Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Three Churches

We've had a few nice visits, lately. Ryan's home church from Anniston, Alabama visited us in February for a week. They helped out around Christianville and the clinics and also helped build a house for a woman who used to work for us. She lost her daughter (Daphne) and her home in the earthquake, so the team helped to build a new one for her. We were especially glad to see Ryan's parents again, and to see Pastor Mac visit Haiti for the first time. During their stay, Ryan preached at our church here in Haiti. I interpreted for him, which turned out to be a little bit controversial. I didn't know that women not speaking in church also included women not interpreting in church, according to some church members. The leaders of the church were glad that Ryan preached, though, and were thankful for the interpretation. After Ryan preached about following Christ and loving Him, instead of following family traditions, FanFan came up to give an altar call. He is a member of the church as well as an accordion player and a dental hygienist at Christianville's dental clinic. A young woman responded to his altar call and told the church that she had been going to church all her life as a family tradition, but she had never accepted Christ to be her own Savior, and she wanted to do that. It was a great Sunday at church.

In March, my home church from Ft. Lauderdale came to visit us. They helped out around Christianville and the clinics. They built several chicken coops and put up gates at the eye clinic building site. They brought us lots of goodies, just like Ryan's church had done. It is great to get visits from our home church and be encouraged by our church families. I was especially glad that Kent and Dennis got to return on a trip to Christianville. They came to help out when I first moved to Haiti and lived in Seguin, and they hadn't been back since, so I was happy to show them the new place where I'm serving.

While the Community Christian church group was here, we also attended a service at my church here in Haiti. This time, Ryan didn't preach. Our head pastor didn't preach, either. It was a deacon without any seminary experience who preached. His sermon was directed towards women, since it was the international day of remembering women, or something like that. He chose two Scriptures to build his sermon around. The Scriptures he chose were very thought provoking. One was the story of the mother of James and John in Matthew 20:20-23. The other was the story of Hannah, from 1 Samuel chapters 1 and 2. He began to compare these two mothers, saying that the mother of James and John was asking for her sons to be powerful, and the mother of Samuel didn't care if he was a servant, but just wanted him to be dedicated to the Lord. Then, he veered off onto a tangent about not letting your children play with scissors, or they might poke their eye out, grow up to resent you, and eventually kill you for it. Before the tangent, I thought he was on to something good, but he never got back to it.

Let's pretend he did get back to it. Let's keep comparing those two women. The mother of James and John wanted them to be with Jesus because she saw that He had power and could lead them to positions of greatness. Jesus warned her that His type of greatness was going to involve much sacrifice and suffering. Hannah, on the other hand, prayed that God would give her a child. She vowed to dedicate that child to His service, no matter what the cost to her son or to herself. As a mother, I find it easy to pray for my child's safety, for his health, for her to prosper and be successful in life. But I also pray with all my heart for my children to be saved, to know Christ, and to serve Him with all their heart and life. Like John and James' mother, I like to ask Jesus to bless them. But I also need to be like Hannah, and pray that -no matter what the cost- they will serve the Lord. Even if it means they grow up to serve Him in a country far away, or choose ministry over financial security, or stay single in their service of Him and never give me grandkids, or serve Him in a dangerous place. Even if they suffer for Him. That is a much harder prayer to pray. I know my mother was a Hannah in her prayers for me, and I'm thankful. I ask for God's grace to make me a Hannah mother in my prayers for my children, as well.