Last April I had the joy of participating in a memorable mission trip with Trinity HOPE that brought a new light on courage, faith, and worship. I remember vividly not a conversation or a face to face meeting with someone, but something I witnessed during the worship service we were privileged to attend in a rural, mountainous area in Artibonite.
The Pastor, feeding program director, Jean Phillipe was kind enough to conduct the service in a dual Creole-English fashion so that our group could participate. Pastor Jean Phillipe explained that his congregation would learn Bible verses together. Because they do not have resources like Bibles and hymnals, they learn by repeating the verses after the Pastor. Then they recite them out loud in front of their fellow parishioners. I couldn’t help but wonder…in my church in the States, how many people would be bold enough to stand up in front of the congregation? Who would be willing to potentially make a mistake in front of his peers? To be a leader among those gathered?
When Pastor Jean Phillipe asked for a volunteer to recite the verse without assistance, in front of the whole group for the first time, one man stood up confidently. He recited the verse in a loud, clear voice. He was speaking in Creole, so our group couldn’t understand every word, but we could feel the pride he took in learning the verse and being able to repeat it back correctly. He definitely had no fear. That struck me. He was free from the fear that holds some back from proclaiming the Word, or from stepping up to be a leader in the church. He had the freedom that only comes from the saving grace and abundant love, that a life in the Word, a life with Christ provides. I will not forget his boldness or his courage.
(John Phillipe will be attending and speaking at some of the Haiti Hunger Fight Events this year in November. His friend and colleague, Lafleur Jores, will be at the other events. Please note the schedule of events across Tennessee, Illinois, and Kentucky. All events will have delicious food; some will have auctions and most have Haitian Art items for sale.)