Oak Hills is Going to Haiti!
September 25, 2014 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
For the past few years our church has sent small teams to Haiti to serve in partnership with the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission (NWHCM). These trips have provided eye medical care for the people of the Northwest region in Haiti, one of the most impoverished places in the Western Hemisphere. Outside of these trips the Haitians have no opportunity for medical care for their eyes.
We have the privilege of sending another small team to Haiti October 31 – November 8. Jamie Paauw, an ophthalmologist, Thomas Tarvin, and I will travel with a team of other medical professionals and non-medical helpers in order to staff the eye-clinic for the week. It is expected that nearly 1,000 patients will come to the clinic, seeking a range of eye care from regular checkups to major surgeries.
In addition to the eye clinic, we have the privilege of hosting a pastors’ conference for 15 Haitian pastors. These pastors have been trained and supported by NWHCM. They will travel to the complex from all over the region for a three day training seminar on Reading and Preaching Scripture with Gospel Lenses. I will be leading this training, drawing upon resources from John Piper, Tim Keller, Bryan Chapell, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
As with any missions trip, this ministry is not only that of the three of us who go, but it is the ministry of the whole church. We see this when Paul and Barnabas were set apart by the church at Antioch for their ministry trip to Asia Minor in Acts 13:2-3. “While they (the church) were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying, they (the church) laid their hands on them and sent them off.”
If the church is one body, the act of setting apart one or more members for a specific ministry is the act of commissioning the members to do the ministry on behalf of the whole church. Paul and Barnabas were an extension of the body at Antioch. The ministry in Asia Minor was the church’s.
The act of laying hands on someone with prayer is the act of standing in solidarity with the commissioned people. It’s a unifying act, stating that the church stands with and supports the ministry of their members. This is why Paul cautions against “laying on of hands” in a hasty manner (1 Tim. 5:22). There is a union.
Therefore, Oak Hills Presbyterian Church has a ministry in Haiti. We do not all go, but it is the ministry of our church. Will you stand with us in this ministry? Just as the church at Antioch prayed for Paul and Barnabas, your prayers are greatly coveted for the ministry of our trip to Haiti. Pray for the eye clinic, as it opens up opportunities to share the gospel with people in need. Pray that the people of Haiti would see their greatest need (relationship with God) satisfied in Christ. Pray for my preparations to teach. Pray for the pastors whom I will teach. Pray for their churches, for their growth in gospel fruit and faithfulness. Pray for NWHCM, which aims to see the gospel spread throughout the region. Pray for the overall safety of the team.
We look forward to celebrating with you “all that God [has] done” with this ministry and “how he [has] opened a door of faith to the” Haitians (Acts 14:27).