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The blog on this page contains messages from Sam.  Check back often to get the latest on his ministry in Haiti.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

making the most of opportunities ( cont.)

In my last blog entry I looked at one of Paul's numerous exortations to the Christians of his day to "make the most" of any opportunities to do good to others.  I'd like to take this to a higher level.  While many are satisfied to wait for such opportunities to occur as they live their lives each day, Jesus shows us a different approach.

I feel that Christ's own model for us shows us that rather than being passive in this matter we are called to be pro-active by looking for opportunities rather than simply waiting for them to come our way.

In Haiti as you might suppose there is no lack of opportunities for intervention - you can be quickly overwhelmed.  In this case you have to do a type of triage and arrange the needs according to urgency.

One such case occurred when by noticing the absence of certain people from the Sunday service and by investigating I found an opportunity to render a service.  Vilma, an older brother in the faith, had been suffering from an enlarged prostate and for a couple of days had been unable to urinate.  By trying to find out why he hadn't been in the service I found a very urgent need.  I had him taken to the nearest hospital in my truck and paid for them to relieve him of his problem.  If I hadn't tried to discover the reason for his absence it's posible Vilma could have continued to suffer simply because he was too embarassed to ask someone for help.  Keep in mind Haiti has no government health plan.  Poor people frequently must suffer from their illnesses and even die because they are too poor to seek medical help.

Another such case was discovered by visiting Madam Defenseur when she failed to show up Sunday morning in church.  She had stepped on a thorn and the wound had festered.  We found her lying on her mat with a badly swollen leg and in pain.  Our clinic provided injections of penicillen and soon she was doing better.

On investigating why a certain teenager had been skipping the youth meetings we found out it was because he nolonger had a pair of tennis shoes as the older ones had worn out.  He was embarassed to come so he stayed at home.  That problem was easily solved by making some funds available so that he could buy a new pair of footwear.

Noticing a family was not thriving we secretly questioned the kids and found out that they hadn't had food for awhile.  This also could be rectified.  You must understand that Haitians have never had welfare or any social programs to address the problems of want and lack.  They have learned to simply suffer in silence.  In such a culture you cannot be passive in waiting for opportunites to do good to "fall in your lap".  You must constantly be on the lookout for needs and problems.  How different from the USA where people have no problem in vociferously seeking their "right' to be helped. 

Let us be more proactive in our search to manifest Christ to others by seeking out opportunities to do good. 

9:49 am edt 

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Making opportunities count....
In Galatians 6:10 Paul encourages the the Christians to never let any opportunity to do good pass without using it as an occasion to show the love of Christ. These moments offer an chance to witness to others how Jesus can change lives and direct them in doing good to others.  

One of the main problems of having new converts become active church members in Haiti is the fact that many couples are living together without being married.  One of the "opportunities" to help others advance in their spiritual lives is helping financially so as to make it possible for the couple to marry.

On August 1, three such couples were joined in a matimonial service at Sauvages where we have planted a new church.  That brings the number of married couples there up to seven.  What a witness it is to that community as the church enables people to get their lives right with God's will.  It was an effort and an expense to guide those couples through the maze of governmental paperwork, lab tests, other requirements in order to satisfy the powers that be.

Gospel Growers was able to provide wedding bands and wedding gowns thanks to the efforts of Cathy See of Mt. Holly, NJ and Angie Brannan of Smithville, Texas.  A contribution was also made towards the reception which was held after the service when the 3 couples took their vows before GOD and the community.

This 17 August the Christian Radio Station that we founded and support will celebrate its 7th anniversary.  What a blessing it has been by informing, evangelizing and edifying its listeners with Christian messages, Christian music, and community service information.  This Radio Station is run on a voluntary basis and the listeners themselves (in many cases some of the poorest Haitians) help the Station to function by sending in bits of cash which enables the staff to purchase gas to power the generator  when there is not enough sun for the solar panels to function.

I am in the states right now and am open for invitations to visit your church if needed.  Call now and we can make plans so that I can come and share with you what God is doing in Haiti through the Gospel Grower ministries.  I can be reached at 412-766-9162 or at samrice@gospelgrowers.org
9:44 am edt 

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