Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A New Year in Haiti!

Photo by Robbie Pruitt, © November 2011

A New Year in Haiti!

It seems strange to be writing a letter in January when the sun is shining and it’s 85 degrees outside—one of the many odd moments that come with living in Haiti. Since the beginning of August, we have been enjoying getting to know a new place, new jobs, new friends, and a new culture. It has been an exciting time, and we have been richly blessed.

Just a couple weeks after we arrived, Robbie dove into his work as the Bible teacher for sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school. He started the semester in all of the classes with series of student presentations about 40 of the most critical stories in the Old and New Testaments. As the students presented their stories, Robbie tied them together and showed the students how they connected with the larger story of God’s plan of redemption. Even the students who have grown up in church were amazed at the connections, and told him that much of what he said was new to them. Even in these few short months, many students have grown deeper in their relationship with Christ. Both of us have recently started to lead discipleship groups with high school students, and we are praying that God will use those groups to draw the students into a closer relationship with him.

Irene has also been busy at work as the school’s Guidance Counselor. Part of this role is to help the seniors with their college application process. Most students at QCS study in the US or Canada, and she’s enjoyed helping them discern God’s call for the next step in their life. Many of the students have dreams of returning to Haiti after college, in order to serve in missions or in other organizations—it is truly humbling to realize that we are, in fact, helping to shape the future leaders of Haiti. Another part of Irene’s work is to provide counseling to children and their families. As in the US, many of the children at this school suffer emotionally in many ways—divorce, post-traumatic stress, separation from parents, grief and loss, and child mistreatment. Being able to walk with people through the counseling process has always been a sacred experience for Irene, and it is a blessing for her to be able to serve this community in that way.

These last few months have been full of many other joys and blessings. Living on campus with about 15 other teachers has been a precious and fun experience of Christian community, with frequent worship nights, volleyball games, dinners, and weekend trips. We have also been trying to learn more about Haitian culture, and have started to take more formal Creole classes (Robbie too!). Haiti, for all of its problems, is a beautiful country with many wonderful people, and we have loved starting to get to know it. Both of us have been writing about our reflections and experiences, and you’re welcome to read them on our blogs at www.irenepruitt.com and www.robbiepruitt.blogspot.com.

We are so grateful for your prayers for us over the last several months. We also think about and pray for you often, and ask the Lord to bless you, protect you, and provide for all of your needs.

With much love,

Irene and Robbie

Please pray...

  • That God would draw us both closer to Himself and continue to transform our lives through His love and power.
  • That all of the students at Quisqueya would come to know God’s saving grace and forgiveness.
  • That the Holy Spirit would use Robbie’s teaching to shine truth and light into the students’ lives.
  • That God would give Irene wisdom in her interactions with students and their families.

Financial Support

Now that we have a clearer picture of our expenses while living here, it has become clear that we need to raise financial support to supplement the partial salaries that the school provides. In order to cover our bills, we need to raise $1000 per month. Would you prayerfully consider supporting our ministry?

You can find a link to our contact and support information page here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On the Rampart

Old City Walls...from the outside, Photo by Chad Rosenthal, Chadica, © July 21, 2008

On the Rampart
(Habakkuk Chapters 1-3)

“I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.” – Habakkuk 2:1

Habakkuk is an Old Testament Minor Prophet, but he is no ordinary prophet. Habakkuk is known as “The People's Prophet.” While most prophets intermediate oracles, or words from the Lord, to His people, Habakkuk seems to take the people’s concerns, and his own concerns, to God. This prophet is full of the questions that we all seem to have deep within us, but we hesitate, or dare even, to ask. In our sufferings and in this fallen world filled with sin, injustice, pride, corruption, and falsehoods of all kinds, we have the “Why?” and the “What?” questions. “Why is this happening to us? Why is God allowing this? What is God doing? What good, if any, can come of this?”

Habakkuk was a prophet as well as a watchman responsible for warning the people of coming danger and judgment. If he failed at his job as watchman, he would be guilty and would have the people’s blood on his hands. The watchman was also responsible for announcing the morning, the dawn of a new day, and the returning of the people to the land. This position held a high responsibility, and exposure and vulnerability to danger. From the ramparts, the defensive walls, the watchman would be the first to see the danger coming and would be the first to be in danger’s path. In Habakkuk’s case, he was watching for the coming judgment and he recognized that he himself deserved what was coming Israel’s way. He was well aware of what was on the horizon at the dawning of a new day, The Judgment Day of the Lord.

This “Day of Judgment” would not be the last word; however, because God had promised Habakkuk that he would do an unbelievable work. God said to Habakkuk in chapter one verse five, “Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.” God was promising judgment. We know this from the verses that follow, but there was going to be more to come, so much more. Habakkuk assumed that God was being unjust for allowing a pagan nation to judge a “more righteous” nation, Israel, but God would ultimately judge both nations. All people would be judged, and no sin would go unaccounted for or un-atoned for.

As Habakkuk looks at the sins of his people, the sins of the pagan nations, and God’s coming judgment, he dares to ask the hard questions. He dares to seek God out. He bravely goes for the answers and risks what he may find. In Habakkuk 2:1, Habakkuk stands at his watch on the rampart, waits, and watches for what God may say to him about all his inquiries. He wonders what he may say to God in response to what he may hear when he is corrected. When he is corrected? At the first glance at Habakkuk 2:1, we may miss this, but he does say, “When I am corrected.” It looks as if Habakkuk is taking responsibility for the coming judgment that God is sending, or at least he is taking responsibility for his part in it. It is at the judgment of the Israelite people by the Babylonians that Habakkuk begins questioning God, and now he waits for God’s response and owns what may be coming his way as well.

God assured Habakkuk that no sin would be overlooked, not the sins from the pagan Babylonians who would judge Israel, not Israel’s sins, and not even Habakkuk’s own sins. God promised that he would judge. Habakkuk pleaded with God in Habakkuk chapter three verse two: “O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.”

God did extend His mercy in the midst of His wrath and judgment. His mercy would indeed come in the person of His own Son Jesus Christ who would ultimately take on the wrath and judgment, which we all deserve because of our sin. God took our judgment in our place. If we are willing and able to see what God has done, we will indeed “be utterly astounded!” God has exercised His wrath and judgment, and in His mercy, God has taken it in our stead; setting us free from our sin; setting us free from ourselves; and setting us free from hiding behind our “defensive walls.”

Having received such forgiveness and freedom, we are able to say with Habakkuk from on top of the rampart, "Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills (Habakkuk 3:18-19).”


Bibliography

Elwell, Walter A. ; Comfort, Philip Wesley: Tyndale Bible Dictionary. Wheaton, Ill. : Tyndale House Publishers, 2001 (Tyndale Reference Library), S. 1296

Jamieson, Robert ; Fausset, A. R. ; Fausset, A. R. ; Brown, David ; Brown, David: A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments. Oak Harbor, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. Hab 2:2

The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Hab 2:1

Walvoord, John F. ; Zuck, Roy B. ; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 1:1512