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Mission to Haiti
Journal Notes: February 2005
A friend of mine asked me recently about my ministry and I told him the Lord sometimes has sent me on errands to pray and to bring messages. I realize that's not really a very good answer so I thought providing him with notes I took after my trip to Haiti in 2005 would give him a more complete picture of what I sometimes do...and may be of some interest to others, too.
Our team proved to be a very strong group. I witnessed no instances of disunity among us during the trip despite the hardships involved. Each team member contributed in their own unique way and each was a great blessing. It was a privilege to travel with them. While the team’s primary focus was on the school, the church and the people of the village of Zone 27 (now Bon Die` La), my focus was more on the land. These notes reflect that point of view and the reason for it.
June, 2004: Kathy Craver asked me if I would cover her in prayer before, during and after her trip to Haiti under the auspices of The Haiti Project in June of 2004. I agreed, and one day as I was praying for her protection and the protection of the team, the Holy Spirit took my prayer in another direction and led me to pray Isaiah 60:1-3 for the nation of Haiti.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and a thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn."
As I prayed God showed me his heart for Haiti and its people and how He loves them so very, very much…how His heart cries for them. I became greatly excited by this, as I am certain God’s time for Haiti's transformation is now!
August, 2004: Shelly Holcomb, founder and president of The Haiti Project asks me if I would travel with her team to Haiti in January, 2005, and I tell her that I will pray about it. That night I ask God if He wants me to go and I’m surprised by how fast the answer comes… “Yes.” Then I ask Him, “What will I do when I get there?” He answers that He wants me to walk the land around the village (Zone 27, formerly known as Voodoo Place..."Nombaka") and bless it. Further…He wants me to show others who live there how they can bless the land.
I contact Shelly later that week with my answer, “Yes, I will come.” She smiles and tells me she asked me to come because she had a vision of me walking the land. This confirms to me that I am supposed to go. (Permit me to say here that “my” selection in this way is really not so special…the whole team was hand picked by the Lord and communicated to Shelly in a number of different ways.)
September, 2004: Shelly informs me that I may be preaching on the trip. This scares me because I’ve never preached to anyone before. I go to the Lord and ask, “What do I say? I mean, blessing the land is one thing…preaching a whole sermon is quite another and I have no idea what the message is to be!” Later that week I get my answer when my prayer partners, Ray Bozic and Johnie Lamb, return from Israel with a taped message from an African pastor about making a “covenant of peace” with the land. I listen to the tape and know this is the message God wants me to deliver to the Haitians of La Gonave.
It seems each trip like this is preceded by a certain amount of spiritual warfare. The evil one does not want us to go and does what he can to discourage us. Prior to the June trip, for example, four of the leaders had their cars totaled in car accidents during a one-week period before the trip; thankfully no one was hurt. In each case they reported they never saw the driver that hit them until after the collision. With this trip, everyone was very much aware of the unstable political situation in Haiti and of the risks (the last team was held up at gunpoint but, thankfully, allowed to pass without injury or loss) and a spirit of fear over everyone involved was very evident. Pam (the other intercessor on the team) and I pray for the team and the trip by phone each morning at 7:00am. Breakthrough was finally achieved a week before departure through prayer and fasting and a remarkable peace came over everyone.
There are 11 team members including Shelly’s 4-year-old daughter, Integrity. The airline allows each team member two 70 lb “bins” packed with clothing, toys, candy and medical supplies for the villagers and the school children of Zone 27 and two carry-ons. Per special arrangement we are allowed 4 additional checked bins….26 bins in all plus carry-on luggage. The team understands they will give away most of their personal items on the trip and return home with little more than the clothes on our backs.
Monday – Jan 24: Travel from Tampa to Miami, Miami to Port-au-Prince and Port-au-Prince to a sea-side resort named Kaliko where we are to embark for the island of La Gonave in the morning.
1: At the airport in Tampa I’m led to anoint the feet of all team members.
2: Traveling out from Port-au-Prince: Song of Songs 4:12-15: "You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride: you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain."I see the devastation of the land, the rocks, the thorns, the sparse grass, that there are no trees and so little water and I weep…for the Lord wants this to be the garden He created, sees and loves...the garden it was when Christopher Columbus first saw it before the land became cursed.
Port-au-Prince and the trip to Kaliko:
The authorities at the airport wanted us to open all 26 bins and show them the contents. Believing this to be a “shakedown” we prayed. We received an immediate answer to our prayers when the officials inexplicably changed their minds and told us to pass on through.
Getting our team and the bins from the airport terminal to the truck and bus was like running a gauntlet. There were hundreds of people wanting to carry our luggage. We put our heads down and, carrying what we had in front of us, walked as fast as possible through the crowd. On the way out of the city we kept the doors locked and the windows on the bus rolled up most of the way even though it was hot. The streets were crowded with people and traffic was jammed up for miles as this is the only highway in the country. There were potholes and dust everywhere. The driver constantly laid on the horn to move people out of the way. I’ve never experienced anything like this.
We blow up our air mattresses and sleep on the floor of a one-room building. This is a lovely place by the sea….an oasis in the desert.
Tuesday – Jan 25: Travel from Kaliko by sea to La Gonave and from the coast of La Gonave up the mountain about 15 miles to Zone 27 where we arrive late and set up our tents after dark.
1: Isaiah 26:13-15: "Oh Lord, our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we do honor. They are now dead, they live no more; those departed spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them. You have enlarged the nation O Lord; you have enlarged the nation."
By sea to La Gonave (According to Shelly, this place is otherwise known as Voodoo Island): Our boat is about 50 feet long and 15 feet wide. It has a mainsail, a spinnaker and an old outboard motor. The mast is a tree with the branches chopped off. The boom is another tree with missing branches….no fittings, really, just homemade rope and a single pulley. It takes two hours to load the boat as there is no dock and our stuff must be carried by hand out into a surf with 3 foot swells, loaded into a dingy and then pulled up alongside our boat. The trip to La Gonave takes 3 hours. We sit on rough cut logs and 5 of us become seasick. I’m thankful I have a good stomach and suffer no ill affects. I give the captain a compass I have in my pocket; his smile is huge!
The wharf at La Gonave: A large crowd is gathered to see the white people (les blancs)…and Shelly…as we arrive. Whites are a novelty as they rarely come to the island.
The road up the mountain: Words are simply inadequate to describe this road…in many places it’s nothing more than a track...narrow, rocky, with sudden steep changes in elevation, boulders everywhere to be negotiated. Our driver is 19. I think he is afraid we might break an axel. It takes us another 3 1/2 hours to travel 15 miles up the mountain. There is only one other 4-wheeled drive vehicle on the road…everyone else either walks or rides a donkey.
We arrive at our camp as the sun is going down and must set up our tents in the dark. There is no electricity on La Gonave so whatever light we have is by flashlight. We don’t eat until 10:00pm.
Not the same trip but I recognize the boat as the same one that took us to La Gonave
Wednesday – Jan 26: Sort Day.
1: 2 Kings 3:16-17: "...the Lord came upon Elisha and He said, 'This is what the Lord says: Make the valley full of ditches. For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink"The Lord brings to mind wells…and the drip irrigation projects I saw in Israel 5 years ago that literally made the desert bloom. This revelation becomes part of the message I deliver to Pastor Pierre on Sunday.
2: 1 John 5:14-15: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us...whatever we ask...we know that we have what we asked of Him."
3: Joshua 1:3: "I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses."
We spend the day sorting and repacking the bins in preparation for tomorrow when their contents are distributed to the school children.
Thursday – Jan 27: Biography day at the school.
My day to lead team devotionals:
1: The Lord wants me to share what He has shown me so far starting with Isaiah 60:1-3. Sharing was followed by a time of personal ministry and prayer.
Biography Day: We walk down the mountain to the school where we are to interview and photograph the students and distribute the contents or our bins. Workmen are mixing cement by hand and plastering the school walls and a large crowd of parents and interested villagers is gathered to watch what happens. We’re in for a chaotic day…especially since we have only two of the 4 contracted interpreters. The biographies take all day and we don’t eat until late.
Friday – Jan 28: Prayer-walking the village and school…blessing the land…the village school re-named, Bon Dye` La (“The Lord is There” from Ezekial 48:35)
1: Ps 2:8: "Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession."
Prayer-walking the village and school:
James walks with me and we proclaim blessings on the land and on the people as we walk. We speak to the land and tell it how productive it is in Jesus. We speak to the people, declaring their salvation, their healing, their deliverance, their love for the Lord, reconciled families, etc. Per the Lord’s instructions, I am very careful to bless only and not to engage the enemy in any kind of spiritual warfare.
The Lord enables me to discern things about the land. At one place, as I walked along the path, Genesis 4:10 came to mind, "...Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground."I stopped and anointed the ground with oil, blessing it and declaring it to be Holy ground. I then asked an interpreter what had happened here. He told me that this was a place of ritual sacrifices.
At the fish farm I had a similar experience and learned that this place also was where ritual sacrifices were made.
At the school, Ezekial 48:35 comes to mind, "And the name of the city from that time on will be, THE LORD IS THERE"I ask the interpreter how to say, “The Lord is there,” in Creole. He tells me and I proclaim, “The name of this place from this time on will be: “Bon Dye La.” And so, the name of village school goes from “Voodoo Place” ** to “Zone 27” to “Bon Dye' La.”
(**Note: 'In 1999, the Lord led Pierre and Shelly to organize a crusade in the small village of "Nombaka" (which, when translated, means "voodoo place"), high in the mountains of LaGonave. More than 150 villagers surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ and, in an act of gratitude for all that God had done for them, and not wanting to be identified as the "voodoo place" anymore, the villagers re-named their town to "Zone 27" ')
I am exhausted after the prayerwalk and my climb back up the mountain and spend the next day mostly resting. (A donkey is provided for my travels the rest of the week.)
Saturday – Jan 29:
1: I prepare notes on my message and rest for most of the day.
Sunday – Jan 30: Church services…my message delivered.
T1: he Holy Spirit asks me to stay with Him…to linger awhile longer in fellowship…I do and am surrounded by His incredible presence and Love. Later, as I turn back to the camp again, He calls me back for more…This happens two more times this morning. I am awed that the Holy Spirit just wants to hang out with me! We don’t say anything, really. We just enjoy each other’s company.
Morning Services: I share with the people what the Lord has shown me about Haiti and the land. The scriptures are the same as the ones I used for Thursday’s devotionals. I also proclaim the new name of the village, “Bon Dye` La.” The people take up the chant, “Bon Dye` La.” “Bon Dye` La.” “Bon Dye` La.” “The Lord is there” …has a nice ring to it…especially considering how it replaces the original name of “Voodoo Place.”
I meet with Pastor Pierre in the afternoon to give him my message about making a covenant of peace with the land. Notes and scripture references are given below.
Evening Services – I believe over 20 people are baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Monday – Jan 31: Travel down the mountain and by sea across the St.MarcCanal to Kaliko.
I meet with Pam early in the morning to bless and anoint the ground with sand and water. We’ve chosen to do this on the mountain top so that the blessing flows down the mountain…rather like the anointing flows down Aaron’s beard in Psalm 133 or the river flows down from MountZion in Ezekial 47.
The Lord doesn’t say anything more to me about the land and I have the deep sense that my job is done…everything I wanted to do is accomplished. The team feels the same way about their individual objectives, too. It’s a good trip.
Tuesday – Feb 1: Kaliko & and a day of rest:
This day is a great blessing…a time of relaxing with the families of Pastor’s Pierre and Maxwell. The presence of the Holy Spirit is very strong at times.
Three of our women give foot massages to the Haitian women. This is such a blessing for them that I can see tears in their eyes.
Members of the team are profoundly affected by what we’ve experienced on the trip. I witness two of my team mates…men and women…go off to cry quietly by themselves.
Pastor Pierre and Maxwell pray for me and I pray for them.
Wednesday – Feb 2: Travel home. Last night Shelly sees a vision of God’s light shining over the nation of Haiti. I take this to be confirmation of what the Lord showed me in August from Isaiah 60:1-3.
NOTES ON THE “COVENANT OF PEACE WITH THE LAND” MESSAGE
Scripture as related to Pastor Pierre on Sunday, Jan 30 on how to deal with a vagabond spirit.
· Luke 19:10 ~ The Lord came to seek and to save that which was lost.
· Gen 3:17 ~ Man’s relationship with the land was one thing that was lost.
· Gen 4:8-12 ~ Cain sheds innocent blood, defiles the land, becomes cursed, a vagabond on the earth.
· Isaiah 24:4-5 ~ The earth can be defiled.
· Deut 30:19, Jer 22:29-30 ~ The earth remembers, records everything you do.
· Gen 4:10:11, Ps 109:6-17 ~ Evidence of the vagabond spirit.
· Ezek 20:7, Lev 19:31: Idolatry defiles the land
· Num 35:33-34 ~ Shedding innocent blood defiles the land
· Lev 18 (all, especially verses 24-25, 28, “the earth vomits you out”) ~ Sexual sin defiles the land.
· Isaiah 24:5-6 ~ Breaking the covenant…the ordinances of God…defiles the land.
· 2 Chron 7:14 ~ Repentance brings healing to the land
· Ezek 34:25-30 ~ Make a covenant of peace with God
· Job 5:19-26 (especially verse 23) ~ Make a covenant of peace with the stones.
After telling pastor Pierre about the covenant of peace I shared with him what God showed me about Haiti…. That He sees it as a garden locked up…a sealed fountain….that He wants to transform the land so that it yields up its strength to the people. I told him about the “Transformation Tape” and the people in the Guatemalan town with the huge crops of vegetables. I told him about Israel and the drip irrigation procedures they pioneered. (I must get him the tape and information on drip irrigation.) Pierre received all this with prayers of thanksgiving, praise the Lord!