Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My first church service in the back country of Haiti

Tonight we piled in the school bus and were told we were going to a small church in the country for their service. We were also told to take flash lights as we would have to walk a small distance. It was very dark and the road was so narrow. The air seemed to be sucked out of the bus and I prayed my asthma would not act up. I sat near the window and every now and then a tree limb would brush past making a screeching noise. My mind raced a little thinking of things that could happen in the middle of the back country where there are no street lights, no businesses, and no gas stations….nothing. What would we do if I had an asthma attack and my inhaler didn't help? What would we do if we were attacked? What would we do if another vehicle wanted to pass us?

Francois, our driver drove slowly and carefully pulled over into a clearing, turning the bus at an angle where the headlights shone on a path leading into the village. It was so dark and even though we had flashlights I could not make out a path. All of a sudden I saw a set of white teeth. The children had come out to meet us. Then we were told to turn off our flashlights. I am not really sure why. There were a few light bulbs hanging from what I thought were trees. The church was made from poles covered with banana leaves. A single light bulb danced on a wire above the podium where the preacher delivered his message. The Haitians welcomed us with open arms. I must admit I was a little nervous with these people I didn't know and the people I couldn't understand.

The service had already begun before we arrived and the people were singing their hearts out to the Lord. Several of the Haitians got up and offered their seats to us. We were sitting so close and it seemed there was not enough air in the small church for everyone. I had to pray not to panic but to stay calm and breathe. I sat on the last row and could hear the Haitians behind me praying and talking. The grass roof was beautiful, the dirt floor looked velvety and the hardness of the seats reminded me of the hard life these wonderful Christians were suffering. I was fortunate to have a seat.

Even though I couldn't understand the words to the song, I knew they were praising God and clapping loudly to the beat of the drums. It was very rhythmic. All of the blancs (white Americans) quickly caught on and the small village church exploded in praise. I wondered what the heavenly realm was seeing. Here Christ followers were together in spirit worshiping the Almighty.

I turned on my camcorder just to get the message and music. I felt odd videotaping the church service but we do it at home. Gary interpreted the message for us and what a blessing it was. The message was God loves us all, the white Americans and the Haitians. God made us all. He loves us all! Then we sang in Creole and English…. "Lord I Lift Your Name on High, Lord I love to sing Your praises, I'm so glad You're in my life, I'm so glad You came to save us. You came from heaven to earth, to show the way, from the earth to the grave, my debt to pay. From the grave to the sky, Lord I lift Your Name on high." It was awesome.


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