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Haiti - August, 2013
Thursday, August 29, 2013, marks a significant day in my walk of three and a half years with Jesus. I can only describe it as a day of complete redemption in the most tangible way. I had been preparing for a few days to share my testimony by fasting, praying and reading the Word. I was about to share with a group of female inmates in Jeremie, Haiti, about my past life of gangs, drugs, street violence and jail time. Some of the women were there for murder, others for theft, some for violent crimes, and still others were perhaps even innocent of the crimes they were accused of. Still, all were still sentenced to spend years of their lives in dark cells filled with nothing more than hopelessness.
Our team had prepared a skit based on the false identities that the devil gives us as well as the new identities we gain as believers in Christ. As we finished this, I attempted to undo the locks on their bondaged souls by sharing my testimony.
I testified to them of how God turned the mess of my life into a message. As I looked at them, I could see the old me in their eyes - broken, hard and desperate. As I wrapped up the story of my salvation, a Haitian sister and translator shared the Gospel with the women in their native tongue. We continued to love on them by painting their nails with bright, pretty colors. My spirit burned with love and compassion as I brushed the nail polish on and shared more of God's Word with them. When I had a moment, I stood up and asked, "Who would like to receive salvation from Jesus today?" At first, there was no response. I pleaded with them to consider that just because they were in a seemingly hopeless environment, it did not mean they were hopeless, even if they were serving life sentences. I urged those who wanted to accept salvation to raise their hands. As they did, all I could see in them was pain, shame, sadness as their hands slowly went up. I reinforced the opportunity and asked again, more firmly this time. "Raise your hands high," I encouraged them, and not to be ashamed or embarrassed - for this was a decision they were making with God alone. I told them that the person next to them couldn’t give them salvation or eternal life, so it didn’t matter what he or she thought. To my joy, five precious women came to the Lord that day.
As I reflected on God’s goodness that evening, I thought about how three and a half years ago I came to the LORD. I would have never thought in my wildest dreams that God, My Creator, Author of my life, would have chosen me to come to Haiti, share my testimony, and preach His Good Word to hopeless and unloved women there.
Serving like this, at a prison in Haiti, has ushered in an unexpected healing in my own life. My identity became even more real and redemption became even more tangible at that moment. It was sure; I was a child of God. I knew what I was destined to do - to be a bondservant of Christ whose feet shall travel to the nations to bring hope. I am no longer angry, but loving. I am no longer harsh, but compassionate. Hallelujah! All glory and honor to Jehovah God!