Liar Liar: Summer Highlight?
It’s not hard for me to know where my summer highlight happened. Almost my entire summer was spent in the community of Bon Repos, Haiti. A small country-like community north of Port-au-Prince. A community where cows are the traffic in the road, water is on your south-west and the hillsides begin slowly rolling into tall mountains to the north. I led 5 trips during the summer in this community, working with Pastor Jean Larochel and his orphanage Life is Hope Orphanage and two of his new church plants.
Each week was different in its ministries and goals. From drawing blueprints of the future orphanage site, to administering medicines to the children at the orphanage, working in the Canaan mountain community with Pastor Laurent, to working on the property in Croix-de-Boquets with Pastor Christoph Larochel. Each week was unique in its ministries, team make-up, difficulties and praises.
When you spend basically your whole summer focusing on a single partnership (Pastor Jean) and working and partnering with his other church plants, (Pastor Christoph and Laurent) you really get to know the ins and outs of that relationship, area and church. In our job and ministry as a whole, we rely on partnership Pastors and Haitian staff 100% to find out the needs of the community and how to best mobilize our teams to help. This summer was no different, but I also found a deepening sense of friendship and respect as we worked through challenges and shared in blessings together, the three Pastors and I.
So I found myself worrying about what the true impact of my service was for the summer. Was I really aiding Pastor Christoph and his ministry? Was I going about bridging the culture gap in a healthy manner? Has my work and service to these communities left a positive impact? Have I really helped Pastor in areas of discipleship, community or outreach? Have our teams experienced the truth and strength of the Haitian church? My thoughts raced on and on.
I desperately want to see the BIG visions of our Pastors in Haiti come to life and I so want to be a vessel that Christ can use to aide in that, but ultimately if what I’m doing isn’t healthy, I want to stop and re-evaluate. I don’t want to just waltz in to a community and “do missions” and “do ministry” without guidance from the local church. (We all get that, right?)
So as I began pondering these questions and praying with the Lord to provide peace in this worry, He outright showed off.
Sunday rolled around and my last team of the summer was enjoying a special Sunday service with Pastor Christoph. It was the first anniversary of the church plant and last service of a week long revival where over 200 people from the community had come to worship. Even children who normally just hang outside the doors of the church got new clothing (from the church outreach) and came to join in worship!
Anderson St. Georges is a Haitian man on staff with PPM. He served with me every trip in Bon Repos, working with all three Pastors. He did all the translating for services, connected with the Pastors for multiple ministries each week and ensured their voice was being heard. He served as my right hand man the entire summer and I loved getting to serve with him as a brother and fellow staff.
The service was ending and Pastor Christoph said they had a special presentation. Anderson was translating for him, he looked at me with eyebrows raised, as if to say “I don’t know what’s going on either, we’ll just go with the flow.”
Pastor Christoph then recognized the deacons and members of the church for their hard work and dedication to its ministries. A woman came up to the front of the church to receive a plaque recognizing the faithful attendance to Sunday School, Church services and outreach ministries of all the deacons and members. It was beautiful. Her smile was beaming as she humbly took the plaque and returned to her seat.
Pastor Christoph then recognized Anderson for all of his work in the church throughout the summer. His attention to details within ministry, translating the sermons and interpreting the Pastors heart every Sunday. He gave Anderson a plaque for his faithful service and made him an honorary member. “Whoa, thank You Lord for affirming Him in this ministry today.” I thought.
Then Pastor began talking about a woman who was sent from the Lord. She had been serving faithfully and had been helping orchestrate outreach since the church was planted. She was a servant of the Lord, whom he counted as a Sister and a member of his family. And then, he said my name. My name! I nearly fell out of my chair when I realized everything he had just said was about me. Christ answered all of my worry and questions with an incredible and humbling public display of Pastor sharing his heart in front of the church. I was so incredibly shocked.
Pastor gave me a plaque and made me an honorary member of the church. I was crying tears of awe and love and joy as I hugged Pastor and took my beautifully made plaque.
What I know is that my weaknesses, fears and worry are never a challenge for God When I question my place in this ministry, community and even life.. He’s always there. He is far greater than a late lunch or a miscommunication about Bible study. His will was for me to work in these partnerships this summer. He was in them and among them. He was the bridge between cultures, our common ground. He ensured ministry was healthy and positive. He ensured voices were heard and actions were taken.
Thank You Lord for watching and guiding me over the summer. I pray all glory and honor fall upon Your ear as the sweetest melody. May Your name be lifted high amongst the earth!