When faced with a choice, do you like to have some good, hard facts to guide you?
I suspect you may be like me. You feel more comfortable making a decision when several bits of evidence all lead in the same direction.
I would like to tell you a set of stories from Novion, Haiti. Haiti is a tough place for missions, both because of centuries of voodoo, and because it is a place where well-intentioned charity has caused dependency. Thus, I want evidence that my help is not causing unwanted side effects. Please look with me to see where this evidence leads.
I have been involved with Community Health Evangelism (CHE) for the past nine years. A friend was a CHE worker and invited me to the perinatal classes, since I was pregnant. In the classes they showed us how the baby develops in the womb and taught us how to take care of ourselves. My friend visited me and kept an eye on my condition. Now my baby is two-and-a-half years old and doing well.
My CHE-worker friend showed me many picture booklets. The one on hookworm explained why we should not walk barefoot, since the worms come through the soles of the feet. I started to teach others not to go barefoot. When I showed my friends the picture booklets, they believed it was true. They saw their need to change, too.
I have learned how to treat my drinking water and wash my hands to prevent diarrhea, and I have learned about using oral rehydration solution to keep my children from dying from dehydration when they do get sick.
Other changes have come as well: I used to cook on a fire that was made just on the floor. Now I use a raised fireplace that saves fuel, protects my children, and keeps smoke out of my house. I showed my neighbors how to do it, and they are eagerly copying what I did.
I have changed in other important ways as well. Before I learned about CHE, I was frustrated. I thought my life was not worth much. However, now I have learned that God loved me enough to send his Son, Jesus, to die for me. When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, God adopted me as his daughter. Since my Father is the King, that makes me a princess!
Now I serve Jesus by working as a CHE volunteer. The hope CHE brings is making many of my neighbors want to serve Jesus, too.
Another woman in Novion reports:
Before I became a member of the CHE program in Novion, I suffered so much stress at home that it dominated me. I used to think and worry too much. Miss Margarette, the nurse, encouraged me to join the CHE program to learn good things to change my life physically and spiritually. I joined the team and received training as a CHE worker. Because of CHE, I accepted Jesus and was baptized. When I really committed my life to Jesus, I understood all the lessons better, especially the spiritual ones about walking with Jesus. When I received a Bible, I studied it faithfully, because I was hungry to know Jesus better. Now that Jesus is my friend, I really want to pray, so that I can stay close to him.
A man in a neighboring village reports:
When CHE came to our village, the people here chose me to be on the committee leading CHE we used to spend most of our time complaining about how bad things were. The CHE trainers showed how we could change, if we wanted to. A lot of us were doubtful, but when the trainers told us stories about Novion, we went to see if it was true. What we saw really encouraged us.
We decided to start by digging latrines. Many people went right to work, but one neighbor with many children could not seem to get going. Pestering him did not work. We asked the trainers what to do.
The trainers did not seem surprised. They just sat down with this man and listened. As they listened, the man began to speak of his concerns. He had heard about evil spirits that could occupy people’s latrines, and he feared for the safety of his family. He needed to hear that Jesus is stronger than the evil spirits. The trainers showed us that listening is a better place to start than rushing in to talk about our ideas.
I could keep telling stories, but I am sure you can see how each one adds a little more evidence. However, there is one truth I might have missed communicating. None of these stories would have happened without Jesus empowering the circumstances. The first person in Novion who championed CHE ideas would never have been able to overcome the difficult parts of Haitian culture unless the Holy Spirit had drawn them. New people would not have followed the first person without the continuing work of the Holy Spirit. CHE is just one tool the Holy Spirit uses.
Please listen closely. What is the Holy Spirit telling you as you read the evidence in these stories? Is he nudging you to become more involved with Medical Ambassadors and CHE? If so, how can you do it?
I cannot say what the Holy Spirit is telling you, but I can let you know what he has told others.
- Commit yourself to pray even more that God will empower you, MAI, and CHE to be more effective in his service.
- Support gifted MAI trainers everywhere financially with the kind of generosity only the Holy Spirit can give.
- Ask MAI what else God has gifted you to do. In Haiti and many other parts of the world, most North Americans need to be in the background, not in front of communities. But there are other ways you can be an encourager and an advocate. Please let MAI think about possibilities with you.
May God bless you as you listen,
I will give generously for:
We appreciate your prayer and financial support. Without you as a member of the team, this ministry would not be possible.