First Baptist Church of Patoka was invited to join the Salem First Baptist Church, Salem, Illinois, on a mission trip to Cap Haitien, Haiti.
After Larry Dodd from Salem shared with the Patoka church what was involved in such a trip, five expressed interest in going January 2017.
Shots obtained, medications ordered, finances given, and five Patoka church members were ready to do, go, and give whatever God asked in Haiti. However, as the departure day approached, reality of the commitment sunk in, and the unknown became front and center. Emil Nattier, answered many questions, and eased concerns.
After surviving a few customs’ problems in the airport, we boarded a longbed truck and began our adventure in Haiti. First impressions were of trash everywhere, potholed roads, pleasant accommodations, safety, and friendliness of everyone we met. Insects were almost non-existent all 10 days, mountains surrounded us, fruit trees everywhere, and meals were outstanding.
We were joined for meals by a nursing student group from Liberty University who bring a group each year as part of their missions and obstetrics academic requirement toward an RN degree. Bud Lenker, a great worker from Oregon, with a tremendous testimony also joined us.
Our main task was construction on the Cowman School, with now 160 students. After a short trip on a bumpy road, we took down concrete forms, removed nails, and stacked everything according to size and purpose because every resource is reused. We moved both sand and gravel to the second floor. The day we departed 22 Haitians were hired to hand-mix this material with cement and move the wet concrete in five gallon buckets up for the third story floor. Others of the team helped file, sorted tests, and assisted with students in the school.
Throughout the 10 days, we took tours of the seminary, medical clinic, dentistry center, Radio 4VEH, attended Chapel services at both the seminary and the school, and heard missionary testimonies after each evening meal. Each morning Brett Bundy gave a Bible study on David’s life.
The most memorable experience was our evangelistic day. We spent about four and a half hours sharing our testimonies with Haitians in a village just off the main drag. The church we assisted has been meeting with only four walls and a concrete block baptistery with no roof. We went two-by-two with an interpreter. Several prayed to invite Jesus into their lives. All our team shared their personal testimonies, some for the first time. Those who made decisions for Christ will be followed-up by Pastor Janielle Scharlow of the local church.
We worked hard physically and were treated very well. Emil and Lois Nattier were great leaders and made it a worry-free trip. I left with great admiration for all the missionaries on the compound and applaud their forward thinking, their response to God’s call, and their pleasant attitudes. It is a big mission field with many people awaiting someone to come and tell them the good news of Jesus Christ.