They always tell me that when my mom was pregnant, the whole pregnancy, every time she went to the doctor, they said there was no sign of life. The doctors told her I was dead, and everyone told her to have an abortion. For some reason, she always says that she wouldn’t let me go. When the time came for her to deliver, I was born feet first, and I was very sick and weak, but I was alive.
Neither my mother or my father served God, but they figured someone must have a plan for my life. When I was four or five, my parents split up…they were always fighting.
I stayed with my father and grew up with him. My whole life I was raised in a Catholic family who practiced Voodoo, but I always heard the Gospel being preached from a little church right next to my house.
My family says they will never leave voodoo practices, because when my grandfather was a young boy, an evil spirit came to him and asked my grandfather to serve him. My grandfather agreed, and that spirit became the spirit of our family…he owns the family, the family serves him.
When I was 15, in 2008, my grandfather died. Only a few days later, I was staying at my mom’s house for the weekend, and that night, I had a terrifying and heavy dream. In my dream, there was an evil, dark, heavy presence, and he said that he was my family’s spirit. He told me that I would follow in my grandfather’s footsteps, and now the role of my grandfather to serve him was mine, for my family.
I was terrified at the thought of being chained to this horrible spirit, and I told him NO. He showed me all of these things in my dream…nice clothes, a nice house, a nice car, soccer equipment, and he told me to follow him, and that he would bless me with all of this stuff. I told him NO. Now, he came at me with a spear-like weapon, and said if I would not serve him, he would kill me. I shouted NO, and he stabbed me in the side. I awoke suddenly, and there was a sharp sharp pain in my side.
I had never prayed before, but I called out to Whomever was the furthest away, to Whomever most opposite from this dark and evil spirit, and the pain was gone.
The church next door was always reciting Psalm 46, “Our God is a refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…” I thought through that Psalm that I had heard them call out so many times, and saw how God had absolutely been my very present help.
As I laid there, I asked God not to let that spirit kill me. God revealed to me that it wasn’t the spirit who was bringing death to my life…but it was my sin.
I got up, I left my mom’s house. I went home, I went to that church, and I asked them to please show me how to repent, how to pray, how to give my life to Jesus.
I was the only believer in my house. A few years later, my father died, and the whole family started arguing and fighting over who the house belonged to. It became awful living there, and finally I left. I moved in with member of my church, and I still live with them to this day.
The ROAD to EMMAUS
I heard this message when I was 16 or 17 that has always stuck with me. The pastor said that if we are truly Christ-following young people, then when we finish high school, we can’t just think about what we want and pursue that. He told us that it was GOD who had a plan for our lives, and to ask God what He wanted us to do, and to follow in that path alone.
So, as I finished high school, I was always praying about that, and my church was, too. People kept telling they felt God wanted me to study His Word, and there was even an elder in the church who told me God showed him in a dream that I would study His Word. I prayed about that a lot, even spending three days and nights fasting and praying about what God wanted.
I finally felt peace that this was what God wanted me to do.
Everyone told me to go to Limbay University, where they had a theology program, but I also really wanted to make sure I was in the center of God’s will on WHERE I went, too. I prayed and prayed about “Limbay” and just never felt peace. While I was praying one night, I was listening to Radio4VEH, and a man named Pastor Lucner (the academic dean at EBS) was on, and he was talking about a place called Emmaus. As soon as he said the words, “Emmaus Biblical Seminary,” I was flooded with peace. I prayed more and asked more questions, and knew this was the right place for me to study God’s Word.
I’ve only just started at Emmaus, in September ’16, but I am learning SO MUCH, and better, I am learning how to take what I am learning and transmit it well for others. I loved the preaching class…and am looking forward to studying more.
Pray for me, that I will always stay right in the middle of His will for my life. Pray that He will help me persevere, and that He’ll continue to provide for His calling on my life! Thank you!
YES, Sundy needs a sponsor!! If you are interested in partnering with Sundy, and/or students like him, jot me an email and I would love to hook you up!
Partnering with one of our students means that you commit to providing a scholarship in their name and to praying for them. It also means that you can be in contact with them through Emmaus if you want, visit them and get to know them as much as you’d like. You’ll hear from your student throughout your partnership either way!
There are two ways to provide a scholarship (a full scholarship is $2000/year, but scholarships in ANY amount are greatly needed!) for one of our students…
I’m not quite sure how to wrap words around this, but you know me…I’ll try!
Today I was sitting down with Camille, one of my favorite first year students…soft-spoken, clear-eyed, sweet-smiled, slow to speak and always visibly rolling his words over in his mind before he speaks them.
He was telling me his story. Start to finish, highlights and prayers, dreams and visions.
I’ve been asking a lot of questions of students lately and gathering up lots of little stories, but then here was Camille, and his story just wasn’t all that different than any old story.
At first, I was a bit disappointed…because I’m just in awe of the amazing, mind-blowing, can’t-quite-wrap-our-culture-around-it stories, and here was Camille, talking to me almost like just any old kid I grew up with.
But after we finished and he headed out, I went back through his story to fill in the language gaps (while they share their stories rapidly in Creole, I type them out in English, and then clean up any language blocks after).
As I reverently worked to well-articulate this man’s story…his STORY…his journey with God, his path of calling…not much different than any story from my own culture, I was very hit with the sameness of us all.
It’s easy, even after 10 years, to feel like while we deeply love and appreciate those we are ministering to and with, we think, we speak, we history SO differently. Even how God has REACHED us is so different, the way God’s revealed himself to each of us, so different.
And then sometimes, there is a moment where you realize, where you remember, that it’s ALL the same.
Where he comes from, what he looks like, how our stories are different…it just really doesn’t matter.
He’s just a person, like me, with a story, like me, with a God, MINE, too, wanting to be close, like I do, wanting to be found faithful, just like me.
My heart, his heart, my story, his story, our God, our hearts…it is all the same.
If we are in Christ, we all have the same story, void of culture…sinners saved by grace, striving for the kingdom come that is not yet…resting in the kingdom come that is already here, working together for His glory, to make Him known, to love people well.
Camille and I (and you and the persecuted believer sister in Sudan, the praying-eyes-wide-open brother we have in Korea, the Christ-follower next door, next country, next continent), we’re foreign missionaries together, kingdom children of the one true Father, this world not our home.
And remembering that is so vital. It sees through straw huts and strange clothes and weird foods and language struggles and skin colors and different upbringings and crazy pasts and cultures and instead remembers that He alone is God, that we are each made in His image, and that He is why. and how. and who.
So. Meet my brother Camille.
He is your brother, too.
My mother and father are both Christians, and from the very beginning, all of us kids (I have three sisters and a brother) grew up in church. Everytime the church was open, we were there. My dad drove a bus for a school, and my mom was a seamstress. When I was about 10 years old, my father spoke to me about my relationship with Jesus, and explained to me that even though we were a family of believers, I still needed to decide for myself, and still needed Christ’s salvation for my sins and life. He prayed with me that day and I was so happy to be a true believer.
From the time I was small, every Monday night there was a prayer group, a small group, that meets in my house. My father always leads this group, and one day when I was 14 or 15, the member who was going to share a short devotional thought from Scripture wasn’t there. My father asked me if I would like to share something from my personal time in the Bible.
I shared for a few minutes about what I was learning, and after that I made sure I was always ready to share what God was teaching me. In my Sunday school class, later in youth group, some Monday nights, and even sometimes in special services at church, I started having opportunities to share the Gospel, and people started asking me to more and more.
Around the same time, there was a series of spiritual attacks happening in my community, and one after another, several small children were killed in a matter of months. I remembering feeling SO burdened, and everyone talked about the demonic attacks as if there was nothing to be done. I started a small prayer group then, made up of other children and youth, and we focused all our prayers on the protection of the children in our community, that God would be powerful and protect them against all spiritual attacks, and he HAS.
In 6th grade, one night I had this dream, in which a person appeared to me holding out a Bible, and told me to take it. I held the Bible, and the person told me to take it everywhere.
Then, I entered high school, and I was thinking about going into farming. In fact, I even studied a semester of agriculture, and while I was doing that, a pastor friend of mine came to me and said, “Hey, what are you doing? I see that you have a vocation, I see that God is calling you into His work full-time. Why are you studying this when you should be studying God’s Word?”
At the same time, I had been getting really sick at school, and finally in January, instead of starting a second semester I was forced to come home because I was so sick. While I was recovering, I spent a lot of time asking God about this, and about whether He truly did have a call on my life to be preaching the Gospel. One night, I had that same dream again, in which the same person came to me, but this time I was already holding the Bible. “Are you taking it everywhere?” they asked me. “It’s time to take it everywhere.”
Another friend came to me, and he said, “Look, you’ve got to get studying. God’s got a plan for you to share the Gospel throughout Haiti, and it’s time to start. There’s only two places you can go. I want you to go and visit them both, and then tell me where you’re going.
So I went to Limbay and visited and asked questions, and I came to Emmaus and did the same, and I knew that Emmaus was where I wanted to be. I started in August of 2016, and right away, I knew God was calling me to EBS so that I can fulfill His calling for me to take His Word throughout Haiti.
I loved the preaching class. Even though I’ve been sharing lessons and the Gospel for a long time, there are so many ways to do this better and more effectively, and that class is teaching me that. I also loved my Intro to the Old Testament class. The Old Testament is rarely preached from in Haiti because many people don’t understand it or feel that it is old truth, but not for today. My Intro to OT class showed me how the Gospel is entwined throughout the whole Bible, and how.
I still live with my parents in my home, and I still work in the same church I grew up in. I still teach every Monday night at our small group, I still lead youth in praying for our children and youth, and I help lead services now and teach a Sunday School class in my church.
I really feel I’m supposed to share the Word everywhere. I guess I’m an evangelist!
Please pray for me, that I might persevere and be well-equipped for this calling He’s given me.
Support a student like Camille.
One of my favorite days of the year was yesterday and today…the days all the students come home! As much as God’s at work through us and Emmaus sending people OUT…I love when they come in, too.
Everyone is so grateful to be back together, most of whom were in full-time ministry all summer, and most of them, with very little support or help or family. To be together again with their mentors and brothers and sisters and prayer partners and accountability partners and friends is a joy obvious to anyone. As with every August, most are a little worse for the wear, this battle we’re all a part of not easy. Everyone’s a belt notch smaller (and most were on the smallest notch to start with) and everyone’s got stories of struggles and triumphs from the past 2 months.
What really encouraged me, today, was to sit in the back and see 7-8 young men and women stuffed happily into each pew, HERE, voluntarily, asking for help and training in sharing and being and knowing and living the Gospel. I mean, that’s a miracle, isn’t it?
Isn’t that deeply encouraging? Today, there are 100 young men and women in HAITI, a place many feel to be hopeless, in a world many feel to be hopeless, gathered together from the ends of the country asking to be trained in and sent out in the Gospel. Asking to live, asking to die, the Gospel.
His HOPE is in that. His HAND is in that. For the thousand without-hope young men and women we drive past just to get to the airport, for the millions of young men and women without-hope around the world, there are those who know Him and who carry Him brightly, strongly convicted that their lives and futures are not their own, and who are coming in to grow, and going out to share, and no one is making them. No one is asking them. No one is forcing them.
God’s called them. For those without hope.
And they. are. here.
Right in front of me.
That excited me today.
I hope it blesses and encourages you, too.
There are some special things scheduled for this afternoon…can’t wait to see Him at work, and to share it with you!