Haiti—wild. Maybe you saw the pic I posted on fb of over 4000 people on the St. Marc YWAM base. Our time in Haiti was very productive. We are helping the base director, Wayne, to establish a culture of honor on the base—where relationships thrive, people are valued, and productivity is maximized by teams working together. Five days after arriving we ended with a three-day staff conference that I taught—teaching principles of building bridges, breaking down walls, valuing others, communication, delegation and more. After the first hour, my agenda was interrupted by the staff repenting to one another, breaking agreements, and tearing down walls of division. I never got a chance to teach again that morning. The conference ended the same way on the afternoon of the third day. It was because the Holy Spirit had freedom to move, convict, and speak. Oh, so much more happened that I can’t share, but suffice it to say that we know why we were needed to come, and sent—by God, by ACTS.
We left the following Thursday for the DR with the Haiti leadership team. Fourteen hours of travel later, and three breakdowns, we arrived at the conference center at Puerto Plata, DR. Ruthie and I had a couple of days to chill (a funny word to use for being in the DR!) On mother’s day we went horseback riding with Terry and Ingvild Snow, the founders of YWAM Haiti. I had a blast celebrating Ruthie. It wasn’t one of those American horseback riding events where you go 1/2 mile an hour on tame trails after signing ten wavers and disclaimers. It was wild and fun—enough to make your bottom remember it for over a week.
We connected in the DR with many leaders there, one after the next, some of them in tears about various things in their life that don’t make sense, though we have had our share of laughs, too, with many. We have a unique opportunity to influence influential leaders and incredible workers in the Kingdom, serving with YWAM in many countries of the Caribbean.
Though busy connecting, teaching, counseling, Ruthie and I have still had some in-between time to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary (5/22) and Ruthie’s 60th b-day (4/29).
As we fly home, looking down on the Bahamas, with lines of blue green “stripes” that are almost phenomenal, I reflect on what seemed to be a perfect trip that God orchestrated each day. I don’t say that religiously or gratuitously—He really did, in a way that was so obvious it almost made us chuckle—quite obvious! Some of the people who initiated conversations with us, we wondered why we were taking the time, until after talking and praying with them, and realizing how we had been enriched by spending time with gifted, compassionate, called people.
On the next to the last day, Ruthie and I walked the beach in the morning. I felt a severe incompleteness, as if something of great purpose was left unfulfilled. I didn’t know exactly what it was, but we prayed. Later that day a “prophetic word” and a “prophetic scripture reference” Ruthie and I delivered to someone, arose to the surface and opened a major door, one that put the kiss on our trip and made it all worth it to have come.
Can I tell you one more story? Our conference was in Puerto Plata—the north coast of the DR. But I was told it would be more cost effective to fly out of Santo Domingo by the facilitator of the conference—the far south of the island. We had travelled through Santo Domingo with the Haiti group to get to the conference, and the ride was a grueling four-hour ride over a mountains accompanied by the wild, wild, driving of the islanders. Having arrived at our north destination, I felt as if I had made a big mistake and should have never agreed to NOT fly out of Puerto Plata, where everyone else was flying out of, but I did as I was told. I got Dana Shannon to call American Airlines and see if I could switch my reservations. The cost would have been over $500. I dreaded taking an extra day to bus down to Santo Domingo, stay over night, grab a taxi, when I could have gone to the airport just 15 minutes from the conference. I am so careful about planning, and I beat myself up for the first few days—until: “God, I did my best. Do you have a divine plan? I give up my schedule control. I ask you to reveal the reason for this happening.”
The rest of the story: What happened on that trip back to Santo Domingo, and what happened at the Santo Domingo YWAM base where we stayed overnight was one of the best things of this whole mission trip. God met us there, used us, connected us with a whole team of young people that stopped there from the conference, from St. Lucia. I was asked to teach that evening, and it ended up with the Lord moving in many ways—and that’s just the beginning. We sit here saying—God forbid we would have forced our way and not had the experience before leaving, in Santo Domingo. It re-taught me a big lesson: to trust God and not control my own agendas.
We will be glad to be home. Almost three weeks of continuous “ministry” to people. We will enjoy catching up on rest in our own bed and showering with hot water and water pressure. Thanks again for all your care and love as we invest in the Caribbean. It is working well, and for that, continually we are blessing God our Father, and staying before Him so that our labor is from the vine. We look forward to seeing you soon on our arrival home.
With much love,
Bruce and Ruthie