Friday, April 05, 2013

The Ministry of Presence: Second Cape May Baptist and Port a Piment

Last week we had a team from Second Cape May Baptist Church in Marmora, NJ here to visit their sister church in Port a Piment, Haiti.  These two churches have had a  partnership for over 30 years!  I (Becky Thompson) had the privilege of going out with this team along with team leader Benjamin Altema and 3 other Haitian staff.  It’s not often I get a chance to go out with the team while Rob stays home with our kids.  Since our sister-in-law was coming in the team, it was the perfect opportunity for me to go out.  I’m thankful that Rob is willing to give me these opportunities!  For a more personal account of this trip, read The Ministry of Presence: My Personal Testimony over at Rob and Becky’s blog.

IMG_0360During our week in Port a Piment, the idea that kept running through my mind was what RMI President Dan Shoemaker calls “the Ministry of Presence.”  God’s presence, in us, overflowing in ministry to others.  It’s the ministry of celebrating Christ together and our relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ.  It’s a ministry of encouragement. I felt like it was truly manifested that week in everything the US team did.  One thing this church does very well is recruit new members for each team every time they come.  They have seen the impact this makes on their church at home. When more and more church members are exposed to this long term partnership, more and more people are engaged in the ministry of presence, both in Haiti and back home in the US.

Unfortunately for this team, their flight from New York was delayed a long time and they didn’t arrive at our Guest House in Cayes until 10 pm!  They were all very tired from their journey but ready to visit with their brothers and sisters in Port a Piment!  After orientation, packing up and lunch on Saturday, we all gathered for our traditional prayer circle and off we went.  After a 2 hour drive we arrived on the outskirts of Port a Piment.  Waiting for us was the youth brigade and a band, and they welcomed the team with a parade through the town leading to the church.  Saturday afternoon and evening were spent getting settled in and preparing for ministry in the days ahead.

This team didn’t have any big “project” to do.  Their goal was encouragement; to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  They worshipped together during 2 services, and collaborated by having an open-air gospel service in the community.  Praise the Lord for a new brother-in-Christ in the Port a Piment area named Mackenson!  They planned special gatherings for the ladies and men’s groups and had a lot of fun during a gathering with the school kids.  We visited shut-ins and had the opportunity to pray with them.  Twice we visited 2 different churches in the district: Sentiment Church and Bosquette Church.  The goal for all these activities was to build relationships and share the love of Christ.

IMG_1802 One highlight was our visit to Sentiment Church.  We were told we would drive and then get out and have to hike about 30 minutes to get there.  We followed a river bed, had to cross the river by foot 3 times.  We all had squishy shoes when we arrived!  The last 10 minutes we turned from walking along the riverbed to walking up the mountain.  When we arrived a the top of this small mountain, the small, crude church building was decorated beautifully and was full of people waiting to worship with us.   It was very humbling to worship with this body of believers.   Not long ago, the evangelism committee at the church in Port a Piment decided to go to this area and share the gospel.  Many came to Christ and from this, the Sentiment Church was born. This area was the church in Port a Piment’s “Judea” (Acts 1:8.)  It was exciting to see the fruit of the Great Commission in action.IMG_0427

This team was really impacted by how well the Haitian church received them.  They were humbled by the sacrifices made to provide beds and the sacrifice of time in preparing meals.  This wasn’t just a time for the American church to come down and serve the Haitian people.  The Haitian church took joy in serving their brothers and sisters who came to be with them.

Overall it was a very fruitful week for this team, living out the ministry of presence.

Second Cape Port a Piment March 2013

1 comment :

Nick Mealey said...

Very happy that my mom, Cyndy Kopitsky, could be a part of this adventure. Nobody was sure if she'd be able to make it due to injuries but she is a strong and determined individual who has constantly made sacrifices for others. Love you mom!! So do the Haitians!!!!