Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mixed feelings


Tomorrow I leave Haiti.

It's been a great 10 days. Before I left I was reading through When Helping Hurts, a book on missions. It really advocates a form of ministry that is highly-relational in nature. Meaning that in order to be effective in what you are doing you have to take time, a lot of time, to be involved in people's lives. There aren't quick fixes. Loving and getting to know people doesn't happen in 10 days. It has to be a long-term commitment and it probably will be at a much slower pace than we Americans are used to. So this week I tried to follow the model that the book lays out. It was good and seemed to be successful. And most of all it was a joy. I really liked just being with them, talking with them and worshipping with them. The saying that I've heard others say is true for me as well: I think I need Haiti more than Haiti needs me.

So, the mixed feelings part now from the title of this post: I went to the Franklin Graham event tonight. It was good in many ways. They had great music, which the Haitians enjoyed immensely. Franklin did a good job presenting the Gospel. The event was pretty organized and the Haitians seemed to love it. When American's go to these sorts of things when the preacher gets done preaching everyone calmly files out of the stadium or auditorium to get in their cars and drive home. Not so in Haiti. When it seemed like everything was finished a group of Haitian musicians were on the stage and started playing this peppy caribbean worship song. It was a party. They all knew the song and the actions and everything. It was sort of like the Sunday school song for kids, Father Abraham. You know with all the actions? Except this was people of all ages enthusiastically singing and dancing and laughing. It was great.

Now for the mixed feelings part, really this time: They of course did an alter-call, of sorts, asking people to come forward if they wanted to pray with someone about accepting Christ into their hearts. Lots and lots of people went up which is good.....? Maybe? It seemed like many of them were not getting the Gospel explained correctly or maybe a better word is incompletely. I also worry about follow-up, discipleship and getting them into a good local church. All those elements can "fall through the cracks" with an event like this. Just the vast numbers of people make it very difficult to impossible to do any kind follow-up, let alone meaningful follow-up. I had one boy, about 14 years old talk to me and he wanted to "recommit" his life. Sadrackson talked and prayed with him, had him fill out a card and then asked me if I had any advice for him. The best I could come up with, with a kid I will probably never see again, was to ask if he had a Bible he could read. He said yes. I told him to read it and to ask God to help him want it more than he desires food. He said ok. And then I said the best way for him to see the beauty of Christ and grow in the Lord is through that book. I said to commit yourself to reading it. He said ok, seemed satisfied with my advice, turned around and walked back into the crowd. Will he be followed with? Probably not. They have his card now but I don't know who or if anyone will get with him or the other 999 people who said the prayer tonight. I'm not trying to be critical, really. These are just some of the thoughts going through my head. It seems like Samaritan's Purse is a very responsible agency and they are doing a lot of good stuff.

So their you have it. Two forms of ministry. One is highly relational but is impacting a very small group of people. The other is almost "no-relational" but is touching 40,000 people. Their is probably room for both in the kingdom, but I'm still kinda sorting out in my head how to think about it all.

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