When we first started this journey to Haiti three years ago, specifically Grand Vide; we knew the Lord was tugging on our hearts to build self-sustainability through agriculture, education, fishing as well as care for basic needs like clean water. We also knew that all of this would only be done through the love of Jesus, the leadership of the Holy Spirit and through the identity as a child of God. As we progressed toward our move date in April ’15, we started to sense a shift in the focus of our efforts. We had plans to have a boat purchased upon arrival to the village, so we would not have to bear the burden of the long 5-hour boat ride that everyone else so patiently endures. (it should only be about 1 hour). The Haitian “slow” boat has a small motor, yet still has the feel of a slow sail. There is no bathroom, the sun is scorching and it is just down right exhausting. Since our move here we have taken about 10 round-trip rides, which means we have put in about 100 hours on that sail.
Although we had the finances to buy a boat of our own; the kind of boat needed to catch sellable fish, the tug on our hearts to shift our focus became undeniable to both of us. We knew we were being instructed to build a house of prayer, which became our focus when we arrived in the village last September. We had to lay aside our plans for the fishing business and put a pause on the timing of a boat. It was hard, because it meant a viable income for our family. We were stretched to a new realm of faith to continue to trust God for our family needs.
Building a House of Prayer was not apart of our original plan, besides who knows what that is anyway? When people ask us what we have done or what we do; we say we built a House of Prayer. This usually invites a blank stare and a few moments of uncomfortable silence. Little did we know though, we were arriving to our village when intense hopelessness had set it. They lost their crops two years in a row, because of goats and draught. Many lost their way to pay for school and everything else. We began construction of the House of Prayer a few days after we arrived. To our surprise, the construction gave many people jobs, from foremen to gravel makers (aka single moms). Women were selling food on the streets and moms could now afford to put their kids in school. This took a burden off of us, because we arrived at a time of such great need. We employed over 300 people, the building was 100% Haitian labor and the efforts to get building materials on that slow boat was humbling to observe. Since the boat is unable to dock on shore, every item loaded on the boat had to be put in a dingy (small boat) then transported to land….every ounce of sand, block and rebar.
Now, I am no expert on prayer. In fact, it has taken me (us) a long time to understand what it really is without attaching some religious definition to it. In times past, admittedly it was more of a burden than a blessing. However, we see it with different eyes now and recognize its importance in keeping communion and intimacy with Father God… remaining in His love. (I understand intimacy as being open with my heart without fear of punishment). It is also important to pray through spiritual warfare. (see 2 Chronicles 20…specifically 22).
A house of prayer as described in Isaiah 56:
“And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast my covenant — these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my alter; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Sovereign Lord declares.
Houses of Prayer are popping up all over the world and have been for many years. They are bringing unity to the church, because the focal point is worshipping God and not denominations.They are bringing people together with one thing in mind: intimacy with our Father.
To us: a house of prayer is a lifeline, a constant dialogue. Sometimes with words and sometimes without.
For us, building a house of prayer meant giving the Lord control of how He wanted to do things in our village….now we are watching Him begin to light His fire.
**If you are impacted by our call to Haiti….we are always in need of monthly givers, which can be done safely on our website. Thank you for considering!