Monday, June 30, 2014

Where It All Began

As a Christian, we all have those that have helped us along the way and we can credit for Spiritual guidance.  There are so many people that have helped form me into the person I am.  Parents, grandparents, aunt and uncles, and several friends or coaches that have played a role in showing me what it's like to truly follow Christ and what the life of a real Christian should look like.  The road is long and difficult, but God never leaves us.

This weekend I had the privilege of hearing a testimony that I have heard over, and over, and over.  It was different this time.  David and Judy Heady (Pap and Aunt Judy)  have always been Godly examples of what living a life for Christ really looks like.  What committing one's life to the Lord may require.  What sacrifice means.  How to face hardships, trials, and criticism while standing strong in their faith.

It was different this time because I was actually with them where Pap preached his first sermon in Haiti.  This weekend, he returned to preach and visit the church where it all began.  It was also where God confirmed His call on their lives to sell everything, leave everything, and follow Christ.  This was when God revealed to them that His desire was for them to move to Haiti and minister full-time.  They start their 32nd year in Haiti this week and the impact that they have had on the lives of Americans and Haitians alike is phenomenal.  There is now a picture in my mind and the story came alive for me.  I saw the love and passion that they have for the Haitian people.

I recommend all Christians, that have the opportunity, to visit the location where Spiritual leaders in your own lives were saved or called and hear the story from them.  It was so encouraging and uplifting to be a part of this special weekend.  I thank God for the opportunity to see where something that I have become so involved with originated.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Changing Hearts/Eternity NOT Culture!!!

So, we have language and culture classes every Tuesday and Friday afternoon.  I cherish these times together and it has taken on a different look.  We have recently started having a Haitian lady sit in, and ask us questions about American culture.  It has been so enlightening.  I have lots of Haitian friends and feel like I know much about the culture but there is always more to learn.  When my friend asks us questions about our culture, she always asks in a way that shows us what the Haitian culture thinks of such issues.  She often will explain to us her cultural view after she hears our stories. 

She asks the questions and we respond in Creole.  We have a missionary here that is fluent and corrects us when we are wrong or helps us when we don’t know the right words.  Last week was a very important week.  We discussed divorce, rape, clothing, and alcohol.  So many things in other cultures are confused by right or wrong, when in fact, they are just different.  I remember classes at Lee University when my professors would present topics of discussion in relation to other cultural views and am thankful I can be an informed listener and try to differentiate between right and wrong or different. 

 It has become so incredibly easy for people to get divorced in the U.S.  In the Haitian culture, divorce doesn’t occur often.  Divorcees are really looked down upon in the community where I am.  Even in adulterous situations the spouses are responsible for taking care of each other, even if they don’t live together because they are legally married.    Though, I don’t agree with all of the cultural differences, divorce is a major problem in the U.S, and I feel we have a lot to learn from a culture like this.

What about clothing?  Those of you that know me know that I don’t love skirts.  However, Christians, in this culture are expected to wear skirts to the market, church, and through the villages.  Many people in the older generations do not believe you are a Christian if you wear pants and especially shorts.   Do our clothes have an eternal value?  Not at all!  Is this different than my personal belief?  Absolutely, but I am a guest in this culture and have not come to change the culture.  I have come to impact hearts and people’s eternity.  That is my ultimate responsibility.  1 Corinthians 9:22 Paul says “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.  I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”  I am a guest in this country and as a result and a woman of God, must present myself as a Christian to this culture, not my American culture.  I don’t want to do anything that may harm my witness, especially on something with NO eternal value.

As Americans we have become so relaxed in our expectations, that it’s hard to identify true Christians/ Christ followers because we are not truly set apart.  Our lives should reflect God, and we/I often fail to be “set apart.”  If someone comes to church in pants and not a skirt, should we let them in the door (here in Haiti)?  Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean we should make it the norm.  Especially as Americans, it is not our responsibility to change culture.  It is our responsibility to show love, compassion, and joy. 

Much is the same with alcohol.  If someone is seen in our village drinking alcohol, people will say they are not Christians.  Why then should we as Americans try to change this?  Shouldn’t we follow the Christian culture in which we are guests?  1 Corinthians 8:13 reads, “therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.”  If my clothes or what I consume cause a brother to stumble, I am responsible.  I don’t want to be the result of causing someone else to stumble because of my cultural pride.  The attitude that my culture is better than another.  I therefore, must focus my attention on eternal differences and showing Christ’s love by being like those that have accepted me into their land, families, and cultures without compromising the Gospel.