As yesterday’s post indicated, I spoke last night at Salem Community Church, a Haitian/American faith family. Letha and I enjoyed a truly amazing experience.
I learned some things:
People who are familiar with suffering are passionate about worship: I was put to shame in regard to passionate worship. These people are serious about being in God’s presence and seeking for His help. When it came time for prayer, they were operating on a different level. I couldn’t help think that my need wasn’t as desperate as theirs. This is not a cultural consideration; they don’t pray with fervor because they are Haitian. They pray this way because they need God so badly. The things they have seen and experienced take them to a different place. I know little of that kind of desperation.
The Haitian/American community responds when you care. I felt a genuine connection with them when I told them that I am going to Port-au-Prince in August to serve earthquake victims. They trusted me and I found favor with them. The rest of the evening was impacted because of my announcement. They knew I cared.
Language barriers can be crossed. Several of the members do not speak English and I did not preach with an interpreter. When I read a scripture, it was projected on the screen in Creole. Still, many of the people greeted me personally in their language. There seemed to be no gap. They allowed us to feel at home among them.
I can preach for an hour, loudly, when necessary. I usually am good for about 35 minutes of preaching at Maranatha. I preach three services every Sunday, so many times, I am preserving my voice and I don’t get too animated. Last night, I was free to yell and sweat a little bit and I preached for a solid hour. It felt kind of nice – no one watched their watch, and no one seemed annoyed that I spoke so long. Don’t worry, Maranatha folks, I know better than to try this at home. I will reserve it for guest speaking appearances. 🙂
I am better prepared for my missions trip(s). I am leading a trip with a team of eleven to Guatemala on Monday. In August, I am leading 8 pastors to Haiti. My worship experience last night was part of the getting ready process.
Special thanks to Pastor Serge Jerome and the Salem Community Church people for their warm hospitality and graciousness. I am better because of my time with them.