Catherine’s 8 Ministry Pillars in Haiti – part 4

1 Corinthians 3:7 – then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

An Increase of FAITH & FAVOR – 1. Baptisms 2. Youth leading worship 3. Youth leading bible studies 4. Nursery and FAAGRIC farm going strong.

John 3:30 so clearly and concisely states, “He must increase, but I [must] decrease”.  What a contrast to what this world wants.  But, no matter what the world believes, the truth stands.  We must realize that we cannot do anything on our own.(John 5:30) Furthermore, the LORD has also chosen the body of Christ to work together.(1 Corinthians 12:15-26) One plants, one waters, but God gives the increase.(1 Corinthians 3:6) He is the vine, and we are the branches.  If we abide in HIM, and HE in us, much fruit is brought forth.  So without HIM ye can do nothing.(John 15:5)

It does not make sense in a world that desires to be mattered, to make a difference, to do great things and to receive the praises of men.  I must confess that the praises of men/words of encouragement are more important to me then I thought.  I once again needed to prostrate myself before the LORD and ask Him to show me in His own way if I was being used to make any difference.  Was fruit being produced?  Were the Bible studies sinking in at all and being understood?  Would the teaching of finer skills bear fruit?  Would His character be seen in my actions as I taught?

By God’s grace the LORD showed me in little ways:

  • One was by in teaching crochet.  I was passing the teaching onto the girls giving them responsibility to teach others.  I saw them teaching each other in patience and kindness and carefully instructing.  No words of encouragement were needed.  It was the LORD’S way of showing me.
  • Another was to hear Djoune encouraging and showing the Madams how to include Moringa in their food.  With the coming and going of Madams, it was difficult to keep the importance of Moringa alive in the diet at CCH.  She had helped me with the translation of the Moringa book into Creole and knew of its value.  Again, no words of encouragement were needed.  The LORD’S way of showing me was through the actions of others.  I just needed eyes to see and ears to hear and recognize the LORD’S way of encouraging me.

I think many times we can expect praises and encouragements to materlize our way.  If we are willing to receive from the LORD His way and open our eyes and ears to hear, we will see those encouragements.  But they also will be for His glory and not our own.

We increase in favor with God as we do the will of God. Being faithful in the work he gives us is the goal along with a grateful heart, whatever it may be, and whatever our station in life.  When our desires are in harmony with God’s will as it is revealed to us—keeping his work in our hearts—conquering selfish desires that would diminish our personal progress.

What sort of work is it that we are doing?  It will be manifested and declared through the fire. (1 Corinthians 3:13)

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)

May this be our portion. May we continually increase in wisdom and in spiritual stature, pleasing God in all we do, and finding favor with both God and man. Amen.

1 Samuel 12:16  Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes.

It is a very humbling experience, to be able to witness the blessings of the LORD over the work that has been entrusted to you.  Feelings of gratefulness, relief, and joy come flooding into your heart.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.(Luke 6:38)

Les & I knew our time in Haiti was coming to an end.  We saw the writing on the wall.  Signs of passing the baton on were becoming evident.  We asked the LORD God for clear direction.  Was He finished with us or did He have another assignment for us.  He was faithful!

On September 18 we received a message from an acquaintence, a friend of my brother.  After inquiring about this, we were invited to visit Israel to investigate helping with an agricultural project.

I was very excited for this new adventure the LORD God seemed to be putting before us.  Quite honestly, staying focused on the task was difficult especially when my areas of involvement were becoming more difficult to achieve.  Other agenda’s were vying for the times I had spent with the girls.  Furthermore, during this time trouble increased in Haiti and seemed be becoming more unstable.

What would our exit from Haiti look like?  How would they respond to our announcement?  How many loose ends were needing attention in order to leave Haiti resulting in a smooth transition preparing for our departure.

The Haitians are generally not very expressive in showing how they truly feel, especially to foreigners.  No matter how long missionaries are in a foreign land, they are still foreigners.  Yes, relationships can be built and trust can be established, but a foreigner remains a foreigner.

With that being said…

I have no doubt that the LORD God was there with us through it all to help us stand with our Haitians friends, through the thick of it both physically (Hurricane Matthew) and spiritually (spiritual attacks).  We experienced some dark difficult moments together. We went through a lot of challenging times with the Haitians. Trust had been built over the years and for the Haitians trust is not an easy thing.

  • With His help, we stood on the promises of God and promoted Him, pointing to Him as their provider.
  • With His help we trusted that He had everything in His control.
  • With His help, we were able to establish a trust with the Haitians we had in our circle of influence.

We were not prepared for the measure of kind wishes, remarks, and emotions from every area:  CCH, James 1:27, Joshua House, Center of Help, Village of Hope, and our own neighborhood, Bamboula, Torbeck.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Honest, Godly effort is still rewarded. We continue to grow mentally—to grow in wisdom—to grow in truth.

By God’s grace...

Les & I desire this!  >>  Les & I pray for this to be demonstrated in our lives!  >> Les & I study to grow in wisdom and truth!  >> Les & I will practice it!

Catherine’s 8 Ministry Pillars in Haiti

Over the years in Haiti, the cycle of planning and preparing, implementing and teaching was the ongoing schedule for me, Catherine.  Coming and going as we did, brought new challenges to this schedule, thus adjustments galore and lots of spiritual stretching exercises, some very uncomfortable.  I didn’t know I could stretch in such ways.   I like fixed schedules, yet nothing was fixed that I was involved in.  Venues changed, participants were not consistent, and other programs were implemented.

How does one maintain some level of control in this kind of situation?  Many times, I must admit, I felt like quitting and throwing in the towel.  But, just when I needed the encouragement to keep going, the LORD God made a way to encourage me.

Catherine’s 8 Ministry Pillars in Haiti – part 3

2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

My Grace is sufficient.   Sometimes we need to walk through the fire, but the LORD promises we will not be burned.  Sometimes we pass through the waters, but He will be there with us.  This is a BIG lesson in contentment.  When this verse talks about always having all sufficiency in all things it is really referring to always having all contentment in all things.  

This was the year of some significantly great events.  Our Granddaughter, Hadasssah, was born.  Zachery & Olivia’s wedding in Maryland and Bridal shower in Iowa were other special events.  My teeth and jaw began giving me problems.  Les and I ended up coming home to seek what might be going on with me, leaving Zachery & Olivia in Haiti.

Have you ever been somewhere and wondered if you would be more helpful elsewhere else?

It really was an overwhelming year with emotions up and down.  I felt like I would be of more help for our daughter than I was able to be helpful in Haiti.  Others seemed more qualified to do what I was doing in Haiti.  What I viewed as a higher priority was not necessarily the LORD’s priority.

Zachery & Olivia were to be married, another special event.  I found myself challenged in planning for their special event, especially while continuing ministry in Haiti.

Was I willing to be joyful and accepting the role I played in Haiti, no matter what it was?  Would I take pleasure in being content where He had me?  Would I display delight and pleasure and contentment always in all things.  I knew the example I wanted to be to those around me.  I remember prostrating myself many times before the LORD submitting my desires to His.  After asking for the LORD’s help, He grace truly abounded toward me.

It took me a while to realize that these stresses weighing on me and were being expressed in my sleep at night.  Why was my jaw involuntarily moving.  How would I be able to teach Bible study with my jaw doing its new thing out of nowhere?  To talk wore my jaw out, and I also felt self-contious.

Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Fire is a wonderful picture of the work of the Holy Spirit.  Spiritual fire is to cleanse and purify our emotions, mental state, and even our physical being. It is through the Holy Spirit that gives you inner strength and power in the inner man to go through these times.

God is faithful. He is faithful to be there with us through anything.  PTL! We are not alone!

1 Samuel 12:24 – Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

The Lord Knows.   Wow, what a year!  The Lord was on my side.  It doesn’t matter what people are saying about you, He is for you.  Everything has a purpose in life.  All our efforts will bear fruit in His time.  When at any breaking point in which we cannot see how to move another step, the LORD is there to help, if you call out to him.  Again, I didn’t know I could be stretched like that.  On the surface, looks can be deceiving, but a peek behind the scenes can show more about a situation.

When no translator is available and you put yourself on the front lines to teach an inductive, serious study to teens in another language, it takes leaning on the Lord to another different level.  Whispers and other distractions of coming and going during a class can cause someone like me to wonder what is happening and where the respect is.  Questions of why this behavior was happening weighed on me.  I was feeling self-contious again.  Was I saying something wrong?  Was I not being understood?  What were they trying to tell me?  No matter what others may think of me, I had to trust that the Word of God being presented would not return void and that I was pressing on in the LORD.  I knew He was on my side.

Publishing a book in another language you barely know can also be a very mind-numbing and a time-intensive job.  A picture speaks a thousand words.  I was informed that someone on the current team visiting was an artist.  I Praise God for providing Dan LeBlanc, the artist to help illustrate health concepts for any reader to understand.  Thank you, Dan LeBlanc.  I was also in need of a translator, someone that knew medical terms.  Even though Djoune Constant was super busy, she offered to help.  Thank you, Djoune, for providing the correct creole in medical and health terminology to help translate for me.  Read Hot Off the Presses.

Let us not be weary in well doing good: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  (Galatians 6:9)  

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10)

As long as I am presenting my body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is my reasonable service, (Romans 12:1), His design and plan for me will not be thwarted.  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  (Romans 8:31)

Read 2016 Blogs.

Catherine’s 8 Ministry Pillars in Haiti – part 1

I, Catherine, have personal pillars with personal lessons that I call my Ministry Pillars in Haiti.

What is ministry really?  What does it look like?  Well, that can look different on many levels and to each person.  We have our own preconceived ideas of what ministry should look like, but in the end, it is the LORD God who directs and knows how best to minister in any given situation and place.

Every year over the eight (8) years of serving in Haiti, the LORD God gave me pillar lessons how to trust Him, lean on Him, know who I am in Him, teaching me what he can accomplish when I let go and let Him or when I get out of the way, and so much more.  These pillars that the LORD gave me were what gave me something to LEAN on, literally.

A pillar is a tall solid structure, which signifies support and is usually used to support part of a building.

In the Bible, a pillar represents various things:

  1. God’s house (Gen 28:22)
  2. A witness (Gen 31:52)
  3. Where God appears to His people (Num 14:14)
  4. A memorial (2Sa 18:18)
  5. A support of the Temple of God (2 Ki 11:14)
  6. A signpost
  7. Where God speaks
  8. A support of God’s Church, and
  9. An overcomer.

Printed on each pillar are the phrases we are all familiar with.  These were my lessons.  The scriptures are the meaning that back the phrases on the pillars.  Below the scripture, I have explained briefly how it all applied me on a personal level.

Philippians 4:11 – Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Blooming where planted.  When what you have planned in serving the LORD doesn’t happen the way you thought, and the best thing to do was to ask the LORD, okay now what?  What do you want me to do?

Asking this question is a bit scary.  For me and possibly many of you, the answer may not be what you think it will be or should be.  I asked the LORD many times, is this really ministry?  Is this really what you want me to do?  It is a tough learning curve sometimes, but when I yielded to Him, trust in Him and just did it, and became okay with it, the ministry went a lot better.  I need to remember that He also knows the greatest need.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together(G4903)for good to them, that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

(G4903) means fellow worker, that is, co-operate (We are cooperating with Christ, laboring with Him for the benefit of others)

It’s all good.  That is too easy to say.  No not everything is good, at least on the surface.  Roadblocks, hurdles, miscommunication, getting made fun of, getting shunned, etc. are examples of what is a far cry from “it’s all good”.  But, with the LORD God, He works all things out for his glory.  When circumstances seem questionable or unbearable, we don’t need to worry. He’s got this.

The mental load seemed great.  I had taught my own four children for 12 years; but I never designed a curriculum this size, taught larger groups, and three different age groups in a different culture.  I love designing and planning, but this was almost over the top.

Who would be my translator?  Would I explain the lesson well enough for each age group?  Would the translator understand?  How will I keep up? Where will we meet?  What is the best way to teach in the culture?  What tools do I use?  Will I get the tools in time?  It was literally one day at a time for me.  I didn’t drive and counted on others, especially my dear husband, Les.  It always seemed to work out because he was always running errands for people or fit it in somehow to get me to where I needed to go. THANK YOU, LES!  And, thank you, Yvald, for translating for me.

The LORD God really does have everything in control. It all worked out and the LORD provided. Trusting Him through each circumstance is an opportunity for personal spiritual growth.  The curriculum was on the 7 Days of Creation in English/Creole.

The classes included worksheets to color, video cassette holders that held color pencils and worksheets, memory verses rebus style, flannel board where I would ask them to tell the creation story.

The LORD spoke to my heart many times, saying, “I’ve got this.” And, I can say truthfully that He does.

I hope this has been an encouragement to you for your own walk with the LORD.  We all have a special journey.  My prayer and encouragement for you are to trust Him and let go of your concerns and let Him take the reigns.  There is so much freedom when we yield to Him.

Has the LORD used you in your weakness?

Until next month, stay strong.