Below is a message from Ernie after this weekend’s event.
During my tenure as a business man I came to realize that proving your integrity is not done by performing flawlessly on a daily basis, although integrity requests it. I found that true character is found and displayed in the way you handle a mistake. It is in the fire of testing that integrity is revealed.
This holds true to relationships as well. When I moved to the slopes of Tapion Mountain the community of Cap Destree slowly overcame suspicion and then opened their arms to me in welcome. As they learned of my mission and my faith they became cordial and warm. As I do my morning exercise by walking the trails and roads of the mountain I am greeted with smiles handshakes and small talk from the folks of the mountain. Awkwardness has been replaced by familiarity.
Of course this could all be superficial and polite and not really reveal the true nature of the relationship. It has not been tested. Until now.
On Saturday night August 5th after I had gone to bed a man broke into my home. He was armed with only a small board. I was alone in the house without a weapon. We postured back and forth for a while as I was trying to understand the word he kept saying in Creole. He picked up a leg of a table I have been building and used it as a weapon against me. I was knocked unconscious.
When I came to my house was full of familiar faces from the community. More circled my home in the outside court yard. Men stationed themselves to protect me and the property. Four ladies attended me holding my hands and my head and bringing me water. I later found out that the shouts of my nearest neighbor approaching probably prevented the thief from finishing me off. Police were summoned and transportation to the hospital arrived.
I was beginning to see the real nature of the people I am now calling my friends. The fire of adversity was proving that their friendship was more than superficial and that it had the steel that only love affords. I was moved. Greatly.
As I was returning from the hospital I began to realize that I too was being tested. Offers were made to me for accommodations in their home for me or for a hotel room. Later I was asked if I was discouraged or if I was going to return home. I saw something in their eyes as they asked me these things. There was something raw there. It was fear. It was a sinking of hope.
In a moment I realized that they were looking to me for hope. They all desperately want to believe in the God and the light I am claiming to bring to their community. And they were collectively holding their breath to see if it was true or if it would fold up and disappear.
I was astonished. And moved greatly. Again.
I assured them that I had no intention of sleeping anywhere other than my own house. That I was receiving excellent medical care and had no need to go to the US. That I was encouraged rather than discouraged and that my God is bigger than a foolish little thief.
It is amazing to me the absolute perfection of the promises of God. He has turned what at first looks like a disaster of giant proportion into a huge leap forward. In a single night the Kingdom work here has advanced what might have taken years to achieve without it.
Great is thy faithfulness Lord, unto me!