I want to share a praise report and thank for your prayers. I also want to share some of our challenges and my heart.
On Easter Sunday we saw about 24 people give their lives to the Lord during the morning services. The churches were packed with people hungry for God. Mike said it was an interesting experience for him, because we have been in the process of rebuilding the church in Marose. The walls are up and there is a balcony that goes around most of the church inside. They had set up the benches for people to sit on under the balcony all around. When he started to preach he was in the middle of the church, with people all around and because there is no roof yet he was in the direct sun and extremely hot. A little bit into his message it clouded up and then it started raining. He said the people couldn't believe that he just kept on preaching. They thought he would give up and run out of the rain.
In the late afternoon most of our churches were able to come together. There were about 1000 people gathered for our all churches Easter Service. Mike said that the church was full, there was standing room only on the porch and the entire church yard in Poteau was filled with people. Nathan leads choirs in two of our villages and one of our younger pastors, Jean Denis leads a children's choir in Pass Rein. There were also two guest choirs. During ministry time Pastor Nathan felt led to ask one of the choirs to pray for one of the other choirs. This led to one of the other choirs praying for the remaining adult choir. Then members from all four choirs started to pray for all the children in the children's choir. I guess it was an amazing spirit led ministry time. So good when so many come together and join in with what God is doing.
Some of the rural mountain churches were not able to make it to the all churches Easter Service, because of the mudslides and roads and houses that were taken out due to the flash flooding caused by the rains Friday night and Saturday. Please be praying for all the families that were affected. The same people were also not able to come to the Baptism, as the roads were washed out. Mike said the baptism that was supposed to be an all churches event was done in the local communities. Altogether there were about 100 people being baptized.
One of the challenges when ministering to a third world country is helping them to see the way God brings prosperity and blessings. And NO I am not talking about what most of us would consider prosperity. I am talking about the promises and blessings that we in first world countries see. We pray for the people of Haiti and ask God to bless them. But, their outsides circumstances may never change or improve like we would expect here. They still have no food, no job, no money and may very well feel more responsibility now to support all the children they may have with various partners. Which partner do they now marry? If they were prostitutes' or witch doctors, or killers for hire, how do they make a living now? We in our first world countries can turn from our sinful life styles and work hard and most times live an improved life style. We cannot say life will be better on the outside to these precious people. They might never experience the blessings on the outside. They may not ever experience fulfillment in their physical needs. It can appear to be so hopeless.
But God! We can promise internal fulfillment, we can promise internal prosperity. We can promise freedom in eternity. We can offer hope. But we have to help them to understand that salvation creates joyful identity. We have to help them understand it is their personal relationship with a God who wants to know THEM. It is such a challenge, but when they get it, they have something that can never be taken from them, it can never be lost and its worth everything. My heart breaks for them in some ways, but in other ways, they have very little that can get in the way of their relationship with Him. Please continue to lift our brothers and sisters in Haiti up.