In this dark, fearful and confusing time for Haiti, God continues to do that which only He can do:
win the battles.
For hundreds of years, hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti have gone to the witchdoctor, looking for help, looking for answers, looking for something better. On Friday, one of these witchdoctors came to Emmaus instead, looking for the same thing.
Praise the Lord, something better is not far off, His hand is not too short to save. Be encouraged by this quick testimony from President Matt Ayars, bringing light to things that cannot be changed...CHANGING.
“Hi everyone. Matt Ayars here, President of Emmaus University in Haiti, and I wanted to share a quick story. With so many people who have been praying and fasting for so long for Haiti’s release and Haiti's redemption, and God buying back Haiti so these manifestations and political instability, all this stuff going on is just a result of, I believe, God bringing Haiti back to Himself and I had an experience today that I think is illustrative of that and that really confirmed that conviction in my heart.
So a few weeks ago, I visited a witchdoctor to share with him the gospel, and he's a guy that I know and I have met before. No other witchdoctor kind of gave us a tour of the voodoo temple and explain to us, you know, kind of, the talismans, and how it works, and the pantheon of deities, showed us, you know, with his mystic snake that sits up in the ceiling and explain to us how the sacrifices work and explained all the different demons and spirits that he served. At the end of our time together, you know, I very clearly shared the gospel with him, and he seemed open to me but not ready to make a decision. It's not the first time I've shared the gospel with him and not the first time that I've even prayed with him. He seemed closer this time than ever before.
And then just today, less than an hour ago, he came with his assistant who was with him at the temple. He came to tell me that he had stopped all of his activities as a witch doctor. He was no longer living there on the site where the temple was. He had moved and had found a truck and try to pick up the truck, trying to get back to work and doing some side jobs in the meantime.
So it was, there was nothing but wonderful news for me to be at a church. A graduate is the pastor of this church. And so I asked if I could pray with them. I prayed with them. And a lot of you know that every Monday night I do a Bible study with welcome from Haiti that's just about a mile down the road. A lot of young men, similar to these guys to the witchdoctor and his partner who I met today, met with today, and I invited them to Bible study Monday nights, which they were enthused about. And so I too am really excited to have them doing that Bible Study Group, progressing, I think, closer towards making a decision and growing and maturity and hopefully you know discipleship being the main goal there.
And then I also sent them away with a couple brand new Creole Bibles and a book on spiritual warfare, a book on the Holy Spirit, and that book on the Holy Spirit talks about how the Holy Spirit's uniquely different from spirits of animism which he'd be very familiar with. And also a book on the life of radical discipleship, a book by John Stott. So they left happy, enthused, encouraged, excited about joining Bible study and studying the literature I had given them. But to me it was a wonderful illustration of the power of Satan and darkness, being lifted from Haiti. Pray for revival, pray for repentance. We pray that people who have been held captive by the darkness and the lies that the devil would come to the light, and they would come to Christ, the one in whom all truth is found, and in whom all liberty is found, for the forgiveness of sins, life everlasting and for eternal, satisfying joy and peace.
So, again, thank you. I hope you find this story encouraging, as I did. Thank you.”
Stay up to date here where we have updates about what is happening in Haiti.
From the Ayars' blog...
The Ayars Affairs -- Life in Haiti
safe (and other miracles)
Posted: 30 Sep 2019 07:50 PM PDT
I am hearing that you are feeling nervous about us, and I know that that really means that what I'm hearing is that you love us. I'm so very thankful for that love, and I know it all comes with PRAYER.
We need BOTH. Thank you.
So let me just say...We are safe in His hands in His time and His place and His way.
We feel safe because we're in His hands, and because He has us in the good hands of His people here.
Part of why we have always felt so safe in Haiti is because we have so many good relationships, and Haiti is so community oriented...we are well cared for.
We have fantastic friends and family from all around the North, whom we trust and who understand the country and the current situation, which differs in literally every village, better than we do. When someone says, "Stay home today," we stay home. When someone says to leave earlier, we leave earlier.
Matt met with the administration for thirty minutes before leaving for South Korea and was free and at peace to go because everyone agreed that things were safe at Emmaus, that the kids and I would stay homebound, that they would look out for us, and that they'd cover anything that came up. People are checking on us continually, from the security guards to community friends to the students, and I know I could ask anyone for anything at anytime, and often do. The kids and I good (if not a little wild-eyed :) when Matt is gone because GOD IS NOT.
Matt has coke with the men burning our road, whom he knows by name. Emmaus has hired almost all our support staff from this community. Matt teaches Bible study with 25 men from the community down the road where trouble is more prevalent. Kiddos from the community all spend time at our house and we know and love their parents. We walk to church (especially recently with no fuel) with our community. We are a part of this community, and this community takes care of one another, and that blesses us continually and makes things that might seem/look scary to you not feel/look scary to us, or to our children.
The large majority of the major demonstrations and violence are in Port-au-Prince, which is seven hours from here. Pray for the body of Christ in Port-au-Prince...our heart breaks. Smaller demonstrations and rioting are in the city, and the kids and I haven't been to Cap-Haitian (due to these issues) in over a month now. Our road continues to be blocked almost every day, but staff, students, and residents come and go each day with NO problems (as long as they pay...10, 50, 100 gdes), 11 cents, 55 cents, a dollar.
We ask our trusted friends, we listen to our trusted friends, we encourage each other, our staff and our students to ask and listen to each other, and we continue to always follow this plan: "If it is safe to come, do. If the road is open, take it. If it is not, don't. If there are students, we will have class. If there are not, we won't. If it is not safe, stay home. If you can safely make it to the market, please go, and thank you, and if you can't, DO NOT."
Honestly, 99% of the country is living on this principle right now.
While there seems to be fuel again in Port, our gas stations have been empty for over four weeks now...hard to find for almost 2 months. Last Saturday, nine fuel trucks came to the North...no where NEAR enough, especially since no one had had fuel for weeks. There was complete CHAOS for 24 hours in which few people got a little diesel, and there has been nothing since.
While many people are very frustrated with the government/president continuing to be utterly SILENT, the majority of people would be very happy to let the man finish his elected term and to get back to life...yet physically, literally CANNOT because we have NO FUEL. Schools cannot open, people cannot return to work, hospitals cannot function, food cannot be purchased. Life is BLOCKED.
Because the president is not talking, the loud violent voices of the opposition (and bored thugs looking to make 10, 50, 100 gdes) are all anyone is hearing, and therefore believing, and therefore living in fear of.
I do NOT want to or mean to ever minimalize what is happening. While Haiti has been here before, Matt and I have never seen it like this and one day, when it is all over, we will realize how challenging this season was, and how we have been changed by it.
I listen to a certain amount of "news" and talk every day, we make the wisest decisions we can, and then I have to stop. The brokenness, poverty and injustice in Haiti (and the world) has threatened for twenty years to break my heart to the point of complete paralysis. I can only see, experience, hear, know and think about SO much each day and then I have to STOP, and beg the Lord to intervene, and THROUGH ME if He will, and then I have to GIVE it to Him and TRUST and let go and let Him.
That's been true always, and especially now.
I'm not living on coping mechanisms, denial, on hope for fuel or political change, or the chocolate Shelley sent me. I'm living on faith, and that means focusing deliberately on HIM and that which we cannot see...NOT focusing on the things that are tearing the country, and her precious people, apart.
I believe God has Matt and I and our family here in Haiti, right now, alongside her people, for His glory. I believe He has us here to help, to encourage, to teach, to serve, to be in relationship, to live life alongside, to HOPE, to preach the Words He has already spoken for His precious people.
I believe that God has CALLED us to that kind of life-pouring-ministry...and that that calling doesn't change when things are on fire. If anything, it is now, in all this awful suffering, that Christ, the hope of glory, is most badly needed, and I truly (I know this sounds crazy), I truly consider it a privilege to be struggling (we would never call our experience suffering, comparatively) alongside His people here, now.
Our students leave their homes and are concerned about the roads, they are concerned about their families, they are concerned about their futures, they are concerned about their country, they are concerned about the futures of their children, and it is all burning and all broken and all dark and hopeless.
And then they come in and are well-loved.
They do not worry, for once, finally, about what they will eat, or when. We have students who do not eat when they are at home, not all weekend, knowing that they will have food at Emmaus on Monday, so that there is enough for their family members.
They do not worry about being safe from harm in their dorms. They do not worry about being abused or attacked or mistreated. They do not worry about being lied to or stolen from or misled. They do not worry about corruption or bribes. Our staff do not worry about not being paid for months and not being able to care for their families. Our staff do not worry about being set up or deceived or stolen from or abused.
Emmaus isn't perfect. Matt had to let two beloved staff members go last week, and we had one of the most personally brutal expulsions of a student I deeply love two weeks ago.
But our board and staff and supporters and team have thrown all our hearts into loving the people God has called us to serve WELL, caring for them well, establishing a thriving and holiness-Biblically based community that is focused on His love, His call, His plan, His outreach, His Word, His WAY for our staff and students...communities and country. Not Haiti's way. Not North America's way. Not the world's way.
As we love each other well, His way...our students are loving others well, His way, too.
This IS changing the hearts and lives of Haitian people--let the streets burn if they must--and it is a gift to stand with them for the altogether different Gospel today.
Stand with us. Stand with us.
Love one another well. His way. Help us. Support us. Pray for us. Focus not on the headlines for and about WHATEVER country that concerns you today, but on His face.
It makes walking on water possible.
And we need miracles like that, today.
From the Ayars' blog...
The Ayars Affairs -- Life in Haiti
interrupted by the I Am.
Posted: 04 Sep 2019 09:36 AM PDT
Last night Matt and I were filling the midnight hours with our deep prayers, and the Lord gave me one I'm holding on to.
Remind me back, family.
The "peace" we've all been living in the last several months in Haiti is deceptive, though we all knew it. The shut down of roads, businesses, schools, transportation, fuel and security last February was never truly resolved...life just resumed after a few weeks. Money had run out and it HAD to break sometime. Prices have continued to rise, fuel has continued to be hard to find, and the president has named his fourth prime minister in less than three years, and even that has yet to be in function.
The last 10 days there has been no fuel, period, no gas, no diesel, which effects every element of life...from the public transportation our students use to come to class to generators hospitals and businesses and the phone company use for power. September 9th is the day all elementary and high schools resume class in Haiti, and that makes right now prime time for those fighting for power and money to wield fear and flaunt injustice.
If fuel continues to be blocked, the country cannot function. If desperate and angry men are paid to burn the country down, to threaten children, to stop all progress, all efforts, all education, all businesses...they will.
As our staff joined again yesterday for Tuesday prayer, the dismay, discouragement and heartbreak was heavy on the faces and hearts of our family. Their pain and burden, which I will never fully be able to identify with, kills me. Since the heavy cloud lifted a bit in March, I have not been the only one battling fear: we cannot go there again. We cannot do that again. I can't do that again.
With threats of evil and rumors of violence and desperation growing and prices STILL soaring and no fuel and school about to start, we are at the brink of there again.
Evil always preys on desperation. On innocent children. On hungry people. It is altogether selfish and dishonest and altogether out to kill and destroy...and it's knocking at Haiti's door again, still, and ready or not, here we are.
Ugly things tend to bring out ugly things in people. Threats bring out fear. Violence brings out hatred. Desperation calls out ungodly responses. Shortage ushers in greed, fatigue allows for injustices that wouldn't have been allowed for on stronger days.
When the economy is weak, when the government is weak, when courage is weak, when systems are weak...we get weak, too. We respond with bitterness and selfishness instead of grace and patience. We respond with fear and frustration instead of being of good courage. We ball up our fists instead of opening them to each other.
When we're weak, we fall for Satan's lies and listen, instead of speaking up the truth.
As we were tempted to despair, to discourage, to embitter, to be angry, to be weak last night, Jesus absolutely interceded for me before the throne with this idea:
We cannot allow the weakness of the world to make us weak, but must allow His strength to make us strong.
We cannot allow the broken to make us broke, but must allow His healing to make us whole.
We cannot allow fear to make us afraid, but must allow the Lord of Heaven's Armies to give us courage.
We cannot allow worries to make us worry, but must allow the God of Peace to make us peacemakers.
We cannot allow the bitter to make us bitter, cannot allow the desperate to make us desperate, cannot allow the harsh to make us unkind, cannot allow the shortage to make us short.
We are His CHILDREN. We are light in the darkness.
Now, friends, now more than ever we must be above reproach, we must cling to what HE IS and let Him SHAPE us, not be shaped by the world. Now more than ever we must be strong and courageous, we must be love in such lostness, we must be His Hope in such despair.
LOVE, darn it.
Do you know why, by His grace, I can do this again, come what may??
Because His Love.
It never gives up.
It never loses faith.
It is always hopeful.
It endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:7
THAT kind of love, that is what our brothers and sisters here in Haiti, our children, our country...that is what we NEED TODAY. That is what your corner of the world needs, too, and is desperate for.
If we are doing this again...
If we are doing this again, the Living Water that flows from me will NOT be scorched by it.
If we are doing this again, I will be the resounding voice of HIS love that NEVER gives up, that NEVER loses faith, that NEVER loses hope, that ENDURES. I will spread that, pray that, show that, share that, be that love to our fellow missionaries, to our fellow staff members, to our fellow family, to my children, to His children, to those who are being saved and to those who are perishing.
I'm giving Him my weakness now--for nobody needs it--to be made strong.
He is on the throne. He is well aware. His hand is not short. His work is not finished.
Intercede for us in Haiti. Intercede for this country, for these people. Go to the throne of grace on Haiti's behalf, pray for a NEW DAY, pray for open eyes, pray for brilliant light, pray for a totally different cycle.
But most, pray that His children might be faithful to GIVE what HE is giving, and nothing else. Pray that we might be faithful to LOVE how He is LOVING. Pray that we might be so totally grounded in the Light that He is, that the darkness cannot overcome it.
As far as it depends upon me, the little daily actions and words and inner thoughts of my mind and tongue and heart will testify of the victorious Christ, on the throne unshakable.
And as I beg Him for His help with that commitment this morning, He interrupts me.
After 10 days of Haiti at a stand-still, paralyzed by high prices, lack of fuel, political tension and mounting fear, this morning began with loud mayhem and the sounds of glass shattering, right in front of the Emmaus gate.