As prayer partners of OMS Haiti missionary Colleen Taylor, we have been interested in Haiti for many years. When she wrote, asking for ESL teachers, we took up the challenge and arranged to go to Haiti for two months. Our first event, one hour after our arrival, was the weekly OMS missionary prayer time. We received an immediate and warm welcome, and we saw the genuine support that missionaries give to one another. This was followed in a day or two with the monthly prayer time in Creole for the many OMS ministries, including 4VEH Radio and TV, Cowman International School, Bethesda Medical, Maternity and Dental Clinics, Emmaus Biblical Seminary, the Starfish kids and the English Classes. Soon reality began to set in. We lived in a completely different environment, of not knowing what was safe and what was unsafe, and having no opportunity to return home for 2 months. We had a whole new appreciation for the mission staff who leave everything and simply come, having no guarantee but God.
As we learned more Creole, we learned to talk with people, and they wanted to know about us. Many knew Jesus and we shared the blessing of his presence. What we came to realize was that, although there is a history of dark involvement and although there are still strong evil forces, the power of the gospel is evident everywhere. People have hope in Christ, even when they have little else. As we spoke a word of blessing, “Bondye beni ‘w,” people would eagerly respond.
On an evangelism trip into the mountains, we had a real taste of the remoteness of village life. The road was the riverbed. The water supply was the river. There was no electricity, and the primary cash crop was cocoa beans. As we visited people, we asked, “May I tell you about Jesus?” We received a “Yes” reply over and over again. Not only did people receive Christ as Saviour, one woman renounced her previous dedication to Satan and smashed a whisky bottle which was to be used in an upcoming ceremony. People received solar radios, tuned to radio 4VEH, and with an MP3 recording of the entire Bible.
The English classes led to warm relationships and friendships. They were for 4VEH staff, and others that they invited. Most participants in the 2 month program were able to achieve a certificate of having achieved either Level 1 or Level 2 of ESL training. The readings were from scripture passages, and we sang and prayed together, and grew in Christ. The work at Cowman International School included classroom support, office supplies organization, and reshelving library books. Pat found herself eating lunch with little friends, some of whom were also our neighbours on the OMS grounds.
God is powerfully at work through the work of OMS in Haiti. The need is great, and because of that
need, people’s hearts are wide open to the Grace of our God, and the Salvation found in Jesus Christ.
Mesi Seyè! Thank you Lord!
-Lucas and Pat Van Boeschoten