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Thursday, May 22, 2008

In His Service

It was on a dark night at the mission compound in Haiti where I discovered the power and protection in the simple name of "Papa." There were many lessons to be learned and memories that would last a lifetime, but on this one unusually dark night, I was about to experience something that would have profound affect on me for the rest of my life.

Our church was planning a mission trip to Haiti and everyone was helping get ready for this exciting trip. We collected medical supplies, school supplies, toys, and candy to give to the children. Anticipation grew with each passing day and we were all geared up to share our love with the people of Haiti.

It happened that during this time there was an uprising of civil unrest within the country. The U.S. Department of State had issued a warning against travel to Haiti. Many were telling us to cancel the trip. We began to seek God and at the end of much prayer we decided God was telling us to go.

With tons of luggage lined up on the conveyor belt, and many tearful good-byes we were finally ready to board our plane. After arriving at Port-au-Prince where military personnel with guns greeted us, we gathered up our bags and headed toward the ocean village of Bord Mer.

I'll never forget the faces of the Haitians that warmly greeted as we approached the compound. What we thought would be our mission of love to Haiti would soon be turned around as we became the recipients of a measure of love and gratitude that many of us had never before experienced.

One night after the generators were cut off and we settled into our beds to get some much-needed rest, we began to hear sounds of the voodoo drums rising from a distant village. Earlier that day our team watched a video on the voodoo rituals that the unsaved Haitians used as part of their religion. Hearing those drums immediately brought fearful thoughts of what might be happening in that jungle.

Just then a flashlight came toward our dorm. It was the American missionary that ran the ministry, and he was about to head out to investigate what was going on. A small group of us gathered together, prayed, and followed the one the Haitians had come to affectionately call “Papa”. As we took each step closer toward the drums, I remembered seeing earlier that day how much the Haitians loved Pastor George and his wife. I amazingly became less fearful as I realized I was walking with "Papa". How could any harm come our way if were with him?

Finally we arrived at a clearing, and we could see a large group of villagers gathered around the fire. Once they saw Papa, they ran over to explain what was going on. One of their family members had died and the drums were not voodoo drums at all, they were being played to communicate to other nearby villages about the death and funeral.

We all gathered around the grieving family in their straw hut, and in that dark jungle prayed for them, wept with them, and encouraged them in their time of loss. People hurt the same in every corner of the world, but it is “Papa” that is always there to comfort in our time of need.

As we walked back to our dorm room, I looked up into one of the most beautiful star-filled skies I had ever seen to view the handiwork of our amazing God. I'll never forget the lesson I learned that night as I discovered that no matter where I am, or what I may be going through, Papa is always there with me every step of the way.

Some things to ponder:

In what situations do you most need to know that God is with you? How do you deal with fear in your life?

What are some practical ways you can do to remind yourself of God's presence daily?

In Romans 8:15 it says “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Adoption by whom we cry out “Abba Father”.

Father I pray for my sisters who are reading this. If there is a spirit of fear, I pray they will call out your precious name. Lord you are faithful and you are true. You promise us you will never leave us nor forsake us, no matter how dark or scary the night may be.

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Blogger Denise said...

Awesome sweetie.

May 22, 2008 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger lori said...

That is one of the most touching posts I've read lately. I have chills...

What a FABULOUS reminder that "Papa" is always close at hand....

loved it!
and you!

May 22, 2008 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger Amy B said...

There were definitely situations in my life where fear would take over but then God showed me my "fear" was really about my lack of control over a situation. That put things into perspective for me and now when I feel fear rising up then I just relinquish control to God and ask Him to comfort me.

Awesome post, Susan!

May 22, 2008 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Dawn ~ ^i^Brandon^i^, Jordan, & Seth's Mom said...


I love this post. At one of my darkest times I wondered where God was, and kept asking him about his word and promise that he would never leave me, but honestly at that moment I felt he had abandonded me. However, during his sweet time in healing my heart (a process that is still ongoing)...I can say with assurance that he never left me, he was ALWAYS right there beside me. It was only my perspective that had changed. PRAISE GOD he is FAITHFUL, and the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Thank you so much for your encouraging words!

May 22, 2008 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger e-Mom said...

I just lost a long comment (!) but I wanted to thank you for this post. Your "tease" at Forever His sent me flying over here!

I've learned so much about Haiti and her people through blogging. Wouldn't we all like to have a "Papa" in our lives?

You've had some amazing ministry experiences, Susan.

Hugs, e-Mom

May 22, 2008 at 11:32 AM  
Anonymous annie said...

Great post!

May 22, 2008 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

I really enjoyed reading your story. Thanks for the beautiful words and inspiration. Cindi

May 22, 2008 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Mae said...

Love that verse Roman 8:15. Of course I am enjoying the savor books.....reading a story or more each day...loving it.

May 22, 2008 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Mark & Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

The situation in which I most need to know that God is with me is the every-second-of-my-life-resposibility of raising my children. I fear everything: falls, accidents, drownings, illness, abduction. . . . you name it; I've created the scenario. It is my daily battle and challenge to give this to the Lord and live in His Freedom.

In light of the tragedy last night for Steven (Curtis) and Mary Beth Chapman's family, it was an INCREDIBLY GREAT comfort to read this post and the Romans 8:15 passage. Thank you, Susan, for your timely words!

May 22, 2008 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger The SACC Write Sisters said...

Touching post. What faith it took to leave your dorm and head towards the sound of those drums!

May 22, 2008 at 11:20 PM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

Preach it!

Very timely word, Susan.

May 22, 2008 at 11:58 PM  
Blogger Tiffany Stuart said...

As someone who has struggled with fear, I loved this. I too have found my comfort in knowing Papa is there with me.

May 24, 2008 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Blessedw5mom said...

Bless you Susan!!! Our last month has been very trying and as I sit here on bed rest, anticipating the c-section in 4 days (May 29th) It has been easy for me to slip in to fear and worry ... but God continues to show me He Is Here With Us! Coming across your post is just another reassurance to me.
Thank you for writting to honor HIM.

Blessings ~ Heather at

May 24, 2008 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Tonya said...

WOW! What an EXCITING story! I don't think I'd ever heard about this trip. How AMAZING that GOD used an earthly "Papa" as an INCREDIBLE representation of HIMSELF.

Susan, you ALWAYS find GOD in everything. That's one of the first things that drew me to you. I LOVE your LOVE for our LORD - you PASSION for HIM is AMAZING!

I'm so blessed that you've joined the "team" here. You have such a gift of sharing GOD'S love with words. I'll be looking forward to your next post.


May 25, 2008 at 4:19 AM  

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