Sunday, October 30, 2011

It Just So Happens...

How Great is Our God?
None of the water we sampled could be tested by labs in the States. They all deemed it "too old".  The way it was explained to me, stronger bacteria eat the weaker bacteria.  Some bacteria takes over and others are no longer present after a period of time, so the testing becomes inaccurate.  Picture a cubic square mile of ocean, cordoned off from the rest of the sea. There just happens to be a couple of sharks passing through. Eventually, the sharks are going to eat the swordfish, the swordfish are going to eat the tuna, the tuna are going to eat the minnows.... and before you know it, there's just a couple of sharks in the water.  After a year, you look at that water and think, hmmmm, nothing but sharks in Haiti, when that isn't the case at all.

BUT, Todd sat next to Susan on the plane who happens to be good friends with a water specialist, Elise, who happens to be in Haiti.

Elise (and her beautiful accent) just happens to be passing through Cayes on Monday, on holiday, and it just so happens she's agreed to come out to Ti Rivier for a tour.  She works with end-point water purification, specifically, Chlorine dispensers....which ironically (it just so happens) is EXACTLY what we need to clean the water coming from the natural spring.   Can someone please give me the odds on this random event just 'happening' in the natural order of life?  How many coincidences can there be in life?

We had an intense meeting last night with the Ti Rivier community leaders.   If possible, we may use the monies donated to instead go towards replacing the nearly 20-year old pipes from the natural spring.    
For this to become a reality, we'd need to partner with some of the Haitians living in the United States.

I've signed a contract with IRD Drillers, but Enoc told me that as long as his trucks don't come out to the village, he could still return our money in full if we changed our mind.

We still can't guarantee that the water source in the natural spring isn't compromised, and Cholera is in almost every village around us, but with the possibility of the Chlorine dispensers, there's a real chance we could keep clean water in Ti Rivier, and keep Cholera out.
We're all curious to hear what Elise will have to say on Monday. :)

The Judeline Praise Project First Installment

Good Sunday Morning friends...
Today there is a breeze from the ocean coming across the bay.
The sky is golden with the sun.
My kids are out front playing with Oberline and Modeline.
They are giggling.
My wife has made them hot chocolate, and I'm sipping on some hot coffee thanks to Heather Babb and her french press that she left us.

God has given me pictures, words and sounds.  They are gifts that I can use to share His story.  I'm always taking pictures, and of course I'm always writing....
but today I thought I'd light up your sense of hearing, courtesy of Judeline Barthold.  She's agreed to embark on a new project with my family.   Basically, when she has time on Saturday's, she's going to come over and sing from the Haitian Songbook.   The purpose is two-fold.
First, my family can finally begin to learn and worship with the Haitians as we begin to learn their words.
Second, the girl sings for Jesus, and it's worth preserving, recording, so she can do her part in sharing with you, the story of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

So Much to Learn

Some days I feel the power of God.
Some days I find I’m under my own steam, and it’s usually a sorry place to be.
Today was both.

Late in the day I was on my way home from Cayes after checking out a local professional school for a young man that we support.  I could feel His protection.   
Cars, semi-trucks, motorcycles zipping by within inches, but I felt peace.   Passing through an intense 4 way intersection, in the randomness of it all, and there it is again....unmistakable, unnatural, undeserved...Peace.

I take in a big deep breath as I pass my favorite spot along the way home.  It always smells so fresh with sugar cane and corn. I’m going so fast the only thing holding my hat on my head is the drawstring.  The brim always flips up in the wind like I’m one of the Rough Riders riding saddle to saddle with Teddy Roosevelt. To the Haitians I’m a great amusement.  They always laugh when I pass by.  I’m sure I look completely ridiculous, but I honestly don’t care.   I’m not here of my own accord.  I’m here on account of Bondye.  I fill my lungs, growling like a pirate as I’m flying down the road.....”Arrrrrrrrrrrr! Thank you for this Lord!”
But this afternoon....
well that was different.

I was waiting for a Haitian friend of mine at the main road in our village.  One of the young ladies I admire most in Ti Rivier was there, waiting for a tap-tap to catch a ride to school.  She’s a Christian.  She stands out like an angel.  I waved at her. Her smile is warm and gracious.  Makes you proud to call her a Sister...
Standing next to her was a group of teenagers. Some girls.  Some boys.  
And all over the world it’s the same old story.  
Boys, inevitably, will try to impress the girls.
So, naturally, they look to me.  
The American is an easy enough target.  Especially this one.  He’s a ‘Missionary’, a ‘Jesus Freak’, and he can’t understand what we say so long as we talk fast.
I heard them beginning to rant.  I heard them beginning to mock me.  I looked over and saw Judeline’s face, once filled with such a beautiful smile, but now contorted and bothered.  It was obvious she was trying to make them stop.  She was standing up for me.
I glanced back at the young men.  One was trying to secretly take my picture on his phone. His friends were laughing until I’d look at them.  I could see smugness on their faces. 
I was in my own power.  It was not peaceful, and one of the most disturbing things to me is that it has it’s limits.  There’s not an endless supply like there is when I’m under God’s provision.  There’s a definite fuse.  And when I’m under my own steam, it’s like that leftover Blackjack you find at the bottom of the box on the 4th of July.  There’s a fuse, but it’s short.  You wonder if you dare to light it. 
Day in, Day out, I’ve heard this mocking.  It’s always been there.   Most days it doesn’t bother me a bit.  Today I felt my temperature rising each time I looked at them.  Another slur came out of their mouths...
That’s when my Haitian friend showed up to teach me.
“You ready to learn?” he asked me. It was time for my Creole class.   
“Yeah, you know why??  Because I’m getting sick and tired of this crap!”
My friend just gave me this surprised look. 
“You see this?   These guys standing here making fun of me, because they know I can’t understand.  They think I can’t tell by their tone that they are mocking me?  You know why I’d like to learn?  Because if I don’t, I’m going to go over and knock this guy flat!”
I pointed right at him, and as I looked at the guy, he jumped. 
“What did he just say?!” I asked.  My teeth were gritted.
“He just told you to close your f-ing mouth.” My friend said.
I began to growl.

“How do you say ‘my mouth is open’?”  (As if that were intelligent or witty at all)  My Creole kicked in...
I started walking back towards the guys.  My steps were forceful. They were scared.  One looked like he was going to run.  He changed his mind when he thought of how much ridicule that would bring at school.  I literally saw that thought flash through his brain.  The other just looked the other way, as if he’d had no part in this at all.
“Hey!”  I pointed at him.  “Can you hear me?”
“Yeah. You.” “Can you Hear me? Am I speaking in your language?”
“My mouth is open MY BROTHER!”
I could have said a thousand things beneficial.  I could have given glory to God.  I could have simply reminded them, ‘Jezi renmen ou,’ 
Nope.   All I could think of mouth is open?
Good Lord. 
I have so, so much to learn.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Local Faces 5: Germaine

Germaine lives up the hill from Mission Haiti.
My family came to visit her this week, to say hello and also to giver her a letter from Talix Babb.
We heard recently that one of the two women that help take of her passed away herself, and when we got to her house, Germaine was alone.
Her situation is very difficult.  She's accepted Christ, and now she waits.
"How are you today Germaine?"
"I'm just waiting to die now." She'll say.
And she is indeed.

In the weeks I've been here, she's not moved from her little bed.  Her day in, day out, is spent staring at the ceiling.
This time, there were ants crawling on her.
We gave her the letter from Talix, Olgens read scripture to her, and we prayed for her.
"I am going to Cayes this week. Is there anything you need me to get for you?  I know you like sweets."
"I would like diapers." She said.

It didn't register with me right away, but she was basically asking for Depends, because it's now too hard for her to sit up and move into the makeshift porta-potty next to her bed.

"No sweets?"
"Diapers." She said again.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pressing and Straining

‘Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’ ~Paul

To sum it up, Paul knew God wasn’t finished working on him, and none of us are really ever done being refined.  We are a work in progress.
As I tried to teach this to the kids today, we used a new favorite family task, making Citron Juice.  

Ya-Yan taught me first how to make this scrumptious juice one night over at Adrien’s.  She said I needed a Pres and Pwase, (a press and a strainer).  So, one day in Cayes I went on a hunt into the part of the city market Where the Wild Things Are, a dark and dreamlike, netherworld type of place, filled with soot, flames, and faces in the shadows. It was strange to me to go looking for kitchen appliances in a place like this, but in the end I came out with my prizes.  One shiny, aluminum press and a plastic strainer.  
The way I explained it to the kids, we’re all just citrons.  

First, each of us needs to be washed, then our hearts are torn by the realization of what Christ endured for us.  We all are eventually crushed by God, the press.  He takes our raw form and molds us to His.   
This begins our refining, as we pass through Jesus, our strainer.  All of the crud and junk is caught in the fine mesh, and out the other end comes pure juice.   We’re still sour as can be though, and that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in, to sweeten us up so we taste good.  

I was reminded today that God is not yet finished with me either.  I’m not ready to be polished and put up on the glass shelf with the spotlights.  I have too many flaws and blemishes.  
I needed to get to Cayes and pay for the paperwork to get my papers for the scooter, so I got up early to get a head start. 
Almost to the city, I came upon a police checkpoint. Benson and Patchouko were with me.  I asked if we should turn around, since I didn’t have the proper papers yet, but Benson said he was certain we’d be allowed to pass, 
“Drive right by the policeman. He’ll allow you to pass.”

Even then it sounded too good to be true. But I’ve seen stranger things in Haiti, so I gave it a try.
Just as I was about to make a break for it, the officer jumped out in front of me with those classic hand gestures;  Halt, and Move-it-to-the-Shoulder-Slick.
I showed him my papers, but he just shrugged me off and continued to point to the shoulder of the road, where there were other unfortunate motorists with long faces....
Benson began to argue my case that we were literally on our way to the police station to file for the paperwork, and this was a new scooter, but the man didn’t care. 
To the shoulder he pointed.  
Benson was just about to give it another try, but then came a shift in the attitude of the officer, which sounded more like,
“If you want to stand here and argue with me I’ll just shoot you in the face.”  
They rolled my bike to the side and another officer took my key out of the ignition and put it in his pocket.  
Point well made, Mr. Officer.

For the rest of my day I sat at the police station in Cayes.
Eventually my friends left and I sat by myself, waiting for a magical piece of green paper with somebody’s signature on it to give me the stamp of approval to leave.  

After the first couple of  hours I realized as other Haitians were coming and going, that I was waiting just because someone decided I needed to wait.   I watched the officer who first took my keys, coming and going, coming and going, throughout the day.  I would have opted for a good stare-down, but he wouldn’t look at me.  He simply didn’t care. 

I called my wife to let her know I didn’t know when or if I would be coming home today or not, and she reminded me that God may have a purpose in me being stuck there. 
“Yes, Yes Dear.  I’ll try to keep that in mind.”  And I really did try, for the next hour, to stay positive. Even sang a couple of worship songs out loud as I waited on the bench. 
Sang one in Creole, loud enough for the officer to hear me too....Yes.  Somewhere along the way I succumbed to my self.

It was sometime around 1, after the officers had all taken a break for lunch, that I began to let my imagination drift, and that’s when I recognized exactly what I’d been teaching the kids early this morning....God’s not finished with me yet. How might I know this, you might ask?

When they gave me the little green paper, which had been sitting on the officer’s desk most of the afternoon, along with a smirk, all I wanted to do was spin a giant cookie on the blue tile entry way, at least 3 times around to really lay down some rubber.  I wanted to see jaws drop and eyes wide as saucers. I wanted to give them my best Clint Eastwood impression, “You won’t catch me...but I dare you to try.” and then peel out the front gates and disappear down the boulevard, maybe with a couple of bullets zinging past my ears...

How’s that work for a missionary?  Where’s the love, the forgiveness, the servant heart, the joy, the peace, the patience, the kindness... you know, all that good fruit?
Well, mine sat out in the sun on a hot wooden police bench all day.  Citron is a natural preservative.  Sprinkled on fruit and vegetables it makes them last longer... I had no citron. My fruit was rotten.
Yep. God’s not quite finished with me yet.

On my way home, passing through the last river on my scooter - yes, crossing The Little River --I found God's sense of humor.  There's a new, deep hole in the middle, and of course I drove right into it.  I could've used a snorkel.  All the locals had a good laugh.  
Ah yes, the crazy-driving white boy is back, and God washed another one of His citrons.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Local Faces 4: Judeline

Judeline impresses me all the time.   From the first day I heard her singing praises in churches until today, she's always wowing me.   I've seen her sweeping the paths, washing laundry, cooking on the main street, picking up garbage, and attending youth group.

She taught me how to make patte, then she came and taught my wife as well.  She started the first women's discipleship group with her friend Tatsi, and she was the first to ask me for a Haitian/English dictionary.  I see her reading it when I go by her house.  The girl is passionate about learning.

She watches over the family when her mother is away working, and she goes with her father, who is a fisherman, when there's alot of work to be done.

This girl is 17.  Do you know any 17 year old's so ambitious?

Tatsi and Abby

To the Haitians, if it's cloudy and rainy, it's time to be indoors, warm, dry and cooking, maybe with some coffee or hot tea.  Swimming is not anywhere near the top of their list, so I was surprised when my daughter asked Tatsi to go swimming and she agreed.  Abby grabbed her big brother's goggles and into the ocean they plunged. Tatsie loved looking under the water.  She'd dive down under the waves, and when she'd resurface, her smile was priceless.

I think she went swimming with my daughter out of pure etiquette.  In short, the foreigner asked, and so she was obliged to do the neighborly thing and accept.
They understand this act of love so much more than we do.   Giving of yourself, dying to yourself, looking out for the interests of others, more than your own...
It's something we have to be taught in our Bibles, because we're taught to look out for Number 1, and we live in a world of Me's....
How often have I heard myself saying, "No. I don't really feel like doing that right now.  I'm not in the mood.  I'm busy."
But to a Haitian it's different.
Hospitality is something natural in the Haitian culture.

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like–minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.' Phil 2:1-4

Local Faces 3: Onell

This is Onell.
He is my neighbor.  He is also very watchful and protective with my kids, when a not-so-nice boy comes around.  He's always asking me if I'm good on coconuts, and he tells me if I need some he'd climb up and get them.    He has a son, named Onellson, who is just the same way. Always a smile.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Many Waters

It felt so good to see them all again.  
One of the guys at the airport, named Big, had permission from all of the security guards to walk right up to the final security check.   Peeking into the baggage claim, the first things I saw was my daughter’s bobbing pony-tail.  Next was my son, a little stockier than I remembered, then Todd Boote, looking both frazzled and excited at the same time, and finally my wife, relieved, with a huge smile on her face.  We grabbed all of the bags and made our way to Cloudel, the man waiting with the passenger van.  

We began zipping across Haiti at break-neck speeds.
It’s like Nascar with commercial vehicles.   I always feel like there should be a commentator calling the plays.  

“Ooooh!  Boy I tell ya, Jim!  Juuuuuuusst narrowly missed the old Haitian man with the wheelbarrow!  Cloudel sure knows how to drive!  Another inch at these miles per hour, and that man would have been smeared all over the road.  This hairpin moment, brought to you by Digicell.  You need to talk in Haiti...well, well, need Digicell.....
Back after these messages...”

Ok. Even I don’t know where I just drifted off to there, but you get the idea.   I’ve learned to just turn it over to God and enjoy the ride. If He intended us to come all the way to Haiti to just get smeared on the side of the road, well, ok, you died in the line of duty.  But if He’s got something more planned, you may as well enjoy doing 80 up and down the mountains and around the hairpin turns, as if we’re somehow fleeing for our lives from a killer volcano!  Today’s best video games are not as exciting as real life Haiti.  Not even close!

Wham! He hits the brakes.  Slam, he’s on the gas.  Bam, you’re sliding off your seat to the left.  Whoooooo-eeeeee! 
For all that gusto, you’d think nothing in the world would stop Cloudel, right?  I mean, this guy’s a die-hard. 
That is until we popped out into the floodplains of Cayes.

Suddenly there’s water in the ditches.  Water on the roads.  Water running down the hillsides.  Water pelting the windshield... 
Cloudel looks nervously at Patchouko. Patchouko looks at me...the jig is up.
“Dan,” He says.  “Are you going to call ahead and see about the water?”
I flash a crazed look at Patchouko.  He gives me a surprised look back, and none of my eyebrow language is working, because Patchouko just smiles at me....Cloudel is looking at me in the rear view mirror.....
As if scripted, I say, “Surrrreee, Patchouko.... and then I mutter to him, “That was not the plan, brother. The plan was NOT to tell our driver about all the water.”  
That’s your plan?” Kari says. “And then what?”
“Then we hope the water has gone down.” I said.  

Cloudel raises one eyebrow....
I start dialing, and Adrien is on the phone,
“It’s only raining in Cayes.  You should be able to make it.”
“Great!” I say loud as I can, “No problem? Should be easy, you say?  Good news! Thanks!”    I’m smiling big as I can. 
Cloudel isn’t buying it for a second.  
Everyone in the car is noticing there’s more, and more, and more water piling up.  The fields are lakes.  The roads are rivers.


And then we came to it.  The second largest river in Haiti, gushing over the road!  Hundreds of Haitians had gathered to watch the excitement.  The river was now over 5 miles wide, washing away the rice fields and pouring 3-4 feet over the blacktop.  It was a scene that resembled some nightly news flash, like one of those shows where you see the capsized cars and buses floating on your TV and you say, “That’ll never be me....Who in their right mind would try to cross something like that??!”

Yet there I stood, trying to convince our driver that his carburetor was certainly higher than that current of water, if we just took it slow.  “C’mon man.... this is possible.  It’s do-able, right? I mean, that truck just made it across!”
Granted that truck looks like a monster truck, and it’s tires come half way up the side of our doors, but....
He just kept shaking his head.
“Ou pa kapab?” (You can’t?”)
“NO! Mwen pa kapab!” He shouted, shrugging his shoulders, with his hands up in the air.  

But then there was my friend Adrien, with his perfect timing, coming down the road just behind us.  He was bringing the Mission Haiti missionaries home to our village...and he was going for it! But they were already loaded down with people and supplies. There wasn’t enough room for us all.

We made a split-second decision.  
“OK! Kari, you and the kids, leave everything, hop in with Adrien.  Todd, you go ahead with them.  I’ll stay back with all of the luggage and gear.  Patchouko, you can fit with them and go home to your family!”  (He’d been with me all through the night, and all through the morning).
And it was at that moment my brother was most like the Light of Christ.  He turned to me, his face stern and his eyebrows furled, 
“No!  I am with you.  I stay with you.”
There was no changing his mind, and the way he said it, I knew better than to even try. 

Adrien’s car, loaded with missionaries, loved one’s and supplies, began settling into the waters.  The river flowed all around them.   I prayed quick breath prayers until I couldn’t see them anymore. 
“Get them home, Lord.”
“Please protect them. Please don’t let me watch this car get swept away God!”
“Keep that car on the road?”
“Watch over them, Jesus.” 

Patchouko loaded into the passenger van with me and Cloudel turned us around.  We went back to Cayes and then to the driver’s house, and began our wait. 
The rain fell. Hours passed.  We bought some patte from the madame on the street.  Patchouko laughed at me for nodding off while I was sitting up.  We played my guitar (part of the luggage). We waited some more. 
“This has happened to me many times.” Patchouko said.
Finally Adrien called me,
“Dan.  I’m sorry. I can’t come back for you.  The roads are too bad.  The water is just too high.  We made it to Ti Rivier,  your family is here, but I can’t make it back, sorry.”

Ok...I thought.  Guess we need to shack up in Cayes tonight?”   There’s only 1 person I know in this town.
Mr. Shane Shaw.  Missionary extrordinaire, mentor, brother. 
I called his number, thinking I really need to call this guy, just once, and only be calling to bless him. 
“I guess we’re staying in Cayes tonight.” I told him.
“You can’t get home?”  Shane asked.
“Nope.  Adrien can’t do it.” 
“Then I guess I’m coming to pick you up and give you a ride to Ti Rivier tonight, so you can be with your family.” He said to me.   

All the way through the miles of river, Shane was relaxed.  
“I’ve seen it as bad as this before.  Maybe not so many miles, but I’ve had the water higher than this before.  Once it even came up over the windshield and splashed the guys riding in the bed of the truck.” Please don’t let the water go any higher, Lord. 
“God woke me up at 2 am.”  Shane said. “Been praying and trying to reach you ever since.”

We made it through the waters.  We made it through the washed out mudslide.  We made it through 3 more rivers to our home in Ti Rivier, and we made it to my family, because of these brothers in Christ.   

From a brother who felt God telling him to escort my family, to a brother who felt it was his duty to help me get to Cayes, to a brother who decided he was going to go with me all the way to Port-au-Prince, to a brother who carried my family through the water, to a brother who picked us up when all seemed lost and brought me and Pachouko safely home to our families.
Todd Boote.  Frantz (Patchouko) Antenor.  Adrien Alexandre.  Shane Shaw.    
These are names I’ll never forget.  Men who know how to humble themselves.  Men who know how to give everything they’ve got.  Men who know how to lay it all on the line for another..... Men who know how to imitate Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 43 meant something more to us all that night.’
‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.’

(all photos courtesy of my son: Logan Elliott.  I admire his work more and more every day.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Sun is Rising

We passed over the last of 4 rivers with Adrien at the wheel, hands at 10 and 2.  He was sitting astute in the drivers seat, on full alert. It was half past midnight.
“That was the one I was most worried about.”  
We’d made it to Cayes, said our goodbyes and jumped on the closest bus that was about to leave.  There was room, just enough, to squeeze on.  

If you’ve ever been on a rollercoaster, that’s what a public bus in Haiti is like, except there are not safety bars or seatbelts.  You rocket down the country’s only blacktop road at death defying speeds. A young woman next to me is cradled into her seat like a baby.  She’s singing a Christian song in Creole.  It’s peacefully familiar.

It’s pitch black.  And you are crammed in.  A man’s elbow was in between my shoulder blades for most of the 4 hour trip.  When his elbow wasn’t in my back, his hand was on my head.  The smells are absolutely intense.  There is no air-conditioning, except for when the exit door opens.  The Haitians slam it shut immediately, and all possibilities of fresh air are snuffed out, because it’s October, the rainy season, and they consider this to be cold weather. I’m sweating.  The bus jerks to the right and to the left, and you all slam into the side of the bus as if you are one.  You’re all touching, shoulder to shoulder, and so when one falls we all fall.  My stomach starts to churn.  I’m thinking, 
‘Dear God,  If I puke here, it’s going to be in my lap, which means Patchouko is going to puke, and the guy next to me, and the girl in front of me...we’ll have a nasty, nasty chain reaction and the most memorable bus ride of our lives...’  It’s 3am.... Your head bobs every direction, you drift in and out of consciousness.

We finally arrived in Port, and somewhere around 4 we pulled into the bus station. Patchouko jumped off to go to the bathroom and then popped his head in. 
“Dan. Come!”

He’d found a taxi.
It was dark and soon as we got in, the man raised the price.  We went from 60 Haitian to 80, which was more than even the bus ride to cross the country.  
“No thanks.” I said, and we got out.  Patchouko kept telling me, 
“I think this is good. We should go back and take it.” 
It was dark, there were people all around. 
“We should go back.”  He said again.
“Doesn’t it bug you that he raised the price like that?” I said.
“No.  We should take it. It’s good.”  He was acting a little anxious.”
“.....Ok.  If you think so.”  

We got in and off we went, down back alleys, completely dark roads, zigging and zagging through the No-Man’s-Land in the middle of Port-au-Prince.  I kept my eyes on Patchouko, watching his reactions.  I remember thinking if we were being kidnapped, I had no clue where we were.  With all the lefts and rights I was turned around.  There were no longer any landmarks, just rows of shanties, little shacks as far as you could see.  A man could disappear in there.  The Haitian sitting next to me kept staring at me, but then when I’d look at him, he’d quickly look away. 

I was reaching the limits of my ability to remain calm, rehearsing in my mind what it would look like to jump from the car, and just at the right time, the driver turned on his radio and began flipping through channels.  
Creole station,  Creole radio-talk show, Creole Jam, Creole Rap, French news......and then came one song, in English, Christian, which was exactly what I needed.   The words came across the speakers.... “He is Near.”
I took in a big gulp of air and let it go.  I smiled. The rest of the ride was peaceful, so much that the Haitian next to me probably thought I was high. 
We popped out of a side road, and there was the airport.  The driver brought us directly to the police station across the street and told Patchouko we’d be safe there.  

As we walked into the station all relaxed and casual, the policemen inside were all exactly the opposite.  They were on guard, tense, and very uneasy.... with me!  
Alot of dialog passed between Patchouko and the officers.
“What’s the problem?” I said.
“They are very nervous because of your machete. They are a sign of violence in Port, and he can see the handle sticking out of your pack.”  He said.
“Ohhhhhh!  Whoops.  Sorry.  Didn’t know that little bit of information.”   How crazy, to come all the way across Haiti from our small village, and now that I’m at the airport waiting for my family, I’m going to get thrown into a jail cell.   What an idiot I am!  Can you imagine walking into a police station in the States with a 44 mag?  Same results...

Patchouko explained to them that I came from a small rural village outside of Cayes, and we all have machetes there.  :)
“Cover it up.” The officer told me.  
“Yes Sir.” I snapped to, wrapping my rain coat around the hilt. 

Patchouko breathed a little easier, so of course I did too, but the policeman just kept staring at me. Other officers would come in, and he’d tell them I have a machete, so every officer that came in that morning would turn and look at me from head to toe, sizing me up.  
“You know back at the bus station?” Patchouko casually mentioned.
“That was a very dangerous place.  It was unsafe.”
“Really?” I said.
“Yes, that’s why I wanted to take the taxi.”
“Brother, I really need to know that kind of stuff. I had no idea.”
Patchouko just smiled.   Of course I have no idea. 
“What about that taxi ride?” I said. “I was half-thinking we were getting kidnapped until I heard that song.”
“Oh no.  I knew where we were.  I felt like he was from God, because right when we got off the bus, he was there, and taxis don’t run that early.  I could tell right away he was a professional, experienced driver.”  He said.
“So I pretty much don’t know anything.  Good to know.” I said.  

Patchouko just smiled.  I began to imagine seeing my wife and kids and Mr. Todd Boote, coming out of the airport.  Just 2 more hours, and...can it be....ahhhhhh yes, the sun is rising. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

God's Peculiar Treasure!

The rain was falling, harder, harder. 
The lightning was flashing, the thunder rolling.
I was packed.  Ready to go.  I’d checked my gear two and three times.  I was fully prepared for my trek across Haiti.
It was dark and the power was still on.  It was a privileged bonus  as I was waiting to leave.  
Just two days before I’d gotten the message from Todd that he felt he was supposed to escort my family to Haiti. Arrangements were made to meet my wife and kids at the airport in Port, so at first I didn't understand the purpose of his visit, but I realized early on that if God wanted him to come here, I wasn't going to hinder that plan. Todd was sure he was supposed to come, God had a reason, and so I welcomed his coming.  

That same day I found I might be traveling by myself.  Patchouko wasn’t sure if he could come with me.  The thought of making the trip alone was daunting, and something I’d began turning over to the Lord.  I didn’t know how, but I wasn’t going to give up.
But then, in the morning, Patchouko arrived at my door and told me he could come.  I made sure I wasn’t going to interfere with his job, and he assured me all was well.  I breathed easier, thanking God for His provision through my friend. 

As we sat down to make our plans, I asked him,
“How are we going to get to Cayes?”
“Maybe we take a tap-tap?”
“Where will we stay until the bus comes at 1am?” I asked. Already I’d been warned that it’s not a safe place to wait.
“Maybe at a hotel lobby, some place that isn’t closed?” He said.
“Hmmmmm.” I said, thinking, ‘Well, God will protect.
Just then my cell phone buzzed.
“Hello Dan! This is Adrien.  I’m just wondering how you are going to get to Cayes?” 
“We weren’t quite sure yet.” I told him.
“How about I come and pick you up in my car at 11pm, and I’ll drop you guys off at the bus station?” 
I just smiled.  When we got off the phone I told Patchouko, and we both just laughed. 
“God is so good! Do you see how much He cares? Even about the tiniest details?”
“Yes!” said Patchouko.  “God has made a way.”

At 7 pm that night I sat down for some spiritual supper. I wanted to dig into a nice, tender cut of scripture before I left on our journey, to chew on it and savor it during the trip.
I read from Malachi 3, of this classic argument between God and His people.  Any mom or dad would understand this passage.  God is in this parent role, about to just lay down the discipline, and the people are like the little kids, arrogant, blind to their poor attitude, dignified in their rebellious hearts.  Everything God says, they question.  Oh!  How many times have I had a conversation like this with my own son! 
Father: “Your say your room is clean but it isn’t.”
Son: “Why isn’t it clean?”
Father: “You say you will respect your mother, but then you just  slammed your door while she was talking to you.”
Son: “I didn’t slam it, I closed it...hard.”
Father: “Didn’t I just tell you not to do that?!”
Son: “Not to do what?”

Anyway, you get the picture?  It doesn’t take long before it’s just time to lay down some good old fashioned discipline. That’s this passage of scripture.   

God’s about to just let ‘em have it!  But then he hears something...
‘Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on His name.  
And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My Jewels, My special possession, My peculiar treasure.‘   (amp version)
Wow!  At a time when I’m considering how we can best be valued by our God, and then I read this nugget of gold!  To think that I can be so valuable to Him to be called His Jewel, His peculiar treasure!  And why?  Because of my own success or skills?  No.  Because of my own training, my own abilities?  No.
Because I fear the Lord.  Because He looks into my heart and searches me.  I’m valuable beyond riches, when what He finds is genuine love.  Nothing false.  Nothing masked.  Just honest, core-of-my-being affection and respect for my Creator...My Daddy.

It was just after I’d read that and I was turning it over, that a flash of lightning made the whole house jump with thunder.  My phone rang.  
“Dan!  This is Adrien!” 
“Yes?!”  We were shouting because the rain was pounding so hard it made it hard to hear anything else.
“I don’t think we can make it!” 
“What?!?!”  I shouted, this time not so much because of the rain. 
“Go and check the river!  See what you think!” He said.
I hung up the phone, threw on my hat and my raincoat and hit the door running.   ‘No, no, no, no!’ was all I could think as I approached the river.  Before I was close enough to shine my flashlight, I could hear it raging.  The road I was walking down was a river of its own.  
By the time I reached the edge, my soul was downcast!
There in front of me was The Little River.... screaming past me with white-water rapids.  The Little River wasn’t so Little anymore!

Patchouko came down from his home.  He began to laugh,
“I’ve never seen it this bad!” He said.
“ NOT encouraging brother!”  I shouted.
“We have to give up.” He said.  “We cannot cross.”
My heart was sinking.  My thoughts were scattering, 
‘What about my family, coming into Haiti on the other side?  And I won’t be there?’   

I went home.  Patchouko went to bed.  Adrien said maybe tomorrow?  I lit my kerosene lantern.  I opened my Bible, but I couldn’t read any of the words.  They were just a blur.  I prayed. I prayed.  I prayed more. 
‘I’m helpless Lord.  I’m angry!  I’m cut off from my this...this.... RIVER!  ARGGHGHGHGH!’
I decided to take a shower, and then I layed my head down on the pillow, alone with just my headlamp, my phone, my machete and I....

‘I’ll never be able to sleep.  What now, Lord? What’s next? How?’
My thoughts drifted in and out between prayer, over and over.   Todd's purpose for coming was beginning to dawn on me.
Then the phone rang.  It was midnight, and Adrien was calling?
“Do you want to give it a try? The rain has almost stopped, and the river should be down.”
“ABSOLUTELY!”  I was already running, dialing Patchouko.
He’d been sleeping and he wasn’t thinking clearly yet,
“Can you come?! We’re going!?  Now?!” I shouted.
“Y--ye----yes!  Wi! M’ap vinne! I’m coming!” 
There in front of me was the river, still moving a great deal of water, but most importantly, PASSABLE!   It was like God had turned off the tap!   

The impossible became possible, and that was just the beginning!

Friday, October 14, 2011


We got up at 4am so Todd could begin his journey back home to his wife and kids.. During his time here I've made a point to stay off of the computer because I wanted to use every second he had here.  Driving the motorcycles in the dark, the rain was held back and the breeze was nice and cool.  The sun rose just as we were coming into Cayes.
We made it to the little island hopper airport as the man came with the keys to open the gates, and Todd was delivered safe and sound to Tortug Air, for the first leg of his ride home.  He was about to have a beautiful sunrise flight over the country of Haiti at about 1000 feet altitude.  
As we said our last goodbyes and the wheels of his plane left the runway, I knew I’d miss him. 
His service, his friendship, his love, and his compassion for God is contagious, and I’ve really enjoyed his fellowship.

I’m thinking as I’m writing this, he is in a full state of decompression. I remember my first trip home.  It was only after I’d re-entered America that the floodgates opened and my thoughts began to just pour over me.  Some of my most overwhelming emotions occurred in an airport full of people, beginning with an awareness of being completely alone, feeling like nobody in the world would ever understand me again.    
Maybe it will be different for Todd. Maybe He will be a mouthpiece for the Lord and have the ability to convey what he’s experienced here, in ways that I couldn’t.
For some reason my mind drifts to this passage as I think of his return home...
‘Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.’ Phil 2:29-30
This week has been mind blowing.  It’s near impossible to know just where to begin in describing to you how present and in control God has been. Showing us time after time, that He has a plan.  One after the other, He’d draw us to scripture that would completely outline and define the extraordinary circumstances we were faced with, and always with the underlying theme of “I’ve got this handled.”  
The Living Word of God was so alive, leaving us all with the feeling, “Why do we ever doubt?”  In fact, Todd’s nugget for yesterday was this: 
‘In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.’ Psalm 11:1 
And as I sat here reminiscing of His innumerable blessing this week, I told my wife, “There’s just so much.  I just don’t even know where to begin!”  Todd can verify this claim: He literally rescued us this week.  He gathered us.  He protected us.  He delivered us.  He renewed us.  He carried us.  He provided for us.  He helped us.  He reassured us. He answered us... and there is a story, an amazing story, behind each one!
She laughed and said, “That’s really funny,  because my nugget from yesterday was:
‘You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;  none can compare with you!  I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are  more than can be told.  Psalm 40:5’

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nets in the Storm

I watched these brave souls for almost an hour, battling just to get into position to bring in their nets.
If they leave them, the hungry ocean would wash them, and their livelihood out to sea.  It's how my friend Benson lost his.   Hurricane ate them for lunch...

You remember that scene in the Bible where the fisherman are caught in the storm....and Jesus is sleeping?!
They wake him up, frantic, and he just hushes the storm.  

Shush now!.... and its calm.
I can understand that a little more today.
The man at the bow was frantic.  They would bounce up on the wave, then dip down into the froth, and I'd see in his hand a bucket.   He was scooping out water fast as he could, just so they'd stay afloat.

Oh you of little faith....I joke from the beach.  :)  These guys have my respect.


Church today was under the outdoor tent while the rain came down.  I have a new appreciation for tents.  I want God to be my tent.  To cover over me. To shelter me.  Protect me...

I don't understand everything that happens during the service, but there are certain parts that I'm absolutely in love with, and I'll miss them the day I leave this place.
First, as we pray, in the midst of the flood of Creole words, I hear them crying out to their Father.  In their language, it's foreign of course and not yet familiar, but then I hear them cry out, "Papa!"

It sends goosebumps down my arms, because in a breath, it doesn't matter where on Earth I stand...instantly I enter into that intimate place.  I'm talking to my Papa...and everything is suddenly tender and personal.  I'm reminded this isn't about the show, and it's not about me.  It's about a relationship.

I hear words poke through...

"Thank you."

"You can, God!  You can!"


I hear respect in their voices.  I hear joy. I hear desperation.

I hear gratefulness.  I hear peace.  I hear excitement.  I hear passion.

The pastor is so excited he can't stand still.  He's waving his arms all over.  He jumps up and down, then tries to regain his composure....then he can't help it and his voice raises a couple of octaves.

He's screaming.   It's like watching the Haitian Francis Chan, and I know he's plugged into the Spirit.

When they sing, they know I can't make the words.  They hum an entire stanza.  I can participate then.  I hum with them.

Then we clap.  Boy, do we clap.  We clap like there ain't no tomorrow!  We clap like we're trying to make it thunder in our beet-red hands.   There is no worship band. There's a man on a hand drum.  He's playing that little drum so hard his hand might punch right through it.

We got rhythm!  A Caribbean Jam!

The voices of the people, that is the melody, that is the music!

We move, too!  Do we ever move.  We're rockin back and forth from our heels to our toes, the girls are doing that Haitian swing from side to side.  Arms are waving.

Prayer is shouted.  Literally, shouted!   And all at once.

Nobody cares!  We all just praise the Lord.  We worship.  We beg.  We plead. We give thanks.  We ask.

I am thankful to be in the fellowship of the saints.

We pour out.

And He fills us up again, whatever language we speak!

That is church.


Saturday, October 8, 2011


I don't get the privilege of claiming this as my own.  It's from the Message Bible.  I just really liked it today:

‘The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It's written,   I'll turn conventional wisdom on its head,   I'll expose so-called experts as crackpots.   So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn't God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation. 
While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God's ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can't begin to compete with God's "weakness." 
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God."’  1 Cor 1 (The Message)


A close friend and brother (that I love and very much respect) said something that struck me this week. 
“As of today, I am most valuable here, not there.   When I am most valuable there, I will be there.”

It really got me thinking about the perspective of value.
It begs the question, “Who places your value?”
We are just the jars of clay, formed and created by the Potter.  Do we get to decide that?

If we aim to please God, isn’t it the Owner who gets to choose what articles are in His house?  It’s really only up to us sometimes to choose which vessel we will be in this life.  I can choose either to be a fine China gravy boat, useful in pouring out the Message, hot and spicy, transforming the otherwise bland into bliss, or I can be the trash can in the corner, useful only to hold and take out the garbage. Wesley puts it this way, "Yet a vessel even of gold may be put to the vilest use, though it was not the design of Him that made it."

When it comes to value, that’s for His glory to decide, not ours.

I wonder, where and when did Paul think he was most valuable?
Early on, I’m betting it was it when he was dragging Christians out of their homes, persecuting any man, woman or child in the name of the Law.  He was top of the class then, a real go-getter, filled up in his flesh. 
As Paul held the coats of the men who were stoning Stephen, I imagine our Masterful Creator looked over at this man and thought,  ‘I will draw you to Me.  I will transform you.  You think you are wise.  I make fools of the wise. You think you are stomping out the Christians, but you will write half of my New Testament.  Millions will come to Me because of you.  You will lose everything because of me, and then, then my little vessel, you will be valuable.’

To Paul, he was probably as scholarly and educated as he thought he’d ever be, busting at the seems to finally put all that learning to use and make a dent in this world, that is until God re-educated his entire perspective of faith and Jesus Christ... in the space of a few seconds. 

Suddenly, this scholar who’d learned under the best teachers in the world, would go on to later count all of that as worse than rubbish, a waste, just for the greatness of knowing Christ.  He realized late in life, but not too late, that it wasn’t about where he felt he was most valuable, it was about Who considered him to be of value, and how available he was to Him.  
After he came to that notion, the man was recklessly abandoned.  He would’ve gone anywhere, anytime, for Jesus.  He gave up everything, all that was of value to his former life.  His list of credentials flipped, from man’s perspective, to God’s:

‘Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.’ 2 Cor 11

I dare you to put that on your next resume.  To even consider that an accomplishment!  We strive for success, for recognition, for a measure of profit.  For security and financial legacy.  We aim for dollar signs and status.  We measure in vacations and automobiles. We need to see the pot filled with treasure before we can call the day a win...and being busy, well, that’s our badge of honor.  We wear it proudly, being so occupied that we’re out of breath when someone asks about our day...yeah, feels good to be  So valuable!

Maybe it was while he was clinging to some driftwood, shipwrecked in the middle of the Mediterranean, that he came to understand that God’s economy was completely different.  Maybe as he was being obedient to the point of being whipped and beaten, wholly available and ready to die for the Gospel, God was smiling down at him, saying “Look at my treasure.  Look at the value of my boy! There are many articles in My House.  Some are noble, some are not.  But just look at this one, would you just look at my child!  Good Job boy!”

Our value is not based on anything but the valuable price of Jesus Christ on the cross, for without His triumph we could never amount to anything.  Without His victory we are bankrupt.  Without His sacrifice, we labor and toil in vain.  


The ocean is churning today.  It’s angry.  Instead of blue and emerald, it’s frothing hot chocolate.  
I didn’t know it could do that.  

Last night and all day yesterday was rain and loads of it. The wind picked up and we had a good storm, with intense waves grinding up onto the beach  The rivers swelled and all that ground water came gushing down into the sea. So instead of blue, today, it’s dark mocha brown.  

I wonder if I’d read in a text book about oceans, how long it might take me to learn what I can plainly see happening before my eyes? 
Maybe I’d read a whole volume on oceans, and never come to that tidbit of knowledge?  Maybe whoever wrote all the volumes on oceans never thought it was pertinent information, so they left it out. Maybe I could read my whole life, and never look up and out.  I could never get my feet wet. Never experience the booming, curling rush of the wave slamming against me.
Does God see me, so fat with knowledge and yet so lacking in real-life.

Sometimes, I’m as ugly as the ocean today.
So are you.
Aren’t you glad God doesn’t judge us by our cover? By how we appear?
On the ugly days, He still finds beauty. ‘How!?’ We think...yet it’s true.  He still gives mercy and grace and tenderness, even when we’re churning.
And on our pristine days, when we feel immaculate, He can still peer inside and see what we’ve kept hidden.

Yesterday it was raining so hard, I couldn’t help it.  I stripped down and stepped out into some serious water pressure. :)  I took a nice, natural shower.  It would have been great had I ended it there, but I happened to look over and see an amazing amount of water falling off of my roof.  
It looked so good!
Hundreds of gallons just cascading right off onto the ground.  So I stuck my head under it, then my whole body.  It was pounding!  Awesome!  
‘I wonder how clean this is....wonder if I could drink it?’ I thought.
So I grabbed a clear plastic cup and filled it.  
Whoa!  I’d have been just as well to take my bath in the Carmel Latte Sea!  
And I’m paying for it today.  My eyes are swollen, I have a headache, and I’m just not on top of my game.
It looked good from a distance...
Another lesson learned today, and at no extra charge!

‘Therefore, as God’s chosen people (because you really are!) holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves (over your dirty underwear) with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other (tolerate the garbage) and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another (because your brothers and sisters are eventually gonna tick you off). Forgive as the Lord forgave you (because you’re just as annoying, and undeserving).  And over all these virtues put on love, (lay yourself DOWN) which binds them all together (and cuts out all of your selfishness) in perfect unity.’  Colossians 3:12-14. 
Out of respect to the churning ocean, I decided to mix in my thoughts along with the verse today. 

P.S. Tomorrow I'm supposed to have the final distribution with the Mountain church.  But with the weather, I'm not sure if anyone will come down.  After that I'm thinking I'll be out of Bibles.  Before I go to buy more, I'll be going to Port to pick up my family....and Mr. Todd Boote, one of my brothers from my prayer group.  Please add our travels to your prayers.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Pipeline of Grace...

Today it is pouring outside.   Heavy sheets of rain are falling.
I was thinking about the well, about the natural spring that the villagers use here.  My mind was dwelling on the different options.  Part of me plays the advocate.  Did I come here for Bibles, or to dig wells and lay pipe?  

The other side of me answers, almost stubbornly,  “You came to bring the Gospel, the Good share the world’s greatest treasure!” 
I remember Rober’s face, twisted up with emotion as he tried to explain to me about the bad pipes.  That same man stopped at my house today and gave me a fresh cut of his figs, from his “garden” up on the mountain.  He wants so badly to see it happen.  

He told me of a new kind of PVC pipe that they make in America, that can withstand the river current and won’t get broken up.  He said it’s very expensive.  

I decided I needed to lift up praise to God. 
So I’m listening to a song called I Refuse.  
The words haunt my thoughts.  They resound in my soul.  If you can imagine water on a bass drum, dancing to life with every beat, those are the words of this song to my heart.  They make me dance.

‘Sometimes I...
I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone's alright
When I know they're not

This world needs God
But it's easier to stand and watch
I could say a prayer and just move on
Like nothing's wrong

But I refuse
Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse
To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately
And I know we are the hands and feet
Of You, oh God

So, if You say move
It's time for me to follow through
And do what I was made to do
Show them who You are

'Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse
To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse

To stand and watch the weary and lost
Cry out for help
I refuse to turn my back
And try and act like all is well

I refuse to stay unchanged
To wait another day, to die to myself
I refuse to make one more excuse
'Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse

To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse
I refuse.
I refuse.’

Oddly enough, my little ipod is set to alphabetical, so as soon as this song finished and I’m shouting Amen in my spirit, I’m suddenly listening to a pastor giving the sermon titled ‘I Send You’:

“Listen to these words: As the Father sent Me, so I now send you.”  John 20:21.
As the Father sent do what? To bring the Gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom....I now am sending you.”

I keep listening.  I’m wide awake.  I’m paying close attention now...
“We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace....” Rom. 5:1-2
The key word: access.
‘Faith is the access.  We have access to the grace, through faith.  You have a well in your house.  For some reason your well goes dry.  You have no water. But the city has a huge water tower, with millions of gallons of water flowing right in front your house....what do you do? You get a permit,
you go buy some PVC piping, to hook up your house to that main water line.  Now you have access.

What is faith?  It is the PVC piping that gives us access into this grace that I’ve been preaching about!  
Simply put, faith is the pipeline of grace.

God is able to make all grace abound to you.  What’s the one element we need?  


Faith is the determining factor of whether we do or do not partake of grace."