People often ask me about church in Haiti. Right now it’s on my porch.
For the second time this week the guys in our technician training class have gathered to have a time of worship together. Not just singing worship. Right now as I’m typing several people are praying, some are singing, there is no shyness.
After their gathering the other night I was thinking about cultural differences. In North America there is religious freedom. We can worship where and when we want for the most part. I believe at times political correctness works against that, but that’s just my opinion. My point is that I come from a country where you can drive down the road and see any number of churches or places of worship from any number of religious backgrounds.
Haiti is a country that is very open to evangelism and faith. Predominantly there is a lot of Catholicism, but there are many evangelical churches too. Often, and this is not me bashing the country but rather a cultural explanation, people go to church here because it is the socially acceptable thing to do. There are also many very sincere Christians. We find the same thing in Canada.
The thing that struck me the other night, and is hitting me again, is that these men are choosing to use their evening to worship, to pray, to share and preach to each other. They are doing this because not only do they have the freedom to, but because they want to. They could be just hanging out, socializing with each other, but no, they are choosing to spend their time being the Church.
I believe that people can “do” church anywhere because the Church is essentially God’s people gathering together to share their faith and be in community with each other. I think it’s so interesting that a culture that has very little compared to the culture I come from, has figured this key thing out. What is happening on my porch is not the exception. My friend Barb was telling me today about a birthday party that she went to for her school directors wife. Rather than it being a time to celebrate this womans birthday, they used it as a time to give thanks and praise to God for her and for the things God is doing. What?!? Aren’t birthday’s for presents and cake?
This week has been a week of learning for me. Learning about teaching as I took my turn with our class. Learning about communication as I tried to use my Creole and help our students learn about project planning. Learning about culture and how there are many differences, but also similarities. And learning about faith. In a place where there is little my eyes were opened to some richness and I feel blessed.
As I go to sleep tonight I think I may just have a hymn or two rolling around in my head thanks to a group of men who think praying and singing and talking to each other is more important than being shy because they’ve only known each other for four days.