Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Many Mothers

Living, working and ministering in Haiti has its share of challenges. These challenges include the cultural differences of working with multinational and multilingual colleagues.  It includes making a lower salary; if I was working a job in the United States with my education and work experience, I would be making 3 or 4 times the money. It includes the physical exhaustion from hard work; for example when a work team comes to put a church roof on.  (The foreigners have trouble with the heat so I am frequently on the roof in the hot sun more than anyone else, because I am can take it.) There is also the challenge of sleeping when the bus drives by my house at 3:15AM and blows the horn, and the other bus that does the same at 4AM and the bus at 5 or 6AM likewise. Finally there is the challenge of being away from one's family.

I would like to reflect on being away from family for a moment; specifically of being away from my mother.  I choose my mother not because it's Mother's Day this month.

Jesus said, "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.  Matthew 19:29 NIV"

I can say with my whole heart that this is true based on my experiences. I have a maid that takes care of me like her own son.  She cooks for me, she makes my bed, she washes and irons my clothes, and she gives me advice.  She goes to the market to buy produce; she sees that I am in the best of health by properly cleaning fresh vegetables and providing a balanced variety in my diet.  She gives me advice like; "Don't pick up people you don't know," and asks motherly questions like "Did you get home early last night?”  She explains things I don't understand like what certain words mean in Creole.  My maid is one of the 100 "mothers" that Jesus has promised to provide for me because I have left my mother for his sake.

"Mother Violette" in the Kitchen

As most of you know, I spend most of my time in Deschapelles with "Mother Violette" caring for me.  But my main ministry involves leaving home and going out in ministry.  I show Christian evangelistic movies and sometimes teach a seminar or preach.  When I arrive for the weekend, I'm given a home to stay in.  I'm always given the best!  Each weekend I go out, I get to stay in one of the 100 "homes" God has given me.  Likewise, I am usually met by a mother (and father) who are eager to see that all of my needs are met.  For example, last weekend, my "mother" ensured that I was served and fed properly.  Several times she served my plate and gave me bigger portions and arranged things artistically to make me feel special.  My "father" took me to his garden and we drank coconut water together.  Earlier he had gone to get some grapefruit so my "mother" could make juice for me. The couple I stayed with is one of the 100 "fathers" and "mothers" that Jesus has promised to provide for me because I have left my father and mother for his sake.

If your earthly mother didn't/doesn't do all of these things for you, all I can say "I'm so sorry for you!"  God has blessed me with wonderful mothers!

I want to express a very happy Mother's Day to my earthly mothers; both my fleshly mother (Miriam Arbaugh) and my spiritually given ones!  You are precious to me!  I love you!

Monday, April 9, 2012

More Movie Action

Last weekend (over Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter) I spent in Corosol.  This is a remote village outside of Gwomon, at the border of the Artibonite and Northwest departments of Haiti.  We drove off of the main road, and then turned onto a newly cut trail.  It had a section so steep that one of the folks that was with me exclaimed that my vehicle could climb up and down a coconut tree!  We used 4-wheel-drive and the air lockers, and maintained perfect control and traction at all times.  This was only the second time a vehicle had ever driven on that road.  After driving to the end of the "road" we parked and hiked in with the help of the community carrying the equipment.  We had a really enjoyable time; showing movies, playing games with the kids, and fellowshipping together.

Children's Program at Corosol
Children's Program at Corosol
Girl From Corosol
Girl From Corosol
Recently I received this encouragement from a coworker in Christ...
Tonight we showed Vre Padon in Port Salut with great reaction . You certainly did a great job with it, souls are being added to the Kingdom of God as a result of your diligent effort . I consider it both an honor and a privilege to have you as a friend . Yours to reach Haiti, Joel

Please continue to pray for wisdom as we seek another media project.