Thursday, June 2, 2011

Love letters

Last week at WyldLife Club, the kids heard the message of the love of Jesus, how He died for them because He loves them, and how He wants them to love Him as well.  Rachel, one of my co-leaders, did a great job giving this message, centered around the passage of Jesus asking Peter if he loved Him, that really spoke to the hearts of the kids.  At the end of her talk, she passed out pieces of paper and asked the kids, if they wanted to, to write a small note to Jesus.  I want to share with you some of those little love letters to Jesus that they wrote:

• I love you.

• We do so many sins and you keep on forgiving us. It’s just not fair that you had to die for our shame.

• K-I love too I want to feed your sheep I want to do it help me Jesus.

• YES, I love you. I love Jesus Thanks!

• I love U! I Love U! Jesus. –L

• I love Jesus back with all my heart, soul, and my mind.

• Lord I just want you to forgive me and love me back. I’ve always loved you and you know.

• I actually try very very hard to remember and follow God… But I absolutely do LOVE the LORD a lot! Also, I need help, for friends and relationships, I need HELP! Love:K

• Dear Jesus: I love you & I want to go in your way I want to be accepted like your daughter teach me how to go in your way. I love U! Amen. Thanks for everything!

• Dear Jesus I want to tell you I love U back. Thanks for dying for us. I just want to tell you that I really apreshiate that you gave me a life. Thanks for EVERY thing Att: C

• I love Jesus, and I want to be a better Christian in my actions and behavior. I love you and I will follow you. ~MTB girl
• C: Yes I will follow you I will try to do the correct things thanks for dying on the cross.

• Yes Jesus I love you back I know I’m not perfect and I fall some times but doesn’t matter what happens know that I love you.

• Jesus Thank you for blessing me and letting me be here tonight. RL

• Hi

• Jesus I am writing this to you to ask you for forgiving for all bad thing I have made.

• Dear Jesus, Yes, I do love you even though you haven’t answered all my prayers. I love you a lot I love how you love me knowing what I have done. –K

• Dear Jesus thank you so much for saving me, thank you for dying on the cross for me. I pray that you would guide me and help me through these next years.

• Dear Jesus, I love you, you died for me and for my sins. I’m sorry for not saying I love you. Sincerty, L

• Dear God, I’m going through some hard stuff in my life but I want you to know that I love you and thank you for watching over me. Love, S

• I will follow & I believe ur there 4 me.

• Yes I love you.

• I love you & you love me we are a happy family I LOVE YOU!

• Jesus, I love you and I want to follow you and want YOU to take control of my life.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Easter leap into another culture

Today, for Easter service, I decided to try a different church near my house instead of going to the one I have been attending.  The Baptist church is just two blocks from my house.  I had no idea what time it started, but since I know that a lot of the churches start at 10am, I thought perhaps this one did too.  As I was walking there, I didn't see anyone walking toward the church.  Well, perhaps it doesn't start at 10, I thought.  When I got there, there were definitely people there.  As I approached, I asked a man standing outside what time it started.  He told me it started at 8am and ended at 12pm.  Wow!  Long service.  As I entered I made a very big observation....

This was a Haitian church service!!  Everyone in the church was Haitian and the service was done in a combination of French and Creole!!!  Wow!  The church was packed full.  I entered and went to stand in the back, but a very nice gentleman gave me his seat.  At times, I understood a few French words from my lessons (I have been taking French lessons now once/ week for about  the past 2 months).  At one point, they were introducing visitors (I know this because the man who gave me his seat told me this in Spanish).  Then, someone went up front and said in English, "We have an American with us today.  I don't know her name, but will she please stand up and introduce herself".  Yikes!!!  I do not know enough French yet to do a decent introduction, so I spoke in Spanish (which everyone there understood anyway- Haitians are very intelligent people-  they know 2 or 3 or more languages!)

The service involved a lot of singing- songs I did not know but enjoyed.  The sermon lasted only about 20 minutes and was centered around the passages of Isaiah 53 and Matthew 27.  The service was very good.

What a strange experience.  It has been a while since I stepped into a country where I was not able to understand the language.  Here I was 2 blocks from my house and it felt like I was in a different country- surrounded by people from a different culture than what I have grown acustomed to and speaking languages that I don't understand.  Yet, while I was there, I couldn't help marvel at the fact that even though these men and women are praying in a language that I don't understand, God understands them completely.  He created these other languages.  It doesn't matter which language you use- whether it is English, Spanish, French, Creole, or any other language- God created them all and He understands you!!  How amazing is that!!!

Happy Easter!!!  He is Risen!!!!!! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jehovah's Witnesses

Lately, I have been seeing quite a few Jehovah's Witnesses walking the streets of Jarabacoa, particularly American Jehovah's Witness "missionaries".  These Americans have moved here in order to target the English-speaking population of Jarabacoa and bring them the information of the JWs.  The funny part about this is that about 98% of the native English-speaking population here are Christian missionaries!

The JWs have started an English service at their hall and have been going around to find English-speaking people in town to invite to their services and share the literature.  One of them in particular has latched on to me.  I met C when she was driving through the neighborhood looking for houses that were for rent.  She stopped to ask me about a house she thought she had seen for rent (turns out it was my house- apparently right before I moved in).  We started talking and I found out she was a JW.  Ever since then, she has made it a point to stop frequently here at the house to give me literature and talk to me about the "Bible" and the "truth". 
Since her visits have become more frequent, I have started researching more about what the JWs actually believe and have discovered how much they truly are a cult.  Let me outline just a few of the beliefs of the JWs that is in contradiction to Christianity.

  • They believe that there is only one God in one person- there is no Trinity.
  • They believe that Jesus was the first creation of God- that He was created, was the first angel, was named Michael, and that Michael (Jesus) helped in the creation of the rest of the universe.
  • They believe that Michael became Jesus when he was born on Earth, that he died on a torchure stake, and that he rose spiritually but not physically.
  • They believe that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force and not a member of the Trinity (no trinity).
  • They believe that a person must do good works in order to be in favor with Jehovah (God).
  • They believe that only 144,000 people will go to heaven.  These specially chosen people will inherit immortal life and live in heaven with Jehovah (God).
  • They believe the rest of the JWs will inherit eternal life and will live on Earth paradise forever.
  • They participate in communion only one time per year and only those who have immortal life can partake.
  • Before a JW can be baptized, they must attend a certain number of classes to learn about the religion and answer questions before a panel of leaders.  These classes are held every day and the JW is encouraged to attend class 5 days a week.
  • The JW bible has been wrongly translated- changed in order to fit the beliefs of the JWs. 
While Jehovah's Witnesses may use the same vocabulary as Christians use, they are not talking about the same thing.  They have been brainwashed by their constant studies to believe that only JWs will live forever.  They have had extensive training on how to speak to non-JWs and how to defend their faith.  Be careful if you encounter a JW.  While they may talk about Jesus and God and the Bible, THEY ARE NOT CHRISTIANS!