We have been running, running since the Crossway team arrived two days ago! Let me give a shout out of thanks to the Seeleys once again for loaning me their car to get the girls and me back and forth to camp each day for meal prep. Otherwise, we would not be seeing much of our dear Lancaster folk! So far, the Crossway team, divided up into two groups, has been able to multiply their ministry. One group has been working out at the All Saints Camp (a residence for men, women, and even families dealing with the reality of AIDS and other debilitating diseases) and the other group helping to roof our church building. Then, last night and tonight, the team has joined up with some from our church to reach out to people at Goodman's Bay...a park/beach where many locals can be found. Last night was packed with many gospel-driven conversations, invitations to stop by our free hot dog and drink table, and invitations to visit our church.
I (Kristin) teamed up with my good friend here, Faye Bascom. We encountered a young couple working out at some exercise bars. I have to say I appreciated their honesty. When asked "are you Christians?" by Faye they replied "no." They also said they attended no church. Now this may not strike you as strange if you live in America, but I can assure you this is not the norm for Bahamians. Here, similar to the "Bible belt" of the southern United States back just a few years ago, most people would say they are "Christian" and that they do attend church. So this couple, in a sense, was being humble with us. They listened attentively as I explained our plight as humans...the bad news: all of us have sinned and are on a hell-bound race. The good news: God has provided a way to cover our sin, forgive us, and give us eternal life. Though there was no prayer for conversion, these two young people were attentive and seemed to be thinking as we talked.
Our next conversation was much more pointed. We met Celeste sitting on a bench texting someone. She was very nice, and though she herself could quote the gospel to me verbatim (remember, children here are taught religious instruction from Kindergarten through 12th grade!), she had no personal relationship with God. By the end of our time together, she admitted that she was on the other side of the cavern, away from God. She wasn't ready to "cross" by giving her total life to Jesus. But she was very engaging, she listened, and she asked for prayer for family members. It was a wonderful time. A wonderful reminder that in the gospel work some plant, some water, but God gives the increase.
Today, realizing I would not be able to do the evangelism night due to one of our girls being ill, I began asking the Lord to keep my heart soft toward sharing the gospel. Then it hit me: the gospel doesn't just speak, it acts. There were two Haitian gentlemen, hired by our landlord, out working in our yard. They have been working the last few days. I have taken them water each day, but today, I felt impressed to do all I could. I made them lunch...just some sandwiches and popcorn, cookies and lemonade, and motioned for them to sit up on our porch out of the sun. They speak almost no English, so communicating was hard. Then I had the idea to give them a shirt someone gave Keith recently that was a tad big. Then I began thinking of all the clothing I could find that we were either wanting to give away or just don't need. I motioned to one man's wedding ring and said "Wife?" "Clothing?" He smiled and nodded. I said, "I'll be back!" I filled a box and a bag with shoes and clothing for women and children, then found all of Keith's shirts he no longer needs. The men seemed a little at a loss for what to say or do, but I noticed they bundled up the box tightly, so that the people transporting them would not see inside. One thing many people don't realize is the hatred that exists here for Haitians. Many of them are illegal aliens and many Bahamians resent them residing here, trying to make a better life for themselves and their children. Well, legal or illegal, they are in need. I have never been able to enter the portals of a "Haitian settlement" here, where the poorest of the poor dwell. They live in wooded areas out on the south side of the island. Making shelter with pallets, cardboard, tin, plywood, and whatever else they can find, these people are desperate...yet still prefer life here to back in Haiti. I wept as I packed up the clothes, realizing God had given me the desire of my heart: just to touch the poor in the name of Jesus. And I never even left my yard. God brought them right to my doorstep.
Tonight, whatever your prayer in the way of "living a more gospel-centered life," remember God delights in that prayer. He is working. He will bring fruit in its perfect season. And you may never even leave your own yard.