Anniversary of My Trip to Haiti

Officially one year ago today I was wrapping up my trip in Haiti.  Looking back it was one of the greatest adventures of my life.  On one hand I was able to help a northern village and preach in Port Au Prince, and on the other hand Haiti helped me reach that next level in my faith.  I would not be where I am at today without Haiti and the wonderful people there.

While I was there, I experienced a couple days of real darkness.  In earlier journal post I talked about some of the things that bothered me on my trip, but now I realize the darkness I experienced was Satan attacking me spiritually.  He knew the outcome this trip would have on me, and he did everything he could to break me down mentally.  Like any muscle sometimes the brain needs to be broke down in order to grow stronger.  Overall I am mentally and spiritually healthier because of this trip.

On this anniversary I want to encourage everyone to get involved in Missions.  Maybe you cannot go on a trip, but you can support one financially and with your prayers.  Take action, and get involved.  Even as I speak the country of Japan is in desperate need.  Pray that God will open doors, and that this will be an opportunity for mission teams to go in and spread the good news.  Pastor Shannon O’dell wrote an article on 7 Ways to Pray for Japan.  Be sure to check it out.

Read My Haiti Mission Trip Journal

Also, please pray for my brother in Christ Bill Moore and the AFDC team who are currently in Haiti. Haiti needs your help.  Please consider supporting this endeavor by contacting the Aid For Developing Countries.  www.AFDC-Haiti.org

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NorthLake Mission Trip

We had an awesome time at the Norhtlake Mission trip in Kansas City, however we experienced are share of trials on the way there. We had a battery go bad on us, a blown tire, and a few other issues that arose that really tested our spirits, however we were faithful, and some awesome things happened because of it. We were able to help with a community project to raise funds for public restrooms, and we also were able to work with a homeless ministry. Jeremy a student minister in training got to do a devotional reading and prayer for almost 100 homeless people. Awesome experience! We were also able to serve food for nearly 400-500 homeless people. This opportunity was really eye-opening for our students. We also hosted a youth rally in which the majority of the students responded to an altar call to start living with the faith of a mustard seed. This was an extraordinary sight in itself. We also had some fun while we were there. The students got to go tubing, and enjoy a day at Worlds of Fun. Who said being a Christian wasn’t awesome!! To God be the glory. Thanks to Bethel Baptist Church for your prayful and financial support. Check out this album for some of the photos of our trip: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2072342&id=1434591735

Jeremy also posted some photos in his album, check it out: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=184058&id=666103365#!/album.php?aid=184058&id=666103365

Haiti 2010 Day 2

Day 2: Friday March 12th 2010

Sleep deprivation has set in.  We got into Florida a little after midnight last night and now it is 4:30am.  It was about 2:05am when I woke up freezing.  I should also mention that I slept in the airport.  I decided since I was freezing and there was nothing I could do about it due to being in the airport.  I decided 2 things. 1: I had the munchies 2: If I was going to be cold I should at least have a reason so I went and bought an ice cream cone at 2 am in Florida out of a vending machine.  Anyways I am sitting here waiting to board my flight to Port Au Prince (P.A.P.), and I am running on about 2 hours of sleep.  Our fearless group leader didn’t even sleep. He laid down for about 20 minutes and said forget this.  I guess the thing that just really shocked me this morning is that I went to a Dunkin Donuts this morning for breakfast, and they had NO donuts. I have a right mind to sue them for false advertising. j/k.  Anyways, just playing the waiting game.  One last thought for the morning.  We flew over the coast of Florida last night and it was awesome.  That brings up another thought, yesterday I had the smoothest and roughest flight of my life.  NWA to Dallas was awesome, but Dallas to Florida was crazy.  Turbulence and Lightening are a scary combination.  Anyways I have to fill out a Custom’s Declaration form.

6:50am While waiting in a crowded lounge filled with Haitians waiting to board our flight to Haiti our group leader Bill asked someone next to us how to count to 10 in French.  What happened next was truly amazing.  This Haitian young man asked us “Are you not afraid to go to Haiti.”  It is amazing that they realize the risk and challenge.  It must have been a God thing because this young man was actually seated next to us on the plain.  I can’t express how my heart raced seeing this young man bon w/ our group leader Bill.  What once was a blank face is all smiles now, and the conversation is flowing between them as if they were best friends.  I look forward to building that bond with the Haitians on this trip.  The flight is descending and we are about to land.  “It can only be described as a God thing.”

9:00ish am We arrived at the Haiti airport and it was beyond imagine.  We exited the plane and was greeted by a tropical like music band, and then we stepped into the luggage claim, and reality sunk in.  Military forces were scatted throughout as well as U.N. forces.  Things were going smoothly until we exited the airport gate.  We were bombarded by Haitians.  It was like a mob.  It was a little freaky with all of them yelling at you.  I about got ran over twice with all of the pushing and shouting.  I watched a police officer repeatedly hit a young Haitian boy with a knight stick.  The stench of raw sewage filled the air as the humidity bathed you in sweat.  One of our team members tripped on a pot hole filled with sewage, but luckily she fell to the side of it.  It was awful having all these little children begging you for money.  People came up to you trying to sell you bottled water that they just filled up w/ parasite infested water from the local tap.  Car accidents in Haiti are a common thing kind of like bumper cars, or like bumping into someone at the mall.  Traffic was crazy, but I was grateful for a Christian taxi driver who knew his way around.  He got us to the safe house as safely as possible.  I was so relieved to see a steal barricaded door w/ 8-10’ ft high concrete walls and razor wire (barbed wire)  It may have looked like a prison on the outside, but it was beautiful on the inside. Palm trees – mango trees – a beautiful garden and nice indoor accommodations. (we were worried we would be sleeping outside)  In reality though I felt kind of guilty, because just down the road millions of Haitians will sleep in disease infested tarps.  Even now I hear gun shots, horns honking, and children crying in the background.  In spite of my guilt, safety is my greatest concern.  My guilt will just have to settle for now. 

I wouldn’t say it is all bad however, some of the natural scenery is beautiful with all different types of vegetation, and gorgeous mountains in the back drop.  We were even greeted upon arrival by a cool Haitian band.  My nerves have settled now as I just finished some Cracker Jacks and am now sipping on warm water.  It is clean that is all I got to say.  It probably doesn’t help that I am running on less than 2 hours sleep.  AAhhhh the breeze feels awesome.  I just wish I could talk to my wife.  I want to hear her voice.

3:30ishpm Me, Paul, & Jim decided to go with one of the Pastors here in Haiti to see 3 of his churches, and while doing so we pretty much toured the whole city.  Once again traffic amazed me.  It was a free for all.  We drove by the U.S. Army base and seen all the Hummers & large military vehicles.  Then we came to His 2nd church in which was most damaged by the earthquake.  There were what they called tent cities/villages everywhere.  To me they should call them sheet, stick, and tarp villages.  It was so sad.  Beside the second Baptist church we visited there was a huge Tarp village which happened to be the primary congregation of the church.  Multiple children came out to greet us and we played ninjas for a little while.  The kids loved having their pictures taken and then they wanted to see themselves.  They made all kinds of poses.  We later had to leave and say our goodbyes. 

We went around and seen the majority of the city filled with destruction.  I was amazed at how overpopulated the city was.  At one point some Haitians ran a whole heard of cattle right down the main street.  It was chaotic.  Next we went and visited Pastor Moore’s school/church in central P.A.P.  The school/church was in ruins.  I was sad to hear that the elementary was no longer able to meet.  They were able to still have small Bible studies. 

Eventually we made it back through the over populated market filled streets to the safe house (Blue Ridge International Ministries compound).  We ate spam sandwiches for dinner, got showers which were cold, but to die for, and kicked back and relaxed.  It was so beautiful that a couple of us decided to sleep out on the balcony.  It was so beautiful and peaceful under the star filled night sky.

Haiti 2010 Day 1

Day 1: Thursday March 11th 2010

The morning started off good.  Hugged & kissed the wife and kids farewell, followed by a smooth flight from XNA Arkansas to Dallas-Ft. Worth Texas.  When we arrived in TX we had a 7 hour layover which allowed plenty of time to grab some lunch, take a nap, catch up on some reading, and board the flight to Fort Lauderdale Florida.  I really enjoyed riding the automatic driverless trans.  Something else that was pretty cool was seeing all of the different cultures during our 7 hour layover.  I also got to eat at one of my favorite restaurants before I left. (Dickey’s BBQ)

I rode the Skylink tran like 6-8 times.  It was like a mini-coaster.  While at the D terminal during one of my tran rides I got to see a cool aluminum castle like sculpture.

It is about 7:15pm and our flight to Ft. Lauderdale has been delayed 15-30 minutes.  We are going to be arriving in Florida around midnight and have to load up at 6am for Port Au Prince.  We were watching CNN and received the bad news that they are wanting to evacuate Port due to possible mud slides. This got me really nervous.  They want everyone to head North where we are going to be located.  Now I’m truly concerned about crime, massive rain, flooding, and crazy mud slides.  The only thing I can do is trust in the Lord and stay strong knowing our team is going to work together to be successful in our endeavors.

10:30is on Thursday night, and 3,300 miles (not sure on exact heights.  I believe that is what the pilot said.) in the air. 2 hour flight on my way to Florida.  Looking out of the plain window I see God’s awesome creativity, yet at the same time I feel so small and alone.  I recently read II Cor. 12:? Where it talks about in my weakness He is made stronger.  Well right now I feel pretty weak & small.  It’s hard to believe that God uses people such as you & I to do great things for His kingdom.  At the same time I already miss my family.  It hasn’t even been 24hours yet.  Trips like this really make me appreciate the ones I love.  My son before I hung up the phone tonight told me that I was the best daddy and that he loved me very, very, very much.  It just made me want to hug him even more.  “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” were the last words he spoke to me.  Seems silly now, but when we get to Port Au Prince (P.A.P.) Bed Bugs, Parasites, and mosquitoes really will be an issue.

Listening to “Mountain of God” by Third Day.  I am a very blessed man.  I have an awesome family – wife, child, and one on the way.  Granite my team make it home safely, I will look forward to going and finding out what Katie and I will be having.  If it’s a boy we will name him Elijah Pierce (Eli for short), and if it is a girl … Trinity Lynn.

 ≠!!! Just saw lighting outside the plane window.  Looks like we are about to have a bumpy flight.

My mind continues to wander to the fears and insecurities I have.  I worry about:

  • Crime… a missionary got shot in the head last week. (Don’t tell my wife)
  • Plane Crash (I’ve watched one too many movies)
  • Disease or sickness (Spreading like crazy in Haiti)
  • Flooding & Mudslides (Going during rainy season where this is very common)
  • Getting stuck in Haiti (Not being able to get home)
  • Something happening to my wife and son while I’m gone. (I love them so much.)

I can’t help but feel inadequate for this mission due to all my fears, yet at the same time God has provided w/ a great sense of peace.  I hear God speaking 2 my heart… “ I don’t need you.  I want you, I chose you.”

Haiti 2010

Over the next several days I will be posting my journal post from every day that I was in Haiti.  I am going to post it exactly as it is written in my journal.  There will be incomplete sentences, grammatical errors, and various other tidbit notes that I wrote down.  I want to leave it as raw and simple as the original thoughts. 

You will never fully understand nor comprehend many of the things I will write about unless you experience it yourself, but maybe, just maybe you will at least get a glimpse into the reality of Haiti.

Haiti needs your help.  Please consider supporting this endeavor by contacting the Aid For Developing Countries.  http://www.AFDC-Haiti.org

Road Trip

Today’s the day.  I’m heading down with my pastor to Conway Arkansas to attend our State Baptist Meeting at Central Bible College.  I hear it is a beautiful campus with some of today’s top scholars.  It humbles me to be in the presence of such great men who serve an even greater God.  This will be my first state meeting since coming into the BMA.  I look forward to meeting new people, and networking with other pastors.  We can learn a great deal from one another.  I will also get the opportunity to see some of the pastors within our local association whom I have already had the pleasure to meet.  I think my favorite part about these out of town meetings and seminars is the quality time spent on the road with your fellow ministry partner. 

2008bus_smallI know I shouldn’t mention it because it probably will only add fuel to the fire, but I have been known to be a pyro.  The so called Gay Christian Organization “Soulforce” is going to be protesting at CBC the same day we are suppose to be there for the state meeting.  This organization has been active for over 10 years protesting at different colleges, universities, and churches throughout the United States.  They call it American Family Outings or The Equality Ride.  Below is one of their posts.

“The American Family Outing succeeded in getting LGBT and straight-ally families sharing the power of love, commitment, and dedication to Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church in Houston, The Potter’s House (Bishop T.D. Jakes – Senior Pastor) in Dallas, Bishop Harry Jackson and Hope Christian Church outside Washington, D.C., Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church near Atlanta, Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, and Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.” – Soulforce

I just don’t understand how they can justify their actions, and how people can support this kind of behavior when the Bible clearly states it is a sin.

One of their foundational beliefs is that “The Biblical authors are silent about homosexual orientation as we know it today. They neither approve it nor condemn it.” – Soulforce

Umm let me see here.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think there is any way to misinterpret 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 where the author God, and the writer Apostle Paul speak out against it loud and clear.  “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (NKJV)

Soulforce has been deceived by their own hearts.

Now don’t misunderstand me.  We ALL fall into one of these categories, and if you don’t think you do I can prove it and inside you will admit it.  The only thing we have going for us is the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  It’s not about us, but about Christ.  That is one thing I do agree on with Soulforce, however this verse clearly states that homosexuality is a sin which hinders people from inheriting the kingdom of God.  Does that mean that they cannot be saved?  NO, however when one is saved they MUST – TURN & TRUST.  They must TURN from their ways, and TRUST in God.  If they truly TRUSTed in God they would TURN from their sin, and that is what it is.  People need to stop justifying their sin, and get down on their knees for a Savior. 

“Whatever some people believe the Bible seems to say about homosexuality, they must not use that belief to deny homosexuals their basic civil rights.” –  Soulforce

All I have to say is their Civil Rights are not going to be worth a thing when Christ Comes back, and they are living a life filled with sin.

Besides all of that, the organization even if it was scriptural (which it is not) is not acting Christ like in their actions.  They take pride in being arrested, and they even have their own little watch list which reminds me of a hit list.  Here are just a few names, groups, and organizations on the list:

  • Southern Baptist
  • United Methodist
  • Focus on the Family
  • Real Family Life
  • Jerry Falwell
  • A long list of seminaries, colleges, & universities

Final thought, they do have a point when it comes to hatred.  People’s hatred is fueled by their fear.  The Bible has called us to love one another.  We are not to speak out or act out in hatred toward the homosexual community.  We should love them for who they are, not what they do, and pray for them that their deception may become unclouded and that they might repent. (TURN)

If your bitter, and angry after reading this then maybe you need to search your heart. 

You might be an angry homosexual.  That is ok, because I love you, and am praying for you.

You might be a frustrated biblical scholar, pastor, or minister.  That is ok, because I love you, and am praying for you too.

Be praying for this meeting, soulforce, and the gay community.

These are my personal views, and do not reflect the views of my church.