Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
An Email, an Open Door and Disobedience
Less than forty eight hours after the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, I received an email from my daughter’s principal at Calvary Christian School—he and others from the church were going to Haiti. They were looking for donations, not volunteers, but I figured it never hurts to ask—so feeling led by the Holy Spirit, I did.
He responded promptly and advised me that the decision was not his, but one of the elders from the church. He gave me the number and I quickly called. I was told I could go if I could get an airline ticket—he added that there was little chance of that happening because of the crisis—the airlines to the Dominican Republic (the only way into Haiti) were sold out. I hung up the phone and immediately began searching for a flight. Almost instantly I found a flight and saved it while I called him back.
“I have a flight!” I told him.
My First Mistake
As I told him my good news, I sensed in the tone of his voice that he rather I did not go. He didn’t say I couldn’t go, it was just the impression I received. Led by my emotions (and not the Spirit), I asked him what were his thoughts on my going. He convinced me to wait for one week when another team would be going. It pained me, but it seemed to make sense—I had essentially talked my way out of going.
After the longest week I ever endured, the news came that I could not be a part of the next team—it was going to be all medical and pastorial. It was then I was nearly certain I should not have bailed on the previous opportunity—God opened a door and I slammed it shut. I was then told I would be on the following week’s team. The only problem was that team-two came back with a negative report–apparently there were giants in the land.
I questioned their faith, but the Lord quickly convicted my heart, “Where is your faith David?” He asked.
Spiritually I struggled. Was God telling me to step-out in faith like the priests who placed the soles of their feet in the raging Jordan River before God heaped up its waters or was I to patiently wait on the Lord as the psalmist proclaimed. I discerned from the Lord I was to go to Haiti by faith, but alas, my counselors were advising me otherwise. Honestly, it was agonizing.
From the very beginning of these events, a friend of mine gave me a name, an email, and phone number for a young, Christian, Haitian man living in Port Au Prince. It sat on my desk for 3 weeks before I called him. At first he too was hesitant, but I convinced him that I was responding to what the Lord had placed into my heart–all I asked of him was a safe place to lay my head at night. He indicated he was willing to provide this, so I ordered my non-refundable airline tickets.
Twenty four hours before I was to leave for Haiti, I emailed, I telephoned, and I Facebooked my new Haitian friend with my flight and bus information. No response.
“Now what?” I asked of the Lord
And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:29-32
I sensed the Lord was telling me now what He was telling me all along—to just go to Haiti as a willing vessel and He would provide all that I needed. This time I was determined to obey and in so doing would confirm one of two things: I was hearing the Lord speaking clearly to my heart ~or~ I was totally misinterpretating what I was hearing.
God Reveals Himself
“Lord, once in Haiti I will be completely powerless; I present myself to You to be used as You see fit,” was the prayer I repeated over and over on the plane to the DR. I continually looked over the comforting Bible verse my friend Ruth gave me an hour before I left for the airport:
Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you Deuteronomy 11:24-25
I exited the plane in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic and went to retrieve the 130 pounds of supplies I had brought along—friends had donated over $2,000 with which I was able to purchase twenty tents. These were stuffed into three duffle bags along with medical supplies and tooth brushes that were also donated. It was midnight in the DR and my plan was to sit in the airport till daylight and take a taxi to the bus for the ten hour trip to Port Au Prince. There was still no response from my Haitian-host-to-be.
The first thing the Lord provided was a free luggage cart. I loaded it up and went to find a seat. Outside of the luggage carousel area I sat in the fast-food dining area. I cradled my head in hands and was prepared to wait the six of seven hours until sun up. As I offered some praises to the Lord for bringing me safely this far, I was approached by a young lady.
“Do you need a ride?” the she asked.
It’s not what you think; this young lady was holding a YWAM sign and had been searching arrivals for the folks who had signed on to serve with that ministry. In reality, she initially thought I was one of those people. I explained to her that I wasn’t and was waiting for morning to take the bus. She said they had a bus packed and ready to go to Port Au Prince now—and I could go if I wanted to. Is our God amazing or what!
I loaded my gear onto the bus and we headed back to the YWAM base camp in Santo Domingo. As it turned out, the bus in question would not be going to Port Au Prince after all, but to St. Mark for a medical mission. Not to worry I was told, there were two men at the base camp who were going to Port Au Prince.
Sugi and Somi
The YWAM leader introduced me to my ride, “This is Sugi and Somi, and they’re going to Port Au Prince. They can take you where you are going.”
Both Sugi and Somi were Indonesian pastors living in California and Texas (respectively) and they were serving with a ministry called World Harvest. I told them about my situation and it was agreed that if I could not make contact with my host in Haiti, I could join forces with them to minister to the needs of the Haitian people.
The Lord was proving Himself over and over.
I tossed my supplies into their rented van and we set out for the ten hour journey to Port Au Prince. Sugi and Somi had made arrangements to stay with another ministry and we followed behind their bus. When we finally crossed the border, I discovered that my phone which was supposed to work in Haiti didn’t. I was now unable to make contact with my host. Sugi and Somi were stuck with me, but I see now this was the Lord’s plan all along—to just step out in faith and He would provide all my needs.
The Lord blessed me beyond what I or anyone deserves and in turn we were able to be blessing vessels for Him to the Haitian people. I had traveled to Haiti before and I confess on that trip I was scared, but this trip was different. I felt safe and secure in the loving arms of my gracious and merciful Father. Even when swarmed by masses of people trying to possess the water or food we were distributing, I always felt His protection around me.
Continually through this journey, the Lord demonstrated His faithfulness and I can tell you that I came away from Haiti feeling more blessed than the people we came to be a blessing too–I am always amazed by the Lord’s multi-tasking abilities. Everyone I met on this trip was of the same mind and opinion; Americans and Haitians alike. God is better than anyone deserves and we need to share that truth with everyone we know or meet.
As a body of believers, we (I) need to be more sensitive to what the Lord through His Holy Spirit is trying to accomplish through our brothers and sisters in Christ. While it is true that common (worldly) sense dictates going to Haiti without much of a game plan is foolishness, it is only irrational if the Lord hasn’t directed you to do so. Sadly, in light of the Lord’s obvious and enduring hand upon the entire journey, I suspect there will likely be Christians who will still assert I should not have gone.
I cannot help but be reminded of the twelve spies Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land. Ten of them recorded a fearful report of giants in the land, but two of them, Joshua and Caleb, proclaimed these words…
Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Numbers 14:9
Every giant that the world lays before us has the potential to be spiritual nourishment to our bodies—these giants; any giants are akin to Wonder Bread for the Christian who is led by the Holy Spirit–they are our bread. Let me not be the one to quench the Holy Ghost in my spiritual walk or the walk of anyone else ever again, Amen.