By: Rev. Martin Hawley
Today we left our hotel at 10:00 am and headed out to survey the 40 to 70 acres offered to Jean Paul for cultivation. I got some detailed pictures of this magnificent, rich plot of land, bounded on one side by the Caribbean and on the other three sides by the mountains of Haiti. It lies fallow at the moment, save for some grazing cattle. The large field is surrounded by cultivated properties featuring bananas, plantains, ochra, corn, and other crops. It was blistering hot in the fields — over 95 degrees with 99% humidity — I don't even know what the heat index was out there, but I have never been so overheated after a long walk in all my life. Our main task to complete in acquiring the property now is to demonstrate our ability to clear, irrigate, plant, cultivate, and care for the property. We met with the mayor of LaPlains as part of the property tour. He gave me an additional tour of the very best of the banana trees in an adjoining field.
After the visit to the field, I asked to go back over to the hotel briefly in order to change and to get some water and cokes for us and for Jean Paul's church members who had accompanied us on the trip. We then left around 1:00 pm for the Souls Winning compound for our construction update meeting. We learned that it will take a little over an additional $20,000 in order to finish phase I of the school building project. We also discussed the next steps for Jean Paul's facility. The school will need to be finished inside, including tiling for the floors, window shudders, and metal doors. All the compound buildings need to be painted, and the main two-story house needs a rood repair. Finally, we need to begin planning our marketing/fundraising efforts to raise $200,000 for phase II of the school building construction. Jean Paul's need for a full annual salary in order to support his family also became a topic for our strategic discussion.
Our construction meeting ended a little after 3:00 pm and we set-up for the pastors' training seminar for the late afternoon and evening. Jim and Alan taught on the Ordo Salutis - the process or steps from predestination to glorification. It was my turn to preach the evening service, and my topic was the five points of Calvinism — although I focused on the underlying principle that salvation comes by faith alone and is entirely according to the choosing of God alone. Tomorrow we will devote our seminars and worship to the theme of Sola Fide — "Faith Alone."
After the evening worship we took Jean Paul and his brother Fra Fra with us for a going away dinner at the Visa Lodge for our brother David W. (who has been a wonderful and entertaining addition to our mission team this trip). He is flying back ahead of the rest of us as he has a three month old son at home. It has been amazing to watch him with the orphans! He is also a hit with the local police officials, since he is a federal agent and very friendly.
The Lord has been most good and gracious to us today — providing many blessings and surprises. May He continue to bless all of you during this week!
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