Close to the Brokenhearted
While walking on a foot path toward an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in a rural area of Haiti, RRT chaplains noticed the beauty of creation that transcended the earthquake rubble. Ladies balancing baskets on their heads; banana and palm trees; goats, chickens and pigs running loose caught the eye.
A beautiful Haitian lady walked towards the chaplains on the path and they greeted her, asking about her well being. Marie Lilia replied, “Sava bien,” the common reply meaning “I’m well” and then she broke down in tears. A chaplain held her in her arms for several minutes as Marie Lilia wept.
The chaplains would learn that Marie Lilia lost several members of her family in the earthquake and others had limbs amputated. Her home is “broken” and she is living in a makeshift tent.
Although struggling with the pain of a broken heart, Marie Lilia believes in Jesus. She was in need of encouragement and to know that she is not alone. The RRT chaplains ministered to her reminding her that Jesus promised never to leave her. God is close to the brokenhearted; He knows every path His children walk and He meets them there.
On Feb. 21, two RRT chaplains delivered the Sunday message at the chapel of the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment Red Falcons. They told the soldiers that Jesus loves them and shared the Gospel. 0ne of the RRT chaplains and a captain whom they earlier befriended led worship during Communion.
Following the service, the commanding officer expressed appreciation to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for their spiritual support to the Red Falcons during their deployment in Haiti. They stated the spiritual support was invaluable to their mission accomplishment.
The RRT chaplains provided some Bibles and other materials from the BGEA. They soldiers were assured that the BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse support their efforts. Shouts of “All the way Airborne,” “Let’s Go” and “God Bless” rang out.
Law is Not Enough
When chaplains visited a tent city just a few minutes from the Baptist Haiti Mission hospital, they were approached by a Haitian police officer. He was drawn to the chaplains because of their blue shirts with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team logo. He asked what the purpose was in being there. One of the chaplains told him they were there to bring God’s love and comfort to the hurting people of Haiti.
The officer responded by saying he was glad they were there because the people needed them. One of the chaplains asked him if he knew Jesus Christ and had a personal relationship with Him. He said he knew about Christ but he wasn’t sure he would go to Heaven if he died.
He thought he would go to Heaven because he was a police officer and did many good things. The chaplain went through the “Steps to Peace with God” with the officer. The officer heard for the first time clearly the Gospel and he made a decision to invite Christ into his heart for the first time.
Chaplain Ministers to Ministers
The head of the Baptist Haiti Mission (BHM) asked a RRT chaplain to speak to the BHM Pastors’ Executive Committee, which oversees 350 churches. The chaplain took the opportunity to encourage the Haitian pastors, and share with them some insight regarding ministering to people going through grief and trauma during times of disaster.
The pastors were particularly inspired to learn about the many people who had come to Christ through the ministry of the Rapid Response Team at the BHM Hospital. The RRT chaplain encouraged the pastors to especially be aware of the opportunity and need to minister to the emotional and spiritual needs of the people during such times of tragedy.
The pastors asked numerous questions and many expressed profound thanks to the RRT for coming to Haiti. The pastors left encouraged after the RRT chaplain lifted them, their churches and the nation of Haiti up in prayer!