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July 13, 2011

First, just a brief addendum to Into the Mountains Behind the Mountains.  The distance from Williamson to Robert is about 5 miles (8 kilometers) as the crow flies.  We travelled 11¾ miles (19 kilometers) by road, climbing over 3500 feet (almost 1100 meters).  It took over 2 hours to travel each way.

Street church



This picture was taken at street church last Sunday.  This has become one of the highlights of my week.  Barb was expanding on my talk of the previous week on Mark 10 and cast me in the role of  Jesus inviting the children to come to Him.  Even some of the adults got into it.  It was delightful.




Yesterday Bryan, Ian, Koby and I traveled with Barb to the mountain community of Cannot.  It is remote yet easily accessible, only a few minutes drive from Saint Marc.  We drove as far as we could, and I was thankful that we had chosen to take the 4-wheel drive SUV.  The road was very muddy in spots with deep ruts and we had to ford a river.  But I locked the 4-wheel drive and the transmission and we sailed right through, albeit with a lot of slewing from side to side in the greasy stuff.  Barb had me stop to introduce us to one of the local witch doctors who was passing on his motorcycle.  She commented that God has told her to treat him like a brother as he will come to the Him before too long.

On the way Barb explained that God had put it upon her heart to travel up the road and minister to the people there.  At the time she had no idea where the road led or what she would find.  She knew a couple of boys from the area who had come to the school in Saint Marc but had been withdrawn due to problems in the community.  She was determined to see to it that they could continue their education.

Along the way we saw men sawing lumber with pit saws.  The log is set up on supports about 8 feet above the ground and one man stands on the log and one beneath.  They pull the long saw back and forth to cut lumber.  It is very hard work as well dangerous as the log can fall from its supports onto the man below and throwing the man on top to the ground.  I should have stopped to get a picture.  Another time.

Starting up the mountain

Getting out of the vehicle we waded across the fast-moving river; the water was warm on my legs.  We were met by a lady Barb knows from the community and she joined us as we started up the path.  It was not too steep and the footing was reasonable for the most part.  Koby was tired and found it difficult, getting very unhappy that we had to climb into the mountains.  After our trip to Robert he wanted no part of them.  Barb stopped to talk to those we met and introduce us.

Barb in her element



We made our first stop at a home and visited for a bit before continuing on.  At our second stop we were introduced to a blind man whom Barb told us is one of her favourite people in the community; he is far more open than most.  We were treated to fresh bread — hot, crusty and tasty.  Barb was given some to take home and Bryan was given mangoes for the kids.  The women took great delight in the boys.

Witch doctor's home




Continuing on from there Barb pointed out the home of the witch doctor we had met, flying its spirit flags.  This man has donated the land for the school that she is trying to help establish in the community.  She explained that it is a hard community, that the people do not work together.  But she is optimistic that God will do what He wants to do in Cannot.  Those working with Barb have come to call this little community “Can”.

Rain moving in



Part way to our next stop we could hear the rain coming, and by the time we reached the shelter of the next home we were soaked.  We visited there and then decided we couldn’t wait out the rain and set out to go down the mountain.  By this time the path was very greasy, and I decided to take off my shoes, feeling it would give me better footing.  I’m not sure it did.  Barb followed my lead and removed her shoes, but soon we decided that was perhaps a mistake.  We half slid down the path, the sharp rocks painful.  We did manage to make it without falling in the mud.  By this time we were thoroughly drenched.  As the path got stonier we decided to put our shoes back on, but as our feet were plastered with mud they slid around in our shoes which made the descent awkward.

We finally reached the river, washed off most of the mud and headed for the vehicle.  A large truck had parked on the road behind us to load stone; several people in the area make a bit of money by breaking rock.  Bryan entered into one of his animated discussions with the men and they graciously agreed to move to let us by.  We then headed back to Saint Marc.

I always enjoy seeing what others are doing here and having opportunities to be close to the people.  I thank God for another glorious day close to His creation.  I have taken to heart the words of a Haitian gospel song,  Mwen se zanmi Bondye — I am a friend of God.

Bryan and I were talking and I was reminded of something I believe is critical to remember.  We did not come here bringing God.  He was here already.

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