When I think about Pastor Jonas one word comes to mind: humility. Pastor Jonas is the picture of humility and one of my favorite people. He pastors a little church in a quaint, poor community in Haiti called Big Tree. I have spent a lot of time in the Big Tree community and with Pastor Jonas and have loved every second of it. I wrote this journal entry after meeting Pastor Jonas last December:
“We finally rounded up all the food, Wilfrid, a car, and timouns (children). We went to Big Tree. My heart aches for that community. It is so beautiful, but so broken. The people are sick but hopeful, and they love to worship in a small little church with broken benches and cloth walls. The whole community weeps together in grief and celebrates together in joy. Wilfrid said the community used to predominantly practice Voodoo until the church arrived. Big Tree has been on my mind and heart since I saw it first two weeks ago. The pastor, an older man, joined us in our prayer and chicken deliveries. He seems to embody the other members of his community as a humble, faithful and kind person.”
When pastor Jonas first came out from behind some trees, I had no idea he was the pastor. When I realized that this humble pastor was walking side by side with his neighbors while also shepherding them, I had to know more.
I was guided to his house, and next to it was a much nicer house, but only half finished. They had run out of money half way through. I prayed about this heavily the next couple weeks. The more I learned about his family, the more I felt pulled to help. I firmly believe that blessing Pastor Jonas’ family would help him to continue to bless his community. So, I decided to finish the rest of their house.
When I returned in August, Pastor Jonas, his wife, and their four grand-daughters had moved into their new home. They still needed some plaster on the walls, new doors and to finish the paint. We put the rest of that project into motion with the money I had left.
One of my favorite things about this whole story, is Pastor Jonas’ wife. I have never felt more welcomed as when I am greeted by her. I have never left her house without some sort of gift, be it six almost-ripe avocados, or bunches of bananas, or even some papayas. This woman greets me with hugs, kisses, and an enthusiastic “Mesi Seigneur!” (thank you, Lord!) as she waves her hands in the air. I can count on all of this every time I see her, even if it’s the second time I’ve seen her in one day. My Haitian friends always laugh and say, “that woman loves to give.” The grandchildren take a 20-minute moto ride to the GVCM Mirebalais school every day. This sweet family has brought blessings to the hurting community of Big Tree. I believe in them and I believe in their mission.
The best part about blessing this family is that I know their blessing will multiply. We get to provide them with a completed house and bathroom! We did not only build a bathroom for the six people that live in that house. We built a bathroom for the whole community of Big Tree. It is a privilege to be used by God to support this place. The best way I know to express this privilege is to exclaim, “Mesi Seigneur!” as I wave my arms in the air.
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