Sunday, January 24, 2010


If any emotion runs consistently through Cite' Lespwa, it is awe and wonder. God keeps showing us His face, again and again, sometimes in the form of a homeless man who walks off the street, sometimes in the shape of a man riding by on his bike stopping to pray with us, sometimes in the faces of children carrying stacks of cash, sometimes in the smiles of friends who stand by us with encouragement, and sometimes in our own reflections. I want to share some of these stories with you.

On Friday morning, I woke up to a group of people circled around me, holding hands and preparing to pray. I stood up to join them, groggy from sleep. Too little sleep combined with the emotional investment of what we are doing was beginning to wear on us. We were all prayed out. So as we bowed our heads, a black man riding by on his bike, a Wal-Mart bag flapping from the handlebars, stopped in front of our camp. He lowered his bike to the ground and stretched out his gentle voice.
"Are you'll about to pray?" He asked. "Is Sarah here?"
"No, she has gone to class, but we are about to pray," we replied. "Would you like to join us?"
He seemed to mull it over for a second, then nodded and moved into the circle of clasped hands. "Would you'll mind if I prayed?" This immediately seemed odd to me. This stranger was going to pray for us? I wasn't skeptical, more like expectant. God had been surprising us again and again, and this situation bore the fingerprint of the divine. And that is when it happened. This man, this stranger, articulated the most encouraging prayer I have ever heard. He blessed us from God for "standing in the gap between Haiti and the Lord." He lifted us up, praised God and shared dreams. He spoke as if he were someone with authority. And when he finished, I looked and realized all of us were weeping. Mark asked the man if he knew that God had sent him here to do that, to which the stranger replied, "You're getting that huh? You're smarter than you look." And he got back on his bike and rode off.
It is remarkable that even when we are expecting God's presence, even when we are expecting to be surprised, God can still do so much more.

From that moment on, we knew God had His finger on the day. And so I wasn't too surprised when I saw a group of elementary aged kids walking towards our camp. They paused to take pictures, so I unleashed the emissary of Cite' Lespwa, my dog Gypsy, and went to greet them. As I got closer, I saw they were holding up something for the picture. I was shocked to discover that in each hand, these children held up plastic bags FILLED with cash! Through a school-wide fundraiser at Apollo Elementary School in Bossier City, these children had raised over $1200 in 3 days! The power each of us holds, even in the minds of small children is simply remarkable.

One of the more remarkable stories to me was being introduced to a homeless man who stopped briefly at Cite' Lespwa. He hadn't planned on it, but he stayed with us for most of the morning as we talked about where he was from, why he was in Shreveport, and what we were raising money for, We shared our different paths in life, our ideas on faith. Our new friend stumbled over his words as he described his addictions, how he had been drinking that morning, how he wasn't blessed like us. We cried together and talked about how he felt God was blessing him through us. As were were packing up a bag filled with food and water, our friend - the stranger riding the bike - stopped by again to pray with us. We all circled and once again, I was in awe. He spoke of the blessings of God, how they are poured over all, how none of us deserve it, but how it is given in spite of that. It was remarkable that this was not only what we had just been discussing, but that it seemed to speak directly to our new friend.
Before he left, our new homeless friend gave us his last $6. He would not take no for an answer and to refuse would be to insult the gift that he was offering. Surely God is in this place.

There have been countless other stories, equally remarkable and worthy of retelling. A woman wrecked her car as she pulled into our camp. She was a bit shaken up, but after getting some water, sitting down for a bit, touring our camp and having a cookie, she wrote us a check.
A 12 year old boy, whose birthday was yesterday, asked his parents and all his friends to just give him cash. He then gave everything he received to help orphans in Haiti.
Countless others have stopped by to drop off food and snacks, an author set up a book table to sell book, donating 100% of the proceeds to Cite' Lespwa. I have been continually amazed at how this community has come together to support the impoverished nation of Haiti, how God is moving through us each and every day, hour by hour, and I know that the promise continues for tomorrow.

Come join us at 7pm for a candlelight service on Monday night at Cite' Lespwa led by independent recording artists, Chasing Canaan. And don't forget to bring some money...

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