“Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst. Your wine vats will brim over” Proverbs 3:7-9 (MSG).
Hello family back home! It’s another gorgeous day here at the guest house. The team has just eaten enough food to feed an International Rugby Team, which was well deserved after an amazing morning up at St. Etienne. But as usually, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s jump back to last night for an epic evening of worship in the mountains of Haiti.
Worship that night was in the mountains at MOHI’s sister campus in St. Etienne. While a bit smaller, the campus sits atop a mountain and the view was GORGEOUS. I didn’t fully appreciate how gorgeous the drive up was (I was focusing on my message), but I did manage to take a few glimpses as we climbed, and the views were just spectacular. Haiti in bloom is something truly spectacular - rugged, green and brown mountains dropping straight to the ocean, showcasing white cliffs of rock and splashed with orange flowers growing in the trees. The weather was much cooler up there, and we had a few minutes to enjoy the view before heading into service. I assumed it was breezy and cooler because we were in the mountains Ooooh, naive out of towner…just wait for the show…
So the church service was the opening night of a revival, and several different churches each participated in the worship. We rocked up to a building with a tin roof, small open windows that showcased the mountain vistas, and a sound system that would have been right at home at a KISS concert. Seriously - the speakers were up so loud that we had to have been north of the decibel level at the Seahawks opening kickoff. My first thought was, “I’ll probably be fine with about 60% of my hearing, right?” But within 5 minutes, any thoughts of long term nerve damage had been replaced by the AWESOME music and the dancing all around us.
The music really was great. It was also, however, REALLY long. I mean we’re talking Tolstoy long. We are talking Genesis to Revelation long. WOW. Once song went for 25 minutes (shout out to Dawn Miller for actually timing it). Now don’t get me wrong, the music was amazing, and I was bouncing to the beat like a back-up dancer for a boy band. It’s just that, after 2 hours (that’s right, I just typed TWO HOURS), we were happy when they switched to the next part of the service.
The length of the worship wasn’t the bigger story, however. It was the weather. HOLY MOLY! So this rainstorm sweeps in, and I mean SWEEPS in. Thunder starts rolling, rain starts hammering the tin roof, and then lightning that you would see in a Star Wars movie suddenly starts shooting across the sky. I had never seen lightning go East to West across the entire horizon before that night, and pretty soon the thunder cloud was DIRECTLY on top of the church (did I mention the metal roof?). They were moving pews to the middle of the church so folks could stay dry.
So this storm continued and continued, and the worship team kept jamming and jamming. And it was only when they stopped playing that we realized how loud this storm was - it was incredible! As I looked around, hearing the rain, watching the storm, and listening to the amazing music (the songs were so fun with great beats), all I could think was “It’s gonna really take something special to beat this preaching opportunity.” I mean, I’m sure everyone remembers their first sermon, but there was NO DOUBT I was gonna remember mine. But just in case, God had one more ace up his sleeve.
The storm was hammering the roof so loudly that suddenly we’d gone from the music overwhelming us to not being able to hear a word the speakers were saying. So Alison walks to the podium, and she talks about Jesus rebuking the storm on the sea. She talks about how he called the storm peace, and suddenly it was. And so, in the midst of a storm for the ages, Alison does something I didn’t expect. She asks us to put our hands toward the walls of the church and in our own tongues yell “Peace! Be Still!” And right after we did it (talking seconds here), the storm slowed to almost nothing. Readers, you will get the first hand accounts yourself, but it was AMAZING. Seriously - we went from gale force winds to a light rain.
Testimony that night came from Carly and Amber (aka “Megan”), and as always it was perfect for the crowd. The theme of the conference was Proverbs 3:8-9, and Carly hit them with an amazing testimony about how generous God is when you obey his commandments and honor him with both your first fruits and with listening to His commands. Amber then stepped up to provide her testimony, which I KNOW hit home with the crowd (both women and men). It was a story of addiction & chainbreaking, obedience & honor, breakthrough & miracles. Her students and her family are incredibly lucky to have someone like this in their lives, as she has such a strong and wonderful spirit.
As mentioned earlier, I had the honor and the privilege of delivering the message that night. It was my first sermon, and the Holy Spirit was with me every step of the way. Thank you Alison for the opportunity. Thank you people of Haiti for listening. And THANK YOU Christ Jesus for standing there and speaking through me.
After altar call (during which time we claimed 4 more salvations), it was prayer time. The group was eager to come up, and we spent quite a bit of time praying for folks (which was amazing considering it had been a 3 1/2 hour service at that point). I do want to mention here how amazing the women I am serving with on this journey really are. Each of them brings something very unique that makes them especially equipped to be here, and watching how they wrap themselves around the people here is magical. On Tuesday I watched Allison sense that a woman’s knee was hurting, go up to her to pray for her, and then ask her to move her knee. Sure enough - she started moving better. I have made a huge leap on this trip, going from knowing God heals to believing God heals.
But one thing to note about prayer in this church - if you are near a speaker, you better hope you hear the Holy Spirit, because you sure won’t hear any of us praying for you! Kristyn was the true trooper, as she was RIGHT BESIDE the speaker as the altar call music kicked off. She was screaming at these folks, and by her own admission she couldn’t even hear herself. But we know that word was received!
It was a long, dark (and WET!) bus ride home, and we didn’t have dinner until 10 PM. Bed was late before an early call, but that didn’t stop Carly the Boomer Sooner from making sure all the troops were healthy. She’d treated Dawn Miller earlier for her knee, and after applying a little TLC to KP, it was time to call it a night.
Day 6 (Wed, July 26): Water and the Holy Spirit
We started today with a great breakfast before hopping onto the bus and heading back to St. Etienne for our third installment of VBS. We were expecting 30 kids (it turned out to be 60), but once again the team crushed it! We broke them into 5 groups (as we had stragglers), and let me go ahead and confirm a few things for you:
All kidding aside, the big news from this is that we had 11 salvations!!!! The medical crew in attendance (Carly, Madison, Kristyn, and Angie) ran a medical clinic during VBS (no crazy stories to report if I remember, but obviously it was a cool experience). On the drive home I learned that we’d also had 2 during the special needs ministry, which raised the total for 82 for the trip. Come on 100!!!!
We arrived back at the guest house to the smell of spaghetti, and the team fell on that like a pack of ravenous wolves. Carb us up, baby!!!! But we needed our strength, as we had a big afternoon.
The day before, one of the local teenagers (also one of our translators) expressed a desire to Alison to be baptized in water. He is a GREAT kid, asking tons of questions about the Bible and wanting to learn as much as he can about ministry. He had asked his local pastor to baptize him in water, but the pastor said that he didn’t have time at the moment. Alison, however, had the afternoon, and she was all about it. And so after lunch, he changed his clothes, Alison kicked off her shoes, and those two headed for the water.
Let me set the scene: you’ve got islands off the coast. You’ve got blue water lapping on the shore (this is the ocean, remember). Mountains are visible in the distance on all sides. And then, in he midst of it all, you’ve got a young man and a powerful woman of God in the water up to their waists. After a few Bible verses, BAM - he was under and back up again, made new! I had never been part of an outdoor water baptism, and so this was something pretty amazing to see.
We then went to the prayer hot seat. And while I won’t talk about what was spoken over those who sat in the seat today, I absolutely have to share the news that, while watching us pray, three locals watching us decided to give their lives to Jesus! One of them was our translator, and the other two were local students. They had been watching us pray, and they spoke to another translator, who asked if we would pray with them. And credit to Carly for stepping out in faith and leading one of the prayers for salvation. Up to 85!!!
After getting ready, it was back up the mountain to St. Etienne (inside joke for the team as you read this once home: “Sam, cast that thing out of Dawn, will you?”), where we had another incredible service (and storm!). Interestingly enough, the environment was different this evening. It was more jovial, more hospitable, and energized with the Holy Spirit. That was great, as we had an evening of amazing women speaking to them, and I am so thankful they were receptive to the good words that were spoken.
Since we had so many kids present who were at VBS, Alison called Allison, Sawyer, and Nicole up first to help the kids say their memory verse and sing their song. This was SUPER cute, and the adults in the crowd seemed to love it.
Given that my testimony involves the tithe, I had the honor of delivering my story a second time. Sawyer then stepped up to deliver her testimony for the first time ever! Her smile and energy are infectious, and the crowd definitely responded to that.
Madison then stepped up and shared her story, and all I can say is WOW. Again, I can’t say enough how blessed I feel to attend church with these amazing overcomers, and I am SO thankful that my two daughters are going to grow up with powerful, God fearing women around them, serving as such great role models of what it means to be the daughter of a king.
The message that evening was delivered by the Prophetess Powerhouse Emily Hill, and she DROPPED it on those folks. She didn’t heed my suggestions of a) dropping the mike or b) saying “here endeth the lesson,” but we love her anyway. :-) Seriously - Emily has such an incredible faith, and she poured it out to those folks on that platform. I know that the local pastor was impressed, as anytime he saw anyone talking or not paying attention, he send the attendants over to shush them!
We had another 7 salvations, raising the total to 92 - almost there! It was then another dark, wet, ride home before at 10:30 PM dinner, and now we’re all calling it a night. Hard to believe it’s our last day tomorrow, but I know it’s going to be flat out. We have earned our keep these last 2 days!
Last award to give out today: best hair braider on the island of Hispaniola - this goes to Jaz, as pretty much everyone on the team (except me, but not from lack of trying) has asked for her help braiding their hair. Jaz has also become our resident Creole expert - this girl is really starting to speak and understand!
Day 7 (Thurs, July 27): Fire on the Mountain
“Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head of the table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!” (Revelation 3:20-21 MSG)
So, look - I know that Paul was THE MAN. He was shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten, you name it. The man went through some serious “bagay” in his life. However, Team Haiti does have one up on the world’s most famous apostle, as Paul never made it to Petit Goave twice in the same day.
Y’all, there are days where you feel like you are a missionary. There are other days when you feel you’ve earned your keep. And there are still other days when God says, “Well done, good and faithful servant” and then blesses you with something you could never have imagined. Today fell squarely into the third category.
So we rolled over to Grand Goave early in the morning, as it was a decent drive (call it an hour or so). When we arrived at the turnoff in Petit Goave, however, we learned that the rains from the previous two days had left the road washed out, meaning that our bus (aka the “Victory Van”) was NOT going to make it all the way. We had a truck as well, and so we threw the gear, some speakers (more on that later), and a few missionaries in the back. We then started driving up the mountain, making two trips before everyone made it to the top.
We arrived at the church to find over TWO HUNDRED CHILDREN waiting patiently for Team Haiti’s fourth installment of VBS. Previously we’d run camps of 60, 80ish, and 60, but NOTHING compared to this. We broke them into 5 stations (snack, song, story, games, and craft), and we then spent the next 90 minutes going FLAT OUT at our stations. Jaz and Emily SAVED MY LIFE over there at games, as there was no shade and enough mud to the setting for a song by Florida Georgia Line. I say they saved my life, but apparently my running around for 90 minutes barefoot while playing the highly complicated game of “watch my eyes and try to catch the ball” has put me in jeopardy. Nurse Angie gave me a very reassuring diagnosis: “Well, if you start feeling terrible, just go to your doctor and tell him you ran around barefoot in Haiti.” Oh well - at least my doctor already knows I’m an idiot.
VBS really was great, and we counted 20 salvations! That pushed us over 100 (112 in fact!), and we were all smiles. However, as the church was filled to capacity with kids (we’d actually started with about 125, but the number was now over double that). We didn’t have an actual headcount however (it’s an impossible task, truth be told), and so we just assumed 200 of all our supplies would be sufficient. Ooooooh, naive missionary…how many times must you assume you have everything in hand?
So we start handing out items to the kids - suckers, a notebook, and a bracelet. However, as this continued for what felt like an eternity we noticed our bags were getting lighter. We then brought in reinforcements from the never-ending supply well that are our suitcases, but those started running dry. And when I looked back into the church, it looked like none of the kids had even left! Allison said, “We’ve still got a lot more.” To put that into perspective, it’s kind of like saying “Shakespeare liked to write from time to time.” HOLY MOLY. It was like feeding the five thousand, only the children were multiplying instead of the food. But we did manage to pull it off and rolled out of there at about 1 or so. The nurses were pretty exhausted as well, as they saw over 100 patients while we were there!
We got back to base camp at 2:18, leaving us 42 minutes to eat and change for church (the service started at 3, but that is apparently the time you have to announce if you want people there by 4). Well, we were late departing, and then our bus broke down in Grand Goave. Luckily Jefte had the answer (that guy is the MAN - seriously! He drives, he translates, he plays guitar, he fixes engines - for all I know he’s also soon to start in a magic show on the Vegas Strip - nothing would surprise me at this point), and soon he drove up with another bus. We arrived about 5 or so, and then things went EPIC.
So we get about halfway up the mountain, and Jefte stops the bus. Killing the engine means only one thing - start walking. But, as we had musical equipment for worship, this wasn’t just a hike in church clothes in 238 degree heat. This was also training for when we decide to hike the Andes, as we were carrying serious loads in dress shoes! I had the generator, which Jefte told me was light. He would be correct - if you compared it to Boeing 747. Needless to say, I arrived at the summit so sweaty people probably thought I’d just been baptized in water.
The climb was ABSOLUTELY worth it, however, as the view was amazing. We’d faced a lot of opposition to get to that summit, but the miracle was most certainly on the other side of our obedience and perseverance. There were so many people that we set up the equipment and worshipped outside! Mountains all around, incredible music playing, a hand made pulpit standing under a tree - THIS is the stuff you remember forever.
After some great music (can’t we take a moment to talk about how AWESOME the worship team was for carrying their gear up to the mountaintop to play?), we heard testimony from Kristyn and Allison. As always, there are no accidents, and these two delivered words that someone in that crowd needed to hear. Kristyn talked to them about how God never stops pursuing you, and Allison shared her testimony (for the first time in public), revealing how God tested her in the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10 for anyone who wants to read it, and no - I didn’t know that off the top of my head. In fact, talk to those who went on this trip when they return so they can laugh about the fact that I didn’t quote a single verse correctly all week. However, if you’d like a copy of the Taylor translation, it will hit stores next year…). Seriously - these girls were brave up there, and hearing those messages in that setting is I am sure something they will always remember. Plus, Kristyn had on this super cute dress from Old Navy (sorry, girls- couldn’t resist)…
Alison then took the pulpit for a final time, and MAN did she rain down the fire - literally. She spoke about being baptized in fire and in the Holy Spirit, and when it was over, the team actually built a fire tunnel that folks could walk through. We saw 16 salvations (coming in at 128 total) and had an ocean of people walk through the tunnel - it was powerful stuff. And almost as powerful was how almost every person there then hugged us once service was over. Hugging is an art form in Haiti - people just fall into your arms, and you honestly don’t want to let them go. This was super emotional for me, as you could feel the hearts of those people needing strength, restoration, and comfort. One little girl very similar to my oldest daughter’s age had on a Rapunzel dress, and that one will stick with me a long time. You see, Rapunzel is my daughter’s favorite princess, and she wears her dress all the time. I was so affected by the similarities we all share, and how blessed we are to live where we do and have what we have.
We then walked back down the mountain, many of the children from the village holding our hands, talking to us in Creole, and soaking up every minute of the experience. I was actually blessed to have a moment of solitude during that descent, and I stopped to look around me. I saw the mountains - rugged and powerful. I saw the clouds - beautiful and enveloping. And I saw the sunset - majestic and awe inspiring. It was a scene that would have made Elijah proud, and I couldn’t have picked a better final image to take home with me.
It was then back to the house, where we said goodbyes to many of the folks we’ve called friends over the past 8 days. There are some truly INCREDIBLE people here, and hearts on both sides of the Caribbean have been touched. All of the folks we met were so gracious, so humble, so proud of their country, and so eager to connect with us. It was a perfect end, but it’s not goodbye. It’s just “till next time.” As Dr. Seuss says: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
Realistically this will be the end of this blog, as tomorrow will just be final packing, final goodbyes, and then the journey back to PAP for our flights home. To say I have been blessed to be part of this group would be the understatement of the century. To say that this team was an incredible ensemble of stories, skills, and hearts for Christ would fall equally short. I could go on about them for hours, and there are so many stories that were left on the cutting room floor (but remember - God is my “editor,” NOT my “odor”). And so instead of trying to summarize the experience (because a) that is impossible and b) everyone’s experience was different, as I’m sure their journals will confirm), instead I would like to take this moment to just thank every one of them. It’s not exactly the Hot Seat, but these are things I want each of you to know, even if I don't get the chance to tell you in person.
Sawyer - you, my dear, really are a GC (that would be game changer). I hope you embrace your new title of Nat Geo and run with it. You have an infectious smile, and infectious personality, and even more an infectious love for Christ. People will watch you. People will learn from you. And people ABSOLUTELY will want to be like you. You WILL speak to thousands my dear! Just don’t say “crap” next time and you should be fine…
Madison - L’il Buzz, you are the NOW generation. People need role models. Our youth need people they can follow, as there are too many rules and too few examples in this day and age. You are beautiful on the outside and beautiful on the inside. Embrace the awakening inside you, and you are just starting on a journey that will take you beyond your wildest dreams.
Carly - The Boomer Sooner: I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone more selfless. Be it your finances, your time, your skills, whatever - you are always giving. You are the epitome of what it means to serve, and I was awed watching you in action. Your actions taught me so much, and your testimony only served to confirm that. Thank you for giving so much of yourself and sowing so much into others. Rest assured you will reap an amazing harvest.
Amber (aka Megan) - Your heart is a blessing so big that I know sometimes it’s hard to control all that emotion. Embrace the gift you have to feel what others feel - even when it hurts. Also, I pray that you can find that balance as you reenter the atmosphere. This time “between two worlds” isn’t supposed to be easy, but it is supposed to make us evaluate and think. You have done an incredible job of evaluating and loving on people all week. The children of Haiti are really, REALLY gonna miss you.
Dawn Miller - The trooper! May you have peace and healing on that knee! As with Carly, your approach to mission work is incredible, be it the suitcase that was never leaving Haitian soil, the time spent thinking about the craft, the willingness to share more of your testimony, or the grit you showed in staying on the mission field despite all that pain. There are some lucky children and grandchildren in Statesboro, and I hope you get the chance to recover as you see them. Just don’t get too settled, as we need you back on that mission field - suitcase ready to leave, of course - very soon.
Nicole - You didn’t get in the hot seat on Wednesday, but I genuinely think I got a word for you. You are more powerful than you can possibly imagine, so don’t be afraid to use that incredible strength. You may think of yourself as a mountain stream or still waters, but I see the Volga in you, flowing deep and wide. It may not churn category 5 rapids, but it is a force of nature that cannot be stopped once moving. All the best as you seek to go 3 deep on each instrument. Hopefully you’ll get some folks auditioning who actually go to your church…
Dawn Moyer - I mean…where to even start. Our fearless leader, coming on this trip in the midst of so much going on back home. Dawn, you know that you and your family have a very special place in our family’s life, but that’s not what this is about. Instead, I just want to pray for healing for you everywhere you need it. Just as you have covered so many people in prayer, I pray that Jesus gives you peace, strength, rest, and resiliency. You are such a mighty woman of God - especially when you pray your shoes off.
Kristyn - the preacher’s wife (did I say that out loud?): so proud of you for sharing your testimony and also for serving another week down here (same goes for L’il Buzz). Your story (not just your testimony) is a powerful one, and given how God is shaping your life, I think you’ll find that you are poised to rock some worlds and break some chains wherever you land. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. Just make sure you pick carefully on the Tiger/Crimson Tide decision. Just sayin’…
Allison - Girl, you absolutely transformed on this trip. Watching you blossom from a strong Christian to a missionary and then into a mighty woman of God was something to behold, and I feel honored to have a front row seat. Few people have pursued God so aggressively, listened to him, and embraced the power He gives us. You are now a fully fledged prayer warrior - I’ll always ring you when we need reinforcements (maybe start with the foot parasites I might be running from?)! Seriously - your growth on this trip was explosive and exponential. SO proud of you. All the best in C-town this fall.
Emily - The Prophetess: seriously, there are oceans of power, love, and strength in you that I don’t really think anyone can fathom. You have a story and a perspective few can match, and the humility with which you approach it is something we should all aspire to demonstrate. Seriously - I believe you are one of the people God is raising up to speak to the masses, and mountains will move in people’s lives. You can relate to ANYONE, and I simply love being around you. Keep pouring into our children in FH Kids - they don’t know how blessed they are right now, but someday they will.
Alison - So Jenny loved meeting you and serving with you, and I was thrilled to learn that everything she said about you was true and then some. I don’t know if I’ve EVER seen such a fire and passion for Christ, and I feel honored to have been on this journey with you. Thank you for your prayers, your advice, your heart, and especially for the opportunity to fulfill a dream and preach the Word. And of course, thanks for rebuking the largest storm in the Western Hemisphere so that people could actually hear my message. May your ministry continue to grow and the great soul harvest continue. God is on the move. AMEN.
Angie - The Atomic City Missionary: thank you, thank you, thank you. And not just for being a great person. Not just for being an incredible host. THANK YOU for answering God’s call to this incredible place. Thank you for touching lives in the way you’ve adopted the culture, learned the language, and most of all cared for these people. I will be honest and say I can’t do what you can do and have done for these people, and I am SO thankful God has placed angels like you on this earth to be the light in the darkness you have been. All the best with what will certainly be a tough transition. Remember that people love you in both places, and both of them will always be home. Thank you for helping to make this trip possible. It was an answered prayer and a dream come true.
Jazmin - so, I didn’t know you really at all before this trip. I now can’t imagine not knowing you and am so thankful you are at Freedom House. I know Emily has already told you this, but you are a powerhouse waiting to explode. Your are smart, in love with Christ, focused on the right things, have a heart to serve, are easily adaptable, and have an incredible story on top of all that. People simply MUST see the rock that you have become, forged in the fires of adversity and willing to help everyone in every way imaginable. As with Allison, I am SO PROUD of you for stepping out in faith - both to Haiti and the hot seat. Just maybe next time text your boyfriend good night before you pass out.
Lastly, the people of Haiti - the inhabitants of the pearl of the Antilles: thank you for welcoming us. Thank you for smiles, laughs, hugs, and life lessons. Thank you for allowing us to reflect on our priorities and our lives. Thank you for opening up your lives, your homes, and your country to us. We have received so much from you, and we pray that we’ve managed to sow at least something small back in. Thank you for everything. We will see you again.
Okay, that will do it from Grand Goave. I am signing off, elated, exhausted, and at peace. Godspeed Team Haiti back to their respective homes.
Love to all back stateside,
“Your thoughts - how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them - any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!” Psalms 139:17-18 (MSG)
And a good Monday afternoon to you from under the Choukoun here at the guest house. As I sit here typing, the voices of Haiti’s youth speaking Creole fill the air on both sides of the fence, floating on the air of the incredible breeze blowing through. The youth has been a large part of our focus and time here in country, and the verse above is actually the theme of our VBS plan this week. It’s only our fourth day here, but already we are settling in to a routine and a norm. The heat is apparently quite strong this week (even by Haitian standards), and we certainly got a taste of it today! But let me not get ahead of myself - let’s rewind to yesterday and another incredible evening in the presence of God.
Before service, we had some down time for the team. Some spent it walking the beach. Others spent it napping. Several folks, however, hopped into the ocean for a swim, and boy did that attract a crowd! At first, there were just a few kids in the water, being somewhat shy but swimming near the team. Fifteen minutes later, this kids were absolutely MOBBING the team, climbing on them and laughing, huge smiles present the entire time. But wait…there’s more. :-)
Suddenly, out of nowhere, about 10+ kids just come running like the Scots on the plains of Bannockburn. Clothes are flying, little kids are nude, and suddenly the number of kids in the water has tripled. Then, out of nowhere, a grandmother hops in with them! She was LOVING it, and her smile was perhaps the most infectious of all. It was a special moment for all of us…even if at one point I was pretty sure Sawyer was no longer getting any air due to the kid who had her in a stranglehold.
After tidying up, we rolled back into town for the Sunday evening service at MOHI’s main campus in Thozin. We had (I’m guessing) around 80-100 folks show up for service. Not sure if I mentioned it in the previous post, but start times down here are…flexible. Case in point - the published start time was 5:30, but we rocked up at 5:38 and were among the first 15 people there. Soon, however, the pastor was welcoming folks in, the fans were blowing (HALLELUJAH!!!! Temperature dropped 15 degrees instantly), and the choir commenced singing on-stage in Creole. And once again, we were instantly transported from a small town in Haiti to Heaven, catching a glimpse of what it will be like when we’re all together worshipping the Creator of the Universe, each in our own tongue.
Next up was something I have never witnessed before, and I will be honest and say the next 5 minutes I’m about to describe forever changed my faith walk. Alison stood up and said that she felt several folks in the crowd needed healing. She then began naming specific ailments, asking those who felt those pains to stand up. Well, sure enough, we had quite a few folks rise, at which point we as a mission team went and laid hands on them. Alison then prayed for them, and asked anyone who no longer felt the pain to sit down. Most did, but we had a few still standing. But after Alison prayed a second time, nearly everyone who had originally stood was now seated, free from your pain.
Tonight was a special one for me, as it was the first time I ever got the chance to share my testimony in public. Coming into this trip, I did expect to do it at some point. However, I wasn’t sure it if would just be with the group or on the platform. However, I am SO THANKFUL that I was blessed with the opportunity to speak, as it really gave me the focus I needed to develop a testimony that can be shared concisely while still (hopefully) having an impact). I can’t speak for the other folks, but I can say that for me there is truth in the statement that we are freed by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. My prayer is that the others who are sharing their stories so boldly feel the same way.
Emily spoke next, delivering a story and a testimony that truly rocked that church. Her story is one of incredible power and healing, and I count myself truly blessed to have heard it first hand and to share a local church with someone who has such power within her. Also, topics she touched are aren’t often discussed in Haiti, and there was an energy in her words that absolutely resonated with those present.
Dawn was up next, and that girl caught the FIRE of the Holy Spirit - so much so that she “preached her shoes off!” Actually…i’m not kidding. At one point, she really did lose a sandal (she was so close to the edge of the platform that I thought she was about to stage dive and see if she could body surf to the back), and when she said, “I’m preaching my shoes off!” The translator just looked at her as though she’d grown a second head. He then looked at the crowd and without missing a beat said, “Hallelujah.” Priceless.
Dawn did a great job engaging the crowd. Once again, the normally stoic Haitian congregation was speaking and agreeing, shouting either a) Amen or b) correcting the translator when he didn’t know the appropriate word (IT’S “LE PE!!!!!”) - it was awesome.
We saw 15 more salvations that night - praise Jesus! And while that was obviously the high point of the evening, we were treated to one final magic moment while at the church. Just as church dismissed, the Heavens OPENED and it rained hard enough to crack the pavement. Honestly, I was waiting for Noah to float by, asking for 2 goats to take on board. And since Haitian people hate getting wet, no one was going anywhere. This was great news for a lot of the kids, as they are IN LOVE with some of the gals on our team. Seriously - I am going to start playing a new game called “How many people can be within 6 inches of Nicole,” followed by “How many people can Amber hug at the same time.” We’ll then finish with “How long can Emily blow bubbles with a child on her hip and another on her back.” Oh, and the whole time Sawyer can photograph the event while 14 children surround her in rapt fascination.
The other treat was that the worship team started jamming out with some instrumental Caribbean flair, and soon enough we were all dancing like it was Mardi Gras. Yes - there is video of me doing “the sprinkler.” No - it will not ever see the light of day. End. Of. Discussion.
Seriously - I have some very special memories that will stick with me from this night. A little girl sitting as close as you can get to Sawyer, complete with her arm around her. Nicole teaching one of the worship team singers the lyrics in English to Amazing Grace (which, incidentally, is the theme song for this trip). Angie dancing with the cutest little baby to the Caribbean beat. It was simple. It was beautiful. It was joyful. It was magic.
On the way home, we actually had a close call - scratch that, a collision - with another truck passing us on the road. I was looking forward when suddenly glass came flying into the bus! Luckily everyone was ok, and it was actually the other car’s mirror vs. ours that was shattered.
Day 4 (Mon, July24): Man Plans and God Laughs
So this morning started with breakfast, quiet time, and then devotional (nice job winging it, Emily!) before loading up and heading into the mountains. We were going to an orphanage about 30 minutes away, and the road up there was NO JOKE. Our plan for the day had been to play with them, do some games, and then let them “shop” for toys that they could chose from. Oh, silly, naive missionaries…will you never learn?
We arrived to meet Pastor Enoch, who greeted us warmly and said, “I understand that you are going to do a Vacation Bible School for the kids. That is great. I have a meeting, but I will see you later.” We all nod, and then we instantly look at Allison Mobley - time to dust off the VBS station plan! Seriously - I would give that girl a medal if I could, as we would have been in trouble without her hard work!
We obviously didn’t have snacks or crafts, but the good news is that we had our soccer ball and plenty of toys to play with. There were 82 kids at the orphanage, but not all of them were a) present or b) interested in participating. We actually learned a lot about orphanages in Haiti last night from Renee, as it’s apparently a fairly new institution in Haiti. Additionally, not all of the children present are actually orphans. Some are there because the current family situation is untenable for them. But regardless of why they were there, these kids were full of energy, life, and big smiles, and we had a BLAST playing with them.
The games/sports station was fairly tricky, as we ended up just combining the groups and letting the kids choose what they wanted to do. And can I just say that, whoever invented bubbles, I want to THANK YOU AND GIVE YOU A BIG HUG WHEN I MEET YOU IN HEAVEN. Bubbles must have some divine magic, as kids LOVE them. We landed with a jug of bubble solution big enough to fill a sixth great lake, and we are now almost out with 2 days of VBS to go! Luckily we’ve got backup bottles - love it!
It was about 407 degrees or so in the shade today, so I marked it at roughly 849 degrees in the field we played in. I was wearing a ServeCLT shirt from my home church, but I fear I might have to set it on fire once I take it off, as I’m pretty sure they don’t make detergent strong enough to get this puppy clean. But hey - anything for the Kingdom, baby!!!
At the end of VBS, Alison shared the good news with them, and get this - 33 KIDS SAID YES TO JESUS!!!! 33! That represents more salvations than we’d had the entire trip - and we hadn’t even planned to do VBS there! It’s amazing what God will do when you just obey and GO. We are now at 62 salvations, and we’re actually heading back up there for church this evening. Carly is going to preach for us, and I am fully expecting even more souls to turn to Christ once they hear her and the testimonies that will be shared.
We drove through Grand Goave this afternoon to see a bit of the town, and then we came back for a delicious soup at lunch. Alison’s mind has simply been blown by this, and Mr. Lusted, if you are reading this, I am to inform you that you should plan to only eat PBJ when you come to Haiti, as NOTHING is served cold. I admire you for your principled habits, sir - good luck. :-)
I will say that the food here has been simply wonderful. The catch is that it takes all day to stew and prepare. Angie has been educating us on the process, and it’s really awesome that we’re getting everything so fresh from the market. I have eaten like a champ, and we’re all doing what we can to keep salt in our bodies and stay hydrated.
Only other points to note:
UPDATE (I’m typing this portion the following day): the street ministry team had an INCREDIBLE time, and they even received a salvation! Angie went out with them, and her presence made a tremendous difference in terms of how eagerly the locals accepted our team into their home. Angie introduced them as friends from back home, and they instantly embraced and welcomed them in, opening photo albums, sharing laughs with them, and allowing the team to pray over them. The most amazing story concerned a grandmother who, when asked about Heaven, said that she was going to Heaven when she died because that’s where she wanted to go. When it was explained that she actually needed to accept Jesus first, a conversation in two languages then ensued (apparently not all of it fit for print :-)). However, after answering a few more questions, the lady accepted Jesus into her heart! And in addition to claiming another soul for the kingdom, Emily rightly noted that this acceptance of Christ might also break a generational curse, as her daughter was mute (due to a stroke we think), and her grandson had leg problems. Praise Jesus - that was a BIG afternoon. Talk about rewarding boldness and spontaneity!
Church that evening was back in the mountains at the orphanage, and all I can say is WOW. I have often heard it said that we don’t remember days - we remember moments. Well, I can tell you that this service is one of those 4 or 5 moments I will remember forever.
We stepped into the church (which is gorgeous, with a picture of the Bible carved into the concrete above the altar) to find a group of women already gathered there worshipping. I know I said previously that I often find God in music. Well, let me tell you - the Holy Spirit was ABSOLUTELY in that place.
The music was just incredible - all these voices lifted up to Heaven in praise. The women were so earnest and fervent in their worship, and the acoustics in that place were nothing shy of transcendental. I was a puddle of tears (and sweat - they all tend to run together here) listening to it, and God certainly spoke strongly to me during those songs. One of them would just intone and sing the first line, and then the others would fall in as well, with various harmonies filling the air. Creole is quite the melodic language, and the absence of instruments during the worship (except for a cymbal - how very old testament) only accentuated the music.
We then heard testimony from Nicole and Dawn Miller, and once again - God demonstrated that everything moves according to his plan. Those two testimonies of pain and deliverance were absolutely what those women needed to hear, and they were the perfect people to share their stories. I know that Nicole said she’s more comfortable singing than speaking, but that girl has a story to tell, and my prayer for her is that she shares it in both word and note, as she will set people free. And for Dawn’s testimony - hidden tears - there is NO DOUBT that she touched people in that crowd, as I feel certain her story resonated with at least one person in that room. We truly have some amazing people on this team - people with stories that are so appropriate for the people we’ve met based on the situations we’ve seen and the stories we’ve heard, and I thank God for the boldness he’s sown into each of them.
Carly then preached to the crowd, and she was fantastic. For those of you who’ve never heard her preach, watch out! That girl pulls you in with a steady, even cadence, and then BAM! She hits you with some knowledge. She had an especially wonderful moment when she relayed the story of the boy who's lunch fed five thousand. Her comment was not about the miracle, nor about the boy - it was about the mother who packed that lunch and always ensured that boy had everything he needed. Not many dry eyes in the house at that point!
We had 2 more salvations (bringing us to 65 for the trip), and then we prayed for the congregation. Many of them came up for prayer, and the Spirit fell strong in front of that altar. Once it was over, the women hugged each of us, saying God Bless you. We then stepped out to the evening breeze, with an incredible view of the ocean and the colorful flowers on the trees. We capped off the evening by singing worship music in the bus. I will be honest and say I knew about .0000007% of the lyrics, but it was awesome to just hear the ladies’ voices fill the bus.
Day 5 (Tues, July 25): The Truth Will Set You Free
We had an early call this day, rising at 6:30 or so for 7 AM breakfast before rolling out around 7:30. Today was our handicap ministry, and the plan was to visit 6 houses in and around Grand Goave. We rolled to the Thozin campus, where we found out our truck had a flat tire. That meant that we had some time to hang out, and so we sat down to rest. This little unforeseen “hiccup” turned out to be perhaps the defining moment on the trip for me, and I will be forever convinced that flat tire was nothing shy of a miracle.
You see, last night, laying in my bed, I was really struggling. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough, felt like I wasn’t able to find my place within the team or the mission, and felt like I just wasn’t contributing the way everyone else was. Well, Alison suddenly has a “spontaneous devotional” she wants to share, and she talks about Mary and Martha. She spoke to me personally about the balance of work and worship, and the importance of “going” into all the world. That caught my attention…but God wasn’t done.
Next up, we started talking about the Street Ministry, and Angie talked about how she’d had moments where she just didn’t know if she was making a difference down here. Now God had my full attention, but side note - Angie is an INCREDIBLE woman of God and missionary, and this group is absolutely going to miss her when she’s gone. The community loves her - it’s evident everywhere we go - and her absence is going to leave a huge void when she departs. Alison and the team spoke over her, assuring her how much of an impact she has had and will continue to have in the lives of these people (as well as wherever she goes next). And all the while I just sat there, tearing up because of how this conversation was going.
The Dawn chimes in with her devotional, talking about how we are just the vessel and how someone today will have a revelation, and at that point I was a puddle. Dawn channeled Isaiah 50:4 and had a good word for us as always, and I then spoke up and told the group how I’d been feeling. The team then laid hands on me, and it transformed my day. Under normal circumstances, I would have really struggled with street ministry and home visits, but after the experience, I was ready to rock.
We spent the next 4 hours visiting homes of people who had special needs, praying over them and their homes, as well as bringing food and supplies. There were two options for the mode of transport: you either sat in the back of a perfectly sturdy and battled tested 4x4 pickup (the smart choice), or you climbed onto the back of a motorcycle that had been converted into a flat bed three-wheeler that would have been perfectly at home on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road (needless to say, this was NOT the smart choice). I mean, this puppy was GREAT on the open road, but when we hit the country and encountered moguls and potholes the size of blue whales, things tended to get a bit dicier. At one point there was no road, and we had an insane hike straight up the side of a mountain. As I walked up that hill - two bags of food, two bottles of cooking oil, and a backpack - all I could think was “I didn’t know that Mount Everest had moved to the Western Hemisphere during my time in Haiti.” Seriously - it was something out of an ultra trail race, but the team acquitted themselves well!
I got the chance to learn some dance with the kids on top of the mountain. They told me the name, but I’m just going to call it the Haitian macarena. It basically consisted of me throwing punches, shaking my behind, hopping around like a human sprinkler head, and then rinse/repeating. The kids seemed to enjoy it, and I lost 11 pounds in the process due to the 239 degree heat. So hey - I think we all came out a winner (except my shirt, which I should probably just set on fire).
The team did a lot of praying, talking to the locals, dancing, and loads of holding babies. I was mesmerized by how cute the kids were, as they instantly gravitated to us, wrapped their arms around us or took our hands, and then stayed with us for as long as we were at any location. I actually got to hold two kids at one point - only one of which had clothes on, but still - it was just wonderful to be in the mix with them.
We also got the chance to watch this group of guys weld the hood of a truck using a blow torch, a bottle of water, and a hammer. Y’all - it was straight out of the Fast and the Furious, and I couldn’t stop watching the masters of their craft in action.
We’re now back at base camp, resting and freshening up before the drive into the mountains this evening. We’ll be going to the satellite campus for MOHI in the mountains - a place called St. Etienne. I’m preaching my first ever sermon tonight, so if we post this before heading out, Please pray for this guy!
Okay, you’re now caught up with Team Haiti. We are 110 or so minutes from heading out as I type this, and I will wait 109 minutes and 30 seconds before putting on my church clothes, as it is akin to putting on diving suit in the Sahara once I get all decked out. Man, I really wish I had a maxi dress…
Love to all back stateside,
Sam (aka Disciple #7)
“Go and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day, right up to the end of the age.” —Matthew 28:19-20 (MSG)
Bienvenue a Haiti! What a start to this incredible, transformational journey! This is Sam Taylor, one of the Charlotte folks and part of this Crosspoint Ministry team, coming to you live from the Choukoun at our guest house in Haiti. The Choukoun is a large, Haitian style gazebo (quite common across the country as a common area to gather), and it’s where we’ve spent and likely will spend a lot of our mornings, evenings, and down time while here. And if I could show you the view and let you feel the breeze, you’d know why. Granted, the occasional almond nut hits the roof of this place like a meteor from the Asteroid Belt and registers about 136 decibels, but other than that it’s quite tranquil. Oh, and then there’s the insect that’s the size of a small Volvo which has terrified Dawn, but I digress…let’s get back to the purpose at hand, shall we?
Day One (Fri, 21 July): Every Saga Has a Beginning
This was the travel day, and for Team Charlotte it constituted 15 consecutive hours of travel. We weren’t the rock stars, however - that award would go to Team Atlanta, who had a FOUR HOUR wait in Port Au Prince due to our flight being delayed out of Fort Lauderdale (but apparently that did afford them the opportunity to try Haitian spaghetti, which is a mixture of pasta, ham, mayonnaise, and ketchup…which is apparently amazing…). I do have to mention that the travel came with some “hiccups” - a name incorrect on a ticket (Kristyn’s “y” is tricky), two bag searches (who knew peanut oil was flammable?), one explosives search (not sure I would trust Dawn Moyer either), and a descent into Ft. Lauderdale that felt like something from Star Wars when they flew into the Death Star. However, it was all worth it, as one of the members of our team prayed the prayer of Salvation with the person sitting beside her on the flight!
Once we cleared customs, picked up all 14,789 of our bags, and smiled politely to the customs agent, we were ready to depart. The teams quickly met each other - 12 strong plus Angie (our missionary on the ground), and we then began the 2 hour drive from Port Au Prince to Grand Goave. The drive was INCREDIBLE - no other way to describe it. Passing through several sections of Haiti, the team was blown away by the scenes outside our windows.
Rivers completely clogged with trash. Markets with heaps of garbage strewn out in front. Houses made of cloth and corrugated metal. It was a lot emotionally to take in, and the bus ride was fairly quiet. That being said, it was also a fantastic opportunity to realize how incredibly blessed we are and how much suffering and hardship the people here endure on a daily basis. It also served as a frame of reference for what life is like here in Haiti, and we know that grounding will be crucial to our ability to connect with the locals.
Arrival at the guest house saw 11 girls packed into one room while the lone male (that would be me) had his own bathroom, fan, and double bed just down the way (please insert appropriate joke about suffering for the Kingdom here). We had a great welcome meal, introduced ourselves to each other, and called it a night about 10 PM or so (the power went out just as we broke for the evening - that was a bit of an adventure!). Luckily, we run on solar power during the day and use a generator at night, so we were back in action within minutes.
Day Two (Sat, 22 July): Inner Peace and Organized Chaos - both fruits of the Spirit
This morning kicked off about 7:15 with Alison’s #1 request - COFFEE (I’m happy to report it was plentiful and all was soon right with the world). The team had breakfast followed by 20 minutes of private, silent devotional time, reading God’s Word and speaking to Him directly as the Spirit led each of us. Sitting under the Choukoun in our rockers, watching the sun break the clouds and listening to the waves roll onto the shore, it was quite easy to settle into a peaceful mood, thereby allowing God to speak to each of us. While hot, the morning was breezy and actually quite pleasant, and I certainly came away from that reflection period centered and ready to start the trip in earnest.
Sawyer and Nicole (who really should sign a record deal somewhere because they are BOMB DIGGITY singers) then led us in worship. Again, this was a wonderful experience, as the team worshipped, sang, prayed, or just responded to the Spirit as the breeze blew through. It was a moment to “Be Still and know that I am God,” and coming out of it the team was energized and ready for the day. I had the honor of leading the first devotional, and after that we threw ourselves into organizing for the week. 60 minutes later - all the supply bags had been unpacked, sorted, resorted, and then repacked based on the location and date of use. This also gave us time to prep our Vacation Bible School plan, as that was the first featured activity of the day.
We then had a bit of downtime, and folks spent that hour either in a rocking chair or walking along the beach. I was one of the strollers, and I must say that the view was simply spectacular. Rounding the corner of the beach and seeing the cliffs drop into the ocean…simply majestic and powerful, a reminder of God’s canvas and how small we are. We met three little kids on the beach, filling their water jug and washing some clothes in the river runoff before it fed into the ocean. Some of the girls fell in with them to help wash, and the kids found that quite fun. While I’d had a few emotional moments already, that moment certainly resonated with me. I am a father of 2 girls, 1 four years old and the other seven months (today, actually). Watching those kids, barefoot and by themselves on a rocky beach in 90+ degree heat and doing chores, I realized again how blessed we are in the States. It was also an awakening for me, and a very appropriate one heading into 3 VBS appointments this week. To that point I’d always looked at this missionary journey through the lens of a prayer warrior, a soldier for God, and the hands and feet of Christ. However, I had always looked at those from the perspective of a “man finding his place.” When you look at those as a father, it’s a very different picture. That moment softened my heart and hardened my resolve to do everything we can to maximize our time in country, and I feel certain that was prevalent among the group.
After lunch, we made the 15 minute trek to the main campus in Grand Goave, where we kicked off this mission trip properly - with a 2 hour VBS!!! Let me tell you - THAT was an adventure.
So first off, let me praise Allison Mobley for laying out a fantastic plan (stations - that was the key). We rolled up to find about 80 kids (we were expecting 30) waiting for us, and it was GO TIME. So we immediately started pumping up balls, laying out snacks, laying out supplies, and finding space to do everything. What followed next was nothing shy of organized chaos, but it was AWESOME.
In one corner, you’ve got Allison and Amber teaching children the invaluable lesson that God’s thoughts for them are more numerous than the grains of sand. In another corner, Sawyer (who was also the photographer and looked like she was straight out of Nat Geo - well done) and Nicole were teaching the kids a dance to “This Little Light of Mine.” Roll another 15 yards, and you’ve got craft bracelets (run by Jaz and Dawn Miller), and beside that you’ve got Alison and Dawn Moyer passing out all the goldfish you can handle for the snack station). Hop over the wall (all of this is within about 20 yards, mind you) and you’ve got Madison and Kristyn at the sports station. And lastly, you’ve got me and Emily running the “games” station, which was code for “Sam throws balls in the air while children tackle him as Emily blows bubbles with one child on her hip and another on her back.” It was a beautiful sight, and the kids were so wonderful. The smiles they had could have melted glaciers.
Church that evening was a special service at the Thozin (main) campus of MOHI (Mission of Hope International, the group we are staying and serving with), and it was an incredible experience. For me, it was the first time ever worshipping in either an open air church or in another language, and the experience was an amazing first worship here on the island.
After some music (they sang quite a bit in English, which certainly helped me!), we shared two testimonies, had some music, and then a message. As a first timer in the mission field, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. And now, having witnessed and evening like that in the presence of God, I now know what to expect but will honestly struggle to describe it.
Dawn Moyer was up first sharing her testimony, and she set an incredible tone for the evening. Dawn is a very special person to our family, and after those 10 minutes, I have no doubt that she’s a very special person to the people of Haiti. The message was real, raw, and powerful - build your house on the Rock. As she spoke, the congregation started to come to life, and there were a few “amens” in the back as she wrapped her story of how God delivered her family from addiction, strife, and financial difficulty.
Next up was the future Grammy winning duet Nicole and Sawyer, who sang Amazing Grace. Initially, they had planned to sing something else, but while leading worship earlier that morning, Angie (our local missionary here) told us that, as we sang Amazing Grace in English, one of the housekeepers was singing along in Creole. With that knowledge, we thought it might be a great way to connect with the people there, and as always God did not disappoint.
Perhaps the most powerful moment came next, as Jazmin - her first time on a mission trip, first time out of the country, and first time to Haiti - crossed off another first in her life: sharing her testimony publicly for the first time. Her story hit home, and those present absolutely responded to it. It was a message that strife, hardship, and brokenness can occur in any country at any point, but Jesus can (and will) deliver you. Just call on his name and walk in faith. For those of you in Charlotte reading this, find Jazmin when you are next at Freedom House and ask her to share this story - it WILL change lives.
Lastly, Alison preached a sermon that rocked the house. I had never heard this lady speak, but let me tell you: “LOOK OUT, HAITI! You have a female Paul in your midst, ready to give you the Word!” Alison delivered an incredible message about the difference between believing in Jesus and making him your Lord. It was a fearless message about serving the true God and dispelling traditions that separate you from the Creator of the Universe, and it resonated. As I told her later - it was worth the trip just to hear her preach!
We were blessed to count 5 salvations that night at church, and the team had the chance to pray for the congregation as well.
It was back home for a late dinner and then bed by about 10, as it was an early call for church (7:30 start - it’s gets hot down here early!). One VERY cool thing to note - Angie said that Haitian congregations were normally very quiet and rarely spoke up during service, so the fact that the group present was so vocal was rare and spoke volumes for the messages the speakers carried.
Day 3 (Sun, July 23): This is what Heaven Sounds Like
Breakfast was 6:30 this morning, and we were on the bus about 7:15 or so to head to church. We actually didn’t roll up to the church until after 7:30, but we’ve already learned that start times are flexible in Haiti. Case in point - last night’s 5:30 service didn’t start until 6:30 or so!
The church was full (about 300 people), and the music was AMAZING!!!! For me, I have always found God in the music of the church, and hearing these voices - these soulful, amazing, passionate voices - singing harmony in a language I didn’t understand was indescribable. As I closed my eyes, listening to the worship, all I could think was “this is what Heaven sounds like.”
The service itself was a real blessing, as was the drive to the campus. Watching all these folks step out of their homes in pressed shirts, ties, and slacks was truly a sight to behold. Some of these folks had a good walk to get to Grand Goave, and they were making it with a smile on their faces and a Bible in their hands. Alison delivered another knockout message, and 8 people gave their lives to Christ. We then had another chance to pray for the people in the congregation, and I was blown away by the number of folks who came forward for prayer. As with last night (and obviously as will be the case all week), we had no idea what these people needed or why they had come forward. However, the Holy Spirit was ABSOLUTELY at that altar, and as people came forward, you could feel what was drawing them out of their seats. With some, you could feel sadness. With others, you could feel pain. With others, you could feel a desire for confidence. And with the children, you could feel the need for anointing. It was humbling to pray for them, and even more humbling to be a vessel for God to speak through and bless these brave souls who had taken a step in faith.
After that, it was home for lunch and some team time. We split into groups of 2 (or 3 in one case) and talked openly about what each of us needed prayer for. We then prayed for each other before lunch, and as I type this, I can hear laughter from the beach as some of the team goes for a dip in the ocean. We’ve got a few others napping, some journaling, and others just resting. And as I sit here alone under the Choukoun, all I can think of is how blessed I am to be sharing this journey with such an incredible group of strong, talented Christians. I am amazed at how strong the younger team members are in their faith, blown away by the stories of deliverance people are sharing, impressed by the knowledge of the Bible these folks exhibit, and honored just to be part of this little family. All of you reading this blog know at least one of these people, and I’d encourage you to hug them very tightly when they get home, as each of them is a true blessing in your life from God.
Okay, that’s us in a nutshell through the first 48 hours. I wish I could give you a running tally on the number of liters of water which have been consumed so far, but I don't know how to type exponents on this computer. :-)
Love to all back Stateside - holler at you soon.
Sam (aka “The Dude”)