Matthew 10:26-33 The Message
26-27 “Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now.
28 “Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.
Forget About Yourself
29-31 “What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.
32-33 “Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you?
Jose & I flew back into Haiti on September 14th to deal with some drama we were having at our church. We had dismissed our pastor in August (before we flew to the states). We learned early in September that he was still in the Mole, refusing to leave. In just a few short weeks, the pastor and a few of his friends turned the town against the mission and our St. Louis staff. Lies and deceit overtook the town - nearly destroying our work.
“Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies.”
My first Sunday back I met with the entire church. While this meeting was only open to the church body, the Pastor invited other people to stand up in his defense. Giving credit to the Godly teaching already implanted in the people, the church understood my reasons for dismissing the pastor and was ready to move forward.
However once I got them calmed down – one of the non-church members would belt out something and get everyone upset again. It was an ugly 4-hour meeting full of hate and lies – screaming and fighting. In Kentucky, we’d call that a family reunion! But here in Haiti in this context, it was mortiphying.
At one point we had to pull people apart. I ended up walking out of the meeting but not before making it clear that the decision was final and we would be moving forward.
What came next I’m sure was meant to intimidate us. After the meeting that night the pastor’s friends tried to burn down our church. They caught our pulpit on fire which was full of - communion trays, offering plates, Bibles, songbooks, registries, Sunday school material, etc. They burned a hole in the side of our tent. Our security guard saw the fire and rushed to put it out before it took down the whole church. The police and mayor were immediately involved and the town was outraged that someone would try to burn down the House of God. An investigation began to take place.
The next day our St. Louis staff woke up to voodoo curses and threatening letters on their porch. The pastor’s posse was going to run them out of town.
Our staff spent the week praying! None of them could eat or sleep. We spent the week in complete disarray – how could this happen? We felt defeated, deflated, & honestly – ready to quit! I can tell you that Matthew 10:26 was no longer just something that happened way back when - it was happening here and now!
We had an American team scheduled to come in on the Friday following this meeting. We weren’t sure if we could even have the planned revival or medical clinic. For the first time, we really weren’t sure if the town could handle it.
We received word that there would be a protest on Sunday morning at church. We had an American scheduled to preach and Jocelyn (who took the brunt of all the persecution) could not interpret. The town had made it very clear they did not want to hear from him.
“He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail…”
On Sunday I arrive to church early – prepared to send the Americans back to my house should we indeed have a protest. The courtyard of the church was empty. Instead, we walked into the church, missing only about 30 members, where we were embraced! The service was somber. There was no hate – but you could feel the sadness. The church leaders prayed for us – each staff member – by name! They called on the church to repent for their actions and prayed for God to have mercy on them. They also asked Jocelyn to pray at the end of the service.
Because of the drama at the church – we decided not to hold any activities there. The medical clinic was held in the employee homes & later at my house. The women’s conference was held at our house.
“Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven.”
At one point we were told that NO ladies would be attending our women’s conference. Our women’s group had dwindled down from 60 people attending regularly to 8 people. We knew this was because of issues they had with the pastor’s wife.
So we were prepared for no one to show up. But we had 70 ladies EVERY day! The revival each night had hundreds of people in attendance!
The medical clinic did operations on hundreds of patients! The town that was so cold to us when we arrived September 14th – completely changed and embraced us this week! The mayor went on the radio and said he would not lose NWHCM for any one person.
The truth was revealed this week & many have apologized to our staff. Please continue to pray for those of us on the battlefield. This has been a very painful & heart-breaking time for our ministry. But we proudly wear the armor of God and we know we don’t fight alone!
“So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries
Then I guess you can just call me Big Bird…