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Summary: This is a 4 part motivational report I gave to the congregation after a Sabbatical trip to Haiti; it includes 7 transferable insights.

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Lessons from Haiti {Part 1}

Acts 15:4

Big Idea: This is a 4 part motivational report I gave to the congregation after a Sabbatical trip to Haiti; it includes 7 transferable insights.

When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. (Acts 15:4)

Intro:

On January 12, 2010 Haiti was rocked by a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake. Within the next few days least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded.

An estimated three million people were affected by the quake; the Haitian government reported

• 316,000 people had died,

• 300,000 had been injured

• 1,000,000 made homeless

• 250,000 homes were destroyed

• 30,000 commercial buildings were destroyed

The damage is beyond our imagination. Things we take for granted were lost.

• The communication system was in ruins – no one could call in or out

• Electricity was unavailable

• The airport was destroyed

• The ports were rendered inoperable.

• The underground infrastructure was obliterated

* The sewage system was destroyed

* The water system was destroyed

The world immediately began to offer aid.

• The U.N. and the west immediately repaired the airport so help could get in.

• They also repaired the ports so ships could dock and bring aid, etc.

• They set up a patchwork of electricity.

Some things have yet to be repaired.

• The sewage system

• Running water

• Electricity is shut off in Port-au-Prince every evening at 8:00 p.m.

But there was an even greater problem. It involved the 316,000 dead buried under tons of rubble coupled with the heat and humidity of Haiti posed a serious health problem to the living. Something had to be done with the dead bodies ASAP!

The solution seems grim and inhumane but urgent & necessary.

• The U.N. dug huge mass graves about 3 miles outside of town. The dead were loaded in dump trucks and buried without identification in these graves. You can find pictures of this on the internet.

• This led to another problem … children … orphaned children … soon began showing up at the gravesite.

• It was at this point that Jesus’ church probably provided its greatest assistance to the Haitian people. The churches established orphanages for the children. There were already orphanages by the churches so they knew how to do this but not to the degree there is now. For example, the Baptist Church that we worshipped at while in Haiti already had some but now runs 32 orphanages. We stayed and served at one in Port-au-Prince, in fact, one of its walls is shared by the airport.

• These orphanages are, to this day overwhelmed. The need is enormous!

Each day while in Haiti I kept a journal. I succinctly added a one sentence summary of each to capsulate the daily experience.

This “sermon” is based upon those one sentence summaries. In the back ground there is a loop of selected pictures taken while in Haiti. I will comment on some of them as they pass.

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MONDAY: I LEARNED TO SPEAK A NEW LANGUAGE TODAY - NOT CREOLE OR FRENCH - LAUGHTER.

• Orphaned children taught it to me.

• We had no way to communicate until Vickie got a deck of Uno cards … soon she was swarmed with children and everyone was quickly laughing and playing. Before the week was over we were playing games and dancing in their courtyard with the kids!

• Righteousness, love and laughing (joy) go together. Romans 14:17 says: “For the kingdom of God is … of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”

• I know you have heard me say it before … many times actually … but beware of the “Eeyore syndrome.”

• I discovered anew the power of laughter and joy. I discovered new insights into Proverbs 17:22 which says “A cheerful heart is good medicine”

• Disgruntlement, complaining, and sheer unhappiness are a sign of “joy creep” – where we have allowed joy to leak out and render us way too solemn.

TUESDAY: I THOUGHT I WAS BRINGING GOD WITH ME TO HAITI; I DISCOVERED HE WAS ALREADY HERE.

• Orphaned children taught it to me.

• These orphaned children knew that life outside those walls is a lawless jungle.

• They knew they had been spared from being denied an education, food, family, and from other unspeakable atrocities.

• They know God as:

o Provider

o Protector

o Deliverer

o And “giver of good gifts”

• And they were Oh So grateful!

WEDNESDAY: I LEARNED THAT WORSHIP ONLY REQUIRES A WHOLE HEART SEEKING GOD

• Orphaned children taught it to me.

• Worship does not require an instrument or a hymn book or a single accoutrement; just a whole heart singing with abandon, reading scripture like you believe it and praying like your life depends on it.

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