First Edition. That’s what Phenix is calling this first time of revival in Cap Destree, an event he plans now to have every year. The word in Creole sounds like our word for Crusade and lots of work has gone into the preparation for it. The neighborhood has been canvassed and flyers hung and handed out. For weeks now the folks in the area have witnessed almost daily me bringing pews on top of my car.
A dump truck load of river sand was spread to level the ground and a stage was built. Bunting and curtains were hung and a sound system was rented. All afternoon, as final touches were made, we could hear distant thunder on the mountain.
Typically Haitian, the program, scheduled to start at 5:00pm, began promptly at 5:30. Even then only a few people were present to join in the singing. Half of the sitting area was in full sun and those present sat in the shaded area. It was hot and my shirt was soaked with sweat. There was a steady hum in the sound system and it occasionally shrieked in a feed back loop when the song leaders got too close to the microphone. Clouds were forming and there was still the sound of thunder, less distant now. I tried to be optimistic.
People began to trickle in. Church ladies wearing tshirts that said in Creole ‘Women of Faith’ helped people feel welcome and to find a place to sit. Church men in blue vests stood along a wall and tried to look helpful. Church leaders sat in chairs along the front, the chair for our speaker still vacant.
The singing became more enthusiastic and girls with tambourines and all dressed alike got on stage and did a routine along with the singing. At 6:15 several pastors arrived and sat in the chairs where the elders were sitting. One of them sat in the chair for the speaker. The pews were filling up and people were still streaming in.
At 6:30 Pastor Levy, Madame Bail’s brother, got up to do the welcome. Clouds began to grow dark and the wind picked up blowing the leaves off the trees. One of the speakers for the sound system blew over. And as the opening prayer was about half way through the sky opened up and torrents of rain fell.+
Haitians have an observation about themselves. They say that a Haitian would rather face bullets than rain. I can say that is a true observation as I witnessed the crowd scattering. It took a few minutes to get the electronics into my house and dried off. Then I heard singing. I went to my porch and realized that the singing was coming from the church building.
I braved the heavy rain to get to the church. I was amazed to see all of the people in the church building! There, shoulder to shoulder, standing room only, we’re all the people who had come to the revival. Not only were they singing, ALL of them singing, but there was so much joy it bordered on ecstacy.
Without benefit of a sound system, or a stage or of a place to sit or even light to see the revival continued. At 7:00 the speaker opened his bible and while someone held a flashlight read John 14:27. “My peace I give to you…”. The theme for the revival is “Peace in a World Upside Down”.
His sermon went on til 8.
What a wonderful picture of the fruit of the Spirit. I am slated to speak tomorrow night and I am thinking that this is a perfect object lesson to illustrate the peace that Jesus is talking about!
Then I have to chuckle at myself as I ask myself ‘What am I going to teach THEM about peace?’
This lesson was for you!