I’m thankful I grew up in a “missions-soaked” environment but that doesn’t mean I was always eager to hear the reports the missionaries gave at church. I distinctly remember asking if it would be possible to love the missionaries without having to see all their slides. So it is with some trepidation that I’m posting photos from my week in Haiti. But so many of you have prayed and supported this trip and I want you to get a glimpse of what God did in the lives of the women of Jacmel. First, here’s a photo of our team. We’re riding in the back of the pick-up through the city streets. It’s the way you roll in Haiti. Unless you walk or ride a motorcycle.

truck photoI love these people—even my brother, Bryant, the big guy in the back, who convinced me this experience would be a good thing to do. God took a group of individuals and created a family. There was not one ounce of pride or ego displayed, at least not until we played spoons in the evening.

 

Large group worship                                             We served together in awe of what God was doing through our limited abilities.

 

leader trainingThe women in these photos are the small group leaders. We spent each morning studying God’s Word together. Our goal was to equip each of them to lead the breakout sessions during the afternoon conference. I am grateful to say that small groups absolutely translated to another language and culture. But why should I be surprised? Jesus taught this way.

 

Introducing small group leaders at churchOur team quickly fell in love with our new friends. They took their responsibility so seriously and committed a tremendous amount of time to preparing for each session. Here we are introducing them to the rest of the group. Below, you see them in action.

small group inaction 3

small groups 4

small groups in action 2

 

At the end of each conference we asked if anyone would like to share what they had discussed in the breakout sessions. Their enthusiasm was contagious.

 

Ladies sharing

 

ladies sharing 2

 

For several months, I had prepared for this trip and prayed over the messages. I had developed a picture in my mind of what I thought would happen. I expected to experience the presence of God. I expected to love the people. I expected to be passionate about the ideas I shared. But I was totally blown away by how the Spirit moved.

For the first time, many of the women heard about their identity in Christ. They learned how God views them and what it means to be loved by him. With tears streaming down their faces they grasped the truth that they are God’s masterpieces, created for good works— valuable, beautiful, and original.

 

small group leaders

I wish you could know all the women we met and especially our leader-friends. The woman with the white headscarf  is beautiful, thoughtful, and dignified. On Thursday she spoke these words during our early morning session, “This message of love is like medicine and we much share what we have learned with the women of other churches.”

The next shots are my faves from the trip. You’ll notice the pastor’s enthusiasm in the background. I believe this was the day I spoke about marriage and emphasized the problems nagging can cause in relationships.

no nagging

On our last day together, we discussed the servant role of leaders, using the example of Jesus. Each of our team was privileged to wash the feet of one of our small group leaders. I feel a flood of emotions just looking at this photo and I almost didn’t publish it because it is so personal. But I wanted you to see the beauty in the experience and the obvious connection this woman has with God. It was one of the most significant moments of my life. I thank God for the opportunity to demonstrate his love to my friend who faces challenges I will never know. She will be used by God in powerful ways as she embraces the truth of her worth and identity and shares what she has learned with other people.

a powerful moment

If you’d like to know more about Children’s Hope, the group who sponsored this trip, and the amazing work they are doing among the orphans and people of Jacmel, Haiti, please visit their website. I’ve written more about our trip and you’ll love seeing the vast scope of their ministry.  http://www.childrens-hope.com/esbc-april-2016-the-medicine-of-gods-love/

Finally, here’s the small plane that flew our team over the mountains. Next time I won’t be nervous.

airplane

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