Haiti, July, 2013–Day 2

Posted: August 1, 2013 in Haiti

Sunday, July 21st was our first full day in Haiti. I anticipated this day greatly because Kassandra was arriving later in the morning. We had a small airline difficulty and she was a day behind us. After a good night’s rest, we awakened to an awesome breakfast consisting of  boiled eggs and bananas. Our plan for the day was to travel to Darbonne for worship service. I was scheduled to preach and Taylor Malone was given  “testimony” duty. We arrived in Darbonne with a crowd awaiting us.

Faith Baptist, Darbonne meets at Abel’s “house of photography, video, and weddings.” We meet outside in the front of the house which is right next to one of the main roads of Darbonne, which is a market city. It’s busy, dusty, and loud–constantly. Worship services in Haiti are very interesting. As Scripture is being read, songs are being sung, people walk forward and place a small piece of paper on the table/altar. The paper has their name on it and a request to sing a solo. One particular singer was a girl that I recognized from one of our previous trips. She was very distracting and just out-right rude and mean. As she walked forward to sing, my first thought was, “Oh brother, what’s she going to do this time to distract?” Before singing she gave testimony of how she had been influenced by an evil spirit but had given her life to Jesus and was now free. Her song was beautiful.

The time came to preach. I introduced the team and Taylor gave testimony about how she serves at NP. This may not sound like a big deal, but for a woman to speak in church and talk about serving is a BIG deal. I preached about soul-winning from Ezekiel 33 and gave an invitation. Several people raised their hands to make a commitment to keep spreading the Gospel throughout Darbonne and two adults gave their lives to Christ. They boldly walked forward so people could applaud their boldness.

We headed back to the compound and obviously played the guessing game of “What’s for lunch?” Arriving back at the compound we were greeted by my wife. I was relieved. Though I trust Roody with my life and family, I was a little undone about her doing the Haitian airport thing without me. Though I can’t recall what we had for lunch, I’m sure it involved rice and beans and something in the meat family.

We took our afternoon rest (the heat absolutely drains you of every drop of energy) and headed to the orphanage for love and play time. We spent a majority of the afternoon there and headed back to Darbonne for a baptism service. I’ve seen a lot of baptisms but I don’t think I have ever seen one that looked as violent and forceful as this one did. I couldn’t help but laugh while I cheered. Pastor Job and the man getting baptized step into a concrete cistern fully clothed with shirts buttoned up to the neck….don’t ask me why….I don’t know. The water was only about a foot deep. I was wondering how this was going to work out. After about 20 minutes of singing and Scripture reading, Pastor Job gave instructions to the man about how he was going to dunk him. Though I couldn’t understand them, I got the gist of the whole thing. He told the guy to hold his nose and hang on. Both men went down into the abyss. The guy struggled to stand back up but couldn’t seem too. Pastor Job grabbed the mans shirt and yanked him up. This guys eyes were as big as silver dollars. I thought to myself, “Welcome to the family of God, it can only get better.”

After getting back to the compound we had our evening meal. Again, I can’t recall the menu, but I’m sure it involved rice, beans, and something in the meat family. It was a great day to serve in Haiti.

Schanon

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On July  19th, NP embarked on yet another trip to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; Haiti.  Why? At this point in time that seems to be the little speck of this earth that the Lord has asked us to do international missions and start churches. Though we have been to Mexico, Turkey, and Puerto Rico, Haiti seems to be the place for “such a time as this.”

Instead of writing/blogging a small book, I am going to blog each day of the six full days that we served over a period of six days.

DAY 1–Saturday, July 20th

We spent all afternoon and evening of Friday and into the wee hours of Saturday morning traveling from Fort Smith to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We arrived in Fort L. about midnight or so and we had planned to pass through U.S. customs around 5:00-5:30am Saturday morning. So, our grand plan was to take cheap blow-up pool mattresses and sleep on the floor at the airport. Obviously I forgot mine and bonded with the hard floor. According to the Team, I slept good because I was accused of snoring. I don’t think that’s true but I can’t verify it. Most of them walked around all night like a bunch of stalkers….that I do know.

We arrived in Port Au Prince around 8:30am and began the gauntlet of being “worked” by luggage handlers–and by the way, they are all “Supervisors” that we can trust—NOT!! We made our way to the outside without translators to wait on our faithful driver, VaVa. After near a half-an-hour of being offered “help” by “Supervisors,” our faithful and long-time friend, VaVa showed up—Thank you Lord.

The ride from the airport in P.A.P to Leogane, Haiti is about 18-20 miles, but you have to anticipate a 2 hour (sometimes 3 hour) drive. We arrived at the compound. Our ole’ friend and faithful protector, Roody was there awaiting our arrival. He sent VaVa to a store to pick up sandwiches for us. We were starving and hot. He arrived with what looked like 4 one foot long Subway sandwiches….Victory….again—NOT!! I don’t know what we ate but even Roody choked down a bite or two and said, “Brother, these are horrible.”

We began to unpack and set up camp. Pastor Luckenson arrived and he and I began to plot out the week and pray over what NP’s role would be to strengthen and encourage the church’s that Faith Baptist Darbonne, Haiti has started. We planned a worship service and a baptism service for the next day. After all the planning, our Team was wiped out from lack of sleep and heat.

After lunch, set up time, and a brief rest, we went to the orphanage where we have been so many times. There had not been an American team there for about a month, so we new our arrival would be welcomed greatly by the children. Oh, how it was.

We re-united with so many of our little friends. Children that we have littered our phones and walls with their pictures. Children whom we have prayed and agonized over for near 2 years now. The reunion was great. We all learned the meaning of the Apostle Paul’s phrase, “Oh, how I have prayed for you and longed to see you.”

We played until our energy simply ran out. After deciding to head back to the compound the Haitian supper-time guessing game of “What’s to Eat?” was played. After a good supper of chicken legs, and rice and beans we began our prayer time together. We simply prayed, “Lord, we are here. Guide our steps in any direction you choose. Tell us when to turn to the right or to the left. Exhaust us this week.”  It was shower and bedtime. there are three huts and the 5 women took one so they could bunk together and have a slumber party and giggle all night. That put me and Jesse Croy in a hut together. Again, I was accused of snoring, but it never bothered me nor woke me up. I think were asleep by 9:00pm.

As you will read as I unfold the week, our Lord answered our prayer. He guided us in a phenomenal way that only He can get the glory. Had he not been guiding us, we would have simply been taking a walk.

Schanon

 

 

This past Sunday in the “Who Do You Think You Are?” series the topic was “I am Forgiven,” taken from Ephesians 4:25-32. “In Christ” we are a forgiven people. God’s grace is truly amazing; “Though my sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” However, I took a little different spin on forgiveness and preached on forgiving others and seeking for others to forgive us. Everything Christ has given to us, we are to show others, yes, even forgiveness. Most Christians long and are thankful for the forgiveness that we receive “In Christ.” However, have you noticed that most Christians are the most “unforgiving people.” No wonder it’s incredibly hard to grow a church. Most of the time our behavior when it comes to being “wronged” or “sinned against” is no different than that of a non-Christian.

I struggled tremendously with the sermon Sunday. I definitely was sitting in the congregation with my NP Peeps. I was walking all over my toes and heart… I was broken…but that’s a good thing. I knew that the invitation time was not going to be a “flood the altar” kind of moment; but I did have confidence that the sermon would be cleansing and healing for so many people and fruit would be produced as folks began the healing process of forgiveness and asking to be forgiven. It was intense. I have been pastoring  NP for 8 years now and I don’t know of a message that I have preached that I received so many texts, inboxes, emails, and calls as I did with this one. We all deal with “that person” or “that event.” Remember, forgiving others may be an ongoing process in your life until you learn to lay all malice, and anger and the feet of Jesus.

As Paul said in Ephesians 4:30, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” When we do not forgive a person who has sinned against us or wrong us, and all we can do is mentally dwell and plot revenge, the Holy Spirit is grieved in our lives. He no longer is controlling us…our offender is. I want to be like Jesus and forgive my enemies and trust that one day they will repent. I want to be like Paul and set up protectors in my life where when I sin against someone, I can humble myself and be like Jesus, Stephen, and Paul. I want to  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (all of us).

Paul spoke so much about forgiveness, Jesus modeled forgiveness even while being tortured and put to death. I seriously do not believe Paul ever got over the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7:54-60. I love verse 60,”And falling to his knees he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep (died).

Lord, help me to never forget that “I Am Forgiven.” Therefore, “I am to be tenderhearted and forgive also.

 

Yesterday, I received a letter from a North Park member who is passionate about reaching the world for Jesus. The passion this person has is to reach the WHOLE world for Him…Here, There, and Everywhere. I have read this letter now several times and each time with tears and much understanding as one who is also sold out to reaching the world for Jesus Christ. I have the permission from the writer to share. It is our prayer that the Lord would convict and compel all of us to be GREAT COMMISSION CHRISTIANS–It is not an option in our Christian living; whether you GO, PRAY, or GIVE you are on the mission field–Here, There, and Everywhere. As you will read, missions is not for a select few, it is for all of NP. Missions is the mission of the church. Read and ask the Lord to lead you on what you SHOULD do to be ON MISSION AND HOW YOU CAN BE A PART.

Matthew 28:18-20  “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

So what about this whole “Missions” deal??  I’m not asking the “should we” question.  That answer is obvious to even the most apathetic church member.  But, if that answer is so stinkin’ obvious, then, what is our problem?  I guess my question to you  is, what are YOU gonna do about it??  What is your role in the whole “reaching the world” commandment?  The Great Commission tells us all to GO.  Bottom line, no ifs, ands or buts.  GO!!  This little two letter word has haunted me for several weeks now.  Most of us think that if we aren’t physically going on a trip then it’s not really our responsibility.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  With this next mission trip to Haiti, what is my part?  How can I go?  This is the question we all need to ask.  Every member of North Park.  How can I go?  When the next trip comes up, wherever that may be, the same question has been commanded – how do I GO!!  If we don’t GO, how will we tell them?  If we don’t tell them, how will they know?  HOW WILL THEY KNOW???   If they don’t know, where will they GO?  Now we are a little uncomfortable, or at least I hope we are.

After soul searching and praying, a lot, I think there are three different ways we can GO.  The first is the obvious, pack your bags, get on a plane and GO.  For Haiti, it is not for the faint of heart or body.  Neither is any other mission field for that matter.  It is hot, I mean stinkin’ HOT!!  Day and night. Dirt, trash, stench that is unbearable.   Food, let’s just say there is food.  It is prepared  and we are given what they have to give but, most of us leave the table hungry.  Then deal with guilt for being hungry because that little child we  just left at the orphanage is more hungry than we are.  Heartache, almost more than you can bear around every corner.  You are overwhelmed because there is so much need and how can our little team make a difference??  We can’t, but telling one Haitian at a time about Jesus can – GO!!  This will cost you something.  Time away from work and family.  A weeks pay or vacation time.  Sometimes blood, definitely sweat and I promise, a lot of tears.  GO!!!

The second way to go is to pray.  I don’t mean just once or twice.  I mean that “without ceasing” kind of praying.  Everyday, all day.  It’s like talking to a friend that you hang out with all day.  That kind of praying.  Most of us know nothing about this kind of prayer life, that is unless we are in some kind of hardship.  The people that we are going to tell about Jesus are in hardship!!!  GO!!!  This too will cost you something.  It will cost you time, effort, tears and a broken heart.  GO!!!

The third way is to give.  This one is tough and will cut most of us to the core.  Why should it be such a taboo thing to ask for monetary support for a mission team?  We are so blessed that for most of us, giving a few hundred dollars or even sponsor one person to go is not even a sacrifice.  We, and I mean me too, should be ashamed that our teams have to worry and try and think of fundraisers just so they can GO!!  Really?  They are willing to do their part for that particular mission trip.  What about you?  What about me?  This too will cost you.  Maybe a week of not eating out or that pair of $100 tennis shoes.  Maybe even cutting your vacation a day or two short.  GO!!!

Now back to the original question, “what about this whole missions deal and what are you gonna do about it???  Time is very short.  If Jesus if the light of the world, then with 7000 people groups unreached, I’m afraid our world is very dim.  I want to have crowns to lay at his feet one day.  I want you to have some too.  I want to go around a corner in heaven one day and bump into a Haitian, a Turk, a Peurto Rican, a Bostonian, or an Arkansan and hear them say, I’m here because you went, because you prayed and because you gave.

BKG3 NP’s starting a new series beginning this Sunday entitled, Who Do You Think You Are? It is a study of a person’s identity “in Christ” taken from the book of Ephesians. It is a very heart-felt and an intense study. I wish I could take credit for it, but the idea of the series and even the title comes from Mark Driscoll’s book, Who Do You Think You Are?

To quote Driscoll in the book, he says, “We[Christians] have a condition. We’re continually forgetting who we are in Christ and filling that void by placing our identity in pretty much anything else.” Driscoll simply calls it IDOLATRY. Placing our identity in Items, Duties, Others, Longings, and Sufferings (IDOLS). That’s not how God desigined us. We are made in the image of God. We are to think God’s thoughts and agree with His truths in Scripture.

As we travel through the book of Ephesians we will discover life’s greatest question, “Who am I?” We will find the answers that we are “In Christ;” “A Saint;” “Appreciated;” “Saved;” “Afflicted;” “Heard;” “Gifted;” “Forgiven;” “Adopted;” “Loved;” “Rewarded and Victorious.”

Several men went through this study a few months ago at NP and it was life-changing for several of us. During the study, I felt so compelled by the Spirit that NP as a whole needs to get a grasp on the above topics. It’s going to be a game-changer for many of us. We are starting this Sunday with simply, “I am ________________.” Bring a friend, but most of all bring a heart ready to be changed by the power of God’s Word.

Schanon

Serving The Savior…Reaching The World

North East Mission Opportunity=Boston, MA

 WHY BOSTON? When Christianity began to sweep across America, Boston was at the epicenter. As a matter of fact some of the first revivals for the first Great Awakening took place in Johnathan Edward’s church in North Hampton, MA. When Boston was founded in 1630, its first Governor, John Winthrop preached a sermon and declared that Boston was a “city upon a hill.” He said, “The eyes of the people are upon us.” Boston was to be a city upon a hill shining the light of Jesus Christ to the whole world. It is still a city upon a hill but the light has dimmed if not almost diminished. Boston is considered the MOST UNREACHED METROPOLITAN AREA IN THE COUNTRY WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.

LOST: The International Mission Board (IMB) defines an unreached people group as one, in which the number of evangelical Christians totals less than 2% of the population. Only 2.1% of the people living in Greater Boston attend evangelical churches. Therefore, it would be safe to say that Boston is considered an unreached people group; the once “hub” of the Christian movement in America.

GREATER BOSTON METROPOLITAN AREA POPULATION:

  • TOTAL: 6,057,826
  • UNREACHED: 5,905,871

*MUCH WORK NEEDS TO BE DONE

CHURCH PLANTER PARTNERSHIPS:

*Jan (Yan) Vezikov. Jan in an American-Russian church planter who pastors two churches.

  1. Grace Church Boston (GCB). Russians have flocked to Boston. There are near 350,000 Russians in the Greater Boston area. The church meets in the historic Boston YMCA. Jan is in desperate need of teams to prayer walk, evangelize, build relationships, and encourage the Russian church of about 30+ Christians to keep moving forward in the Kingdom.

  2. Mosaic Church. Mosaic is called to reach a diverse community of the Fenway neighborhood. The church consists of people from numerous different nationalities. This church meets in a historic downtown church and needs some construction work (painting, plumbing needs, etc.). Mosaic also needs the same work done as GCB. Just good ole’ redemptive relationship building. Boston is wounded by the Catholic priest scandal. Jan needs help to make the name of Jesus famous throughout Boston.

*Josh Wyatt. Josh pastors the Charles River Church (www.charlesriverchurch.com)

Charles River Church is located in a neighborhood of 70,000 people. They are the only English speaking evangelical church. Their needs are great. They have the opportunity to work in apartment complexes with “at risk youth’ and people in great crisis. They have been allowed to enter the complexes for the purpose of counseling and building relationships with people. This opens a door to let the residents know that there is a church down the road with the Gospel saving truth. This community has been deeply hurt by the Catholic priest scandal and are very jaded with anything or anyone related to Christianity. They simply need teams to do build redemptive relationships and listen to the hurtful hearts of a hurting people.

WHY BOSTON? Several months ago we began praying and discussing doing some mission work right here in America. Where are the biggest needs? Where does the Lord want to use NP? A few weeks ago, we went to a missions conference to meet church planters that were serving in some of the largest cities in America. Of all the cities represented, we could hear nothing but Boston. It was clear and evident that our Lord wants to use NP in Boston the same way He is using us in Haiti. He’s giving us the city…we MUST act and obey.

THE BOSTON BOMBINGS: As tragic and cowardly as the bombings were, they played NO role in our choice to serve Boston. The Lord had already confirmed to us that Boston is where He wants us to serve in America. We have spoken to our church planter friends both during the horrific week of trying to locate the terrorists and after the ordeal was over. Both churches have been overwhelmed with hurting, confused, and spiritually disoriented people. Hearts have been tenderized. The counseling needs have increased tremendously. THEY NEED OUR HELP. Pray that the Lord would use you to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in a lost, dark area. He will empower you to GO HERE, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE.

*DATES: August 30th-September 6, 2013

*COST: $900.00 (roughly) 

 *BE IN PRAYER THAT THE LORD WOULD CALL YOU, SEND YOU, AND USE YOU!!

Ruined and Rescued

Posted: January 8, 2013 in Ruined Rescued

Last Sunday we began a new series entitled, Ruined and Rescued. I believe with all my heart that this series has the potential to be one of the best series NP has ever been through. It’s definitely one that you will want to bring that broken, disconnected, “on-the-edge-of-life,” SUFFERING friend or family member to; It’s definitely one to bring a person that needs Jesus.

I wish I could take credit for the below comments. Though they were taken from Paul David Tripp’s book, Dangerous Calling. I have taken the liberty to tweak the points a little to fit with the Ruined and Rescued series. The four points I’m about to give you will help you understand that your ruin may not ultimately spell your undoing. It may in fact spell the beginning of faith or even the strengthening of faith.

  1. You Live In A Dramatically Ruined And Fallen World. You have to live with realistic expectations. You must bring a biblical understanding to the place where you now live, work, exist. We live in a broken world where there is trouble on every side. Your body and mind are affected by the fall and they don’t work as they should. Your relationships are flawed and do not work as they were designed. Governments will not function the way they were created to function. The church in which you attend and serve is full of flawed and ruined people in need of redemption. Actually, the Apostle Paul says that all creation suffers under the weight of the fall–its ruined (Romans 8:18-24).  There’s no escaping the RUIN of your life. Some ruin will happen out of your control and will tear your life up; some will happen because of a stupid, non-sensical choice on your part. You’re RUINED.
  2. The Big Battle Is Fought In Your Heart. In acknowledging the ruin of this world where you live, you do not want to give way to spiritual environmentalism in which you blame all your struggles on things outside of you. That was the mistake of the medieval monastery/monastic movement where people tried to exclude themselves from a sinful world and found out that whatever monastery or mountain cave they lived in lust, greed, pride, hate, etc. followed them because sin is a matter of the heart. Satan just uses this world as a tool or machine in which to entice the heart to follow the above mentioned sins along with a host of others. The danger of every human being is located within him–the heart. Everyday there is a war fought for the control of the heart; and the amazing thing is, your jealous, zealous Savior loves you so much, He does not want to share your heart with anyone or anything. He will not rest until your heart is ruled by Him and Him alone.
  3. You Will Run Somewhere For Refuge. In the heat of the battle, you will run somewhere for refuge, comfort, rest, wisdom, encouragement, strength, and healing. There is only one place to run where true protection and the above mentioned can be found— Your refuge and hiding place is the Lord Jesus. Some people, well most people, search for a friend or a group to be a personal messiah for them. Now, there is nothing wrong with friends, confession to friends, and finding strength and encouragement in friends. But, you’ve gone to NO ONE for help and sought NO HELP until you have first gone to Jesus. God really is your refuge and strength. Read the Psalms. God controls the relationships that disappoint you. He controls the work environment that drives you down…..God is in control. Run to Him and tell Him your troubles. Only He has the grace you need to face what you are facing. He is your resting place. He is your grace place.
  4. Where You Are Heading, Trouble Will Be No More. You could argue that the biblical story is about three locations. The garden in Genesis was location of perfection, beauty, and untainted by sin. But it became a place of imperfection, ugliness, and a sin-raveged world ruled by evil and ruined and fallen hearts. The second place was a hill call Calvary where Jesus paid the price for ruined and fallen people’s sin. Calvary was a place of suffering and transforming grace. A place where the greatest RESCUE in the history of the world took place. The third place is heaven, that New Jerusalem where there will be no more pain, suffering, ruin, or tears—a sin-free place for all eternity. Because of what Jesus did on the cross and if you embrace Him as your Lord and Savior, this life is temporary and your ruin has an end—an end that is not temporary but perfection and rescue for all eternity.

Today and tomorrow and in time to come, you’re going to face much ruin–it’s inevitable. You’re going to run somewhere for help and look to something or someone to rescue you. Jesus is your answer and great Rescuer. Tell Him about your ruin—HE DIED TO FIX IT.