It's been about a week since we returned from Haiti. Last week I was able to attend services at Ferris Hill Baptist Church, home of the team that went on this year's mission to Haiti. Today, we gratefully accepted the extra hour of sleep afforded by the return to Standard Time, but missed out on worship up in Huntsville due to some, er, health issues. Everyone is fine but somewhat indisposed to phrase it politely. We had looked up several local churches on the web, one or two that I had visited, a couple that our neighbors attend and another that is nearby. Next week!
Thinking about worship brings me back to our experiences in Haiti. I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ rather late in life, accepting Him as my savior in 2001. Although I like music, I'm not musical and I've always found it somewhat uncomfortable to be overly demonstrative during worship services. This is not because I don't love God and am not moved by the Holy Spirit, it's just because I'm not going to give Jesus shout outs or wave my arms around just because everyone else is doing so.
As a member of Ferris Hill for the entirety of my new life in Christ (so far), I've discovered that Southern Baptists in general are not a very demonstrative lot when it comes to worship time in church. A quick note to those for whom church is not a regular occurance...although we may refer to the entire service as worship, once you are in church the term worship generally refers to the part of the service in which the congregation sings praise to God.
After revival services at night - church is a party!
With apologies for the long-winded explanations above, all of that was to contrast how we worship God with how the Haitians worship God. It's not an acceptable practice to go about taking photographs during church in Haiti so we were only able to get shots afterward. Suffice it to say that in a Haitian Baptist church, worship is dynamic! And even an old fuddy-duddy like me is swaying and clapping by the end of the night.
You may be wondering about the meaning of this blog's title: Jezi se wa!
That is Creole for, "Jesus is king!" It's a phrase that features often during worship in Haiti. And as I was thinking about how to continue this blog series for our experiences in Haiti this year, I kept thinking back to how often we heard Jezi se wa and how often we saw the name Jesus when we were in Haiti.
Christ on the cross in Les Cayes
Just down the street from our hotel was the traffic circle in the picture above. Can you imagine pulling up to a major intersection in your town and seeing a twenty-foot tall cross with a life-sized Jesus hanging there? What an incredible daily reminder of what God has done for all of us.
Jezi se wa!
After our frantic trip to Les Cayes from Port au Prince; after finally getting settled in our rooms following a tasty chicken and French fry dinner; after a decent night's sleep and some seriously strong coffee (sorry, no creamer); we went and worshipped God last Sunday morning at the church in which we would be serving at revival during our week in Les Cayes.
Sunday afternoon, we went back to the church and spent some time with the kids there, playing games and getting to know them. Sunday night we had revival. In between, we continued to ponder and plan for the next day's Bible school. Being somewhat settled, we did what most of us would do when feeling a bit out of our element - we went in search of the Internet!
Facebook and Skype are our friends!
It was awesome to speak with - and in some cases see - our families. Modern technology is amazing. It's still somewhat unbelievable that in a small Haitian town, we could hit the dining area in our hotel and get access to the wider world through wireless satellite Internet access. The ability to communicate across the globe always reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 about the Gospel of the Kingdom being preached to all nations - and then the end will come. There is nothing that will help you get over the discomfort of travel and circumstance like remembering that you are actually doing what Jesus has asked you to do.
Jezi se wa!
It had been morning and evening on our second day in Haiti. Monday was to kick off all of our teaching ministries: Pastors, ladies and children. This seems like a great place to stop for today. Thanks for reading and stay tuned to hear about our teaching experiences and see pictures of the kids!
God bless you.