haiti: meet baptiste
During the first week of August, Chad and I were in Haiti on a mission trip with 14 students and 4 other adults with Adventures In Missions. As I've mentioned, it was the most powerful and meaningful week of my life. Because of what God accomplished in, around and through our group, I've been processing and writing my response to those experiences here on my blog. This is response #6 of 9. You may want to start from the beginning if you're just jumping in.
There was another man that Devin and a couple others had met earlier in the week as well. This man too left quite an impression on them and they wanted to reconnect with him on that Thursday morning. After meeting him, I could instantly see why… Baptiste was easily the most selfless person I have ever met.
The 5 of us who were out meeting with people in Carrefour were invited right into Baptiste's home as soon as he saw us. Amongst a neighborhood that had been quite affected by the destruction of the earthquake, his home was standing strong. It was actually the nicest home we had been in all week and was seemingly most "house-like" (in comparison to our American culture).
There was a tv propped up on an entertainment center in the living room, framed photos and paintings decorating the colored walls, little nicknacks and memorabilia adorning the ornate shelves, and cushioned wooden furniture for all of us to sit on. We could see doorways to the kitchen and to a side bedroom. It was quite cozy.
As we sat there, Devin began to fill me in on the ministry that Baptiste had taken on—they had learned about it earlier in the week. Baptiste elaborated a little bit as well. It was clear that he was an amazing man of God with a true heart for people. He had started two schools and three churches out in "the hillside" which we found out was five hours away. He hasn't seen his wife and son in almost a year—they are in Canada working to support his ministry. He was actually scheduled to go visit them in Canada two weeks later, but was feeling he'd be irresponsible with his ministry by giving his attention elsewhere.
How incredibly selfless! I can't even imagine… We told Baptiste how inspired we were with his story and asked him if we could take his picture so we could tell his story when we returned home. He was so excited when we asked, that he left the room. Wait—where was he going? …He then returned promptly with a button-up shirt on, nicer pants and a Bible in his hand. He wanted to be pictured in his best. Such a cool testament to his character. He then asked us where we wanted him to start with "his story". He was ready to dictate his entire life to us! We laughed a little and reiterated that we already felt like we had the inspiring story of Baptiste: his incredibly selfless nature and total abandon to God, not allowing anything to be an obstacle to the ministry God had placed in his heart.
He smiled, said thank you, and continued on anyway, sharing with us his testimony of coming to Christ. Basically, he was a man of great sin (money, women, etc.) and he thought Christians were foolish (openly toward them). One night he had a dream where a tall man in white came to his door. He was wearing a long necklace with Jesus on it. He handed him a Bible and said, "Read Psalm 23". There was also a little man in black offering him money. He chased Baptiste, trying to snatch him. Baptiste ran up an avocado tree, but the little man in black tried to cut down the tree. Baptiste suddenly grew wings and flew away from him. When he woke up from the dream, he read Psalm 23 and decided to resist sin (symbolized by the little man in black in his dream). He realized that Jesus could rescue him from that life. Right away, he went to a church to have a Pastor help him accept Christ into his life. His parents couldn't believe it! Many people who knew Baptiste became Christians as well and/or gave God glory because they knew how Baptiste used to be.
In fact, later, a missionary organization came to Baptiste and certified him to be a practicing Pastor. He has never looked back since—his entire life has been for others and to further God's plan. Even to the extent of not seeing his own family! This really taught me two main things: First, it opened my eyes to the fact that not a single person in Haiti allowed finances to be an obstacle to the goal or vision God had given them. Finances aren't existent to anyone, so it's just a "given" that you must pray for them. If it's something that God is calling you to, He WILL provide. There is no reason to doubt. Second, it taught me what total abandon in your relationship with Christ can look like. Nothing else matters—Christ is it. He truly is our all in all—if we allow him to be.
What would you work toward accomplishing in your life if you knew that funds were not an obstacle? What else do you allow in your life to be an obstacle to completing a goal? Identify what that is, and simply give it to Jesus…nothing is bigger than He is. He can help you conquer all, for the glory of the Father.
Read the next response (#7 of 9).