Saturday, December 18, 2010

My trip to Haiti

It has been more than six months since I journeyed to Haiti with Pastor Kenneth Duke of the New Jerusalem Primitive Baptist church ( of Miami Florida, His son Minister Kelon Duke and a a member of the church Saraita Anderson, who served as our interpreter. This was a life changing experience for me and I have struggled over the last six months with how to adequately express what I experienced on this short trip.
Haiti is a country of contradictions. It was devastated by an earthquake on Tuesday January 12, 2010. Many buildings were destroyed and many lives were lost but what I witnessed was a resilience among the people of that land. They were broken but not crushed. They were defeated but not conquered. They had lost much but they possessed so much more.
Haiti has remained in my heart and spirit from the first time that I saw it. We arrived at the airport on Wednesday June 2, 2010 and we were greeted by a band. I asked Saraita what type of music were they playing and she told me that they were playing Compas, a mixture of Spanish and french music. The music was so alive and the men who played it had so much hope and joy as they welcomed us to their homeland.
After we passed through customs and secured our luggage we walked out into the sunlight. And we were surrounded by a mass of people who looked like us but spoke in a language that I could not understand. We were met and greeted by several members of the Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church of Petit Gauve where we would be traveling to that day to worship with and minister to. Guylaine Jermaine, the wife of Pastor Edner Jermaine was there to greet us along with several brothers from the church. Each one embraced us with hugs and kisses and then led us to the van that would carry us throughout Haiti for the rest of our trip.
A frightening moment occurred for me when we got to the van. We were surrounded by Haitians with their hands out, all saying very loudly, "Dolla, Dolla!" I was unnerved at that moment and tried desperately to get in the van away from what I perceived was a mob. And then I looked at Pastor Duke who was calm and not bothered the least. I wish that his demeanor had a calming effect on me but it didn't. I felt safe only after we were in the van. There would be a lot more moments like that for me as we rode through the streets of Port Au Prince.
Our driver Brother Vanel was very aggressive but that was necessary because every driver on the roads of Port Au Prince was very aggressive. There was chaos everywhere as both automobiles and people filled the streets and the sidewalks. What amazed me was I didn't witness any automobile accidents or people being killed as they walked with no fear between these vehicles. The driving situation was dangerous but there seemed to be some kind of order in the chaos. The driving was reckless but the people were bold as they walk with their wares on their heads. I seemed to be the only one panicking.
I saw large numbers of children coming from schools wearing beautiful uniforms and buses that are called tap tap. They were beautiful buses covered in painted scenes and filled with people. And in the midst of destroyed buildings I saw people selling their wares. They were living not dying. They were doing the best they could with what they had been dealt with.
It took us an hour to get out of Port Au Prince. It took us another hour to drive to Petit Guave and after that it took us maybe two and a half hours to get to the site where the Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church meets. We rode for an hour and then we walked for another hour and a half. Several people from Mount Olive met us as we walked up the mountain where their village was. I really needed their support and encouragement as I tried to conquer the mountain that was conquering me. The music in worship was electric and the praise of the saints was energetic. Myself and Kelon gave words of encouragement and Pastor Duke delivered a strong message to the congregation who were gathered there. I made an presentation to the pastor, a cash donation that was raised by the members of New Mine Creek Primitive Baptist church where I have been the pastor for nine years. The monies would be used to educate the children in that community.The church, which was destroyed in the earthquake was also a school during the week.
There is so much more to tell and I will. But I ask you to continue to pray for the relief effort in Haiti and pray for the people of Haiti. If you are interested in contributing to the Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church of Petit Guave Haiti please contact the New Jerusalem Primitive Baptist Church (http://WWW.NJPBC.ORG).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Goodbye Lebron

Lebron you were an incredible asset to the Cleveland Cavaliers and now you have left. Man it seemed like yesterday we the fans of the Cavaliers waited and anticipated your coming into our lives. I can still feel the excitement in the air in June of 2003 as we faithfully believed that there was a possibility that the Cavaliers might snag you in the lottery. And then it happened, the probable became possible and you joined the Cavs bringing with you hope and excitement that haven't been seen in my generation. Your joining the Cavaliers helped me to deal with the loss of my Mother, we buried her three days before the lottery.
All of Cleveland believed that you would bring us a championship. For seven years we hoped and we waited. We dreamed and we imagined that it would happen but it didn't and now you're gone. Things won't be the same without you but all of us are not hatin on you. We just hoped that things would have been different. And as much as I loved your game and your drive I can't leave the Cavs and go with you. The Cavs are a part of my legacy and my history; they have earned the right to keep my loyalty. I remember Campy Russell and Austin Carr from my childhood. I remember the first game I saw at the Richfield Coliseum. World B. Free was on that team. I remembered the first time I saw Michael Jordan play at Richfield; he soared through the air and delivered a dunk that every Cavs fan honored as we stood on our feet, that night we witnessed the greatest who ever played the game. I remember the dream team of the 90's; Price, Daughtery, Ehlo and the others. I even remember the one time I was angry with management, when they traded away Ron Harper, but I stayed a Cavs fan. I haven't lived in Cleveland for almost twenty eyars but I have remained a loyal Cavs fan.
But I have a confession to make, after the Boston series I was ready to walk away. I was so depressed after we lost the series that I decided that loving the Cavs was to high a price to pay. I decided that I was giving up on the Cavs. I didn't beleive that you were coming back but my DECISION was not based on your DECISION, it was based solely on my emotional response to the Boston series. But then something happened after you told us and the world of your intention of joining the Heat. I read a letter from Dan Gilbert and that letter changed my mind. Although I'm sure you didn't like what Dan said about you, that communication gave me a new resolve. And so my allegiance to he Cavs was renewed and my loyalty was rediscovered. I will stand with and support my hometown team, even though you are no longer apart of us.
Goodbye Lebron.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Haiti Bound

In great shock I watched the events of Tuesday January 12, 2010 unfold before my very eyes. The news channel announced that an earthquake had devastated the country of Haiti. The first reports highlighted the impact of the destructive force of nature as it uprooted the capital city of Haiti, Port Au Prince. As I listened to the reports I was grief stricken and I considered the lost of life that would forever affect that country.
A few hours later I went to church to teach in the weekly bible study. As I led the group in prayer I heard the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit saying to me that I was going to Haiti to comfort and help the people there. For the rest of that evening I contemplated the inner impression, the knowing in my spirit that I had heard correctly from God that I was going to Haiti. I wondered to myself what could I offer. What skills did I possess to make a difference? As I wrestled with the commission the Holy Spirit gently reminded me that I was a pastor, an author and a witness. As a pastor I was gifted to feed the people of God and love them as Christ loved me. As an author I was gifted to write and tell stories that others would read. As a witness I was to go to the ends of the earth declaring the purpose of God in my words and deeds.
Content that I had heard God speak I wondered how He would make this trip happen. I had never been to Haiti and I didn't know anyone who had connections or contacts in the country. But God had it all worked out and the plan would unfold over the next few months.
On Sunday January 17 I received a text from my friend Pastor Kenneth Duke of Miami. He informed me that his church, New Jerusalem Primitive Baptist church of the city had become a distribution center for relief in Haiti. New Jerusalem had a large number of Haitians in its congregation and the community that surrounded the church had many Haitian living in it. In the text message that I received Pastor Duke asked for basic necessities to ship to the country and for financial contributions. I shared his information from the text message with the congregation and some of the members readily responded. But a plan was forming in my mind, a plan of what God wanted us to do for Haiti.
A few months past and I learned from Pastor Duke that he had been to Haiti and had identified one of the villages that was in great need of help. I asked him could I travel with him the next time he went and he readily agreed. The date was set for June and preparations began.
I informed the congregation of what God had placed in my heart and His call for me to travel to Haiti to comfort and help the people there. I outlined our plan of action to be a blessing to the village of Petit Guave in Trou Chou Chou county. As a congregation we would set aside a sacrificial amount each day over a period of two weeks for the people of the village and bring it to church and present our offerings to the Lord as a sacrifice. The occasion that we would bring our sacrifices would be a worship of song headlined by a tremendous gospel artist named David L. Wilson Jr of Danville Va. The other worshippers participating will the New Mine Creek Praise team, True Praise, the Tucker family OF Gretna Va. This event would take place on Saturday May 15th at 6:00.
The congregation along with myself have received this open door that God has set before us to give long term help to the people of Petit Guave. May God be glorified in our efforts and may His people in Haiti be blessed.
I will be sharing more information with you concerning this new phase of ministry that I am entering in. Please Pray that God gains much fruit through me in Haiti.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I was driving to an appointment in Jacksonville Florida a month ago. Because I didn't know where I was going I secured direction to my appointment on Mapquest. Leaving the hotel that cool afternoon, I was really looking forward to a nice warm sun in Jacksonville but unfortunately all I got was a chill the entire four days I was in the city, I drove confidently through the streets of this unfamiliar city with my directions on the seat next to me. I approached a bridge and crossed it enjoying a quick glimpse of the river as I ascended on the expressway. I started looking for signs to indicate that I was going the right way and after reading several signs I became concerned because the signs were not given me any indication that I was going in the direction that Mapquest had communicated to me. After driving for a while I decided that I was going the wrong way and that Mapquest had let me down. I drove off the expressway at the next exit and turned around deciding to go back the way that I had come. When I got to the street that I had gotten on at the expressway I got off, but now I was driving in the opposite direction. At this point I was very flustered because I was going to be late for my appointment and I didn't have a lot of time to spare before I have to go to the airport to get back home. I started praying for direction and I was led to turn at the next intersection and then to make one more turn at another intersection. Driving down the street I looked up and saw a huge sign with several road names that I was looking for as I traveled the expressway. I was going the right way but to my amazement and shame the way that I was now going was the way that I was going before. The only difference now was I was starting at the beginning of the expressway where the sign gave me the information I was seeking as I drove on the expressway. The exit where I had gotten on the expressway was further down the road from where I now was. If I had just trusted the directions I would been at my destination instead of starting over. I had wasted 25 minutes getting off the right way going the wrong way because I didn't trust the directions and in an unfamiliar place I decided to get off the right path.

This Jacksonville adventure spoke loudly to me about the lives of many persons. In Proverbs 3:6 Solomon says, "IN ALL YOUR WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM AND HE SHALL DIRECT YOUR PATHS." The Holy Spirit will give you the directions that you need to get where you need to go but because you don't trust His directions when you get in a unfamiliar place you get frustrated with where you are going. And in your frustration with your journey you decided to get off the path and turn around only to discover that you were really going the right way. How do then get back to the right path? Do what I did, ACKNOWLEDGE HIM by asking Him to get you back to where you need to be and He will. The Holy Spirit will lead you back to the way that you left. And the next time He leads you into a unfamiliar place and the signs are not saying that you are going the right way TRUST THE DIRECTIONS.