It's funny what being out of the country does to your sense of time. I think if I traveled more I would feel as though my life were not going by as quickly. I chose the dates for this trip to match up with those of a much loved traveling companion. You'll learn of her later. :)
Then I found myself with two inflexible events tucked up very close to my missions trip travel dates. It made for a whirlwind week, followed immediately by my trip out of the country. So the last two weeks could easily represent a half year of my life in their feel and impact on my life. Way to slow things down, Barbara! Go, me!
Thirty-eight years ago we took a group of teens from my home church to Haiti. My husband and I led the youth at the time, and for many years to come. The kids on that missions trip ranged in age from fourteen to nineteen. I was Mrs. Barb, the adult. I was twenty-two at the time. I look back at that now and it makes me laugh. I was a child myself.
The purpose of the trip was to go back into the northern countryside of Haiti to help our missionary construct a church building for one of his works. Now, that tells you something of building construction in the countryside of Haiti, if the labor is being supplied by a bunch of inexperienced teenagers. (Sorry, guys, but I include myself in that description, for I was nothing more than a slightly older useless-for-the-purpose-of-building-construction teenager myself.) :)
But you know my God is all about using the useless, and build it we did, laboring during the day and holding church services each evening. Amazing church services, for which folks walked many miles in the scorching heat to hear the Word of God preached. It was over one-hundred-ten degrees every day we were there. Lives were changed. Mainly ours.
We returned home with the clothes on our backs and about starved to death, but we were forever changed. Every last one of us. I never saw the world nor the ministry into which I was called the same after that. It brings me to tears as I write of it, so thankful am I for that trip.
One of those teenagers, a sixteen-year-old boy, surrendered to the ministry as a result of the trip, and to the nation of Haiti in particular if God could use him there. Many of those young people surrendered to God after that trip, and are serving in the ministry today.
But as for Wesley, God could and He did, for of course that was His plan all along. Wes went off to Bible College, met and fell in love with an amazing woman who God had prepared to tame him and serve with him, and after an internship at our home church, off to Haiti they went.
Twenty-seven-years later, I can brag on them, because you will not hear any of these things from their mouths. Many, many thousands have come to know the Lord as a result of their labor. The hardships they have endured would fill many a book, and I will write more of it some day if the Lanes allow it. I write what I do today without their permission. What can they do to me? I am safely back home. :)
Wes and Mel brought not only the gospel to the island of Hispaniola, but a true love for the Lord and a Biblical way of living. They serve as doctor, lawyer, police officer, and supreme court judge. Wes moves in with gun, knife, or a swinging machete to protect and straighten out his people. He loves them, instructs them, holds their head as they puke and their hand as they go to be with the Lord. He births their young and then buries them when they die. He has become one with them. I have never seen a preacher and wife more respected and loved by their people than Wesley and Melina Lane. I couldn't be more proud.
I pulled a 'Mrs. Barb' while I was there and insisted that Wes sit down and make a list for me of his works. He had never done so before. It is staggering and impressive.
The Bible says in Proverbs 27:2 - "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips." You will never hear Wes or Mel tell of these things. But I am 'another man' if you use the term loosely, and my name even means 'a stranger', so I am going to take that as God giving me permission to brag on them. :)
They have started twenty churches in Haiti and the Dominion Republic. That does not count any other kind of work. Twenty gospel-preaching, thriving churches! All except three have been turned over to national pastors. Wes keeps a watchful, loving eye on them and comes when he is called, but they are all flourishing independent works, with souls walking the aisle to accept this wonderful Jesus who they hear preached. Lives changed.
Then, there are nineteen other works that he is a part of. Many are 'preaching stations', as he calls them. Kind of like street preaching, but with regular weekly services. Amazing.
There is a list of nineteen church buildings and six pastor's homes that he has been a part of the construction or reconstruction of, many after the earthquake. There are three schools, two orphanages, and four youth camps, as well. One of the camps is a huge part of his current work and effort. He and his wife will soon be moving into that camp, even though it is far from finished, so he can oversee it's construction more directly and so that more of his support can be funneled in that direction. They will have a home next to the camp when the work is finished if the Lord tarries. I got to visit that site, and it brings me to tears just thinking about it.
So, there you have it. Now you know where I had the privilege of spending the past week of my life. And with whom. In the coming days I will share some of our adventures as the Lord leads or until Pasteur Wesley flies up here and shuts me down. :)
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