...from Rich
Last Sunday our team had the privilege of worshiping with our brothers and sisters in Christ at Philadelphia Baptist church in Caye. The church meets above Pierre’s parent’s home. After a wonderful time of singing, praying and preaching, we walked with a few deacons of the church to the site of the new church they are in the process of building. It is less than half complete and construction has been halted due to debt. With no financial help on the horizon, it appears completion of the project is far off at best and at worst may never come to fruition.

After viewing the construction site, we went back to the Maceno home for a delightful Sunday feast with Pierre’s mother. Unfortunately, Pierre’s father was too sick to join us. Pierre told us his father’s health situation is quite serious and he is having trouble eating any solid food. Pastor Maceno is officially retired, but in many ways a pastor’s work is never really done, especially in Haiti. So, Pastor Maceno battles bad health and continues to minister in some capacity to congregants he has pastored over the years.

Following dinner we headed outside to the courtyard to talk with Pastor Maceno. He was seated on a chair under some palm trees and was leaning on his staff. Pastor Maceno thanked us all for coming to Haiti to preach the gospel. He told us he had trusted Christ in 1947. He told us of his health issues and that at 82 years old he was the oldest living MEBSH pastor on the entire island. His grandchildren sat upon his knee and ran around at his feet while Pierre did the interpreting. We thanked Pierre’s parents for raising such a fine son. Then, after a few quick family pictures it was time to go. Our visit only lasted a few minutes, but I’m sure it will be among the most memorable things on this trip.

To see this faithful husband and wife, bearing decades of the joys and sorrows of ministry upon their faces and still fully engaged in the trials of life here in Haiti, the happiness of a father and mother welcoming their son and daughter-in-law back home, the pleasure taken in holding grand babies. I could not help but be brought to tears.

From the staff, to the son living in a far way land, to the grandchildren upon the knee, I immediately thought of Jacob at the end of his life. Walking with a limp he gained as a result of wrestling with God, but full of faith in God from whom he had refused to let go without a blessing. Jacob’s limp served as a reminder he had been blessed albeit through struggle.

All true blessings come from God’s hand and they often come through trials that leave scars. Think of the greatest blessing of all. Hebrews 12:2 says Jesus “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”. God the Son willingly went through the trial of the cross only then to be seated at the right hand of the throne of God the Father. Before he ascended to that position, he appeared in his glorified body here on this earth after His resurrection. His glorified body, made perfect, contained nail marked hands and a scared side (John 20:27). They were now trophies of His suffering and proof he had died upon the cross, but had been raised again, saving the souls of all those who would turn from their sins and trust in Him. By His suffering we have been healed and believers, as His Bride, are part of His reward “”Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exalt and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” (Revelation 19:6b-8).

Haiti is a land full of difficult trials. There are disappointing set backs and extreme hardships that come as a result of living in a fallen world. The Christians here are in the midst of these trials every day, but I’m learning Haiti is also a land of scars, beautiful scars. Scars gained through holding on to God by faith in Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, even in the most painful of circumstances. Scars that remind of God’s blessing.

So, hold on Pastor Maceno, hold on. Hold on Hatian believers, hold on. Hold on Bereans, hold on. Christ has prevailed. He bears the wounds to prove it. You are blessed in Him. You are part of His blessing.

The trial is hard,
but you will soon get your scar.
A reminder of God’s blessing upon you.

 


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    Team Levanjil

    A written record of the work of God among the people of God in Haiti as members of Berean Baptist Church in Livonia, MI work with the leadership of MEBSH in Les Cayes, Haiti.

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