Central Ohio Group in Haiti

Dan Kopp, for the Central Ohio Haiti Mission Team

A group of teens and adults from UB churches in Central Ohio is currently in Haiti. On Sunday, July 17, they worshipped at two United Brethren churches in Haiti. Here is a report from Dan Kopp (right), pastor of NorthPointe UB church in Lewis Center, Ohio.

How far did you walk to church yesterday?

In Pastor Richard’s church, it’s an average of 30 minutes. No parking lots necessary. The vast majority walk. Did we mention they start at 6 a.m.? A practical, yet admirable thing, due to the heat. But many walk back mid-day for afternoon or evening services that usually last a couple hours.

Sunday school gets underway at 6:00 and the regular service around 7:00. We were at the mercy of the transportation arranged for us, so we arrived a little after the service had begun. They were already well into worship. High energy. Dressed to the nines. The Sunday service, like the Sabbath in the Old Testament, is TRULY the high point of their week.

And it was most definitely a high point for us. A vocal team of 8-9 and a REALLY, really talented keyboarder and guitarist and drummer. The pastors spontaneously lead in worship at times as well. The offering is also high energy with a joyful praise song, and the folks spontaneously come forward–almost dancing as they place in their tithe. During the service we were greeted, as were a few others who stood during the service, with a beautiful flower pinned to our collar.

One of the high points for our team is the opportunity to share our testimony. Each non-preaching member of the team was to do it at least once. It’s one of those GREAT “stretch me out of my comfort zone” times. I am so proud of how open, transparent, and God-used these times were.

In this service we were blessed to share a puppetry that lived out the parable of the Lost Sheep. Rows of children spread out in front of the stage. We also shared a special, “Amazing Grace” in English. My wife’s husband had the extreme honor of sharing a message of comfort regarding the Suffering Servant, a Savior who truly understands life’s wounds.

When the service ended, we got to share once again with the children. The kids who did not come on Saturday were separated out so they could have a bracelet (colors of salvation). All could color a picture of a lamb and have a straw attached for taking home a puppet themselves. We left with this great children’s ministry team the puppets/curtain we’d used earlier, as well as about 70 little baggies of candy that we did not distribute, because there were far more kids! (Their church could do so in some good way later).

Once again and all too soon, we were rushed to our waiting transportation. We wish we could have stayed until every bracelet was done and lamb-puppet made into masterpiece. But the joy of doing at least what we could is truly hard to describe. We are grateful.

Sunday night took us then to the Pastor Wilbert’s church; he is also starting the tent city church where we ministered on our first night in Haiti. Let us say it was one-tenth the musical talent, but 10 times the enthusiasm! They love to worship and praise!

This service usually lasts 5:00-7:30, most of it praise. Two more testimonies were shared. And Pastor Mike Brown shared a terrific message about revival. But of course, folks who had so little, yet could praise so much were only reviving us.

We were a little late for this service. Pastor Richard, who had recently been in France due to ill health, had been surprised by some of the area ministers with a “welcome home” gathering and toast. I wish I could say it was the gathering itself that made us late. Actually they had gotten out a TV and were hanging on every kick of a Brazil-Paraguay soccer match!

Pastor Richard, overseer of all Haiti churches, directly expressed how this visit has helped leadership here know, in a real and tangible way, that they are loved not just by our Canadian UB family (who provide the primary oversight of the UB churches in Haiti), but by our U.S. family as well.

“United Brethren.” An old term culturally–but with new meaning to our team. We are blessed to be United to a people who are a shining light in a country that has experienced such darkness.

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