Category Archives: Haiti Journal Dec 2010

Made It Home Dec 11, 2010

I am writing this morning Dec. 11 from my home in Madisonville, Louisiana.  This sentence in itself says more than any person could comprehend because through man’s eyes what happen in order for our team to be home from Haiti is impossible but I am reminded of the Words of Jesus from Matthew 19:26  “ With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” or the words from Dr. Luke in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 1 verse 37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

As I write this morning I am overflowing with joy because of the things that Jesus has done this week in my life and the life of our team including moving us out of Haiti. I thank you for covering us in prayer as I have received prayer notes from hundreds of you who took a moment to pray for the work being done in Haiti. I want to give all glory to Jesus Christ because He is the “THE WAY.”

The Lord gave us a clear passage out of Port-au-Prince and across the border.  We paid the custom fees which were hiring than normal but while waiting in line and talking with others trying to get out they encountered road blocks in Haiti and had to pay out a lot of money to people on the street that were taking advantage of the unrest by setting up their own patrols and charging folks to pass through the road blocks. We cleared customs and another twelve checkpoints in the DR without any delay. While several hours away from Santo Domingo DR I called American Airlines to see if we could go straight to the airport and take the last flight out to Miami for the day. The agent was very kind but said it is sold out but you can go on to the airport and try because “perhaps” some cancellations may occur. I shared this with our team and driver and we all agreed to go for it. We arrived at the airport at approximately 3:15 p.m. and the line to get to the counter was about 100 deep. While in the line I was asked by our Driver to go with him to a desk while our team remained in line. I can tell you within five minutes through man’s eyes it all looked to be impossible but through Jesus we had our boarding passes, checked our bags, cleared customs and now standing at gate B 2 for a departure to Miami. We arrived on an American Airlines flight back to New Orleans at 11:29 p.m. on Friday night Dec. 10.  Praise the Lord!

On the flight home I had the opportunity to visit with those around me who also made it out of Haiti after having their flights cancelled for several days. I am grateful for the Christian Ministries taking place and pray that through these efforts a greater effort of coordination and partnership will occur among the ministries in order for the Christian Community to be the best with the resources God is providing all of us work in Haiti.

I have been asked would I go back to Haiti. The answer is yes! I have been asked doesn’t the unrest scare you. I said no because we have the protection of Jesus Christ and He is at work in Haiti. I was asked doesn’t the behavior along with the destruction by the Haitian people make you feel like you are wasting your time. I say no because I have seen people in Haiti changed by Jesus using laborers to bring forth a harvest.  Yes, I am grateful that God has chosen to use His people from around the world to bring forth a movement of God and to see daily people turning to Jesus. I am reminded here of the truth of God’s Word from Daniel 12:10 “ Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly: none of the wicked will understand, but the wise will understand.”

Well, I am home now and asking the Lord to use me up today for His glory. As I go out about the day I am asking Him to put people in my life to tell the story of Jesus, to preach wherever the opportunity is available and to disciple those who are willing to submit themselves to the teaching and discipline of God’s Word.

In closing I thank you again for praying for me and for our team. We have been blessed by an incredible week of seeing God at work.  He has ordered our every step and I thank God for a team that was willing to submit to Him.

The take away from the week: 1.  I was reminded of my Doctoral work which was done in the area of prayer, discipleship and evangelism and God showed me that work is valid and He will use it to help others. 2. To continue to pray for the ongoing work of Haiti and to remember that as Sheppard’s of flocks that even one is worth the cost. 3. To ask people to pray about specific matters and to have the faith to act upon that petition is living out my faith in Jesus.

Finally I encourage you to take a moment and read Psalm 40 & 41 and may the Holy Spirit speak to you as He has me through these two chapters of Scripture. When time permits I will send you an email from (yousendit) or from Facebook that I have uploaded some photos from the week. You can also continue to see reports that will be aired all of next week from WDSU TC Channel 6 or WDSU.Com in New Orleans about the work and opportunities in Haiti.

Once again I count it a joy to call you my friend and to pray for you as God brings you to my mind. I ask that you also pray for me and for the work that God has for me to do.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti December 9, 2010

** Praise the Lord for Answer Prayer – we are leaving Haiti for the Dominican Republic at 5 am on December 10 Brief Description Below.

I have also attached the other Dec. Updates from this week in case you missed them.

On Thursday when I sent my Haiti Diary out I included a request to ask God to provide a way out of Haiti.  My specific requests was that the Haiti airport would open up and that we would fly out and arrive home on time. I begin receiving notes from people that they would join us in prayer.  I received an email from the Airline around noon today confirming that our flight would be cancelled and they would rebook. I then received an email that they were unable to rebook and would I call the airline. I did call the Airline and they rebooked the flight for Sunday. During the next hour I heard from different sources that the airport could remain closed for additional days. I ask the Lord to show me what His plans were for us and he began unwrapping them one step at a time.  The Lord brought a friend to mind and I sent a text to him. He called and asked some specific questions and within five minutes I heard from my friend’s contact that had a way to get us out and wanted to know if he could move on it. I told him I needed to confirm with the Airline and while I was working to confirm with the airline I received a call from a friend of the guy who called me wanting to know our location because he wanted to confirm we were okay. He also told me that he was going to Santo Domingo in the morning and that he could take our team to Haiti. What a blessing for the Lord to answer the prayer of His people. I praise God and give thanks for people praying with and for us.  We leave for Santo Domingo at 5:00 am and it should take between six to eight hours for us to get into Santo Domingo, DR. We are schedule to depart on Saturday and arrive in NOLA before noon.  Please continue to pray for our safety and for God’s favor as we go across the border from Haiti to the Dominican Republic.

Prior to all of the Airline work we had left where we are staying in Haiti and drove to a faith based hospital to deliver additional supplies and to visit with some of the patients. The drive to the hospital was surreal. The tap taps along with the majority of vehicles are still not running so the streets were clear of vehicles but the streets are filled with barricades set up by the protestors.  We drove by a lot of people just standing outside their homes watching the streets as many people walked by and a few drove by them. It was like the calm before the storm.

The hospital now has overcrowded conditions because people have come in and do not want to leave because of the protesting taking place in the city of Port-au-Prince. This hospital also receives Cholera patients and had received one patient during the night. We thank God that the patient is doing okay and will survive this illness. The time at the hospital was sweet as we visited with the Administrator and Deputy Administrator and some staff. They showed us where they are storing medical supplies; talked about some future expansion and we saw some of the patients.

We left the hospital and took off to see the pastor of the Bethany Church where we had a team clear rubble and build a frame and a roof for the church in May 2010. The church still needs walls and hopefully that can be done in the days ahead.

We then left the church and were headed to another location to do some street witnessing and the news team was going to interview people when the news crew received a call that some of the NBC personnel were here and could help them send video back to WDSU in NOLA. So, our plans changed and we went to where the NBC team was located for our news crew to upload video. The team went to meet the NBC personnel and I stood by our vehicle and called my wife Jerilyn to tell her about our flight situation.  While on the phone she shared with me that a good preacher friend Jerry Spencer’s wife Sue Spencer passed away last night. The funeral for this Saint will on Saturday Dec. 11.  I then went on up to where our crew was with the NBC crew. The first person I saw was Ann Curry, WOW! She and the NBC crew had just come from the mountains of a remote village where they were doing a Dateline special on Cholera.  I want to tell you that this crew is special and it was a joy to be around them for several hours as they interacted with each other. The Dateline special will be in January.  While I did not get to personally share the Gospel one on one with each one I and our team was able to testify about the things of God as they asked questions about our involvement in Haiti and me being a Baptist Preacher and doing mission work in Haiti.

I will be finalizing a plan to share with FBC Covington about our long-term opportunities in Haiti and hope that other churches will join us in the effort. I will share that with you early in 2011.

I continue to be amazed at the Christians in Haiti. They have a love for the Lord Jesus Christ and they are not afraid of sharing the story of Jesus. I encourage you to continue praying for the Haitian people that those without Jesus will respond to Him and that these people will be a catalyst for seeing a World Wide Revival.

I will send a final post on Saturday. In the meantime thanks for allowing me the opportunity to share this with you. May the Lord Jesus bless you and your family and may Jesus be the center of your discussions during this Christmas Season.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay Johnston

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti December 8, 2010

The morning came quickly after being out late with the WDSU News Team following the announcement of the Presidential election on Tuesday evening. As I stepped out on the front porch of the Florida House I experienced one of the loudest sounds of all and that is the sound of silence. It was so quiet and the normal sounds you hear around the house were strangely missing.  You did not hear the chatter of the Haitians coming to the house to work as drivers, interpreters or security personnel. You did not hear the vehicles running up and down the street. You did not hear the chatter of children heading off to school. It was silent. This sound of silence reminded me of a contrast from when I was here in February and the morning following an earthquake the streets were filled with people singing praises unto the Lord compared to following a night of protest after the Presidential election results were shared with the people of Haiti. The silence continued on for the next few hours as we begin hearing that all stores, business, etc were going to be closed and yes even the airports of Haiti would be closed for a day or two.

We were to travel to Nippes today to deliver some medical equipment but that was cancelled because of the protest in the streets. Our team visited with an International team staying in the same location and as mid-morning approached our team had enough sitting so we gathered our Interpreter, Driver and Security and took to the streets. We were not gone from the house more than five minutes when we hit a major street that was flooded with thousands of protesters.  The protesters were burning items along with destroying posters of the 2nd runner up in the election. The 2nd runner up is in a run off and he is also the son in law of the current President. The people have come to know they cannot trust the President so they believe they cannot trust a relative. We witnessed them tearing down and burning large billboards and anything else that was related to him. In fact, as we were driving around we came upon this candidate’s headquarters, which were torched by opponents.

We spent some time around the Palace just picking up on the atmosphere when I was approached by one man who begin asking me a series of questions.  His primary need seem to be that he wanted to know whom I was for in the election. Since I am not a voter and do not know enough about the candidates I turned the conversation to Jesus. I soon realized a growing number of people begin crowding around and within minutes many people were around and the conversation led from simply one to many gathered around as I preached the story of Jesus Christ.

We then headed back to the house so the News Team could get their stories into the station. They are having some trouble getting the video out so join us in praying that it will go to their station in a timely way. You can go to WDSU.com to see the stories of Haiti.

I heard one young man say to the news reporter that is travelling with us is that we are stuck in Haiti because we cannot trust anyone and therefore we have no hope.  The faces of the protesters who were predominantly men were wearing faces of desperation and no hope. I think the people of Haiti have been misled to put their trust and hope in government leaders. It is a reminder that if we do not trust The One Who is Jesus Christ we have no hope.

We have marveled at the hand of God and how He has been at work this week. I am grateful that God is alive and at work in my life and the life of our team.

Please continue to pray that the people of Haiti will hear the message of Jesus Christ and turn to Him.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay Johnston

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti December 7, 2010

We left the Florida house on the morning of December 7 for a full day of sharing the Gospel, meeting new friends, video taping and visiting a hospital where we were able to bless a faith based hospital with medical supplies.

Our first stop was in the community of Carrefore, Haiti where we met with Pastors and the Florida Rebuild Director about potential opportunities of working with them in the Florida Rebuild Project in this area of Haiti. We also discussed ministry opportunities like medical clinics, VBS, Revival Meetings along with several other options for ministry. I encourage you to Google Carrefour and learn more about this area of Haiti and to pray for the people of Carrefour. The concrete blockhouses being built in this area are 12 x 16 and they cost 2,500. During this part of our day I had the opportunity to share Jesus with a young man name Jonathan.

We then went to the Unviersity and Government District of Haiti to share the gospel and interview people on the street. This is the area where the Haiti Palace is located and was very quiet today because of the pending presidential election results. I did get to present the Gospel to several Haitians in this area today and would like to ask you to pray for one young man name Carlos.  The specific prayer request is to pray that Carlos remain strong in his Christian faith and that his work will provide for his family.  It was good to be in this area to see that a small amount of rubble has been removed. I still remember from our coming in February the stench of bodies that were buried alive during the January 12 Earthquake. As I looked around this area and remembered the thousands who died I could only pause to ask the Lord to revive this land and to save those who walk the streets today from their ways so they will not have eternal separation from Him.

The visit to one of the hospitals in Port-Au-Prince was for the purpose of dropping off supplies. The Administrator and Deputy Administrator were please to see us today. We also received extended time from them today. We got a first hand look at where they are receiving and treating Cholera patients. This hospital is a faith-based hospital in Port-Au-Prince.  I encourage you to Google another hospital called Haiti Hospital and see how you might be able to help them in the future.

Today the election results were announced for the next President of Haiti.  Since I am travelling with an NBC News affiliate I went with them tonight to go see the announcements of who would be elected. However, we did not make it because of the riots and tire burning on the streets.  The most amazing covering took place as we were out on the streets. We prayed before we left for the Lord to orchestrate our travel and so He did. As we travelled we were behind a police convoy and on the way back home we were in front of a police convoy.

We were blessed with safety as we travelled and grateful for the opportunity to work with wonderful folks. I will include some photos about today’s trip.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti December 6, 2010

As this email goes out this morning I send a Salute and Thank You to those that fought during World War II on this day of remembering Pearl Harbor.

On Monday our mission took us out of the city of Port-Au- Prince to the Village of Grand Bolvage.  This village is located high above Port-Au –Prince in the mountains, which brought an opportunity to enjoy some cooler weather for a few hours. On the way up this mountain road which often was not wide enough for the truck we were in but especially as we approached ladies on donkeys or a group of people walking and transporting goods on the top of their heads we stopped at one school thinking this was the school we were looking for today. We quickly found out it was not the school and the Principle invited us to stop on the way back down the mountain.  So with a new set of directions we took off to the very top of the mountain where we visited a school being sponsored by Haitian’s who now live in the US. The school has over 400 students with one class currently meeting outside and three other classes are still meeting together in one room with three different teachers since the earthquake. The school is hoping to have the new classroom finished within the next several months. We had a good visit and enjoyed meeting some new friends.

On our way back down the mountain we stopped at the school where we were invited by the principle to visit upon completing our task with the first school. We did stop and the children with songs greeted us. We left this school only to return where we spent time learning more about the school and to discover if they have any sponsors. While visiting with the Principle and Superintendent I had the opportunity to share the story of Jesus with them. I continue to pray for Robert and Eln Diem that they may accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

As we continued our journey back to Port-au-Prince we stopped at Bonrepos, which is a village that was totally destroyed by the Earthquake. This area is one of three areas where Florida Baptist are giving leadership to rebuilding homes. The houses are 12×16 and cost $2,500 per home. This project is a blessing to the people because they will move out of tents and tin sheds into these concrete houses. We had the opportunity to meet the community Pastor and a couple of the Haitian rebuild teams under the Florida Rebuild Leadership effort.  I am encouraged by this project and also discovered that this community also needs the physical building of the church rebuilt. I will bring back information with the hope the people of FBC Covington will support along with other churches coming together to help rebuild and support the teaching of Christ in this community. It was good to hear the men and the pastor as they celebrated the work of Christ. . After we visited with the workers we were able to spend time with the Southern Baptist Leaders from Florida that have responsibility for this rebuilding effort. Our team was encouraged with the leadership and the plans to rebuild this and other areas of Haiti. I encourage you to think about giving a donation to the Florida Baptist Convention for Haiti Rebuild or Haiti Partnership missions.

In closing it is our understanding that the Haitian Election officials are to announce on Tuesday Dec. 7 that election results for a new president so I ask that you pray for safety and for our trip home to not be hindered by demonstrations.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay

Jay’s Haiti Journal from Dec 5, 2010

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti  December 5, 2010

“Listen! I hear a band playing music.”  This is what I said to my Haiti Team Members as we excited the aircraft in Port-Au-Prince.  The sound of music I heard was a joyful sound.  It appeared that not even the wait to board buses to be transported to immigration was not a bother anyone because music was in the air. This is my third trip into Port-Au-Prince since the January 12 earthquake and this was the first time a band playing Zydeco greeted us in fact it was the first time any music was playing at the airport during my recent travels into Haiti. The music created excitement among the arriving passengers and made the immigration process go by quickly.

Upon leaving the airport we arrived at The Florida House where we will be staying most of the week and we were greeted by many of our Haitian Brothers in Christ whom we have come to know and love here in Haiti. It appears that God is using the people coming to the Florida House to sharpen many of these young men in their Christian walk and I can testify their walk with Christ sharpens me.

We soon left the Florida House to catch up with some fellow Louisianans that have been operating a medical clinic for the last week. We have two team members with us that work with WDSU News Channel 6 an NBC affiliate in New Orleans so they got to work real quick by videotaping and interviewing physicians and patients at the clinic.

We then left the medical clinic and went to the church of one of the Pastor’s who served as our interpreter in May. We really wanted to see this person today because a presentation was to take place with the giving of a gift to the pastor for the Church’s orphanage from the Haitian community of New Orleans. The presentation was made but the unexpected opportunity was afforded me to preach to the gathering. I preached from the Gospel of John Chapter 21 and upon extending an invitation the Holy Spirit moved into the hearts of ten people coming to give their life to Christ. The pastors we have been working with start the disciplemaking process immediately and this was no exception as they took the ten people and divided them up among disciplmakers immediately. This was a sweet time of seeing the Holy Spirit at work.

Our team returned to the Florida House and after having an opportunity to get unpacked we went and worshipped with others staying in the House. This time of worship was encouraging as volunteers testified about the work of Christ in their life and the life of others they have been encountering while in Haiti.

One of the teams will be leaving on Tuesday and they shared some expectations as they begin preparations for their departure. One of the things that people have been doing here at the Florida House is they have been leaving clothing for the Haitian people. The question came up about having the clothes washed before they give them to the people and the group leader shared that their interpreter said “Oh no do not wash them because we can pick them up and smell them and be reminded of the love you have for us.” Now, that is some kind of love to take some dirty, stinky clothes and be reminded that you are loved.  2:Corinthians 2:14 – 17 Holman Christian Standard Bible 14 But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ, and spreads through us in every place the scent of knowing Him. 15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To some we are a scent of death leading to death, but to others, a scent of life leading to life. And who is competent for this? 17 For we are not like the many who make a trade in God’s message [for profit], but as those with sincerity, we speak in Christ, as from God and before God. What kind of smell will share with others today?

Well, isn’t this a great reminder to us all of the Good News of Jesus Christ. He does love us and his word tells us in John 3:16 about how much He loves you and me.

If you do not know Jesus I pray that you will seek Him and invite Him into your heart today! If you do know him I encourage you to go tell someone about him today.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay