Natcom is the picky internet, let’s see if it’ll work with me tonight. (It didn’t, for the record, this draft has been saved for a week)
Our team is spent but refreshed in community with both each other and with time with our first love today, we love down time where we can go to our quiet places after a few weeks of chaos!
God is MOVING (in saying that – PLEASE, PLEASE remember us in our prayers. In movement there is both the work and hard part, but also the pushback from our enemy – in physical health, dreams, mental issues with lies in our heads – please pray for and with us).
I want to attempt an update on some of the big things that have happened – just this week. It’s too long for a status.
I want to start with thanks.
In the hectic scheduling, the busy times of summer, the teams that we are working to keep up with going on at the same time that you have school letting out, vacation, and messages about plenty of other things going on – you make the choice to be missional.
You make the choice to read this now.
You have made choices to pray, encourage, and act on what you have read in the past.
You have made the choice to come or help send others.
You are the movement in both prayers sent up and in words sent here that lift us up when there is a battle for our mind that attempts to discourage and defeat.
Thank you, before anything else is said, for the part that you play in every moment. If you are just now finding this, thanking for taking the time to be here and for choosing your precious time here.
Let me start first with what I’ve been promising for so long: the updates that are so awesome, but too long for social media.
A little over six months ago, Pastor Samedy was hunting for land in Canaan to buy to build his home – he ended up buying a piece near the church from a vodou priest who is now his neighbor. Last week, a group went to this man’s home from the student team from Grace Pickerington to talk about Jesus….he wasn’t interested. What they didn’t know is that he had a dream before they came that Pastor Samedy was going to send people to talk to him. He remembered this dream as he sent them on their way. That night he had another dream – but it was much more unsettling than the first. He was being held down by a great weight that he could not lift himself. There was no relief and no way out, no matter how hard he tried. But in this dream, someone came and lifted it off of him. So after THAT dream, he was sitting at his house the next day – this time, with his family instead of alone. Another group came – despite the children shaking their heads and saying “Don’t go there!” – to follow up with this man from the day before. And there, this man left vodou behind and accepted Christ. And his wife – who had not been present the first day – heard this and accepted as well. He then opened up about the dreams, with the team dropping their jaw at what just happened. We celebrated his new life the next day as he attended church with his wife. He asked for heavy prayer as he knows there will be huge spiritual warfare over his family’s life.
You’re getting this story with the perspective of the big picture and details – but I want you to think for a moment, to imagine you are the boy walking onto the property that first day: sent away with no idea of the dream or what would happen tomorrow with the whole family present as opposed to one man. Imagine you are Samedy, buying property months ago from this man with no picture of the future – only prayers and a strong and persistent character shown to a man, no idea that his heart was being simultaneously softened and he’d be in your church just months later. I’m sure you are in the center of something right now that is testing your patience, making you question where God is, or challenging your faith on God really using you to work. We are simply details with such a small, small view on what He is doing. Please use a story like this to remind yourself of how BIG our God is, how He is CONSTANTLY moving, making millions and billions of puzzle pieces and speck of dust lives come together to create beautiful things on a second by second basis. He does not waste a thing, and He is working on a scale we don’t get the privilege to see right now – one bigger than we can imagine.
Whew. Told you that this was too much for social media – that’s just one story! Let’s take a picture break!
Are you ready for another one? Just one more and it’ll be time for me to stop taking up your time today.
Friegal (that spelling is incorrect, but spelled for pronunciation as you read) is our driver and friend for CPR-3, fearlessly driving our tap-taps full of teams and sacrificially coming on time and working hard – never saying no to a request no matter what time I call him. His brother used to be our driver until he moved to the Bahamas, and when his brother moved away over a year ago we all thought….”Oh, Friegal is our only driver now?” – He was a good guy, but used to talk to me only about relationships if I would sit in the cab. I knew him best as the driver who was less social and would just sit back, besides jokes about marrying me.
As time has gone on though, the relationship has changed. Personally, we have a relationship that is deeper than “white girl, Haitian driver” and he respects me in my singleness and role in CPR-3. I’ve gone from rolling my eyes at his comments to overhearing him defend me or stop the same questions from others in Creole when he thinks I’m not listening. I invite him to sit with us when he drives us to church and he started to come, and he jokes more and more with teams. When I returned at the beginning of the month, he had a big hug and “STEPH!” waiting for me at the airport – and he has loved the summer staff. He has continued to sit in church more (his hair isn’t cut and he’s “swag”, which isn’t accepted in church in Haiti often – so he’s not a regular church attender), he has started to walk with us in market and both protect and lead, and his jokes are some of the best. He is always on time and also patient with us when we’re the late ones – as opposed to being late and impatient like in the past. He’s family.
Last Sunday, we prayed boldly for him to accept Christ THAT DAY as he said he was “almost ready” and summer staff Brooke prepared to talk to him about it as they’ve become friends this month.
And what happened?
That night, we cheered over and over again, calling him brother after the time presented itself to have a conversation.
Every day now, we greet each other saying “My brother!” as he says back to CPR-3 staff “My brothers, My sisters!”
Guys, God is good. And a lifetime of seeds being planted led to this moment – and every moment to come of now growing in community, going to church (he wants to come here in Bercy), and falling more in love with Jesus.
And those stories are the ones that just can’t be given justice in a few sentences.
There are so many more – Rachel, a student on one of the teams, also accepted Christ. My favorite family in Canaan is being lifted up by Moringa and was saved from human trafficking. The physical and spiritual sides of the cross came together in huge ways as we went to neighbors to help with Chikungunya. God is answering prayers for community. Westhalineda is alive after falling in a drum of water – which still amazes both the community of Bercy and myself. The summer staff is AMAZING, God put together an amazing team. Grace Bath has visited Simon’s family constantly after his father accepted Christ and there has been jaw-dropping healing there. Relationships are deeper. There are the hard stories too Keela talking in process time last night of a girl, a child, who passed away that she found out about yesterday as she visited the family. The orange hair of malnutrition. The constant balance of blessed to bless others….but helping without hurting. And more stories will continue to come.
Thank you for the part that you play in them.
And now – the fuel that creates that movement. The offense and defense needed in what we’re doing. I can’t say it enough, these things are not because the people here but the GOD who is working through them on a much larger scale. We need both prayer for work but also prayer for protection. If you are interested in being on the e-mail for prayer warriors, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go over to the “Prayer Request” page here on Jeziseespwa.