Be Strong and Courageous

Be Strong and Courageous

During a recent mission trip to the Dominican Republic, I was introduced to Moise (not sure I am spelling his name correctly). He grew up in Haiti and moved to the Dominican I think in his late twenties. He was planted by GO ministries as a pastor to a small community that is part Dominican residents and part Haitian refugees. He has a school that last year had 30+ students and this year has 5.

We walked the neighborhood and prayed for the community. We then went to the church and Sara led a kid’s activity to teach the kids about Daniel and the Lion’s Den. After that, we went outside and Mike Ponstein led the group in playing some games. We started with four kids and by the end, we had about 30. Word spread, kids got out of school, and all the kids wanted to be a part of the fun.

As we were wrapping up, it was shared with us that Moise’s wife, Naerlyn (I know I’m not spelling her name correctly), was sick. As we dug deeper we learned that she is bedridden. As we dug further we discovered that she has osteoporosis and now has cancer. Doc Hodgman looked at the CT scan and if I remember correctly said that some of her vertebrae were gone. He said in the States she would be under hospice care.

On Thursday we went back to visit with him and pray with him some more. He took us to his home and we were able to meet his wife and pray with her. They have been married for 10 years. They do not have children. When she was healthy she took care of all of the children’s ministry on Sundays and during the week. Moise is having a difficult time finding people in his church to step up and lead.

So basically, I was staring at a man trying to hold a church together of Dominicans and Haitian refugees, run a school, disciple people in the church, all while his wife is dying before his eyes. Suddenly, my schedule, my meetings, and my activities seemed pretty insignificant. I went into Moise’s wife’s room with a few other people to pray and I lost it. I had never met her before but I put myself in her husband’s shoes and wondered how he was keeping it together.

Being a Christian isn’t easy. We have the balance of joy because of whom we serve and the heartache that comes with being human beings faced with the evil and consequences of sin all around us. In Joshua 1:6 God said to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.”

Joshua had just lost his mentor Moses. But God still had work for him to do. So God DIDN’T say, “Buck up. Pull up your bootstraps. Rub some dirt on it. Stop being a crybaby!” He said He had something better for the people of Israel. He told Joshua it would take strength and courage to move past his sadness. But, if Joshua caught it, God also told Joshua there is a better place awaiting His people (like his mentor Moses). Do you know the Greek word for Joshua is Jesus? Jesus experienced sadness with the death of Lazarus. Jesus dealt with a lot of pressure of ministry such as training 12 ordinary men to take on an extraordinary task and, oh yeah, the weight of knowing what He would have to go through on the cross for us. Yet, He was strong and courageous because He had a better place to lead us to.

After meeting Moise and his wife, I felt a renewed energy to be strong and courageous because God has a better place for the people of the world to get to. A place where Moise’s wife may soon get to see. And I can either be overwhelmed by all that needs to be done or relieved by what God has already done and try and lead people there.

Pray for our new friend Moise. Pray for his wife. Pray for lost souls. And when you are finished praying, be strong and courageous and go lead some people to Jesus.