I can clearly see it in my mind’s eye, and to me it’s almost a perfect picture of what the church is supposed to be like. However, you’re not in my head (isn’t that a wonderful thing!) so I’ll show you what I’m picturing.
It was our last night in Sejourne and I was up for preaching the sermon that night. I wanted to convey what I had observed during our four days in the village and how I, as an outsider, saw their church.
I saw Pastor Touloute. One who is an overseer of overseers and truly a man who is living out his life’s mission well.
I saw the young man who played the keyboard (“maestro” in Creole)- a very talented youth who was willing to share his musical gifts to lead us in such joyful worship each night.
I saw the elderly man who was described to me as a “pillar in the community.” He was always there, danced joyfully before the Lord in worship, and worked just as hard as the young men during the day to see the church be built in his community.
I saw the energetic young lady who led the children during their New Year’s celebration. She stood in front of the children and very enthusiastically led them in song and a chant. I wish I had understood the words to the chant, I just know that it continually had an “oh yes!” in it. I would have had a hard time keeping up with that young lady!
Then there were the three young men who were willing to escort me to the water hole so I could bathe after a day of working on the church. None of the rest of the mission team wanted to make the arduous trek down the mountain and back up, but these three guys were happy to go with me.
There was another young lady that I thanked for sticking with me during the time that we were hauling building materials in the dark. I mean it was pitch black outside and we were walking back and forth over a rocky mountain pass. I was never worried because she made sure I didn’t make a wrong turn.
The pastor in Sejourne is not only the pastor, he’s also one of the main drummers! I commended him for being a shepherd who cares deeply for the care of his sheep.
And then there was Fenold. Fenold was the one in that church that I have known the longest. He was the translator in the dental clinic during my first trip to Haiti in 1999. He is a wonderful translator, but more than that, he’s a wonderful man of God who wears his faith on his sleeve. I’ve never heard him complain even though I know that the walk into Sejourne and the hours in the vehicle had to be hard on his body and especially his bad hip.
There was also the mission team. A group of people who love the Haitian people, were willing to give up a week of their life (including New Years) and spend a lot of money to be there in that village.
On the team I specifically mentioned my daughter-in-law, Alisha. She had a wonderful idea and spearheaded a project on that trip and led the women in sewing menstrual pads and in a Bible study on Isaiah 1:18. Not in a million years would I have come up with that idea as a mission project, and yet it was practical and blessed the women from two villages in Haiti. I thanked her for following God’s leading.
Speaking of women, there was also Madam Touloute. She came along on the trip and spent endless hours preparing food for the team, cooking over a primitive three-rock fire. I teased her that she spoiled us, but the truth is that she is a tireless woman with a servant’s heart.
First Corinthians, chapter twelve describes the church as a body and it also states that there is no part of the body that is unnecessary.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27 ESV)
As I looked around that church, there was no one that I would say was unnecessary. Everyone was very different, but no one was unnecessary. That’s the way it is with the church-in Haiti, in the U.S., or anywhere around the world. We need each other and no one is unnecessary. We all use our God-given gifts, causing the body to be whole.