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.