Yesterday I met a local pastor who helped us by translating in a meeting. Later I engaged him in conversation and heard some of his story, and I got to see his church when we dropped him off.
His name is Emmanus and his mother died when he was three months old. His father tried to kill him when he was 8 years old, so he ran away from home and survived on the street for a short while. Some missionaries took him to an orphanage where he grew up.
God saved him and called him to preach, which he said he didn't want to do, because whereas in the US, a pastor can at least expect a salary from tithe money, here in Haiti, the pastor is expected to be a source of blessing to his congregation spiritually as well as financially and practically.
He held a 4 a.m. prayer meeting every day for a number of years until God sent revival and a church was birthed. When they got their building up, the landlord was angry at the fact that a church was being planted, and he tore the building down. That day, he broke his leg. Somehow, the circumstances of that event led to the ability to rent the piece of land they wanted. Despite lack of funds, God provided a way for them to eventually buy the land.
The church is 13 years old and they have been meeting in this building.
Let's zoom in to that.
How faithful would you have to be as a congregation to meet in this kind of church, in the Haitian heat and humidity, with no electricity and no relief from bugs? Especially considering that Sunday School starts at 6:00 Sunday morning and lasts until 8:00, and then church begins and lasts until 10? Granted, it is more in disrepair than usual, because they have been in the process of building this:
Right now it is incomplete, but they at least have a roof over the section where the pews are.
God has been moving and His Spirit is present there. Pastor Emmanus also talked about the school that he holds here for 45 children, and the need to buy chalkboards and chalk and basic school supplies. I thought about the abundance of school supplies at the creche, and I wondered how someone would ever do this when they didn't have anything. He talked about how he wants to repair the old church building so that he can have two more classrooms, but it will cost $80 to buy the woven palm leaf screens that form the walls, and he doesn't see how he can come up with that kind of money. Oh, what hard, hard conditions!
I just have to ask myself--how do people survive here? Much less thrive?
But I must remember that God is the source of all supply, and He is just as able to provide in Haiti as He is in America or Antarctica or Australia.
I admire the spirit of faith and worship and confidence in God that Pastor Emmanus demonstrates. I have met some of the people from his congregation, and they are faithful, godly people who are trustworthy and pure-hearted. It is good to see that God's powerful hand is raising up men of God in this land who can stem the tide of darkness and oppression. Praise the Lord for the advance of the gospel!