“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Mission teams from North America; following the call of the above scripture to go to ends of the earth to be His witnesses sharing the love of Jesus with the lost souls that have not accepted Him as their Lord and Savior have unfortunately at times not remembered Who they serve and to Whom they belong. My LCMS synodical supervisor while living in Haiti was Pastor Jim Tino who lived in FL at that time and he shared with me many truths while living in Haiti. I was a guest in Haiti, I was not to push my North American culture upon them, and I was a brother in Christ with my fellow Lutheran Haitians and should try to live as they lived. Some lessons were easy and some were not because of my cultural expectations of having things now; right now! Food, rooms, nightly animal sacrifice noises from the neighborhood vodou priest, lack of electricity, clean water and did I mention patience?
I heard a song recently called “Lord keep me in your will” and the words brought back memories of my prayers while in Haiti and my frustrations and humiliation while working with some other North American mission teams visiting Haiti while I lived there in Petionville. “Sometimes I think I'm in control and I act so foolishly facing problems on my own. I don't know what's best for me, my mistakes at times disturb all the plans You have made. Lord, keep me in your will, so I won't be in Your way.”
The attached photo is a plate of food that was served to our Trinity/HOPE team in Cap Haitian in the fall of 2010. I didn’t hear any complaints from any members of that team, but I have been with North Americans who would have turned up their noses and demanded something different than the rice, carrots, peppers and goat. I recall one LCMS Pastor sending back an omelet at Hotel Kinam because it didn’t have the green peppers and onions and ham that he liked, expected and he even went into the kitchen to find those ingredients so his meal would be to his liking. Close to seventy percent of the over 24,000 children being fed rice and beans every day in their school are thrilled and thankful to have a meal.
“And, put me where You want to, not where I want to be. If I should ask, for things I want just give me what I need. When I complain from time to time, forgive me Lord I pray. Lord keep me in Your will, so I won't be in Your way.” Many people have commented that they could not understand how I could live ‘there’ and I sometimes wonder how or why I am living ‘here’ in this country. Mission team members have needed hot water in their shower, ice cold water to drink, a flushing toilet and air conditioning. We ‘need’ these things and ninety percent of Haiti does not have these luxuries. “Remind me Lord, I'm just a glove in which you place your hand. Not my will, but yours be done, though I don't understand the best laid plans I've made somehow always go astray. Lord keep me in Your will, so I won't be in Your way.”
Consider the interesting concept, we are the glove that is going out to share the gospel message with the lost and inside of us is our Triune God, directing us to do His work. Being a North American is not a prerequisite to being a glove; being His child is what is important. Thank you for helping support the work of the children attending Christian schools in Haiti to go out into their neighborhoods and country and share the love of Jesus with the lost.
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay