Thursday, October 29, 2015

His Love Reaches Beyond Nowhere--Part 1

Pastor Woogy is one of the first pastors who led a missions trip to Haiti back in 2010. Even after Woogy moved to a different church, he still committed to continue bringing groups to Haiti. Different than many other pastors who have committed to come back to the same church every year, Pastor Woogy’s heart is to serve in as many different locations as possible and to reach those who have not yet been reached. 
Pastor Woogy

After his second trip to Jacmel in 2014, serving with a church near the city, Woogy expressed the desire to reach out to a different community and it was my responsibility as the Haiti Ministry Coordinator to find him a new location to serve in the summer of 2015. Pastor Benose, one of our contacts, told me about a sister church of his main church in Gressier that is located in a community near Jacmel called Mabiale. I gathered as much information as possible about the church and shared it with Woogy. Both Woogy and I were pumped to explore that new location. Part of my job is to visit any location where we want to bring a group with Praying Pelican Missions in order to provide an overview of the location and the church to the group prior to their trip. That provides peace of mind for me as a local leader and to the pastor who is bringing a group to Haiti. 

So, in April of this year, one month before my wife was due with our second child, I visited the community with the pastor.  I had to decide whether we would bring a group there in July or not. Pastor Woogy and I have built a brotherly relationship over the years, so as I got back from visiting with the pastor, this is what I wrote to him. 

Good morning brother,

 I don't know if you saw my Facebook post about my drive through a river... did you? I went to la Grosseline on Thursday to assess the area and was really surprised at how different it is from what I anticipated.
Do you see a road?
It took me 1:30 driving 23KM or about 15 Miles and the whole time through a rocky river. I crossed the same river 35 times . The pastor was my guide and I had to ask him to point to the road for me from time to time so I could find my way, because I could not see a road in front of me but rocks and a path that looks like a vehicle drove there the year before. I finally got there and I made it because I had the 4x4 option on my truck, otherwise, I would not have made it. The ministry opportunity up there is endless. It was refreshing for me to see and be reminded that the Gospel goes further than our imagination. 

With that being the one and only way to get there, I have some concerns that I honestly want to share with you and have your say. 

On said "road"
-The road is rougher than what any American can ever imagine. I never thought of it being so rough as a local.
-It would not be ideal to travel there after a long day traveling from the States.
-We would need a solid vehicle, not even my truck, to transport 10+ people plus luggage up there.
-We would have to have every single thing we need up there at once (water, food, snacks, medicines etc) because driving that road twice in a week would be hard on a driver and worse on a vehicle.
-If we have a medical emergency that needs immediate assistance, God alone would be the rescue. 
-If a hurricane breaks while we are up there, we would have to find our way across the mountains to get to the city and that would probably be 3-4 hours walk. 
-Pastor's priority is to rebuild the church and I am afraid that $300 will not be able to do much due to the hardship of getting anything up there.
-There would not be a working bathroom for us to us. We would have latrines. 
-We would have to swim in the river like the locals and call that our shower.
-We would have to sleep in tents. Camping style.

I am not telling you to back  out from going to that community but If you feel like this set up doesn't fit you and your crew, I am more than willing to find you a different place that suits you better. 

Thanks Woogy! I look forward to chatting with you soon. Hangout calls work great and they are free :)

I literally could not believe that I drove my truck the whole way. On one of the crossings, I got stuck and I

was scared for my life, had I not had 4 wheel drive, I would have to be towed out. I personally did not feel comfortable taking a group to that place and did not give the pastor any hope that we would come back. But one thing that struck me is the fact that, in spite of the remoteness and the difficulty of getting there, there was a church and a people that is seeking the Lord there. Pastor introduced me to an elderly woman that has been serving the church since 1986. I would feel guilty to just tell pastor Woogy that we can not go there because of the logistics, so I let him to decide. I loved that he did not just back out, but told me that he would talk to his team about it and pray about it before making a final decision. 

One of our major concerns was flooding. The only way to get to the community was the river and during
hurricane season, when that river is raging, it is more than anyone can imagine. It gets as wide as 150 meters between the two mountains and people from one side of the mountain can spend over a month without being able to go to the other side. It brings to the ocean whatever it finds on its path. July is one of those months when we can get unexpected heavy rainfalls, so I would not take any chance unless it was 100% Woogy’s will to take a team there. 

In order to be prepared, I sent a plan B to Woogy to take the trip to a different location, still across that same river but a lot closer to the city of Jacmel and with the possibility of getting across the river by a brand new bridge that was being built around that same time. After considering the options in prayer, Woogy decided to go with the plan B. The team came in July and it was a great trip where many were blessed. 

Woogy still expressed the desire to go the community beyond nowhere. I told him that unless he comes with me and see if for himself, I would not feel comfortable to take a group there. After chatting with his senior pastor, Woogy planned to come on a scouting trip along with his friend Scott at the end of September.

Part 2 will be posted next week, but here is a little taste of what is to come:
I remember asking Pastor Woogy if he sees any value in taking a trip to the village and his response to me was a question: "Is there a church that has people there?" I asked him just to make sure that is comfortable making that trip back, not just himself and a Scott, but with a group of 15-20 people. But yes, why would we not go since we are called to go to the corners of the earth to spread the Good News of the Gospel. 

In the meantime, check out what Woogy's teams have done while serving the Lord here in Haiti with us in previous years.

College Crew Serving in 2015
Construction Crew in 2014
Students Serving in 2013
Sports Ministry Focus in 2012
Calvary's First Jacmel Trip in 2011

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