New Life Springs Up in the Ruins of Haiti
Rapid Response Team Updates
March 23, 2010 - More than two months after the monumental earthquake hit Haiti, Rapid Response Team (RRT) chaplains are still on the ground ministering to the victims, and lives continue to be impacted by the Gospel. Read below for just a few examples of God’s continual work in this devastated country.
*UPDATED MARCH 29
Chaplains from the Rapid Response Team conducted a Bible study/discipleship class at the Peguy-ville tent camp as a follow-up to the evangelistic outreach. This tent camp, like dozens of others throughout the area, is a crowded, yet well organized, community. Everyone contributes to laundry, food preparation, sanitation and child supervision.
Even though there was some confusion about the start time of the Bible study, around twenty people still showed up. With chaplains standing in a shaded spot in one corner of the camp, people came and sat on the ground, rocks, or whatever was left. Chaplains opened with prayer, handed out some printed materials in French and went verse by verse through the basics of new life in Christ. People were attentive and asking questions during the two-hour
In the back of the crowd was a young man named Johnny. He took notes on everything the chaplain was saying. Toward the end of the study, one of his friends grabbed his paper and brought it forward. It was an eloquently worded poem about the Gospel and the new life the chaplains were sharing. One of the translators asked if he could read the poem to the group. The chaplains and Johnny agreed. Fellow residents kept looking back at the author, and the translator sensed that there was something missing in the young man's response. He asked Johnny directly if he had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. Johnny replied just that he had not. The chaplains reviewed the Steps To Peace With God. At the conclusion, Haitian translator helpers went into the group to answer individual questions. Johnny had many questions and God's Word had the answers.
As the rest of the group remained, Johnny repented of his sin and prayed to ask Christ into his life. All joined in a final prayer and agreed to gather again with the new invited friends. The poor timing, it turned out, was God's perfect timing for this one dear soul.
The Old Has Passed Away
RRT chaplains talked with a 22-year-old man named Rirle immediately following a Bible study. Rirle was very concerned that he couldn't be saved because of the evil inside him. Misunderstanding the full weight of his statement, chaplains assured him that though the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus, and that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Nothing seemed fully comforting and Rirle was about to walk away.
The chaplains asked whether there was something specific that was troubling him. He told them that when he was born, his grandfather put a demon in him and committed him to a life of service to the dark world. As he grew up, he was often reminded that he was obligated to honor his demon. His whole life he had been living in fear of death because of this. When Steps to Peace With God was shared with him, Rirle was thrilled to understand that the chasm could be bridged through the cross; he did not think it could work for someone with an evil spirit.
Chaplains assured Rirle that old things are passed away and all things become new when a person is in Christ. He wanted the "new life" and prayed the Sinners Prayer. Immediately, a great weight was lifted off him. He no longer had to fear death. He was free. The chaplains encouraged him to pray, be in regular fellowship with other Christians and attend a Bible teaching church.
Raised To New Life
On the day of the earthquake, a 17-year-old girl, Norita, was at school later than usual helping to straighten up a few things. She heard a very large truck drive by. The floor shook much more than usual and everything became black.
Three days passed, and her right leg and left hand were badly injured. After another five days of waiting in line, she was admitted to a hospital. Two more days and she underwent a successful surgery. Her leg is still healing after an infection that nearly took her life, and her hand is paralyzed. She has been struggling with fear when lights go out. RRT chaplains asked if they could pray with her. She said that she wanted to pray too, but didn't know how.
Through a translator, chaplains shared Steps to Peace With God and read some Scripture to her. Norita asked to hear about Jesus. Many of her friends had been killed in the earthquake and she wanted to know that if she were to die that she would be in Heaven. The chaplains prayed with her as she acknowledged her sin and by faith accepted the free gift of life, Jesus Christ. She said she now had hope of another resurrection someday that would be even more special than the one that she had just experienced.
Another Prayer Answered
11-year-old Nellie has never been able to walk due to a rare birth defect. She has to be carried wherever she goes and then sits in a steel fold up chair with a thin pillow on it. Abandoned by her parents, she has lived in an orphanage since birth. Nellie has a bright smile, which is infectious to any who meet her.
Last week when the RRT chaplains were visiting the orphanage, the pastor asked if Samaritan’s Purse had a wheelchair for Nellie. There were none available, so the chaplains prayed that God would provide a wheelchair for her. They returned to the Samaritan’s Purse compound, where a logistics team leader approached them. He explained to the chaplains that a wheelchair had just been donated and asked them if they knew of anyone in need of one. The wheelchair was promptly delivered to Nellie.
Ministry To Ministers
RRT chaplains spent the morning at an orphanage/school/medical clinic with the pastor and his wife who have been running it for 19 years. They have been under tremendous stress since the earthquake. They house 75 children and provide medical help to the local town. They have been so busy caring for others that they have not had time to allow anyone else to minister to them.
When the RRT chaplains arrived, they were so happy to have someone who would take the time to come to see them and be concerned for them that they began to weep. A word of encouragement, prayer and a tour of the facilities brought some joy back into their lives. God sent chaplains to lift up the body of Christ where it was desperately needed.
The Truth Conquers Lies
RRT chaplains followed up with Madeline after meeting her at her father's bedside at Baptist Haiti Mission Hospital. Two days earlier, her father had expressed thankfulness for the chaplains' visit and accepted prayer. When the chaplain asked Madeline if she would like prayer, she replied that she loved evil spirits and not the spirit of Jesus. The chaplains honored her request not to discuss it and not to pray for her at that time.
However, something soon changed. The chaplains saw her and her father again and greeted them both by name. Madeline then asked the chaplains if they would pray with her. She told the chaplains that when she saw them returning, she knew her spirit was lying to her.
The Gospel was a welcome message to this young lady, who eagerly prayed to accept Christ as her Savior. The RRT chaplains explained that the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit comes with her new life in Christ. She was also encouraged to connect with the local church and continue growing spiritually.