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Ladies Bible Study…the book of James

For the past month the ladies have journeyed with Jody and myself in the book of James. When asked what they wanted this group to be about there first response was Evanglism and prayer. What a blessing!!! It was also such a privilege to hear them say they wanted to go deeper with God after this. Wow!! This excited us we had begun the study of James a few weeks before so this seemed like a great way to begin. It also touched on the difficulties and drama we had faced and continue to do so. This book has been timely for sure. Gods timing is perfect.

The themes that we have discussed so far….again, WOW!! Trials…considering them joy. Temptations…God isn’t our tempter. Listening and doing…our faith in Christ alone causes us to do things for God, not the opposite!! Showing favoritism and what Haitian cultural believes…can it change? And can it begin with us. Faith and Deeds…without faith our deeds are useless. Taming the Tongue…are we setting Forrest fires?

The book of James is straight up and He certainly speaks directly to us…no filter and no hand holding. You could say He learned from his big brother!! The ladies have been listening intently and we have had are moments of shouting AMEN in agreement and laughter when we bring real stories and life into the message…object lessons for them to connect to. It has been fun to see some light bulbs go on.

Our prayer for them is that they don’t just listen to these words and the message, but that they will apply what they have heard…just as this book tells us. For many of these themes they will have to be very intentional in what they are doing. The culture has so many things that are part of their everyday life that applying Gods Word to them will truly be transforming. Oh to see this change and to see it sweep through this community and beyond.

The ladies have also gone out to encourage those that we have not seen or who are sick. We have prayed with them in their struggles and sickness and reminded them that Jesus loves them. A few weeks ago there was a women who saw us coming and asked if we could come to her home to pray for her. She said she was struggling with her health and her walk. She told us that we were of great encouragement and was grateful that Jesus sent us this day. I told the ladies the following week that it wasn’t by accident that we came by this woman’s home. God desires to use us when we place our lives into his hands and follow.

The same time we went by a home of one of the ladies in the church. Her mother is elderly and is in much pain. She lays almost in a fetal position on a mattress on the floor. I put my hands on her to pray for her and just a simple touch I saw pain and tears….which of course made me want to do the same. This precious woman after we all prayed gave me a smile as if saying thank you. The light in her eyes told me she eqwwas grateful. Sunday we stopped by this same home and I sat down on the floor with her holding her hand and placing my other hand on her head. I bent over her and whispered into her ear…”Jesus loves you, rest in His peace.” We sang and prayed over her. Her precious smile was no longer there and the pain you can see in her body, but her eyes when the were opened…there seemed to be a peace. It was a peace that I know only Jesus could bring to her. “Lord ease her pain and show her the way home.”

Pray for the ladies that Gods Word will be engraved upon their hearts and that they will not only hear His Word, but that they will apply it. Pray that they would be transformed by the renewing of their minds and walk by the power of His Spirit that lives within them. Pray that they will mature in their faith.

 

The Reality of Voodoo (in my short experience)

Those of you that live on the other side of the pond (no, not England, the U.S.) may wonder if this voodoo stuff is really a problem here. I know in the States we have become so desensitized by what we see on the t.v. that when it is talked about it becomes no big deal. Zombies and witchcraft and sorcery…well it has become a norm. For me and for Christians around the world…it is very much real and alive.

In Deuteronomy it says this, “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let know one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or cast spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God.” This has seeped into every culture in some shape or form. I don’t know about you, but for me this makes the hair on my arms stand up and makes me cling to the One who can help me and show me the truth.

The evil one has a way of disguising himself as harmless and little by little…just as it has in the states…it is the Norm. Let me tell you it is a very real norm here. In the time I have spent serving the Lord in Haiti…I have listened to heartbreaking stories from my fellow missionaries and cringe each time they are told. Of the youngest child being sacrificed in order for the family to be well…curses being made because of what someone said or did to them, spirits in a tree that causes someone to die, burrying a chicken to keep Satan away (though you are a Christian, you just want keep the bully away). These are true and very real and what they believe to be true.

Early Sunday morning (1:30am) I took Sophie out to do her buisiness. As I stood outside half awake I felt an uneasiness in my spirit. In the distance I could hear the beat of the drums and the playing of the horns. As I listened more closely I could here screams and chanting. It wasn’t the youth practicing their preparations for Mardi Gras ( which is yet another form of this voodoo…scaring and bullying). These were real screams and loud chants.

As so many of you know we have had our share of difficulties in these last months and the drama at times seems never ending. As I headed to church yesterday I looked ahead to see a big crowd practically blocking the way to the church. My very first thought was…”Now what Lord? Who is trying to keep us from church now?” As I walked closer I could see a chair in the middle of the road a bleach bottle and 2 bamboo polls laying on the ground. One on each side of the chair. The drums were still beating and the horns were still blowing. I saw an old man hunched over and it looked as if he were going to sit in this chair. This particular corner of the road I know the people who live there…I did not recognize him. As I approached, people were looking at me and giving me the once over. I was trying to decide how about going through. I smiled…said Bonjou, shook my head and walked straight through knowing full well this was not going to stop me from going to worship!!!!

Sadly enough I believe it kept others from coming, as service did not have as quite as many people.

Please continue to pray for the people here that they would stand in boldness and courage, trusting Him who is faithful to protect and provide. Please pray for those in our midst that are pretending to be sheep, but showing us that they are wolves. Pray that their hearts will be broken and that the pride and jealousy that have festered in their hearts will be filled with Gods truth, compassion, love,and mercy. Only God can bring down the forces and walls that have been built. Pray for our leadership to stand strong under this and to walk in His peace. Pray for their hearts and minds to be guarded.

Again please remember that these forces are very real… ” for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:11-13 and the next time these things catch your eye on t.v., bookstores or movies…please think twice and pray for the reality here, the U.S. and around the world.

The Battle Wages On

The battle wages on here in Mole St. Nicholas and there seems to be a pattern that has been emerging in the past couple of weeks. The battle is waging on the kids and family members of our staff. We saw how the Lord delivered Mikela and Rosie and the whole family as they went up against the government. We are rejoicing in this victory and the Christ character it is developing in all of the kids.

This past week we have had one with malaria, one with high fever and throat swollen almost shut, and today we had one that went to school like any other school day and before she reached the edge of town she dropped her bag and collapsed on the ground.  We were grateful that one of the ladies from the orphanage and one from our kitchen were able to pick her up and take her back to her house. Most of the day she has been lethargic and she hasn’t been able to speak. Pierre and I saw her late this afternoon and she was walking and talking, but I know it scared her and her Momma. We were able to pray with her and encourage her and her Momma.

As we try to advance the Kingdom it’s not just us missionaries that are on the frontline in the battle. Our staff is trying to stand strong as well. It is not an easy thing and it certainly not a popular thing, but God never told us it would be easy. When our kids struggle, are sick and are hurting…we are too. Isn’t this where the evil one want us? He doesn’t want the Kingdom to advance and he will certainly distract us and do anything possible to keep this from happening. Our God is more than a conqueror and He will prevail…I believe this. He is sharpening us in ways that we are unable to see and He is developing in us more of His Character.

We ask right now that you circle us in prayer and that you circle the staff and their families…their children. They so desperately need a touch from God. Pray for the health and safety of their children. Pray for broken relationships to be mended. Pray that our eyes are opened to His will and His way. Pray for our relationship with Christ to not only take us deeper, but to unify us in a stronger way. Always pray for wisdom and understanding in all the decisions we make on a daily basis.

NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST SHALL PROSPER!!!!  

satan PEDI BATAY!!!!

God is Faithful!!!

The last couple of weeks before the Castillo’s headed out…well were a bit crazy to put it mildly. With Mikela and Rosie’s paperwork with social services (yes they actually have one…who’d of thunk)the uncertainty for the kids going out for Christmas was up in the air. So the last few weeks of class were full of questions as well as amazing times of prayer. We set our hearts on Psalm 100 each morning which says this:

             “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He, who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

               Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name; For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

We talked a lot about the family and how God chose Rosie and Mikela to be in this family. We talked about God’s faithfulness. We talked about in good and in bad; in happy and in sad God is still good and his love for us never stops and that we praise him in all times. My hearts prayer for them was that God would reveal to them how real He is. One of the greatest joys I have is seeing these little hearts change. The circumstances of life give us the opportunity to see God at work in and through our lives. What a journey!!!

In the midst of all of this Mikela and myself ended up writing a poem/song. It came out of…and you’ll probably laugh at this…but Rosie picked up Mikela’s eraser, which turns out to be a heart, and Mikela says in her singing voice…Don’t erase my heart. Well that little line grew into the verses below:

 

Don’t erase my heart, for I need you today; if I don’t have a heart, I can’t walk in your way.

The choices aren’t easy, my flesh cries out in pain; Oh Abba I need you, my hope in you is what I gain.

My heart is so heavy, this sin is hurting me; Deliver me Jesus, rebuild and set me free.

My faith is shaken, I don’t know which way to turn; as I look to you Jesus, I can walk through fire and not be burned.

I try to do it my way, but all I do is fall; Help me place it at your feet, for I surrender all.

I am so empty, I am in need of your grace; when I look into your Word, you shine your Light on my face.

When you write upon my heart, oh how it changes me; And as I cling to you Jesus, I don’t feel so empty.

My life is in you Lord, I place my trust in you; Seeking your wisdom, in all that I do.

Lord I praise you, I worship you today; When I’m in your presence, You are the Truth the Life, the Way.

Don’t erase my heart, for I need you today; if I don’t have a heart, I can’t walk in your way.

I can’t tell you what fun it was putting these words together. To hear her heart…so beautiful. Yes I did help, but her heart is a big part of this.

So the Castillo’s and those who know them rejoice in God’s faithfulness today as this past Thurs. they all flew to Kentucky together as a family. God made Himself known in a mighty way. Praise God to whom all blessings flow!!!!

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