Bernie called from Haiti this afternoon. He sounded upbeat and energized to be back ministering to and with many old friends.
He had a window seat on the plane as he flew into Port-au-Prince Wednesday. As the city came into view, the thing the struck him most was all the blue. Blue? As they descended, he realized that the blue was tarps, make-shift shelters all over the city providing the only protection for thousands of Haitians from sun and rain. On the ground was more of the same, a giant tent-city of tarps and anything else desperate Haitians could scavenge to provide a bit of shelter.
Many Port-au-Prince residents had their homes destroyed in the earthquake. And those whose homes were not destroyed are afraid to return to them as they still continue to experience aftershocks. Just last week there was a magnitude 4.4 aftershock (on Thursday, May 6), that terrorized the city once again. And so they live in the streets or in any open space they can find.
In the midst of this suffering, the Gospel is being preached, and people are responding. And they aren’t just “making a decision” and then continuing on with their lives as before. These new believers are coming together along with their older brothers and sisters in Christ. They are sharing what little they have, and they are hungry for the Word. It’s reminiscent of the early Church where they devoted themselves to teaching and fellowship and breaking bread and prayer.
This past Tuesday, the night before Bernie arrived, Pastor Diogene had planned a Bible Study. But it was raining hard, and there was nowhere indoors to have the study. Diogene contacted the group and suggested they cancel the study. But these new believers insisted. No matter the conditions, they wanted to hear God’s Word. So Diogene went.
When Diogene arrived, the group had already assembled. Diogene said, “Let’s pray and ask God to stop the rain while we study.” They prayed, the rain stopped, and Diogene began to teach. 45 minutes later, Diogene spoke the last words of the lesson, and as he did the skies opened up and the rain resumed.
And so God continues to prove himself the Lord of all things.
Bernie arrived in Tricotte Thursday. While rain has been a problem in Port-au-Prince, a lack of rain has troubled Tricotte. It hadn’t rained in seven weeks. So, as you pray for continued revival in Port-au-Prince, also pray for an end to the drought in Tricotte.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp