Mission Bon Berger, Milot, de Haiti
October 9, 2007
"I Thank My God"
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now." – Philippians 1:3-5
In these verses, the apostle Paul is sharing his appreciation for his Christian brothers and sisters in the church at Philippi. The nature of this appreciation is understood by the word “fellowship” in verse 5. The word “fellowship” in this verse is from the familiar Greek word “koinonia”. In Strong’s concordance the first two definitions of this word are “partnership” and “participation”. So Paul is thanking the church at Philippi for their partnership, or their participation in the missionary work of Paul from the very beginning. Through their support, they were co-laborers with Paul in the great missionary work. Without their partnership, or koinonia, Paul would have been unable to carry on the missionary work of Christ. And so it is at Mission Bon Berger. We are so thankful for your partnership, your koinonia, in the work of our Lord Jesus Christ here in Haiti. Like Paul, without you, we could not be here. Indeed this is your work, and we do thank God for each and every one of you who remain a part of the good work of our Lord here in Haiti. Being inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul continues his thoughts on this matter in chapter 4 verses 10 – 23. I trust you will be personally blessed as you study these verses and apply them to your own life. Thanking you in Christ. And now about that great work …
"The Work of the Gospel"
We do want to share with you some of the great things that have been accomplished - and also some of our hopes for the future …
The Children’s Bible Camp in July was another marvelous experience. Around 350 children and 80 adults called Mission Bon Berger home for 5 days and 4 nights. 137 children came to know Christ during the week. Thanks to Louis Jean and his people from the Washington area, and the folks from Calvary Fellowship of Arden, NC, for coming in to accomplish this. Be sure and read a testimony further along in this newsletter.
Bill and Sandy enjoyed a speaking tour in Alabama while in the states during August. They were able to introduce the work of GSM in 10 churches on an 11 day tour.
Earlier this year, a group of seven churches formed a coalition and worked together to collect enough money for a much needed new service vehicle in Haiti. As Bill & Sandy were making their way back to Florida, they were surprised with a lunch date at a Shoney’s in Alabama where around 25 folks had gathered. They pretended to “pass the hat”, and lo and behold, there was $34,073.00 in it when they handed it to Bill. The new Daihatsu truck is being ordered in Haiti.
A medical team will be ministering to our 2000 children the first week of November. I suppose that only the team members and the Lord can know what goes into making this ministry happen. Pray for them. And pray for GSM as we continue to strengthen this aspect of our mission.
The annual Christmas Bag ministry is well underway. It is looking like another great year for that. It is such a blessing, not only to our brothers and sisters in Haiti, but also to all the churches and people who get to share in the work. We can’t name everyone, there are so many. But thanks to all the individuals, churches, and even schools that are making this all happen. Thanks most of all for our Heavenly Father who sent His only begotten Son into our world that wondrous day over 2000 years ago.
Many of our facilities need new roofs. In 2008 we hope to put new roofs on 5 or 6 of our buildings. Pray that God would raise up teams to help with this.
The board of directors has called Lamar Lyon to come alongside Bill & Sandy as the Director of U.S. Operations. His mission is to grow and strengthen the support base of GSM, as well as keep things working smoothly so they can be more effective in their work in Haiti. Pray for Lamar and his family.
Our Christian schools remain the core of what we are doing. Everything else flows out of this work and the great host of relationships and activities this involves. Pray for our teachers and principals. We are thankful for their faithfulness. We want them to grow in their ownership of the missionary vision of GSM. One of Bill’s greatest desires is that we could pay them more. Our teachers average pay is around $5.10 a day. The cost of living is as high or higher in Haiti than in the U.S. Five dollars in Haiti is no more than it is here. They had a small raise this summer, but are still very underpaid for what they are doing and cannot feed their families. Pray for Bill & Sandy as they continue the daily work of maintaining and improving our 3 Christian schools: changing hearts - changing children - changing a nation – one child at a time.
"The Fruit of the Gospel"
We would like for you to get to know some of your Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ. So we are going to begin including a brief biographical sketch in our newsletters. This month, meet …
Jocelyn was born on April 25, 1953. When he was 3 he was abandoned by his parents. His grandfather cared for him for 2 years but died when Jocelyn was 5. At this time an aunt took him in. When he was 7 he became very ill. During his illness a neighbor came and nursed him and led him to faith in Christ. Soon afterward he was healed. He never saw his mother and father again. It is believed that she was washed away in a flood, and that his father died and is buried in a field near the mission. In 1981 Jocelyn tried to escape Haiti and enter the US. He paid for passage on a refugee boat, but the captain deserted the boat and left it adrift at sea. They were adrift for 17 days without food or water. Many died at sea. The boat finally drifted to Cuba. People there nursed them back to health and they set off again. This time they ended up on the other side of Cuba where they were caught by the authorities and sent back to Haiti. He soon became involved with Good Shepherd Ministries and has been working with the mission for over 25 years. Today he works as a security guard for GSM, is married with 2 boys and 2 girls, and is a strong Christian witness to his countrymen.
A Bible Camp Testimony
WOW! A year ago I would never have dreamed that God would take me to Haiti. How could he use me? I don’t have much scripture memorized. I am generally a quiet person, and do not have an abundance of self confidence. I have never been out of the country. What can I do? I can rely on God! That is what I can do!
He sent me to GSM in Haiti last December when I was privileged enough to pass out Christmas bags to students at their schools and meet with the school personnel. Being a schoolteacher myself, that was very exciting. I learned quite a bit about myself, and how God can use the smallest gestures of kindness to open doors to people’s hearts. After that trip, I knew I would be back in Haiti at some point, but didn’t know when or why. That next time came in July 2007. What a privilege it was to be there during the week of Bible camp for approximately 350 children!
God stretched me a little further out of my comfort zone this trip. He did this to make me grow, and to touch other lives as well. The theme for the camp that week was “One Way”. We taught the children that there is only one way to God, one way to heaven, one way to forgiveness. That one way is through trusting in Jesus Christ our Lord. God used that week to teach me, through hands on experience, that there is only one way to live, and that is by relying on the sufficiency of God.
At our church here in North Carolina, we had been studying the Five Solas: Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone, Christ alone, Glory to God alone. Jesus brought this to my mind often while in Haiti for Bible Camp. I had to rely totally on God for guidance as to what to do, how to help, who to speak to, etc. It was some of the smallest gestures that brought me so much joy, and I believe it brought joy to the Haitians involved as well. When the children were coloring, God told me to walk to the far side of the room. When I did, I found a group of 8 boys who were not given any crayons. I went and got them some. They had bright smiles and were very grateful. They wanted me to come back and see their progress and what a good job they were doing. That was such a blessing. God alone, told me to go to them. Another instance was when a very young boy in the middle of the room was holding two crayons, but did not know what to do. He had a very sad countenance on his face and a runny nose. I stayed with him a few minutes and showed him how to color, then told him to try on his own. He was very reluctant, but when he tried I immediately praised him. He looked surprised and started to color more. I got tissues to clean his face, and praised his work again. He grinned, colored more, and melted my heart. I just always had to be alert and aware, listening to God’s promptings. Another wonderful moment was at the end of camp. A group of us went to pay the cooks and thank them for their work. I felt God wanted me to say something to them. When given the opportunity, I told them how impressed I was with their skill in feeding such large masses of people, and that the children were blessed to have them. The smiles on their faces, I will never forget. All the glory goes to God for allowing me to hear and obey his prompting.
When planning for some lessons our group would do for the children, we kept getting stumped over how to present it. The publisher of the materials we were using had many good ideas, but how to get it all in when you do not speak the language and work through interpreters? Scripture alone, God alone. When we decided to read scripture alone, it all fell into place. When asked on Thursday if I would help with the devotion the next morning, my first thought was, “I can’t do that on such short notice.” To which God immediately replied, “You can’t, but I can. Do it.” He immediately supplied me with the scripture, the time to prepare it, and the materials I needed. I was so richly blessed to be a part of camp that week. To see 137 children come to the Lord, lives changed forever, because of faith and grace and Jesus alone. We didn’t have all the fancy decorations and supplies that you have for VBS in the states. It was God’s word alone that was our light, our guide. The Holy Spirit really moved that week! When the children left, it was sad to see them go. However, the blessings were not over yet. When we walked through Milot passing out tracts and witnessing with people, it was such a blessing to see their openness and hunger for the Truth. To pray with a young boy and a grown man to receive Christ was so special. But another experience brought me back to the sufficiency of God. A young deaf, mute mother followed us, eyes bright, wanting the Lord. Through pictures, spoken words she could not hear, and the power of the Holy Spirit she was saved! With her finger pointing to the sky then here heart, she was alive with Christ. That beautiful young ladies face will forever be in my heart.
You cannot go to Haiti and not be changed. Thank you Lord for sending me, and for reminding what is important in life….GOD ALONE!!!
Calvary Fellowship Asheville, NC
So until next time, from all the folks at GSM, thank you for your continued, prayer, support, and koinonia …