Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Accident on the National Road: GRAPHIC

My very good friend Patchouko and another man I know were in a serious moto accident today. They hit a little 7 year-old girl on the national road who jumped out into traffic right in front of them. Please pray for the men that infection does not set in, as their care was less than first aid, and for the little girl to be ok. She was unconscious for about an hour before waking up. 

A city of about 100,000 people and the emergency room was 2 docs and a nurse, in a room just a little bigger than my bedroom, with no more medical supplies than what I keep in a kit at my house.  The docs did what they could, but they were surrounded by people standing at death's door.  

Here is the Church

"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." ~Paul, formerly Saul, killer of Christians, now broken in love and humility for the sake of one, Jesus Christ.

It was a great insight for me to watch this Haitian pastor zero in on a man whose family needed to turn from the worship of idols. I felt like I was standing next to Moses, this great leader, who was great because he was following the lead of his Maker. I could visibly see a communion as he quieted his spirit to listen. The other man was at first very shaky when the pastor asked if he could pray, but the pastor didn't give up. He kept asking, and then the man sat down. They all gathered around him and laid hands on him as he sat on the doorstep of his house. It was a breath of fresh air for me, seeing the church acting as she should, going into those dark places, beyond the walls of comfort and into the lion's den, praying for the sick, laying on hands, loving the lost and caring enough about the soul in front of them to intercede in genuine prayer.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Magic Ring

We are seeing the Lord push into some very, very dark places in our village today. You can almost taste the excitement, and yet the people who are accustomed to following Satan and worshiping idols are afraid. This is a big, big deal to them. A man came today to show me a magic ring. He was very careful to explain every detail of this ring that has been worshipped in his family. I told him I thought it was a beautiful ring, and for whatever reason I gave him my full name. Daniel Craig Elliott. DCE. I told him those were my initials because the ring he showed me also had 3 letters inscribed. "Anyway," I said," nice ring. Have a good day." Something unnatural came out of his mouth as I walked away. Later towards dusk 18 people came to our house from a church where I've given the message many times. They prayed and sang, and then we walked to this man's house to sing and pray for his father, a man dying of Parkinsons. He was visibly nervous, had goosebumps all up and down his arms, and he wouldn't look at me. He said it was me that made him feel cold this way, pointing at me 3 times. He said he's had dreams, and he sees me in them. In his dreams I bring him to his conversion, from being a slave to idols to following Jesus. He said he has a big, big problem now. 

Yep....Jesus can have that effect.
It was an intensely powerful and yet beautifully unpredictable day!
I hope tomorrow is just as much of a question mark as today.  I can't wait to see what God's gonna do next. :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Miss Sassafrass

Abby's horse Misty.  She's a stinker and she's got bad manners, but I like her spunk.

The Working Man

I have a great deal of respect for the Haitian farmers.  They work to the bone to provide for their families.  So many mornings I'm struck by their silhouettes against the rice fields, but every time I stop to snap a shot, they put down their hoes.  Every single time they turn to look at me, thinking maybe I need help, maybe I'm lost, who knows.  It's apparently quite the conundrum to see a Blanc out on these back roads, all by himself, and even more so when he comes to a stop for no good reason.  

I entered the contest for the Google Glass glasses, but I entered after they'd already selected the winners.  I thought maybe they'd still give me a shot.  I've always thought if I had a pair of glasses like that I could really tell a story like never before.  I guess it's just not meant to be. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lay Me Down

A Haitian funeral came right to our doorstep today.  The owner of the house that we rent lost her brother.  In Haiti, you're still buried in the family grave which is almost always located right next to your house.   In our case it's just behind the back yard.  
The people from all over put on their Sunday best, which for many could be the only nice set of clothes they own.  Then they begin the procession.   
Traffic is stopped as the band leads the way down the main road of the village, and one by one the people begin to follow the casket to the grave.   As far as a quarter mile down the road, those that aren't attending will still walk out from the shade of their homes and stand at the side of the road, some to pay respects, others to just get a look.  
The band leads the way with trumpets and trombones belting out a melody, and the drummer keeps the cadence of a slow march to the final resting place.  
In most cases, the tomb is cracked open the day before, and the decomposed remains of the former resident are removed to make way for the newly deceased.  In this instance, the owner Rodney had a place just next to her mother that was already reserved and prepared.  The family is successful, and the affluence has afforded them the ability to bury their dead with honors.  This was the nicest funeral I've seen in Haiti.
With great emotion they brought the casket up the side of our house and into the wrought iron gate of the cemetery.  They heaved the casket in as the people crowded for a final view, and then the concrete cap was set in place.  The mason's job was all that remained, to pour the fresh concrete and seal the tomb.   

One can't help the reflection that stares back into our faces when the challenge of mortality is so rudely realized. 
I draw to the only conclusion I can find in the sanity of death.  All that remains, whether they lay me down or scatter me to the wind, will be the single most penetrating question of peace or anguish:  Did he know the Lord, or rather, did the Lord know him?
I pray those nods of certainty will be reverberated in the halls of Heaven, because it's only He that frames that answer, and no mortal man will speak on my behalf.   No pomp or parade will sway the judgement of my fellowship.  The only banner over me is His love, His grace, and His mercy.  I am just a jar of clay.  It Christ inside that makes any difference at all.  Isn't that what these old bodies are, just vessels?

I found with great excitement that a local group of nuns gives fresh  milk every week.  If you get there just in time, you get the milk so fresh from the cow that it's still warm.   Nothing tastes better!  They pour it right from the can into any old oil jug, and you go home happy as can be.   Nobody thinks a thing about that old oil jug.  It's just a vessel.  It serves only its purpose, to contain that precious treasure inside.   

Licensed to Read, Whenever and Wherever

Back in January I was embroiled in Haitian red tape, working with the local DMV to keep our vehicle legal. One Haitian woman was particularly helpful in the tedious paperwork, and during her questioning she asked what I do. 
"I give Bibles." I said.
"Can I have one?" she asked. 
"Of course you can. When I come back I'll bring it to you." I told her. 
Well, 3 months passed since that conversation, and I was finally making my way back down to her office. I walked in straight to her desk, after the shotgun security guard made me remove my hat, and placed that Bible in front of her. 
Her face lit up and she said, "You remembered!" 

Right there, on the clock, in broad daylight in front of everyone, government job and all, this woman opened her new Bible and began to read from the Psalms, excited for the large print. She had a big smile across her face.

There were no rules and regulations, and nobody was offended that she was reading from the Word of God. 
I sit remembering her joy, and I have to ask, who has more freedom? This woman or me?

I'm Just Gonna Sing

Last night the voodoo drums and chanting went on for hours. It must be such a fever pitch in the atmosphere with the speed of the beat. This morning there is alot of arguing in the field behind my house. I choose to start with this: A vintage guitar made from a used oil jug, a tin can, some string and a stick...and this girl sang like an angel.

If this young lady can have that kind of hope, then there's hope for us all...

Friday, April 26, 2013


A week or so ago her school told us they were kicking her out. "She can't learn, she's too stubborn." That's all we've heard. She's been a child-slave most of her life, so school has never rated much in a world filled with hard labor and abuse. She's going on 14 so they'd sooner put her in the corner or kick her out of class. So, my wife has began to teach her, and this little flower is blossoming before our eyes. She's not only learning, she's hungry to learn. She's constantly asking questions, wanting to know more. She's diving into the English language, into math, reading and writing. This week we took her with us to a village where we'd been invited to give the Gospel, where she listened intently to Kari talking about Jesus. On our way back we stopped at the beach to find some rice and beans. The ocean is still cold, but Oberline didn't hesitate for a second to wade in with my family. When she saw this picture she laughed and hugged me. I told her, "I see one happy girl in this picture." 

"Yes!!" She said.

True Freedom

We traveled with a carload to a new village up the west coast of Haiti.  There were beautiful mountains with the ocean right beside them. Tikilene, her daughter and Oberline came along with Chelo and a former student of ours. Tikilene brought cooked meat and soon as she thought I was getting hungry she whipped it out.
We were allowed and even invited into 2 schools where Kari had the privilege of walking from class to class to give the Gospel. In America, God is shushed in the schools. In Haiti, they welcome us to please come and share Jesus. Haiti knows something that America has forgotten.

It really stirs me with wonder.  How is it that in my home country, the land of the free, one nation, under God, the vets are being forced to remove their crosses from the grave sites?  The kids can't talk about Jesus or even mention his name in school, and we can't even handle having a holiday with his name in the title.

Why are we trading our greatest freedom for a prison?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

No, I Can't Give You A Ride on the Moto.

While riding with an inspector today on his moto, we stopped in my old village.  Who do you suppose recognized me and actually tried to hitch a ride on the moto?  :)   

Bee was the first dog to say hello to me when I moved to Haiti.  They say people don't choose their dogs, dogs choose their people.  That's a fact in this case.  I bought some coconut tablet from the girl on the corner, but then Bee gave me these eyes..... she kills me.  Just look at those eyes! She got half of it. 
She wraps her legs around me and she will not let me go.  I have to make sure we drive 3 or 4 times faster than she can run, and she knows all the shortcuts on the road. 

What's Up Doc?

I just have to give a shout out to this young doctor near the local clinic where I live.  His first day on the job and I brought him 24 people from the village.  He was inundated, but survived for the next 6 hours seeing them all, taking meticulous notes.   The second day I brought him 20 more.  He was floored, and not as happy to see me.  But he didn't complain a bit.  All he said, "I think it might help if we make a set day where we know you're coming." 
The nurses on the other hand, jokingly gave me a slashed throat sign and told me they no longer wanted anything to do with me.  They said I was killing them.   I'm thinking fresh-baked brownies will help restore whatever damage I've done...
I asked them if they knew how many more people I'd be bringing in the morning,  and they all looked up at me in pure silence.  All paper shuffling ceased.
"Zero."   I smiled.   They all resumed breathing.    
Dr. Yves Glaude.  Good job sir.  God sees your heart.

The Church Bench

This is one of the benches in a very poor church where I met a pastor today.  He didn't complain to me at all about them.  He only asked if we might have some books for the children.  
The people don't have work, so they fish every morning and night to eat.  They only come to church in the afternoon when the fishing is no good.  
I walked outside and had an interesting conversation with one of the men.
"Hey you! What are you doing at that church? Are you a Christian?"  He said.
"Yes, I am a Christian."  I said, "Are you a Christian?"
"No. No I am not."  He shot back.
"You gonna help the pastor over there?"  He glared.
"I'm hoping to, yes."
"Good, because that man needs help.  He's got nothing.  These people here have nothing.  Nothing!   Have you seen his benches in there?"  He pointed.
"Yes I have." I said. I'd already taken a picture.  "He needs help, I can see.  I'm going to do what I can."  I said.
"Good.  That's good. Because nobody cares about these people."  There was a slight smile, then a fist-punch hand shake, and that was it.
Interesting to me that this man that I had stiff warning about walking up to was so concerned for this pastor.   I have a feeling he will be watching from a distance.
This shepherd who asked for books for the children, and this is his Bible, missing a good chunk of the New Testament.

Here they have a saying,  'Si Dye vle.'   'I'll see you tomorrow, Si Dye vle.' 'I'll go the market, Si Dye vle.'   'I hope to be back by tonight, Si Dye vle.'  It means if God wants, or as you might be more familiar, 'Lord willing'.

I made up my mind by the time I got back into the car.
Next week, Si Dye vle, we're gonna bless this man's socks off.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Tank

Our car in Haiti has been having battery issues and is temporarily out of order. It just so happens another ministry I'm working with asked me to please use one of their vehicles. Their's is in perfect working order except that the key is stuck in the ignition and they can't leave it overnight out at their mission until it's repaired. It's a $60,000 Land Cruiser, (basically an ambulance tank) and it drives like a monster down these Haitian roads. So, exactly at the time I need a vehicle, I'm driving the most expensive vehicle I've ever driven, one perfectly suited for the rugged roads, with even a snorkel attached to the carburetor for when i need to cross the riverbed.... does someone want to dare tell me that God is not amazingly powerful and in control? I have a piece of Scripture for you...
"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God." ~Jesus (Luke 12)
Oh yes, did I mention, there's been a gas shortage in Haiti since the day before we came. No gas, anywhere. I bought 1 gallon off of a missionary friend in the north, but none where we live. Our car is having issues, sure, but without gas it wouldn't have mattered if it were working. That Land Cruiser that I used to shuttle 54 people, 2 sacks of charcoal and a bed in yesterday and today, it's a diesel. There is no diesel shortage. God had that all figured out too...
Edit that head count. It was actually closer to 80+. I forgot four missionaries, family, some pastors, an inspector, Oberline, Tikilene, some students who'd missed their ride, and 1 dog (Bee) from our old village who attempted a ride when she jumped up into the driver's seat and refused to leave. :)
Here is a shot I tried to snap without attracting attention today. I had the pleasure of riding next to one of the sweetest grandma's ever on the way to the clinic. One hand holding the hankey to her weeping eyes, and the other holding her home-made cane.

Friday, April 12, 2013

They Say He is the Rock

One great story to relay...  Two men spoke quietly among themselves in a new village where I was at today.  I'd been speaking to them about Christ, about working together peacefully in a village that has been somewhat volatile lately.  Both men confronted with me a delicate situation,  a woman with three children, the husband away in Port, and the whole family sick with fever.  

I felt immediately it was a test for them, to see if my actions matched my words.   I called a missionary friend right away to ask if I could bring them to their clinic, and they said I could.   We were a half-hour in the bush in a remote village. and the mother and her children were burning with fever.  The doctor at the clinic was about to leave, and the nurses would leave in another 2 hours, so I literally ran for the Land Cruiser to drive it up to her front door.  It was the vehicle of another missionary friend who was lending it to me to use since mine is untrustworthy at the moment.   When I got to the truck and put the key in the ignition, it locked tight and wouldn't turn.  

Nothing I tried worked.  The key would not turn.  I called the missionary and he stated he'd be on his way in 20 minutes, and for the rest of that time I continued to try the key.  I literally wore a blister onto my finger and drew blood, wiggling and jiggling this key as I thought of this mother and her little ones burning up, the clinic closing and not being open again until Monday after the weekend.  

When Les the missionary showed up, he didn't know any other special tricks and we had no other tools to try to disassemble the steering column.  I called the clinic, but the doctor had already left for the day and soon the nurses would be going home and closing up.  One of the men from the village who was most concerned about my intentions was sitting in the passenger seat watching me.  

Les called out to me that we didn't have a single tool, not even a hammer.   I looked down at a granite rock and my mind flashed back to when I watched a Haitian brother cut a wire with a rock in an emergency.   
"We have a hammer."  I said, picking up the rock. 
I sat in the drivers seat looking at this rock, with the man from the village wondering what I was about to do.  
I prayed aloud,
"Jesus, Please help us."

Then I took that rock and banged that ignition with two blows. Bam! Bam!  I turned the key and the engine revved!    The man's eyes lit up, and he said to me, "Your Faith!"
I said,  'That wasn't me!  Jesus did it!" 
Several of the kids in the village were there with big smiles.  "Jesus just did that!"  I said to them. 
Les laughed and said, 
"Well, you know, they say Jesus is the Rock!"   :)
It was a beautiful cap to the questions in the village. 

Another man hopped in and we short-cutted through a riverbed to the clinic just as the nurses were about to close.  They chose to stay open and help instead, and Gena, the nurse, was an immense help in explaining to the mother about the proper dosages of medicine.  
We bought the family some fresh bread on the way home, and they were overjoyed.   

Don't you just love how God can put His finger on something, and in one moment He can shush our doubtful hearts?  He reminds us so gently of our wavering faith and restores us with outstretched hands to His dry steps above the waves of uncertainty. 

Monday, April 1, 2013


The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. ~Psalm 19

I like to pay attention when the authors of the Bible try to describe something near unfathomable to man.  In Haiti, I've had fresh honey, given to me a few times as a gift from the mountain folk as a special way of thanks.  It's unique, and it's something only they can give from the bounty of their land, from the hives nestled high up in the hill country.  Usually it comes in an old rum bottle, because these beautiful people don't waste something as precious as a glass jar with a lid on it.  In fact the first time it was given to me I thought the smiling face in front of me was having a good laugh out of giving their local missionary a bottle of booze.  That was until they had me taste it.  
It was sweet and syrupy, fresh from the honeycomb, and I thought, as I've thought many times in Haiti in terms of bananas, mangos and such, I'd never really tasted honey until Haiti.   Everything there is so fresh and packed with flavor.  It isn't processed or formulated.  It's just the real deal, and in Haiti you experience it the way God intended it.   It leaves me thinking, Good Lord, if food tastes this good now, how amazing did it taste way back then for Adam & Eve, before the fall of man and the soaking of sin in the world?

This passage still draws the wonder from the child of my imagination.  I've had honey, freshly collected in the rum bottles of Haiti, but how sweet must the honey be, straight from the comb?  It must be awesomely rich and packed with flavor!  And then, how sweet of a picture is the Psalmist trying to paint to describe and impart to us in his understanding of just the laws of the Lord?  

His love is so beyond us.   His mercy and grace is so far-reaching we can't begin to comprehend, and that brings all of me, with my baggage and history, to one hope-filled peace.  His compassion for us is truly sweeter than the honey from the comb.