As we unloaded from our van, we were greeted warmly by Pastor Lucner Jean and his wife Marie of the Phaeton church. They welcomed our group to their house, we sat down outside on the porch and began to get to know one another.
The meeting on Lucner’s porch had the feel of dignitaries gathering. I guess that comment is self-serving…as if! But…well, maybe you know what I mean. Anyway, he offered us a beverage. Hmmm. John had told me of some things that he had eaten when visiting Haitian pastors. On another visit somewhere else in Haiti, he was told that he was being served the “best part of the chicken.” John reasoned…It wasn’t the breast, wing, thigh or leg. It was two things altogether – go figure – but his Haitian hosts couldn’t remember what it was called.
He ate it like a good missionary.
The cola I hoped for (really risking it, huh?) turned out to be a bottled ice cold Coca-cola that hit the spot. Then we got going – I asked Lucner how he became a Christian. I foolishly expected a three minute testimony, somewhat like they taught me in the Navigators. His answer? “God chose me.” I liked his style.
Later I asked him, “What would you prefer, $2,000 or a group to come visit and help.”
“I would choose the group,” he said, “It is better to have a bakery than a piece of bread.”
We went to his church building which was a 4 minute walk from his house; the building was one of G.O.’s fairly recent projects. Lucner demonstrated the drum-like musical instrument in front for us, and before too long had to excuse himself – he had a wedding at 3 p.m. It was about 2:15. John told me, however, that he knew of one Haitian wedding that was scheduled for Saturday and got off the ground on Monday. Therefore, John had doubts about the 3 p.m. start, and sure enough, when we left sometime after 3, Lucner was still tying his tie.
We headed to the beach – Phaeton is on the Atlantic, and took some photos of the fishermen, and the many children of Phaeton that followed us around and held our hands. Before long, it was time to leave. We needed to make it to the border by 5 unless we wanted to stay overnight. In the end, we made it easy – with 4 minutes to spare.
It’s funny – when we brought over a plane-load of Mission balls to give away, I had envisioned somehow going to a neighborhood playground and passing them out. But early on, John began steering us toward giving them to pastors, and therefore letting the pastors (and thus their churches) be the “heroes” with the balls. Right on. Wish I had thought of that. One of the reasons I have come to appreciate G.O. Ministries over this past week is the fact that they are unabashedly church-centered. Christ-centered first, and church-centered second. Amen. I wasn’t the first to say it, but I truly believe it: the local church…is the hope of the world. It’s true in Waupun, Milwaukee, London and Los Angeles. And it is so true in Phaeton.
So here we were on this trip – visiting another church, this time in Haiti. We brought a total of 5 Creole mission balls from the U.S. We left Lucner with two of them.
God bless, brother. Hope the wedding has started by now.