Saturday, March 31, 2012

La Bonne Nouvelle (The Good News)

We drove over to a clean beach to celebrate both my birthday and Torrey's return from Africa. It's only the 2nd time we've brought the family there. On this trip, Torrey had a flat, then his handlebars were coming off, then Tikilene showed up for work, then the bread lady came. It even started to look like it might rain and we thought about just calling it quits. But Kari had already gone on ahead of us with the kids, so we set our faces like flint and dead-headed for Port Salut. As soon as we got there, I met Joel and Yvonne Trimble. They've been missionaries here for over 30 years, and they run a TV show called La Bonne Nouvelle, the Good News. Joel relates a good story about Haiti to faith, and then wraps the show up with a food portion of the show, taste-testing all the different dishes of Haiti. It's a huge hit here, as all over the country they tune in to see what's on the menu.

Joel told me they were without a cameraman, and almost considered canceling their show in Port Salut, but that he'd really felt the Lord telling him to continue. They drove out to the beach, and there we met. I told him what I did for a living in the States, and a minute later I was filming for La Bonne Nouvelle. I have to admit, I loved it. Framing the shot, choosing the focus, finding the story, capturing the moment, and all with state-of-the-art video gear. It was a blast.

After we finished, we talked for a long time about ministry, and agreed to keep in touch. Joel prayed for my family and told me that I had no idea how God had used me that day, stepping in and reminding him that He has everything under control.

My wife shot this picture of me filming Joel and Yvonne for the final scenes, and then today we got a newsletter from their ministry with another shot of me filming. It was great fun, and we're looking forward to seeing the show once it's finished being cut.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Field of Dreams

The Haitian rainy season may already be upon us. 
But down at the local spillway, the rain has no victory. It's where the locals spend their time perfecting their favorite sport, Football (That's soccer to you and me,). They spent most of their game time fishing the ball out of the river or dodging the many puddles, so Torrey and Heather Babb with the Mission Ball are trying to change that. 

Trees were cut by machete and benches were built surrounding the grounds. They called in the loads of sand and gravel, and a crew of men, women, boys and girls went into action as if they were one is spirit and purpose. Poles were cemented into the ground, and a net now spans the river front. Haitian kids grabbed whatever makeshift tools they could come up with, from coffee cans to bleach bottles with the tops cut off. Then they dug a canal, and began to scoop out the water by hand. Getting dirty was irrelevant. 

Once they'd cleared off most of the field they began to haul in the gravel and sand, bucket by 5-gallon bucket. Barefoot. Raw kid power. All done with smiles, even cartwheels. And all because they share the same dream, they just want a safe, dry place to play. The work still isn't finished, but there's no shortage of help in Ti Rivier, Haiti. When people lay down their differences and come together for the same cause, beautiful things happen. On this field, there will be great ministry. And great ministry is already happening, transferred and interpreted without a single word. It's the power of love after it leaves the tongue and works it's way down through the hands and feet into action....That's what makes a difference.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Open Market

It's not appreciated, at all, when I take my camera out at the open market in Cayes.  In fact it even feels foolish.  But it's such a lure to me with all of the color and culture.  Today I was tolerated the right to snap just a few shots.  I've bought enough to be afforded a few seconds.  This is a shot of my favorite produce lady, having breakfast and a cup of joe as the hubbub of the negotiations buzzed around her.  She's tough.  She holds her own, but she's always been fair to us.

Also a quick shot of her neighbor in the next booth over.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


A little girl I know was caught, literally red-handed, cheating on her grammar test.  The words were written down her hand in red marker...
She was crushed when she was caught.  
She was ashamed of her sin.  
Tears came.  
Then sorrow.  
Then forgiveness.  
Then repentance.  
And now, the sun is shining!  It's a new morning! All is well.  

She allowed me to photograph her hand, actually of her own free-will, allowed me to take a picture of her sin.  Really it's her innocence that drew me to take the picture.  Wow.
Imagine, if before we decided to sin, we all grabbed a red marker and wrote it down, on our body? All of our sins, written, as if shouted, in bright red.

Just dip me in a cauldron of red paint and be finished with me.   After that let someone take a picture for the sake of posterity. 
What a different world it would be!  No hiding beneath masks.   No way to conceal who we really are when nobody's looking.

But then again.... we DO live in that world.  God DOES see.  And we are COVERED IN SOMETHING. We are either dripping like wet dogs in sin or we are dipped in the crimson blood of Christ.

Either way we're blushing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Serpent in the Sky

It was strangely beautiful to me. 
Right in the middle of a serious talk with a pastor and the division in his church, and my son comes skidding into the house.  
"A Tornado!  A Tornado!"
We all bolt for the door and look out over the water at this emerald-turquoise serpent in the sky, winding and slithering, pushing across this churning sea.   
Abby exclaimed, "Wow Logan!  I couldn't understand what the big deal was at first.  I thought you came in yelling, "A Tomato!  A Tomato!"
Jaxon began throwing rocks at it.  
"Get outta here!" he yelled. "Go the other direction!"

We could see the water sucking right up into the spout, and spinning in a very tight vortex, right up into the mouth of this thirsty storm.  
I asked the pastor if he'd ever seen one before.  
"Never!" he said, "What do you call it?"
"It's a water spout." I said. 
I asked my friend Chelo the same question. 
"Never seen one before." he said.  "Is it dangerous?"
"On land, it can level a house! It can take a car and toss it up into the sky!"
Both of their mouths dropped open and their eyes got big as saucers!
No longer smiles across their faces.  Now, it was anxiety. 
"What about that big salt boat, could it move that?!" they asked.
"It could shred it and blow it apart!" I shouted in the wind.
"You mean....You mean it could kill us?" asked Chelo.
"Absolutely!" I shouted.  
"I think you did not need to tell me that!"  Chelo said.

How beautiful!

Then it made a turn our direction!
Whoa!  Heart skipped a little beat, there.... but for some reason I wasn't yet afraid.  I've been up close and personal with a tornado back home in the States.  Somehow it was much more ominous, as if it were the finger of Death itself.  
This was fascinating.

"We may need to run for it if it comes any closer.  Maybe we should get in the house." I said.
"Why would we run into a house if it can level the house?" they asked.
That was actually a question I didn't have an answer for. 


Does anybody notice the way I turned this post into an image tornado?  Kari thinks there are too many pictures the same, I think each one is uniquely beautiful and therefore deserving of a spot....and....this is my blog, not hers.   :P


He was a Haiti dog, full grown but really still a puppy at heart.  He always wanted to play.  In fact, all day yesterday we saw him running up and down the water with his momma.   In short, I'd say Scavenger was the definition of Happy-Go-Lucky.

We didn't love on him too much while he was around, but he knew he was accepted with the other dogs that live in the area.  They are all part of the same family, the same pack.  He lived outside the gates with the rest of them, and his common greeting was to either nip at your heels or jump on you, not well received by the mom's.   Certainly not received, and returned with flying rocks from the villagers.

But, early in the morning when we'd all get up and carry the chairs out to the back gate to watch the sun rise, he'd be there waiting for us, in a much more muted, toned down version of himself, because he was always cold and tired.  It was a perfect arrangement for kids and dog, because their blankets and petting were his favorite way to start the day,  and they liked him when he was all sweet and cuddly.

The last 3 trips on the motos, Scavenger actually came with us. This, if you haven't lived in Haiti, is simply NOT done.  NO dog follows a human being that way, let alone while they are driving 20mph on gravel.  Some of the Haitians even tried to pick him off because the sight of seeing a dog chasing a moto meant he must be rabid.  Still, even 3 miles down the road, he was still trotting along beside us with his tongue flapping in the wind, dry as a bone.  When we'd stop at the river to let him drink some water,  he'd choose instead to pounce on the local duck.  All puppy.  One of the dezòds.

Other mean dogs along the road would see him running alongside us, but by the time they stood up and raised the hair on their backs, he was already shooting by, in such a blur they knew they didn't stand a chance, so they'd just lay back down and whimper.  It always made me laugh, because with his black patch of hair over his eyes, he reminded me of the Lone Ranger.   Zwoosh!  "Who was that masked man!"

Well, he was never very careful on the road, and I'd seen him have a number of close calls with the traffic.  For that reason I always told the kids he wasn't all there, not wanting them to get too attached because I figured he was one to learn the hard way.  Really he wasn't stupid, it was just that he hadn't learned the ropes yet.
So I wasn't so surprised when this morning as the kids were all getting out their Bibles for devotions, our Haitian neighbors knocked on the door to let us know he'd been struck by a passing tap-tap.  He was lying dead on the road.   We're gonna miss his playfulness.  

I had a prayer I made up when I was a little kid, for every time I'd see a dead animal on the road.
"God, please make it so they didn't feel any pain. I pray it was quick and they didn't suffer and keep them safe and happy with you in Heaven."  I said that prayer so much I assigned it a special name,
Prayer 1.  Still to this day when I came out and saw him lying there, I heard myself say it out loud...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Off the Mountain and Into the Valley

We had another Bible distribution up in the hills the other day. With all the rain we got the night before I really considered sending word up the mountain that we wouldn't be coming, but everyone was pumped and prayed up, so we decided to go for it. This time 4 Haitian kids came along with our 2 families and Chelo. 12 people in our little Toyota. They sang praise songs in Kreyol all the way up and down. At one point we were too heavy and the tires were just spinning. Everyone jumped out and I made another run at it. We made it! The roads were dry! When we'd gone as far as the car could go we split the Bibles up and back-packed them in. Another church full of people, and 34 more chances to give the Gospel, give a Bible and talk about Jesus.

We all agreed it was a beautiful day. Pretty soon the stabilizer bar is going to break all the way through, and then the car will be finished, but still we were left wishing we could spend every day that way. You know, up on the mountaintop, in that perfect place, witnessing the Glory of God, so content that you just want to stay there, maybe even fall asleep there in that balmy peace. Just like Peter, we always want to stay. But the real ministry happens down in the valley, in the day-to-day living. It's in the way people watch you when you go to the market. It's in the way you interact with your own family on the other side of the gate, when you think they can't see, but really they can because they are peeking through the cracks. It's in the real world. It's in your own sin and forgiveness, and it's in your willingness to talk about it. Jesus is there. In the dirty.

It's exactly why you can't stay on the mountain. Because if you stay there you're a fraud. If you can't get out of the baby pool and step into the valley with Jesus, why bother to follow Him at all, Christian? You do know that's where He's working, right?

Would you prefer to pick at people's clothes, knocking them down over something as silly as their attire, over their shoes or their haircut, over their attitude, over their habit? How many people do we condemn in the name of Jesus? What did you think the people in the valley would look like? How did you suppose they would dress? Did you expect they'd all be drinking fruit-smoothies and eating celery sticks for lunch? Were you not expecting the tight clothes, the rum, the drugs, the everyday vices, age-old tools of the enemy, designed to distract us, and ultimately to destroy us?

He's with the broken-hearted, the hurting, the poor, the lonely, the sad, the desperate, the Dezòds. He's fishing people out of the storm, rescuing souls from the fire, and we're concerned they might not look appropriate on their way into the furnace.
He's the Bèje mouton, the Shepherd.

He's after YOU, lost sheep! He's left the other 99 over in the green pastures and He's in hot pursuit. For you. For your love. Can you feel him at your heels?

Quit looking for Him in that soft lullaby. He's not on the mountain. He's not in the manger anymore. He's not the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.

He's the Warrior King. He's down in that valley of the shadow of Death. He's got the scars to prove it. He's earned this. He's not afraid to go. Have you got the guts to follow into that unsafe place, into the dark, alone, with nothing but your whispered prayer to Him on your lips to give you courage for the next step?

Is that next step insane? Is it absolutely ridiculous? Is it impossible? It doesn't matter. The only important question worth asking is this: "Is my Father there?" If He is, then run to Him. Leap to Him. Throw yourself out of the boat, just like Peter did when he realized he had a second chance to come under the love of Jesus. How amazing for him to discover that he'd never actually fallen out of the love of his Maker. Jesus loved him all along. In spite of who you are, he loves you the same. Up on the mountain we bask in the Glory of Jesus, but down in the valley we realize what a Friend He is to us.

My friend Patchouko was translating for me in church as I gave the message on Sunday. While we were waiting at the altar to speak, his little boy Joshua got away from the moms. Down the middle of the aisle he came, coaxed at every chair by the next momma in line, trying to keep him from walking to the altar.

I was last in line before Patchouko. Joshua came to me. He tried to force a smile, but it wouldn't come. He couldn't take his eyes off of his Dad. I just wouldn't do. He had to come to his Dad.

In front of the church he climbed up onto the altar and into his father's arms, coming to perfect peace, finally at rest. He let out a big sigh, wrapped up in a smile.

It was a beautiful picture to me. It's where we all need to be, walking, even through the valley if we must, but with our eyes fixed on Jesus.  Not on everyone else, what they think, and whether or not they approve.  Just Jesus.