January 20, 2010
Last November, I had the privilege of spending a week in Haiti, serving alongside Westminster alumnus and OPC missionary, Rev. Ben Hopp. My mission for the week was to encourage the Hopps and assist Ben in training church leaders in the ministry of the word.
We traveled to the Island of Lagonav and spent two days teaching 20 men, many of whom had traveled several hours by whatever mode of transport they could find, on the nature and process of Christ-centered, expository preaching. All of our lessons were delivered through our very capable Creole translator, Max. Sunday, we traveled into the mountains of Lagonav to preach in two of the churches Ben works with on the Island.
The week was full of new and memorable experiences (spaghetti for breakfast, the lizard who lived in my room, the six hour trip riding in the box of the 4x4 truck through the mountains to preach) but four aspects in particular stand out.
First, the pervasive effects of sin’s curse on the people, culture, and land and the consequent need for the gospel with its hope of reconciliation with God and renewal of his creation. Days in Haiti are filled with sights and sounds of profound poverty, chaos, barrenness and systemic corruption.
Second, the incalculable value of investing time and resources to teach national church leaders how to minister God’s word. Under God, the instruction given those men can translate into faithful, clear, edifying proclamation of God’s word in more churches and corners of the land than one missionary could ever serve. That small investment of resources on my part has the potential to multiply fruit exponentially for year to come. This approach to missions is wise and worthwhile!
Third, the cross-cultural relevance of the training Ben and I received at Westminster. Time and again our instruction on preaching proved an impetus for questions from our Haitian brothers. They asked questions of interpretation, theology, and pastoral application. I wish you could have seen the clarity, certainty, and comfort that came over their faces and dispositions as Ben or I would walk them through their questions using the approach to scriptural interpretation and application taught by our professors.
Fourth, I was moved by the vision and commitment with which Ben and his family are approaching his mission in Haiti. It was humbling to daily observe the wisdom, strength, love and faithfulness God has given him to lead those he’s been called to serve. I recall our conversation on the ferry to Lagonav when I asked about his vision for the work. Ben asserted, “It will take me 30 years to make my contribution here, even then we won’t be finished.”
When I left Haiti I was deeply aware of the need for comprehensive gospel ministry in this land. But I was also inspired by the potential for the gospel’s spread and impact through the ministry of servants like Ben, Max and the leaders who had gathered on Lagonav.
I thought about the other mission fields around God’s world where our alumni serve; and how alumni who have remained in the U.S. to serve as pastors, professors, schoolteachers and business people might wisely re-invest their gifts for multiplied kingdom fruit on those fields.
I’m still praying and pondering. Will you join in those prayers? Would you take a moment today to pray for Haiti and for alumni you know on the mission field? And would you pray for Westminster that she would continue to form servant leaders whom the church can send to fill the earth “with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea” (Hab.2:14)?
Sincerely yours, in Christ,
Rev. John Currie, MAR
Director of Alumni Relations and Educational Advancement