Thursday, September 8, 2011

110908: Understanding Confession

9.8.11 Haiti
Today I gave Madam Tikilene a bible.  She’s an extremely hard worker, and known to be a Christian woman.  
The questions I ask so far are simple, and while I think this mission will always be adapting and evolving, I’m not busying myself with too much scrutiny right now. 
“Do you know Jesus? Are you a Christian?”  If the answer is Yes, then we move on.  If No, we have much more to talk about.  Because I haven’t ran into anyone yet who ‘doesn’t know Jesus’, I will probably refine that question a bit.  Maybe, “Do you believe in Jesus alone?  There is a religion here that has a scientific name, and really it’s just Voodoo mixed in with Catholicism, and finally a sprinkle of Christianity to make sure all the bases are covered.   That way, basically, everyone is happy and we all go away satisfied, but then nobody really finds salvation.   So, when I ask if they know Jesus and if they are a Christian, I don’t really know if that means the same thing to some as it does to me.   It’s how a Pastor can teach Jesus one day, and Voodoo the next.  
If they tell me they know Jesus, and they follow Him, I ask if they can read, and if they have a bible of their own.  
Most don’t have a personal bible.  Usually there is 1 family bible, it’s old, in French, and their may be some books missing..... Can you imagine not having Romans, or Ephesians, or 2nd Timothy?  Wow. 
One thing I really appreciate, the bibles I’m giving are very nice.  The covers are very nice, and the bible itself is very nice.  
I tell them,
“Sa se pi bon trezó a sou Laté, e kounye a li fé pati pou ou.”  
(This is the greatest treasure in the earth, and now it belongs to you.)
I tell them, “Write your name in there, because it’s all yours.
They hold them with respect.  They hold them gingerly.  The excitement is some of their eyes is beautiful to see.   
I met with Darlene today, and she was with her friend Esparanza.  Esparanza is a Christian, and her story is exactly like the others.  There’s a bible in the family, but not one of her own, and certainly not in Creole.
Folks, just imagine you had one bible in your family  I’m talking you, your mom, your dad, all the brothers and sisters, and all the kids.  Not only do you have 1 bible, but you’re a home grown, Apple pie and baseball American small town family, and somebody a dozen years ago gave your dad a Spanish.  
When I gave her the bible, she held it like a baby against her chest.  I talked to Darlene about beginning discipleship.  Maybe even just her and Esparanza, starting at her house or at Esparanzas.    She seemed to like the idea very much, and she wants to hear more.  I can see the need for the literature that Andi and I translated, but I don’t have my printer here yet, so it’s a little frustrating.  
I also talked with Chelo and Benson in depth today.  I asked them point blank if they are drinking or smoking Marijuana, because as always, there is news of trouble in Ti Rivier.  Both said absolutely not, and so we began to talk about sin, and struggles, and the kinds of problems that all men fall into.  
I think when I told them that I don’t believe having a beer is a salvation changer, they didn’t know what to think.  In Haiti, they say, if you are seen having a beer, you are simply not a Christian, and they said they didn’t think God would agree with me.  I didn’t agree with them.  I think if one beer can make us lose our salvation then we’re all doomed, if not today then surely tomorrow.  Sure getting drunk is sin, and I have no business doing anything that causes another to stumble.
Trying to dig deeper, Benson suddenly ‘forgot’ his English, which I take to mean that we crossed into new territory for our relationship.  Finally I said, “One of my lifelong struggles has been lust. My thoughts. Looking at a beautiful woman and not thinking something impure is difficult for me, especially because of my career.  People have me photograph them when they are looking the most beautiful in their lives.  They literally just come from a salon when I take their pictures.  God gave me the ability to appreciate the figure and the beauty of woman, but Satan desires to twist anything from Him into something  sinful.  Love.  Sex.  Work....
Well, before I knew it, the guys were leaving.  
Chelo was putting on his motorcycle helmet and seemed to have a late appointment, and Benson barely said a word as I showed them out the gate.
“Maybe you learned something about me today?  Maybe it’s good.  I’m nobody special.  I’m just a man.”  I smiled at them.  I get the feeling as they were leaving that they were uneasy.  As I watched them leave I asked myself if I pushed it too far, if I needed apologize for anything, or if I was arrogant in my words, but then I decided to just let is soak in.  
My purpose was to crack the door into confession of sins. It will be absolutely imperative that we learn this concept as we move forward in discipleship.  Instead of masks and the obligatory ,”I’m good and you?”, we need to be genuine and real with one another.  If it’s getting drunk that is a problem, ok. If it’s smoking weed, ok.  If it’s singing praises with our lips but curses in our hearts, ok.  
Let’s dig in and dig out!
One beer and you’re no longer walking with God?  Please.   In some parts of the world, they look at coffee the same way we look at beer.  It is, after all, a drug, that you drink, that alters the mind.  Well, that’s it America!  You’re all done for!  How many churches with the gourmet coffee in the back just went out of the biz.... “I thought he was such a great pastor, a real man of God, until I saw him at the Starbucks..... gasp.... double Carmel, with an extra shot.....of......gasp.....espressso!!!”
Life needs to get real in Haiti, just like anywhere else.
Besides, I think I must be doing something right.  Tonight, all the way through 5 am in the morning, was the most intense spiritual warfare that I think I’ve witnessed in my entire life.   And it’s only the beginning. My enemy, without doubt, knows that I’m here, given the night I’ve had. 
If he knows and he’s reaching into his old bag of tricks, that means he’s worried.  And if he’s concerned, brothers and sisters, we’re on the right track.  A missionary friend I talked to said that maybe I’m just paranoid. The owner of the house said maybe I’m just hearing people on the street.  I don’t how to explain to them that what I’m hearing is very specific, and I think on a spiritual level.  I heard breathing right next to me once.   Something knocked over things in my room.  I heard the door knob turn.  I heard footsteps.  And I heard things throughout the night.  I wanted to sleep, but kept being stirred awake just as I would nod off.  Something would crash against door.
In the morning I’m going to try to find Andi’s dad, Saliba.  I want to tell him that he has a good boy, and God is watching him.  Emmanuel has insisted he come with me, even though I told him it’s not necessary.   

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