretty empty. They are replying on people to donate books which the students can use. Most of their books are in English because there are hardly any books in Kreole. So all the students have to learn English in their first year.

The dining hall

The ladies cooking in their new kitchen. Before they cooked outside on a normal Haitian cooking stove with charcoal. And did all their cleaning up outside...not so good if its raining. Now they have a lovely big new kitchen. (I am not really super super white its just the comparison to the dark skin!!)

The Chapel

In the past week we have had 9 students come up from Port. They studied in Port but their seminaries have been destroyed in the earthquake and they heard about the seminary in Cap Haitian and came with literally just the clothes they had on their back and that was all they had in the world. Our seminary is offering them to study for free. But obviously its not free, to pay for living, to pay for teachers, for the staff to be paid is definatley not free. If you would like to help these students or sponser a student find out more information on http://www.ebshaiti.org/ or email one of our missionaries Stacey at staceyhaiti@gmail.com

Friday, 19 February 2010

God is doing a NEW thing

Tuesday was mardi gras, the annual festival for voodoo but this year it was DIFFERENT. Since the earthquake there has been no voodoo drums at night here. Normally you hear them everynight and even more so coming up to Mardi gras. Not this year, Mardi gras was cancelled because of what happened. I can't even describe how big of a thing that is. Haiti's history is rooted in Voodoo and devil worship. They gained their independance by asking Satan for his help, in return they handed they country over to him for 200 years, the history is full of Devil worship. And yet yesterday which was supposed to be mardi gras....a national holiday was cancelled.

Even better than that from Friday to Sunday Haiti announced 3 days of fasting and praying. People were meeting together in the street praying for their country for 3 days. There were church services everywhere. On Tuesday in Cap Haitian instead of the usual Mardi Gras parade there was a march of christians. A prayer walk of 50,000 people praying, praising, proclaiming Jesus name in the streets of Cap Haitian....ALL day. The had three protestors, Three witch doctors. On mardi gras, 50,000 people praying and JUST 3 protesting, only 3 people in the whole city who weren't happy with what has happening.

The only way I can compare this to anything at home would be to imagine the 12th July was cancelled for some reason, and ON TOP of that having 3 days of fasting and praying , THEN have thousands of christians march on the street praying and praising God's name. I cannot ever imagine that happening. Im sure that's what the people of Haiti thought, yet it happened. God is a God of impossible things.

I have been back in the clinic all week, its been really good to be back and spend time with all the other staff again. They were happy to see me and I was happy to see them!My first two patients were both earthquake victims. The first lady is from Port-au-Prince, her house fell on her and she lay for 40 hours before she was rescued, now she has some nerve damage in her foot. My other patient was the brother of one of our Emmaus pastors, and a friend of mine Pastor Lucner. He was in Port during the earthquake and Lucner and his family heard nothing from him. so Lucner went down to Port to look for him. How on earth do you find someone in such a big city, Ive no idea. Only in haiti could you do that, so amazingly he found him. He was hurt but ok so now I'll be working with him for the next wee while in the clinic.

One more story, for a wee while yesterday I went in with Dr rodney because I didn't have any patients. Right when I walked in he was about to pray with her. Here is her story, she has been coming to our clinic anytime she is sick for a long time. Every time she comes they have devotions, she has heard the gospel many many times before. She lost her son in the earthquake, he was just 15 and she hasn't been able to find his body. But after the earthquake she got saved. Now she is walking with God, in his way. She needs comfort and strength right now and OUR God can give it to her.

I just remembered one more person I want to tell you about for your prayers. If you have heard me speak before you have heard me talk about Carlos. My wee friend who used to visit me in the clinic everyday. He lives with his auntie who has 8 kids in her house and none of them are hers. To cut a long story short my sister is now sponsering him through starfish kids to go to school and he is doing great, he's very smart!I was very much looking forward to seeing him when I arrived.

I went out the front of the clinic which is where his Auntie works and she wasn't there, so someone asked was I looking for Rosette, Carlos' mum. I said yes, where is she?They said, she is sick one of her children died and she is sick. The next day then (Wednesday) I went to visit her, our security guard from the clinic walked with me and showed me where she lived. When I arrived I could hardly believe it was the same person, you can see from the photo below what she looked like before (it was taken the last time I was here). She looked awful, so thin and gaunt, is walking with a stick and just looked depressed. She was glad to see me as was Carlos. But it was a hard visit, she is struggling alot with losing one of her children. He was sick in November and died in the same month, he was just 37 and had his own kids, who are now living with her. Now she has 10 people living in her house, unable to work, Ive no idea how she is looking after them. There is a sadness in the whole house. I just talked to her, read something from the bible which I had read that morning....Here it is actually, I just felt as soon as I read it that is what I should read to her.........

Isaiah ch 43 v1-3

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob
he who formed you O Israel,
Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name,
you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you,
when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel....your Saviour.

After I prayed with her and I always have trouble praying in Kreole, I can't say exactley what I want to say but the Holy Spirit definatley helped me and I remembered some words I needed which I learnt at least a year and a half ago. Please pray for Rosette, somehow the Lord will help her grieve properly and deal with what has happened. That God will give her comfort and strength. And for her family for who she is providing right now.

Thank you for praying for Haiti and the people of Haiti.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Port au Prince

I just spent the past week in Port-au-Prince helping with the mobile clinics which OMS are running there and got back 'home' here on Friday. Im not really sure where to start. The situation in Port is really awful, this is 4 weeks after the earthquake, there are tents or makeshift tents out of sheets everywhere in the whole city, it seems even if people do still have their house some of them are still sleeping outside because of fear. There are alot of buildings which are completely ruined, its very strange actually you walk down the street and one building will be completely destroyed and the one next to it won't even have a crack in it. The thing which really struck me is that life is carrying on as normal, if you just look and didn't see the buildings ruined or the tents you would not know that anything had happened they are just continuing on as normal, there are people everywhere, people continuing to sell food/ clothes by the side of the road yet no-one has any money to buy anything.

I got to speak to a lot of people and EVERYONE you speak to has lost a few people they know whether that is family, friends, a pastor, a teacher everyone knows someone who died in in the earthquake. Walking through one of the tented villages a wee girl came up beside me and I was talking to her, she is 12, lost her whole family her house basically everything in the earthquake now is living in a tent with friends. Yet she says it to me very plainly not showing any emotion at all, Im not sure if a 12 year old at home could cope with that, Im not sure if I could ever cope with that. Then she asked me if I could take her with me, she said 'I have nothing can I come with you'. Thats hard. I obviously cannot bring her with me but how do I tell her that.

BUT everyone you talk to says I survived only by the grace of God, it was God who saved me. Or if their family is well then they say its only by God's grace. People are definately turning to God after such devastation. Here are some photos of downtown Port.

After a 10 hour journey in the back of a truck which is not enjoyable at all, we arrived at the OMS villa which was unharmed after the earthquake just a wee bit of damage to the ourside wall. We spent our time in port doing mobile medical clinics, the team who had been there before us were working in a place called Diquini which is right up ontop of a mountain, the view from the top in beautiful, you can see the whole city from the top. The way they work is people come in, see the doctor then get whatever medicine then go it to the last tent which has some of our seminary students in it. Each Patient gets to speak to a pastor, to get counselled, to get told the good news. The team before us had been there about 2 weeks and I think saw over 300 people come to know the Lord, which is amazing. So we had a team of people from kentucky who were continuing that clinic, then a new team arrived in on sunday and I went with them to a new site. We had between 200 and 250 patients each day, the medical bit wasn't like trauma medicine. Most people complaining that they can't sleep or can't eat since the earthquake. Or they have sore backs more than likely from sleeping outside. Lots of coughs and colds from the dust that is everywhere, the whole city is covered in like a smog of dust and dirt you see it as you drive into Port. I have lots of stories but I'll write more this week. At the new clinic site we saw 68 people come to know the Lord in just 4 days, the people are so hungry spiritually and in need of hope. Just pray for these new believers, to find a good church, for someone to help them with their discipleship and for them to grow in the Lord and to trust in him for the future. The situation in port is so awful, I can't really see how they will rebuild it, everyone is living in tents but they can't do that forever yet God is working mightly. Mardi gras (the voodoo festival) has been cancelled for this year. The Haitian governement announced 3 days of Fasting and praying from Friday to today. We drove past a lot of prayer meetings on our way home on Friday. And everynight we were at the villa we could hear singing in the streets and church services going on.

The truck with our supplies in it, after that we put about 20 people in, it was a tight squeeze for the next 10 hours.
The consulting tents
The view from the clinic....All of port-au-Prince
Pastor Bonami praying with someone
One of the many prayer meetings we passed on the way home, Id say there was about 2 or 3 thousand people at this one
I couldn't resist posting this, I mean Irish....really??

I have lots more stories and lots more photos, but I'll update during the week. please keep praying for Haiti, especially for those new believers. Im glad to be back 'home' and have heard of a few hospitals who are in need of physiotherapists right now so I will have to see how things work out over the next month or so.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Safe arrival

I love getting the plane into Haiti...it breaks all airport rules!So you arrive to check in and you hand the guy your passport. Then he takes your bag weighs it, no questions like 'did you pack your bag yourself?' ' Do you have anything sharp or dangerous which could be used as a weapon? etc you know the noramal questions, then you stand on the scale with your hand luggage step off and go and sit down. The guy still has your passport, he calls you out about half an hour later to give it back, thats it he doesnt say anything.
My flight was supposed to leave at 11.15 and we were still sitting infront of the desk at 11.45 and then the guy  in charge syas flight to haiti follow me. He takes us to a back door and we have to line up with the biggest people at the front down to the smallest and we walk out the door onto the plane. No questions, no security ,no getting searched its great!!

Actually this plane was really nice there were about 30 seats (a bit bigger than the normal 14), we had a flight attendant (never had that on a plane to haiti), a safety announcment ( also a first), there was a toilet on board and  then I couldn't believe we got a bottle of water each. After a while I almost forgot I was on a flight to Haiti, it was feeling so normal. Then we stopped in the Bahamas for fuel and the lady said ' You can use the bathroom but please go two at a time, if everyone walks down the back of the plane it will tip over'....then I remembered I was on the plane to Haiti!!

So I arrived safely with no problems (apart from a fact that the plane could tip!!), and got to the compound about 4ish. Its lovely and hot and has been great to see everyone. I have a little family who Im very close to and the youngest wee boy is 2 and he came running towards me with his arms out saying auntie Julie....that was very cute. Although after half an hour I was filthy, sweaty and had about 10 mosquito bites......welcome to life in Haiti!!

Tomorrow morning I will go down to Port-au-Prince with a team that just arrived today mostly of nurses, were going to be running a clinic somewhere close to the OMS villa. So I would appreciate your prayers for that, first for the journey down it will be 10 hours in the back of a truck which I am not looking forward to. Then just how to deal with the devstation Im going to be seeing. Then just for the clinic itself, that we will see lots of people and be able to help them both physically and spiritually. The clinics that have been going on have been seeing a huge number of people becoming christains which is great. Thank you for your prayers, I'll be back up in Cap next friday so I'll update you then.


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