By Bonita Sparling
Bonita is a student mission mobilizer in Canada.
This summer I was able to return to my second home in the Caribbean Island of Haiti. As a child, I had spent most of my winters there with my family doing missions service and then as a teen returned on several short term trips and then for an extended period of time.
It was during one of those trips my heart was stirred with how big our God truly is and I volunteered myself for God to use in any way He wanted.
That was a good prayer, and several years later the Lord reminded me of that prayer. I was in Bible School and during a prayer day I asked the Lord for confirmation in a decision I had made to return to Haiti as a full time missionary and you know what He asked me for…my heart!
He said, “Bonita, I love you. Give me what you desire the most, give me Haiti.” For hours I struggled. So much of my life was there now and there was so much to ‘do’ but I knew I had to surrender.
I realized that night that while there wouldn’t have been anything wrong with serving in Haiti God was much more interested in a heart that was fully surrendered to Him than where or what I was planning to ‘do’ for Him.
That was six years a go and since then I have been all over the world with a growing heart to see more worshipers of God here on this earth! Yet, I find myself once again being overwhelmed with all that needs to be done and what I have to ‘do’! Then God has to stop and show me…it’s not about ‘me’ but all about HIM.
Going back to Haiti this summer I believe was God’s way of saying, “Bonita, there will always be a lot to ‘do’ but look at my faithful ones in Haiti, who only have Me.”
I was truly humbled as I watched my brothers and sisters, who struggle so much to just survive, worship God with complete joy! Their understanding of God seems so simple and yet profoundly deep as you see them live out their lives in complete dependence on this One who had called them out of the darkness of Satan’s realm.
Tonight I received an e-mail update from the couple whom I went to visit in Haiti this summer. I want to share part of it with you as a reminder and an encouragement that as God is calling us to GO OUT THERE. He is calling for lives that are wholly abandoned to Him.
He doesn’t ask us to have it all figured out, but He calls us to faith in Him, surrendering our dreams and ambitions to hold onto nothing but HIM!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In Ps. 135:6-7 we read,
“Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and on the earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the ends of the earth, who makes lightning for the rain and brings forth the wind from His storehouses.”
We have been praying for rain for a very long time. God has chosen to answer that prayer very specifically at certain times… such as when we needed water for drinking and cooking during camp this summer.
But for the most part, we live a life of perseverance born out of faith. While Judy and I continue to minister faithfully here, it is not an understatement to say that we live in total dependence on our Lord.
I set this as the foundation of our home when we were married and over this past year, I have seen Judy’s faith tested and matured.
In our little church, we have taught our little flock two choruses that I sing all day long. One is Jesus Never Fails and the other one is God Will Take Care of You. At times Judy will laugh and say, “Manis are those the only songs you know? Why do you sing them over and over?”
The answer is simple. When Judy and I decided to not raise support but rather live on the small business enterprises that we have here, we would soon learn that Jesus truly does not fail us and He will take care of us.
As we pray, God has used people to bless us in very special ways…. Sometimes a gift, sometimes special blessings or verses sent via E mail…. And sometimes like the surprise we had a few weeks ago. The MAF Cessna landed as it often does, bringing people for Christian Aid Ministries.
But, rather than taking off right away, the pilot, Will White, chose to come up to the house to spend some time with us just to encourage us. He took a walk with us so he could see first hand the devastation of the area. We did not mention this to him, but we were almost out of drinking water.
The next day, the plane returned. When Will got down, he pulled out boxes of groceries he had purchased for us and 4 containers of water sent to us from another pilot, Mark Williams. God had truly taken care of us.
This act of kindness helped us remember that we are part of a body of believers and while we live and work rather isolated, we are not alone. Judy has just begun to hear me sing those choruses (smile).
Praise often comes out of calamity because we become so much more aware of His presence than when all is well. That is why the Psalmist could say,
“I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praise to my God while I have being. “(Ps 104:33)
Often when we pray, we have a mental picture of the answer. We long to see blessings poured out in answer to our prayers. And many times, God does just that. However, In Isaiah 45:5-7, God says,
“I am the Lord and there is no other, besides me there is no God… I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity. I am the Lord who does all these things.”
Is God unjust? No, Paul tells us clearly in Romans 9 that He is sovereign and shows mercy at His will. God is not as interested in answering our prayers as in being glorified.
God who knows all things, knows what will compromise His glory and what will increase the fame of His name.
My friends, learning to trust God’s goodness and believe that He is faithful is not easy. We have no water thus we have no gardens. Without gardens, there is no commerce so there is no money to buy food or have an income.
Dehydration causes illness but there is no money for the doctor’s visit. However, in spite of all this, God continues to prove His faithfulness. The other day I spent most of the time outside. By evening I was getting really thirsty so went inside to get a drink.
The water jug was empty. I asked a neighbor if I could have a little water to drink. She said, “Oh Manis, I would love to give you some water but we have none.” I laid down and the floor and started to question God.
He did not answer with water but rather opened my eyes to the fact that everyone else on the plateau was in the same boat and yet they were joyful.
The next day I awoke to a sky that was gradually getting darker and darker. The clouds were so thick it was like night time. People scurried around looking for buckets, drums, pots and pans… anything that would hold water.
Suddenly a huge wind came up and carried the clouds with their promise of rain out to the ocean. You could feel the discouragement … yet they know that God has a time for all things. Some of you may be discouraged.
You pray for rain and wait for that note from Gigi that it is raining but it never comes. You need to remember that His ways are not our ways … and I could say, His time is not our time. But, He is faithful and good and will be forever and ever.
While the physical picture of the plateau is grim, the spiritual picture is vibrant and living. Last month 6 of our members were baptized. The women’s prayer group which was suspended due to some problems between several of the women has started once again.
We praise God for that. The church is growing and what is more exciting, some of the members are now feeling like they can begin to take on a role … leading the singing, working with children, and other things. Out of their poverty, the people continue to put their pennies into the building fund. They faithfully gather gravel and rock.
In addition to that, the pile of block is growing steadily. They long to have a place where they can worship without the sun beating down on them, wind blowing dust in their eyes and on their Bibles, and where during the week they can slip away to pray.
The people here want God to have the very best home on the plateau as a testimony to their love for Him. They want people who go through the plateau to know that God has dethroned Satan and now is reigning.
How I praise God for the privilege of directing this ministry.
Thank you for your love and prayers.