The Pastors Conference went really well. Thank you for your prayers, they appreciated them. Today was mostly filled with meetings with Samuel, the Children's Village director, and Lemeque, who is the director over our churches. They also had meetings going over the business plan with the staff for the Market place, and spent time in Gonavies pricing out wholesale goods, frozen product, transportation and rent. Mike also spent time with our older boys in the transitional ministry getting their school supplies, books and uniforms ready, as high school starts in the morning.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, Mike will be teaching the bible study in Marose. He would love it if you would join us in prayer for open hearts and understanding, along with some good dialogue. Then on Thursday they will be passing out more Bibles.
Mike also spent time visiting with JeanDenis, our pastor in DeForce, which is part of Pass Rien. I wanted to share his story with you.
JeanDenis was born 5th of 9 children. By the time he was in 9th grade he was on his own. He went to school in Gonaives and worked for family friends in construction. He knew he did not want to return to DeForce and he knew he needed to get more education, so while attending his 13th grade he also attended professional school to become a mason. He had a difficult time paying for both schools and helping to support his family, which is expected of you if you get any kind of work. He was kicked out of school for non payment a few times. He also had a hard time passing the final exam given by the government because of the schooling he missed. He did pass on his 2nd attempt.
During this time he had friends that kept telling him he needed to come back to DeForce because of a new church. He eventually went back and saw his spiritual life grow dramatically as he saw people in his village get set free, walk away from voodoo, and share amazing testimonies. Then he witnessed the battles between our church and the Madame, who was a Boko, one of the top witch doctors in the country. He was amazed that God kept winning the victories. He said any other organization would have put her out, but Mike invited her to the ceremony changing the name of DeForce to Bon Berger Place de Lumiere, she stood up and gave her life to the Lord and then asked the villagers forgiveness for all the bondage she had created.
He said that sometimes he was uncomfortable with all the miracles and deliverances he saw, but he said "when I shut my eyes I could feel that it was the Holy Spirit and I knew He was leading me in the right direction". He said every one complimented him on how motivated he was, but he said "really people did not know how scared I was, until I began to worship God, then I had no fear, only peace". People started telling him that he had the gift of leadership on him, he said he kept shrinking back because he thought he was too young. He helped with the sound system instead and even though he had no music training, worship moved him and he began to learn worship, because it made him feel close to God. After a time it became apparent that it also moved others, so a few years later he found himself leading worship.
JeanDenis also applied to be a teacher at our school, but once again failed the test. On the 2nd try he passed and was offered a job as a teacher when another teacher was disqualified. A few years after that, in his words "God turned a light on and I realized that I had romantic feelings for a girl who had grown up in my village and was my friend. Then Pastor Nathan and Pastor Mike said I should get married." He bought a little piece of property to build a small house on that was extremely inexpensive, because a Boko, witch doctor, had owned it and everyone one was afraid of it. After he built and was okay, others decided to build around him and now he is in a nice little community of other church members. He has shown such leadership skill that he has been appointed as the pastor of our church, but he considers himself as part of a team of 6 other members who lead the church.
JeanDenis has a strong vision for community growth in Deforce to be a place of light for all the surrounding villages. He is happily married with a baby girl and feels very blessed. He is a joy to be around. We consider him a treasure to the ministry. Please lift JeanDenis and his family, along with the church leadership up to God in prayer.