God put in our hearts the idea for the bus mission as we were on our way for our annual staff mission trip. Without hesitation, knowing that is it for the Kingdom’s sake, we chose a date right away and shared it with our staff. They unanimously agreed to follow through with us. This is how we decided to do it: we would pay Elie, our transportation coordinator, whatever he would make for the day so we could give whoever gets on the bus a free ride along with a cold water bag.
Friday, September 18th was the day. Thursday evening we gathered together to make a little plan and pray over the mission. Friday morning, we hit the road at 4:30 to meet our bus at one of the bus stations in downtown. Our bus was 3rd in line and was empty when we arrived at the station. We hopped on the bus as if we were passengers with our secret in our hearts and spread in the seats from front to the back. There were 8 of us plus the driver and his doorman who were also ready for the mission. It wasn't long after we got on the bus that it filled up with three people in each seat. We were crowded with people who were off to the industrial park to work. These are people who get paid the minimum wage, which is less than eight dollars a day.
A couple minutes after we departed, one of us stood up, greeted everybody and started sharing the Word. About halfway to the factory, people started asking where the collector was. Typically, the door man would come along each seat with a little bucket to collect 15 Gourdes from everybody. That way, once they get to point B they could just jump off the bus and run to the factory because if they arrived late they would be sent back home like school students, so they would automatically lose a day of work. People started getting frustrated and confused until our member announced that the ride was free. Then people were more confused and still could not believe it. Many of them pulled out their exact change so they could just throw it to the driver on their way out. But again, our member stated that “because we receive the free gift of salvation through Christ, our Savior, we also decided to give the gift of a free ride to whoever gets on the bus today. Just like all you need to do is invite Jesus into your heart to have eternal life, all you need to do is get on the bus and you get a free ride from the station to the factory. It is all paid for by the Blood of Jesus, all you need to do is accept it.” Then we started seeing smiles and hearing “oh, thank you!” and “God bless you” and the calm reigned on the bus until we arrived in front of the factory. Our first run was finished.
On our way back to downtown from the factory area, we loaded very fast with kids going to school in downtown from the North and East side of the city along with adults going to work. The moment the door closed, as one of our members was about to stand up to share the word, a lady started presenting the Gospel, very straightforward, with no intention of communication. We could tell that she has done it before and everyone said amen. So, after she was done and grabbed a seat, I stood up and said that I would echo her as I shared some verses and some other key reasons why now is forever the perfect time to come to the Lord. I also asked everyone who was already a Christian to raise their hands, which they did. As we were sitting in traffic for a while, we asked our fellow Christians to join us in worship, so the bus turned into a little church for a while with everybody singing. During that ride, a woman agreed with us to pray with her to introduce her to the Lord. To God be all the glory!
As we were going and stopping in traffic, the silence on the bus got a little awkward, so I stood up and asked if anybody had any questions for us that is related to the Gospel. Boy...what was I thinking? It started pretty good with an elderly man asking about religion and a man asked about the Sabbath day. I tried to avoid the discussion but it exploded with another guy who claimed to not believe in the Bible or in Christ Jesus, but, instead, in Emmanuel or in a God who created the universe but instead in a God who found the earth with darkness all over it and created the light. Another man, who claimed to have been baptized since 2004, stated that we can not claim to know Christ because we are not told about his childhood, what school he went to, the name of his girlfriend and so forth. He added that the reason why someone studies theology is to make a business. As we are told by the Word of God, all those discussions are vain, so we stepped out and simply listened. In the end, we received some words of encouragement from our fellow Christians.
Then came our third trip back to North side of the city, there were not many people going to the that direction because most people merge to the city where most of the activities are taking place but slowly people kept coming in and this time, the only one girl staff that came with us shared. From the time, I noticed that we were not repeating each other. Not that it would be a problem to say the exact same thing, because we had a different set of people on each ride. But God blessed each and everyone of us with a different way to approach the message which is “Salvation in Christ alone”. His love for us, His free gift, His heart’s desire, His mercy, His Present, His prize for us etc. During that ride, one of us stood up and prayed over the day for all the people on the bus, asking God to bless, guide, and protect those who were going to school, to college, to work and whatever they were going to do. Once again, they found it very appreciative of the message and the free ride they were given. Everyone said thank you as they exited the bus.
On our way back which was our fourth trip, we loaded a cooler that we brought along with us with iced water bags. After presented the Gospel, we announced that the ride was free just like our salvation is free and the also told everyone that they are welcome to grab a water on their way out. We took the opportunity to tell them the importance of drinking water---a natural medication that the Lord blesses us with for free---as we were sweating a lot in the scorching heat. We also encouraged our fellow Christians to pray for the local authorities instead of acting like the ones who are burning tires in their minds towards the authorities. We referred to Paul’s teaching in Timothy. Besides that, we encouraged them to not litter either because we know that Christ would not do that if He were on earth today.
On that ride, a group of elder ladies in uniform who looked like they came from a church activity of some sort hopped on the bus and as we were sharing, we could see them nodding and loving what we were doing. As we were getting close to the end of the ride, a man who looked like he was in his mid 40s stood up and started to bless us and encourage us for what we were doing. He was amazed that we were a group of young man who chose to do that for the Lord (It is in fact a command from the Lord for us to go). But nowadays, many young men--even those who are in church--are being conformed to the world and are ashamed of Christ. He took his time to tell us that we were doing and amazing thing and hope that the Lord keeps us and guards us and continues to use us to do His work. It was such an encouragement to us! We felt like God was approving the day and we were ready to continue doing it with more passion and energy as we were getting physically tired.
We were also very thankful for the determination of the driver and his doorman. We witness that if they were to collect money from the passengers, they would make a lot because the bus was full on every single one of the 6 trips we made. I personally thought that they would make 7500 Gourdes which is a good day for a public transportation day, but they were very happy to tell the passengers that the ride was free as some of them would hand money to them anyways, not fully believing that the ride was free. Some people still stood up with their money in their hands for a while even after they got off the bus. It was interesting to see, just like some people still think they have to pay a price for their salvation. Christ did pay it all!
We can say that that mission was a double-edged-sword. The reason is because, we did something new to both Christians and non-Christians that were on the bus. Sharing the Gospel on a bus is not something new. Over the last decade, people have been using bus rides as a market place. That was my least favorite thing to experience on a bus ride when I was in college. Some random individual would get on at departure after the bus gets fully loaded and would start using the Name of Christ as a bait to beg for money. On many occasions, they break people’s hearts with their cunning and get their way around. I have seen the same person and heard the exact same words a number of times. Some other individuals would use the same trick to sell their products. But for us, it was different. When people noticed that we came to give, not only the Gospel, but a free ride, some good social and health advice along with a cool pack of water, both parties were amazed. We heard some saying that:
- They are going to share the story with their pastor
- Only Christians are like that
- There are good Haitians
….and we believe that all those people will share with their families and friends what they experienced on the bus.
On our last ride, we met a gentleman whose name is Jean Gardy. He sat right next to me so I asked him if he understood the message that was given and he said no because he got on the bus after the message. So, I shared the message with him and asked him what he thought. He replied that if he told me that he would convert, he would be a liar and would not be able to keep up because of the area where he lives (a ghetto) and the lifestyle he is living. He confessed to me that he is drinking, and smoking and is satisfying his flesh with multiple partners. He said that he understands the importance of salvation through Christ and would make the decision if God asks him to do so in a vision (a dream). Jean Gardy told me that when he goes to bed he says to God that his body is in his hands in case he doesn’t wake up. He also mentioned that he has some family members who started walking with Christ but gave up because of the hardship they are facing. I told Jean Gardy that I would pray for him and that I hope to see him in heaven.
|The Bus Mission Day crew--minus 2.|
We ended the day sharing what we personally experienced as we ate some good pizzas that my wonderful wife, Cassie Jean Louis, made for us.
We continue to pray that the seeds planted that day would grow and that people would come to know the Lord through this Bus Mission Day. Please, pray with us!