Trip Report: God is faithful
Worship in the church at Malasi on March 18. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
By Gary Fallesen
Founding President, Climbing For Christ
Haitian missionary Miguel Rubén Guante looks at the churches of Monte Pou Kris (Climbing For Christ in Creole) and sees a people with “little faith.” Few, he claims, are 100-percent Christian. Some are 95 percent, some 60 percent, some 15 percent. When needs overwhelm them, they do not trust completely in Christ, but turn to what their culture has provided since Haiti became a nation in 1804: voodoo.
A church leader in Malasi — the village where we taught a two-day seminary conference, held five days of medical clinics, and provided two days of Bible education to schoolchildren during Mission: Haiti 2012 — took his sick child to a voodoo chief before we arrived in March. “Why do you go to a voodoo chief?” Miguel asked, rhetorically. “What does the Bible say about this?”
He pointed to Psalm 89:35, where the Lord says, “Once for all, I have sworn my holiness — and I will not lie to David.”
God is faithful. He does not deceive the way the enemy lies and cheats and steals.
The enemy stood between us and Malasi, disrupting our travel, trying to discourage our team from the moment we landed on the island of Hispaniola. We were held by Dominican customs officials, who searched our medical supplies, took some medicine and threatened to tax us for what we were bringing to those in need. We were stalled by broken-down vehicles. But we pushed on, confident that God was with us and for us.
In the end, team members were asked after the Evangelic Expedition, “What did God teach you through this trip?”
Jordan Rowley, Climbing For Christ’s spiritual coordinator, who was on his third Mission: Haiti said, “How to roll with the punches.”
“He is my protector and He is all sufficient,” agreed Eileen Lakey, a two-time Mission: Haiti veteran from Cañon City, CO, USA. “He is in control — always.”
“He is powerful and awesome and so much bigger than I am,” said Dr. Steve Quakenbush, also of Cañon City, who led Mission: Haiti medical clinics for the fifth straight year.
Pastor Don Bird, a Mission: Haiti rookie from Eileen and Dr. Steve’s church, said he learned “patience and to give up control! He reminded me again that He is a faithful God and One who provides for all of our needs.”
This is a valuable lesson for all of us at Climbing For Christ. As we know, the needs in Haiti are great. The needs in all of the places where God sends us — those seemingly out-of-reach places where others cannot or simply will not go — are always great.
After another 10 days in Haiti on this, my 10th mission to the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country, I again felt that challenge to trust completely that He is in total control. While I would not run to a voodoo chief, am I any different from the Haitian who is less-than-100-percent devoted to the Jesus who gave His everything? Do I doubt and try to figure out ways I can help apart from God, even when I know from experience and His Word that “apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
So I lean into Him — just as our team leaned into Him every day while stumbling into and out of Malasi — and I look forward to the pages He has written of His story for Mission: Haiti. Some of what He is doing, what He will do, what He will provide for through His people (you and me) includes:
The construction of the church at Jimani
This is the fourth Monte Pou Kris building, located in the Haitian part of the Dominican border town where Miguel lives. This project has been almost exclusively funded by First United Methodist Church in Cañon City, CO, USA — the home church of Mission: Haiti participants Pastor Don, Dr. Steve, Eileen, and Lisa Mehle-Glab.
Building the church at Jimani. (Photo by Miguel Rubén Guante)
Construction is 60-percent complete, but the next phase (the roof) is estimated to cost US$9,201.77. After that, the final 20 percent of work will require more funds to finish the floor, plaster walls, and put in doors and windows, among other things.
Renovations in Gentilhomme
The first of four Monte Pou Kris churches is 6 years old in April. It is in need of some upkeep, including a floor, plastering and painting (Monte Pou Kris pink). The estimated cost is US$1,000.
Most pastors and church leaders in the mountains of Haiti have only a rudimentary education, and little or no theological teaching. We recognized this and in December 2007 started a monthly seminary. For the past year, spiritual coordinator Jordan Rowley has authored teachings that Miguel has translated and then shared with pastors and leaders from numerous villages. Jordan organized and taught (along with Pastor Don and Dallas Theological Seminary student Joshua Cook) a conference focused on evangelism and discipleship. Eight churches were represented.
Pastor Don teaching at the seminary conference.
(Photo by Gary Fallesen)
The monthly seminary resumes April 27-28. Climbing For Christ provides US$300 per month to cover seminary costs, including two or three meals for those attending.
Educating the children
Since the construction of the first Monte Pou Kris church in 2006, we have combined schools with churches. Our emphasis on Bible-based education is displayed in the teachings our short-term teams provide each year.
The school at Malasi with our two teachers at the chalkboards.
(Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Most of the children in our schools would not receive an education without Climbing For Christ. We support eight teachers (three in Jimani, two each in Malasi and Thoman, and one in Gentilhomme), providing each with US$100 per month for a total of US$800.
A full-time missionary
When God first took us to Haiti in 2005, we needed a translator. God provided a Haitian who lives in the Dominican Republic, a man who speaks Creole, Spanish and English, and who had experience in ministry, teaching and agriculture. This was totally a God thing.
Miguel, right, with Pastor Vilcuis of the church at Malasi.
(Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Miguel carries out the work of Monte Pou Kris throughout the year. He is supported (US$500) by a generous U.S. member. We also provide for communication and transportation — a total of US$600 per month.
The God truck
We were blessed in May 2009 to purchase a used 2005 Nissan Frontier truck after having spent US$15,000 to rent vehicles to do the Lord’s work. We named it “the God truck.” Three years of driving on the so-called roads (riverbeds and carved-out mountain pastures) have left the truck in constant need of repair. Parts are outrageously priced on Hispaniola (example: both an alternator and a starter costs US$1,500 each, and a set of four tires is US$900). A new vehicle would cost us approximately US$700 a month.
'The God truck' broken down in Santo Domingo, DR tunnel after dropping off team at airport. (Photo by Miguel Rubén Guante)
The God truck broke down on the way to pick us up at the airport, on the way to Malasi, and immediately after Miguel dropped us off at the airport at the end of the trip.
“It was very difficult for us from the airport to Malasi,” Miguel said. “(But) God’s love is so big to us that those (breakdowns) can’t reduce our faith and love to God. So when the truck turn off (moments after leaving the airport) the first thing I did was laugh and laugh.”
It is a blessing to be able to laugh at the feeble efforts of the enemy to stop the work of our Lord. There is no lie, no power in this dark world, no voodoo curse, no evil spiritual force in the heavenly realm that can keep us from victory — thanks to our faithful God.