Thursday, December 12, 2013

Who's at the Gate?

Part of the discipleship in the fields has been trying to teach the men about who they listen to.  There's many voices, many people who come to see the work we're doing.  Some are encouraging, but many are negative and discouraging.  One heartbreaking truth I've found in Haiti is that as soon as someone begins to aspire, whether spiritually or financially, the people begin to pull them back down into the mud.  Almost as if they don't want to see someone rise up out of the depths of the earth. I don't understand it, whether it's cultural or if it's purely spiritual, but almost immediately you will find an enemy at the gate, or someone sitting in the seat of the mocker.

In our case the illustration is very literal.  We've finished the work of fencing off the gardens to keep the animals out, but we haven't yet built the gates. The men who are working with me come into the fields early in the morning.  We begin with prayer and laying out the days work, and inevitably as soon as the men have found a hope or a nugget of truth to hang onto, as I'm walking away I see someone coming.

They come to the open gate or right up to the fence where the men are working, and then and there I find the crafty serpent has once again reverted to his time-honored tradition of slithering into the garden.

I hear the negative comments.  I hear lies.  I hear that spirit that is so surely against anything good that I can see it just as simply as I can see night and day.   In my mind I can paint Satan right there...."Did God REALLY say that?"
I feel the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, and back out to the garden I go.

I see the discouragement has come into the thoughts of the men.  I see the bounce in their steps has withered into a sigh of quiet solitude.  The fellowship is exhausted, and the sails are straining for the wind.
Six times this has happened since we've began, this relentless barrage, and each time we have to put these thoughts where they belong, kicking them out of the garden, before we can get back to the work of tilling the soil and planting the seed.  The soil is broken and begging for the seed to be dropped.  It thirsts for a new hope.  The seed is good.  The time is right and the enemy is frightened.   It's a battle of epic proportions played out in the most awesome of splendor, right in my back yard, but I know a secret...the wages of sin is death.

Kari just happens to be teaching a Bible class that yesterday bore down upon this very subject, and all of my thoughts culminated in this simple children's illustration that I showed the men today.  See how the shepherd sits at the gate and guards the sheep, keeping them protected and safe?  We are but sheep, like it or not, swayed by the prevailing winds.  6000 years ago or today.  Read the news, the latest current events, and you can see our simple tendencies...
The mess with Syria, Benghazi, the fiscal cliffs and government shutdowns, right down to the disrespect and humiliation of South Africa as they tried to mark the passing of Mandela.   I see the poor man and his sign language, just making it up as he went along.  And this man stood three feet from our President.  
But what about you, your life, your tumbles and falls?  Have you not found yourself to be so comparable to a sheep, those times when you realize you've been so led astray?
If the shepherd is not at the gate, the enemy will be.  Are you prepared for that?   I think of how many times I've been found asleep in the garden while Jesus prays...

'Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~John 10:7-10

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Today I drove my family to the city market in Cayes, the largest in Southern Haiti. We were in the middle of what I call 'Crazyville' where all of the vendors are crowded in together and the motos and cars are stacked up end to end.  There is no such thing as personal space here.  Logan and I were going to try to find some nails at the hardware store. The girls were going for vegetables. Just as everyone was opening their car doors to jump into the hustle I saw every head in the sea of people turn in our direction and people began running.  I yelled for the girls to stay in the car.   Everyone was screaming and running our direction in a panic, holding their noses and covering their eyes.  
"Roll up your windows, NOW!" I barked.  Chaos began to unfold all around us, and that's when we got a glimpse of either the UN or the police, firing tear gas. 
I hit the gas as soon as there was an opening big enough for our car and we joined the mass exodus.  
I could see all the people with watery eyes and stinging throats. All of us, just trying to get away.  
We drove for 4 or 5 blocks and then stopped the car to get our wits about us...
"How bout we just get food from the little indoor market down the road?" I said.  Kari nodded.
"Unless you want to wait and try to go back?" I asked. 
"Nope. We're good. Let just go." Kari smiled.   
Yeah, probably not a good idea to get into the middle of a riot just trying to find some potatoes and carrots.  As we drove away from the mess of the city we saw dozens of young men with masks on their faces, riding their motorcycles directly into the frenzy. They looked bent for a good fight.  I saw people in terror. People swinging their fists, and people caught up in the pure emotion of confusion. 
Had we arrived a minute earlier our family would have been separated and at ground zero in a riot. It's a one-way street, so I wouldn't have been able to get to the car.  The girls would have been a block away in the middle of a sea of people and the boy and I would have been stuck in the hype and the tear gas.  
Instead we are all safe, home together, and there is a song I'm about to teach them, called Oh Holy Night.  Praise God? 

One of the verses I find to be so very fitting in the midst of the turmoil here.  This place, bound by such a spiritual prison, with the high barbed walls of poverty and corruption always loomIng...and yet I hear another voice calling in the desert...
"Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease."

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Antithesis

Early in my photography years I learned an old rule of thumb in the arts. To better understand your composition and perfect your eye for capturing an image, take a picture and then turn it upside down. What sticks out? What seems foreign? Where does your eye naturally fall and where is the distraction?
I've since found that rule has a better application, a life application...

Sometimes when studying what Christ might be trying to say in the Scriptures, I can check a few commentaries, read 3 different translations, and usually get side-tracked in the detour poetry of Thee and Thou in a Fortnight. I drift off wondering something about Shakespeare or I rabbit-hole down to the Book of Martyrs and try to fathom how Sir Such-and-Such could go and kiss the stake by which they meant to burn him. Then I imagine what kind of karate jump spin kick I might employ if they tried that garbage on me in the name of the Lord, and before I know it I'm measuring my peanut-sized faith against the Greats and I've lost all sense of why I ever ventured to learn something in the first place... sigh... see how that happens?
In the end I have to look at the antithesis. It's a big word that basically just means to flip it upside down like the picture, and then study what He ISN'T saying...

'Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.' transforms into this:
"Rejoice never, pray occasionally, give thanks only in the good times, for this is NOT the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.'
I'm a ragamuffin through and through. I don't know much, but at the end of the day as my head hits the pillow, if I consider that my life better fit into the pajamas of the antithesis, it's here I know that I'm not living in the abundant life that God has prepared for me. It's in that sinking awareness that my spirit cries out, and if I care for anything, before the lantern is snuffed and the light goes out of this world, something must change.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Kari shared this with me, and I just wanted to pin it here to remember...

Sincerity means that the appearance and the reality are exactly the same. -- Oswald Chambers

Monday, December 2, 2013

Because He Has No Dawn

The drunk man on the street strove up to me and I could see and smell that once again the rum had taken its toll. He began with the usual belligerence, flailing his arms, yelling, pelting his stomach and telling me he was dying of hunger. I asked him to solve for me a riddle, how is it that he is every day so hungry, and yet every day so drunk? He again smacked his stomach and rained down curses. 

He drinks the alcohol and feels good, but he doesn't see that it's eating away at his stomach and his mind, and the truth is, it's really Satan that is having the feast.
"I will pray to Satan and ask him to cut my mouth so I cannot drink the alcohol!" He raved.
"You can if you want to, but you don't need to. God has more power and more authority. Instead of asking Satan to cut you, ask God to make Satan shut up. Instead of asking Satan to hurt you, ask God to save you." I said. 
The few times I've seen this man when he is sober, he is kind and gentle, though sad and discouraged. I know God wants him. He wants all of us. But how many of us are slaves to the lie that the Way Everlasting simply cannot be?
Why would a prisoner, fastened in chains, ask Satan to cut off his hands and feet to make him free, when God could make the chains to simply fall away?
This morning we dug into our Bibles and there was the answer, so sad and yet so filled with truth: 
"To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. " Isaiah 8:20.
Such a discouraging thought to crush the heart and break the bones. The old man hurts this way, he shakes his fist at God, he complains and yells and stomps his feet...because he has no dawn
Satan has within his clever scheming devised such a veil as to cloak our hearts from the shining noon day Sun! That cover is our own evil desires, and we wontingly chase after them until one day we realize we've ourselves been chased away. 

Can you imagine? Not to wake and see the light of a new day...dawning? The color of discouraged blackness transformed into hope, colors of purple and violet, red and gold. 
No warmth to chase the chill from the very marrow of our souls. No zeal for something fresh. No basking in the glorious.  Not this day, not ever...

Can you hear the charge?  The trumpet blast? To the teaching and to the testimony!
There IS a dawn! It's more beautiful than any eye can behold. It's coming, charging, in an unrelenting breaking forth, consuming the cold, dark night of every soul that is lost unto itself and cannot find its way. The colors splash onto the page of every heart in crimson words that cannot be washed away....
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
How did the old man receive my words?
I asked him to give up his alcohol for three weeks, not just for one day because any fool can do that, but for three weeks to save his money and follow the Lord.  Then I asked him to come back to see me at the end of that time and tell me if he is still hungry.
He called down curses and walked away, totally disgusted with the very idea of me and our conversation, but mostly just disgusted with God.
It's not up to me.  I can't make him see the dawn, even though I know it's there.  France is there.  How many of us know that but will never set foot upon her shores?  'No man comes to the Father except through Me'.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Under the Wire!

My daughter and I were on the motorcycle, driving down a Haiti road to mark churches where we haven't yet visited to give Bibles. She was my spotter, looking for churches that were open for worship while I kept my eyes on the road. Coming to an intersection I saw two men standing in the middle of the road with their backs to me. People stand in the road all the time. But then I noticed one man was holding a broomstick. They both turned to look at us as we approached, and that's when I saw it, a black wire running from the telephone pole down to the broomstick in his hand. It was a live electric wire, and we were driving straight into it! 

There was no time to brake, hardly even time to react. I laid the bike down, and the wire came so close that it grazed the brim of my hat as we went tumbling. Any closer and it would have either taken our heads off or electrocuted us.
Soon as I got my feet under me I turned to find Abby who was still pinned under the motorcycle, trying to get her foot free. When I was a kid the same thing happened to me, getting a leg pinned under a motorcycle, and by the time I got the bike off of me, there was a white-hot blister in the exact imprint of the engine. It was one of the worst burns in my life, and that memory was racing through my mind when I jerked the bike up off of her, only to see there wasn't even a mark! 

I asked where she was hurt, and she said it didn't really hurt at all.

People came running from everywhere. An old man began ripping into the two young men for such a foolish act. They'd been attempting to steal the electricity from the lines.

I checked Abby out. She'd bit her lip and there was a tiny burn and scrape on her leg. My knee was bruised, but other than that, we were fine! My neck and back were jarred, but nothing was broken. I was mad at first, ready to clean some guy's clock, and he stood waiting to see what I would do. Because he wanted to steal electricity my daughter and I were almost killed.

The motorcycle clutch was broken along with some wires to the starter, the mirror and turn signal, but other than that, it was in running condition.
I remembered why we were traveling this road, to find new churches and to give the Word of God. I became immediately aware that until these young men crack their own Bible, my daughter and I represent that Word.
I told the man there would be no trouble. Besides, I could see the community was already thinking him quite the fool. 

I also told one man that when people are driving they aren't going to see a single bare wire. The old man was yelling the same thing in his ear.
We turned the bike for home, shaken but grateful to still be alive. Abby was hugging me tightly and said, "Well, my first wreck on a motorcycle, and I'm so thankful it happened to us, Daddy. Right behind us there was another motorcycle with a woman and her little baby on her lap. If it wasn't us, it would have been them. Besides, maybe there was something further down the road that would have really hurt us, and God was just using this to keep us from it. When you go back out to look for churches, can I still come?"

Praise the Lord for His protection, and for this little 10-year-old who gets it so much more than I ever did.

Now, on to fix the bike... :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Out From Behind the Bars of Justice

True love is not imprisoned behind the bars of justice, nor is it confounded by a relative perception of respect or the lack thereof. It is not prejudiced by the manner in which it is viewed or the implications of how or why it even exists. It thrives in a most pure and uncomplicated form based on a genuine appreciation, the recognized creation and predestined purpose of another living soul. Once sourced from such a fountain, an esteemed hope transforms into the most humble action of perfect sacrifice. A slow and crawling, hungry caterpillar shapes into a flying and free, beautiful butterfly, and the point of life itself is birthed in the mind of the beholder. 

I can think of only one who ever achieved such heights by which to give us such a prime example...Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Disrespected and unjustly accused, whipped and beaten with a crown of thorns dripping the metallic taste of blood down onto his lips as they mocked Him and placed a robe around his open wounds - How it must have felt when they ripped off that coagulated mess, to be displayed so naked and shamed, to be nailed as if You were just a piece of meat, to have a sign placed over Your head that proclaimed your royalty, while they spat and laughed and offered You vinegar for your thirst. They waited for Your last great heave - and yet Lord, You asked for our forgiveness? You withheld Your wrath and instead allowed Your payment to be poured out upon a world of shamed souls. 

You cover over the likes of me? 
How, Oh Jesus, can it be? Such a grace so undeserved! 
Such a love so unreserved! 
I would think it such a great lie told 
if not my conscience proved me sold! 
The Bible trains me fast and true 
to such a love as bold at You, 
that when I see that weary soul 
the way You see them, then I know, 
there is but one thing I can do. 
Tell them, point them, show them You.
D.C. Elliott 11.20.13

'This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.' (1 John 3:16)

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Want Some More

I just want to share another praise if you'd afford me the time?
4 hours ago I posted about Pastor Pompee's moto breaking down.
2 hours ago a message came in from one of you in the States, about having a desire to give a love offering to us and Pastor Pompee. You didn't even know about the break down.
30 minutes ago I handed your love offering to the pastor. We prayed and drove to the village where he had to leave the moto a few days before, despite news of roadblocks and demonstrations. It started up and he drove it 2 miles while I followed him. Then it died. He is right now pushing it down the road. But he's now pushing that motorcycle the last 1/2 mile towards a mechanic with a great big smile and a bounce in his step. God is so good. He knows your needs before you even have a need.

This pastor left the only transportation his family has, on the side of the road so he could make it to Bible class on Saturday and translate God's Word. Then he had to pastor his church on Sunday and there he learned there were many kids who were sick, so instead of going for his motorcycle, he went and prayed for them. Today he was obliged to come and teach Oberline, as we've hired him to be her teacher. He walked to our house to teach first, fulfilling his commitment, and afterward planned to go for his motorcycle.

It is my absolute conviction that God searched and scoured the motives of this man's heart, and then caused hearts to stir in America on his behalf. Who wouldn't want to receive a Father in Heaven who just waits to meet your every need? I want some of that. I want as much as my cup can hold please. And the good news is I'm not Oliver Twist and God isn't some crooked faced Warden just waiting to whip my pants off. When I say, "Please Sir, I want some more." He says, "Amen! Come and get it! All you can handle, and then I have some more for later!"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Li Pa Gen Limit (He Has No Limit)

Today we ventured deeper and farther into the mountains of Haiti than ever before. The river was crystal clear and cold, and fold after fold of steep ravines jutted up towards the sky on either side. The second tallest peak in Haiti loomed before us, the grand Pic Macaya. We plunged through a river and finally reached our destination just where the road became too difficult. Still, there were small goat trails snaking up into yet deeper country. I know behind them and over the next ridge is yet another village, but I'm always surprised to come through the jungle and what seems like no-man's land, only to pop into a village that looks like it's been there for a thousand years, and a church nestled into the bedrock of some sleepy corner. I dare to wonder if I will ever find the limits, if I ever won't be amazed at what stretches out before me, but even I know Haiti has it's end. That which seems so vast and timeless, comes at some point to the sand and then drifts off to sleep in that deep blue ocean once more...

My God has no limit. I will never find His end. I will never cease to be amazed by Him. I find a peace there. At the end of me, still He is there.
'Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from him and through him and for him are all things.To him be the glory forever! Amen.' ~Paul

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

So Long Zorro...

I've only had to do it a couple of times in my life, but early this morning the boy and I dug a grave.   His goat Zorro didn't make it through the night.   We gave him all the medicine we could. We made a cozy, dry place in the shelter with the chickens while the rain poured, we kept a charcoal fire burning to keep him warm, and with Logan's best showering towel we swaddled him.  
Dr. Paul, a missionary vet who is a friend, came and even gave him an IV and an injection.  The girl goat, Oreo, cuddled with him all night while he rested his head on her shoulder, but in the end it just wasn't enough. 

Two Haitians that we've prayed would come to know the Lord came out to help us dig.  I'm not sure they appreciated why we would talk about a goat so lovingly, or pray over him with a small family funeral, or even bury him, but we trust the Lord will somehow use this experience.   The Haitians certainly understand the economical impact of losing a goat.  Here it can carry grave consequences, and it would be similar to losing your wages for a month or two.   It could mean the family can't afford for a child to attend the next school year.  

My boy's reflection is how I will remember him..."He's with God now, eating the very best shrubs."   I think that's quite fitting.  Zorro is keeping God's grass down out by the gates of Heaven.   We'll try our best to look after Oreo for him in the mean time. 

Monday, October 28, 2013


Starting with family devotions in 1 Peter this morning, the first paragraph was full of blessing. To paraphrase:
'To God's hand-picked strangers of the world, scattered just the way He planned and obedient to Jesus:  Grace and Peace are yours for the taking, as much as you can handle!'

Right after that there was a knock at our gate, and Pastor Pompee arrived.  My boy stood to answer, moving slow as molasses, not yet awake for the day.  
"Hurry Boy!  God's ELECT is standing at the door!"  I yelled. It was enough to put a bounce in his step. :)

It breathes hope to me now, even today, to read this Scripture, but imagine how it felt to be those scattered, anxious, persecuted, sojourning "Little Christs", living in hostile lands, never knowing when they might be hunting you down.  Then one night by the candlelight, when you gather together against all odds in the name of the Lord, someone stands and whispers, "We have a new letter here from our brother Peter..."   Fresh words inspired by the Holy Spirit rain down and seep into the cracks of your parched soul, giving you exactly what your spirit needs to persevere and keep hope alive.  Armed with His conquering, you strive out once more into the world to share Jesus, a love and a peace that passes all understanding.  You serve it up to those who come after you, and those who come after them.  Over 2000 years later, there is still Hope enough for me to read, to pass on to my own children, and a little Haitian girl...

How important it is to take the time to encourage one another each day.  It should be marked on our calendars over and above every other to-do today. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Market Day

This woman looks upset at me, but she's really just tired.  These ladies carry their goods around all day trying to sell, usually with loads that can vary from 50-100 lbs, depending on the fruit or vegetable.   I've often wondered how Paul and some of the early missionaries found it convenient to share the Gospel in the markets.  There is so much noise and activity and busy-ness going on.  Vendors yell out their prices and feisty customers haggle and stomp about as if they're being robbed at gunpoint if the price isn't just right.  I don't usually go with Kari into the throws of these markets.  I'm normally waiting for her on the street or running a more 'manly' errand like buying nails or propane.  When I do decide to tag along, all the momma's see this sucker coming and they give me their sweet momma smiles. They tell me their woes and I'd buy just about anything.  Kari is much more savvy. She doesn't fall for it and can negotiate with the best of them.  I cave in and decide we must certainly need some extra black beans and onions...She says it's very difficult to market with me. :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

When Do We Stand Up?

In Haiti, I have the freedom to go into public schools and government buildings and actually give the Gospel.
I have also have the freedom to teach my 13 year old how to drive.
I can plant a tree anywhere, dig a ditch anywhere, so long as my neighbor is good with it. I can baptize down in the local river. I can take a shower, outside. I can stake my daughter's horse, and two goats, anywhere.
There is a monument to Jesus Christ, dying on a HUGE cross, at the largest intersection of the biggest city in the south. EVERYONE who enters this city must drive around Jesus.
This is Haiti.

Yet, in America, we shut down War Memorials for veterans, National Parks and a school in Ohio must pay a $95,000 fine for a picture of Jesus on the wall....
Are you kidding me, America? Could we not find a better way to spend that money, as our entire government acts like toddlers? Where is our freedom?
At what point do we stand up and say NO?
When do Americans start acting like Americans again?
This is a lullaby. There is no time to sleep.
I see old, great-grandpas, war veterans, and truckers willing to jam up DC in standing up for their country. But where are the rest of you?
They didn't build our country and shed their blood so we could just give it all away.

Jesus went up on a cross and shed His blood so I could have the Ultimate Freedom. I will not give that away. They CAN'T take that away.

But they can take your America, America.

My grandfathers and great grandfathers and their fathers fought for this country. My dad fought for this country.

For me personally, I would like someone to run for President who is prepared to take us back, and I mean all the way back, to the grassroots of our great country. I would like ideas, values, and morals restored, please, to what our Founding Fathers or Abe Lincoln stood for. Just go back to those building blocks and we'd be so much better for the wear. I would like National Prayer, National Fasting, and a call to repent and turn to Jesus, and I'd like a leader who has the guts to stand up and lead by example. I vote we repeal all the silly laws that say I can't hang up a picture of Jesus. I vote we be finished with hiring senators and lawmakers and Presidents who only want to squabble on camera, and judges who only know righteousness based on a bankroll.
I'd like to vote for someone willing to stand up completely, in humility, for Jesus, and someone who will lead our country down the narrow road.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Reduced to Fuel

We just watched our neighbor hack down a very tall and beautiful Mango tree. It must've been atleast a hundred years old.  We used to watch the kids, young and old, gather there every day to practice their aim and knock some fruit out of that tree, and it bore fruit for hundreds of hungry stomachs.  
When I asked the man why they took down the tree, his answer was simple and matter-of-fact.
"For charcoal.  They needed the money and the fuel."
It broke my heart.
But they don't have a choice.

We have some friends who are trying to bring import ethanol into the country, along with some more friends who've made ethanol-powered cooking stoves.  Hopefully the visionaries can see through the red-tape and this dream will become a reality sooner than later, before there's nothing left to burn.
The trees go down, the topsoil blows away, the crops suffer, the people breathe in the smoke and the entire process is a state of accelerated atrophy.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

15 in Haiti

She turns 15 years-old today, and she's not very thrilled with me.  She thought because she's having 'girl problems' and it's her birthday, she should be allowed to skip school.  I explained to her that unless she's throwing up or bedridden from a high fever, she's going to be sitting in the school room and learning. 
I sang Happy Birthday to her first thing this morning, but she didn't know how to take that.  She was nervous and bashful and turned her back to me.  
I told her she needed to go to the city with me today, and sit in a busy bank and an Immigration office.  She thought at first she wouldn't like to go, and couldn't understand why I'd make her do that, but now she seems 'in the mood'.  She keeps asking me when we're leaving. She does, after all, get to ride on the motorcycle, and I don't know a kid in this country that doesn't appreciate that. 

A woman from the old village is also baking her a special cake today.  This is not a common practice here at all.  We hope it will arrive while we're in the city.  Yesterday I bought pink streamers and used balloons, and little gifts, like her favorite, Haitian roasted peanuts.  The kids have been secretly crafting special cards for her.  Kari hopes to have everything set up and ready for when we return from our 'miserable trip in the city'.  :)
In 15 years, Oberline Limite can't remember ever having a cake or a party in celebration of her birthday.  Today will be the first.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fight Until You Win the Battle

Last night we were blessed to give the message at a local revival.   The thunder, lightning, and the torrential downpour of rain on the tin roof of the Haitian church was absolutely in line with the Scripture I was reading!  At every perfect juncture, God would add the exclamation point with a flash of lightning or a peel of thunder!  It was overwhelming.
The title of my message was "Goumen Jouk Yo Genyen Batay La" - Fight Until You Win the Battle."  
It is the Haitian equivalent to our English word, to Overcome.

It was late as we walked down the National Road in the rain and in the dark, physically depleted but spiritually high.  
There was no electricity, but the kids had the kerosene lantern waiting for us.  Kari and I popped some popcorn on the propane stove and sat, reflecting on the inspiration and the sheer, perfect timing of the Holy Spirit.  The rain kept coming harder and harder. The wet season is definitely upon us here in Haiti.  

I walked in the bedroom and sat down exhausted, when suddenly Kari began shouting from the kitchen.  We all came running.   From our roof there was pouring a literal river of water, right down the stairs like a funnel into our house!
Grabbing a plank of wood I entered into total knee-jerk reaction, frantically scooping water away from the door and all of the Bibles.  Kids came running, animals came running.  
Immediately my son assessed the futility of my situation, it was raining harder than I was paddling. 
"Dad, should we knock holes in the roof?!"
"What?! NO!  It will take too long and by then everything will be underwater!  Paddle boy!  Paddle!" I yelled.  
The girls came tumbling out with their Haitian brooms and began pushing water as fast as they could.  We were losing the battle.  Water was filling our house, and I'd never seen so much rain coming so fast.   I realized my son had the only solution.
"Go get my hammer boy!"  I yelled, and in a flash he was gone and back.  
For the next hour I beat the concrete of our roof to make holes while the girls and the boy pushed water to the point their muscles wouldn't go anymore.   
Finally the tide was turned, and as all the kids around me were collapsed in the receding lake atop our house, I found myself so thankful for their willing hands and feet, their persevering hearts to help me, to fight until we'd won the battle, down to the last drop of strength.
God is so good! His living illustrations are priceless!

We all came in, shivering and wet to the very marrow of our bones.   Kari had been mopping up the inside of the house the entire time, saving all of our belongings.   There I found our brave dog Caramel.  He'd decided there wasn't a more safe, dry place in the entire house than right on top of our table.   Kari snapped this shot of him.  Poor dog, he just doesn't know Who holds tomorrow. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Enlarging our Tent

My neighbor and I knocked a window into the back room. Kids scrubbed the floors and cleaned the place up. God is 'enlarging our tent' to receive other laborers in the field.  He's really good at the stretching part.

A Promise Fulfilled

Well, it was in the fall of 2011 we were given $2000 to put towards drilling a well (or whatever we saw fit) for the village of Ti Rivier.  We committed that money towards helping the village with a new well to be drilled. Even though we moved away from that village last year, it was still a promise we intended to keep.  Most people believed we were lying and would just keep it, other people claim it was really $4000 we were given and we pocketed half of it, (which was a pure lie) and it's been a toss and turn battle with the enemy every since the beginning, HOWEVER,
Yesterday, September 26th, we were finally able to fulfill that promise.
A friend from the village came to my house and we released those funds to him.  I've had to keep his identity concealed from the public because I didn't want the temptation to extort him or threaten him.  Some just wanted me to hand over the money, but there was concern it would not be used for the community's water, so we tucked it safely away in a bank account.  Now that things are ready, the man was given the funds and he promptly deposited them with the driller.  The well with an electric pump is paid for with the receipt in his hand. Soon they will drill and will have fresh water electrically pumped in a location that will benefit those who need it desperately.

Thank you to those who wished to give and may God bless you richly.   It took a long time, red tape, and many battles in which we saw God shine victoriously, but the blessing is now and HIS will overcomes.
Of an interesting note, in my study for a message I'm giving, I looked up the Haitian translation for the English word 'Overcomer'.
I find it to be perfectly fitting for today... "FIGHT until you win the battle."
Such an active, living, persevering verb and rule-of-thumb for the Christian living in the everyday.

Please pray for the community to receive this gift with the open arms and encouragement by which is was given.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dream a Little Dream

We began sponsoring her to go to school on the mountain 3 years ago.  Last year we brought her down from the mountain and enrolled her in National School.  They immediately informed us that she was too far behind and too hard-headed to learn.  She would be expelled by the end of the semester.  Now she is almost 15 and living in our home, and we've decided to homeschool.  This girl just needs a chance.  She's got what it takes, she just learns differently, and we don't believe she should be put in a corner and left behind.  
I seem to remember a boy who couldn't focus, got too nervous for tests, and couldn't help but stare out the window at the bird soaring so effortlessly in the wind.  Some teachers loved to ridicule that boy and make a mockery of his daydreaming, and yet other teachers, amen, other teachers, saw something and decided instead to be tender and teach outside the box.  They recognized the need to help him in different ways, and they saw past a boy with nervous ticks and helped him to look into his soul... Funny, those are the teachers whose names I will never forget. :)  
We've just hired a pastor who is a close friend and also a professor to tutor her, and we're going to make the best go of it that we can.  We do not have alot of provision, and so we'd like to ask for your prayers.  The pastor deserves more than I am able to pay him right now.  He is overqualified and yet the most humble man I know in Haiti, and I know he will approach this task as if it is for Jesus Christ himself.   Yesterday was officially Oberline's first day of homeschooling.   We are beginning with the equivalent of second grade.  Please join us in praying mostly for Love, because when we abound in it, as my Bible promises, we will have knowledge, depth of insight, and the discernment to do what is best.
Right now we have a borrowed desk and chairs, and we've made a chalkboard.  We're using the room in the back, and it's a modest start.   Dream a little dream with us, and let's see what great things God will do.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Old is New

Sitting in Bible Class listening to Kari talk about Pharaoh and the Plagues...
I've heard this story, I've read this Scripture, I know it through and through, I can still hear Charlton Heston's "Thus Saith the Lord God of Israel..."
and yet when I read it today I'm absolutely knocked over by things I've never seen before.  Do you not just LOVE how God can do that?  
Seriously!  We're talking about Moses and Pharaoh and LET MY PEOPLE GO, and I can remember it from Sunday School when I was a kid, but then
 - BAM! - 
The Great I AM busts on the scene and says, oh Danny, let me make this all fresh for you, now here, read it like you're reading it for the very first time, I've made it brand new!"   
I watched my wife use a Basilik branch and pretend to paint the doorway of the church just as the Israelites did, and then she swung the iron gates shut. They screeched and ground close with a clanking like that of a prison cell.  It was like we were all right there, in silence, holding our breath, the sun setting, knowing that Angel of Death is coming, and only that blood on the doorpost will spare those you love...
Do you know what nailed me this time?   
Pharaoh's pride is finally broken, the slaves are leaving so quickly there's not even time to bake the bread, and where is our Lord?   Is He checked out?  Is He too busy?  Is He too exhausted from all the Supernatural and maybe He's sleeping?   We find Him over in Chapter 12 of Exodus, in verse 42:  "Because the Lord kept vigil..."
He's right there, in the thick of it, running surveillance, attentively watching, observing every last step of every man, woman and child that are HIS.  

Our God cares.  
He knows your storms and trials, in fact most of them are designed and custom fit for you, to bring you into a more beautiful relationship with Him.  Sometimes those trials are hard, because sometimes we're hard-headed.  Sometimes they hurt because they stretch and bend us to the point of breaking. Pride can fester and it takes peroxide and a good scrubbing to disinfect the wound.  I can testify to my own stiff-necked stubbornness.  Try to pick up a child who doesn't want to stand, try to make someone sit who doesn't want to sit.  The simply possible becomes the insurmountable wrestle of the wills, and sometimes He's just got to reach down and touch your hip, Jacob, to show you His authority. 

But the truth is that He's not waiting out there in the Somewhere, on the other side of the rainbow, hoping you might find the way. You're not Dorothy, following some Yellow Brick Road while Oz waits behind the smoke and mirrors. 
God is right there with you.  
Walking with you.  Hurting with you.  Wrestling with you. 
He knows whether you'll be victorious or whether you'll fail, and He loves you regardless.  His desire is for you, to turn from sin, from yourself, to persevere, to endure, to grow, to know Him more.
He's keeping vigil, right now, for you today, and there can be no other deductive reasoning, no other scientific hypothesis to explain that which is staring you blindly in the face, what you're heart is already screaming...He's crazy about you.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fertile Ground

One of the Moringa trees we planted 9 months ago is now over 22 feet tall!
When we moved here I started praying what some people might call a silly prayer.  I asked the Lord to make the ground supernaturally fertile, wherever we go, so that after we are gone there will still be tremendous fruit, drilling deep the natural question of Why, to be followed with what I pray will be the only footprint left behind and the most evident answer...God.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tomorrow's Harvest in Haiti

When it comes time to weed the corn, I go quietly into the field. 
I get down into the dirt until it's up under my nails. Then from nowhere I look down a row and see a little girl. She's looking at me with a big smile, her hands already full of weeds. Soon the kids and even some adults are coming from all over the villlage. The colors of our skin blur as we mix the same sweat into the soil. They join with me in the labor. The Haitian proverb becomes a living illustration as "many hands make light work." They work hard without question, the work is finished, and I see such a harvest in tomorrow...

The Trees of the Lord

I sent this passage to my neighbor and God touched him in the deep of his spirit. He happens to be a farmer. He has a cow. He lives by a spring where the water flows, and hundreds of birds are right now nesting in the trees next to his house... God's word is so alive! I think there's not a human heart that beats that He can't awaken to Glory. 
"He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
the land is satisfied by the fruit of His work.
He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens human hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread that sustains their hearts.
The trees of the Lord are well watered..."

Psalm 104

Friday, July 5, 2013


Humpty Dumpty, aka our car, has been put back together again, and the waiting list of to-do's demanded that I leave early this morning. I rushed out the door with my mind fully on business...until my eyes saw this. Oberline, the girl who comes to our house every day, had picked three perfect Haitian cherries and put them on the mirror of the door for my journey. Just in case anyone else thought they might look tasty enough to eat, she wrote my name in chalk just underneath.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


She's hauled alot of Bibles, alot of kids, alot of Haitians, alot of charcoal, rice, goats, roosters, dogs, live fish, cement, blocks, Guinea Grass, buckets of dirt, you name it. She's been up and down these mountain roads, splashed the cows in the potholes and bounced along on the rocks. She's crossed many rivers and spun out in the sand. She loves the color Mud so much that the Haitian boys in the city don't even bother to give her a washing anymore...but today as our mission car is pushing 250,000 miles, the knocking and wobbling and vibrating had to come to a stop. Shocks here, driveshaft there, bald tires and parts littered our yard as we looked at Humpty Dumpty and my son asked, "Will they ever be able to put her back together again?" 

Maybe tomorrow. We'll see. Right now she's propped up on a rock and a corn masher.

A carpenter I am not. A mechanic I am not. This week there are so many professions...that I am not. Good thing God is the "Great I AM". He also knows Who and What and When and Where and Why....all those guys, and I can rest easy in the question mark because He knows how to straighten them out too!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hidden in the Field

In the fields of harvest this week I walked up and down the mountain trails with my good friend Harold Herr with Life Literature, a ministry that gives free Bible literature to pastors.  Our two missions line up as if two pieces in a puzzle as we focus on magnifying the Word of God in Haiti. Harold is a man twice my age with twice the wisdom, and he can keep a good pace in the heat and humidity of Haiti.  He's been walking the hills of this country for years and years.  
When I think of the miles and mountains he's walked, I'm easily reminded of my inadequacies. I walk in his shadow, and I can't help but shake my head when I remember that silly American three years ago who first walked these paths, running out of drinking water, getting lost and coming so near to the end of my's a wonder I'm still alive.  I used to pack for every emergency and contingency, with every base covered and 2 water bottles, a backup filter, some food, a hanky, first aid kit, a whistle, compass and a map.   My oh my....

There is no pack these days.  What is in my hands?  A camera.  No water, nothing.  A little change in my pocket. and yet I'm light as a feather and free as a bird, all glory to God.  I just don't feel like I need any of the rest.   How things change...

Now I get to walk the hills, meeting with shepherds. Meek and mild, most are soft, gentle men long tempered by suffering and prayer.  In the eyes of the sages I see a thousand testaments to the faithfulness of our Living God.  Their wrinkles would fill volumes if they could bare witness.  

Kari plays with the kids that always seem to draw in for a closer look, kissing and tickling toes, playing Haitian Patty-Cake.  Harold and I soak together in like-mindedness.  I listen to his stories and then he quietly listens to all my wrestles.  I wait for his wisdom, which is always sweet and simple.  He's led a life filled with trials that have absolutely broken his heart, and still He knows God is teaching him.  Sometimes he stays quiet when I spill out my heart, and it's then I know he's just giving it to the Lord, trusting.  His greatest advice to me is his silent, quiet contentment to have been afforded the privilege to see so much this side of Heaven.   

Even our friend Pastor Pompee walks with us today.  His heart is so big to serve, he just wants to help in whatever way he can.   He points out Haitian traditions and customs, sings when it's time to lift the mood, translates when I get lost in the words, and points out to me all the dangers of these well-worn roads.  He is a quiet blessing that waits in the wings, an encourager. 

We all wait while my Haitian friend Mackendy inspects the churches, some no bigger than a large tent.  He sits and listens to these shepherds talk of their experience in tending the sheep.  Some of those sheep curiously wander into the church during his inspection just to find out what he's up to.  He takes careful notes and asks important questions, and then when he finishes we get to witness some of the fruit in the tiny glimmers of hope in a pastor's eyes as he thinks about what might be coming.  More knowledge, more understanding of the Word of God.  More peace, patience, kindness...

In these hills I feel like a prospecter from the days of old, aching in my bones and up to my knees in troubled waters, yet for the sake of those shimmering little sparkles of gold, flashing in the pan!   

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field." ~J.C.

Isn't that just how things should be, rescued from the fire, snatched from the flames, saved from the clutches of an eternity without the warm love of our Father, shouldn't we be going about in joy?
When we breathe encouragement into one another and fluff the sails, when we sharpen the iron shouldn't the sparks fly? Some days I feel I might break out into a little jig, and who cares how silly it might be?  "YES, Pastor!  God's word is going to pour into your hills, and the enemy couldn't build a dam big enough to hold what will come flooding down.  Prepare to be inundated you devils!  There's gold in them thar hills.  GOLD I tell ya!"  

Now our friends have parted our company and have safely made their journey back to the capital city.  Tonight we breathe easy and coast a little on the coat-tails of the Majestic as we try to peek a little deeper into God's plan. 
We serve such an awesome God!  He's so often just too much. 
A cool breeze comes down into these flatlands and we hope for the electricity to come back on so we can all yell out, "Mesi Jezi!" Maybe another downpour is in the mix, the corn will even be content.  Tomorrow our own ministry of giving Bibles will once again prove the prevailing wind.  Kari will start to prepare for kids clubs and Bible classes.  In a few weeks Harold will come again and it will be time to partner again, to make way for the blessing of expecting the unexpected.