Almost three years ago, just before the earthquake, I was at the airport in Port-au-Prince, waiting on a flight to the north. My flight was running a couple of hours behind, so I was wandering around the small terminal with a Bible in my hand and nothing to do. Noticing the Bible, a couple of taxi-stand dispatchers, upon discovering that I was a seminary student, began to pitch me their toughest Biblical questions. For the next hour, they turned me into a portable Bible school, and I relished every moment. During the course of the conversation, I was struck by the spiritual hunger so evident in these people, who were “like sheep without a shepherd,” hungry for the Word of God but untaught and undiscipled.
Gazing out the window later that day as the plane traveled north, my heart was saddened by the brown, arid landscape around Port-au-Prince. Haiti is 97% deforested, and many of the mountains bear deep scars from hurricane-related landslides, as well as mining and quarrying that have been carried out without regard for the natural environment. As the plane began to cross over the mountains, I felt the Lord impress upon my spirit that the natural landscape matched the spiritual state of many people in this country. Centuries of spiritual devastation have left their mark upon the people, and many had perished for lack of knowledge. When storms come, many are swept away because they have no spiritual roots.
As we entered the North, however, I saw rainclouds forming over the mountains, which eventually gave way to a lush, green rain valley. I felt another impression upon my spirit: God was going to pour out his Spirit upon Haiti and create a revival that would begin in the North and touch the rest of the country. I shared this with my church the following Sunday as the conclusion to a sermon out of John 6, which says that Jesus did not come merely to give bread, but to be bread given for the life of the world. In that passage, Jesus says that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood, we have no life in us. I challenged each individual member of our local church to take Jesus seriously, to eat His flesh and blood, taking the Word of God into themselves so as to be prepared to play a role in the harvest that the Lord would create in Haiti.
The rest of my trip to Haiti that winter was spent assisting two pastors’ conferences–one in the South in Grand-Goave and one in the North in Cap-Haitien. Both conferences were blessed with powerful times of praise and worship when the manifest presence of God was thick and tangible. During the latter conference, I saw a couple of my childhood friends receive prophetic words over their lives. It was incredibly moving for me to see these brothers, who had previously been on the fringes of the church, get set into the church and begin to move into their calling and destiny. On my last Sunday there, as the rain poured down, my church ordained three new elders and rejoiced as one was sent out to plant a new church across town. On Tuesday, I flew back to the U.S., leaving Port-au-Prince at around 11:30 in the morning.
At 4:53 later that same day, a powerful earthquake rocked Port-au-Prince and changed the course of Haiti’s history. In the weeks and years since the earthquake, awash in the flood of news coverage and the grief of seeing a country that I love suffer such tremendous tragedy, the promise of revival has continued to burn ardently within my heart. Reports of the Haitian church’s overwhelming faith–American journalists marveled time and again that Haitian Christians sang God’s praises, sometimes atop the ruins of their own churches and homes–continued to remind me that God’s promise to us will be fulfilled, even in the midst of such calamity.
Long ago, the prophet Haggai predicted a day when God would “shake all nations.” In that day, the prophet said, the desired of all nations would come (or perhaps, depending on the translation, the people will come to the Desire of All Nations), and the Lord would fill this latter house with a glory far surpassing the former Temple (Hag. 2:7, 9). Some would say that this passage is only about the Second Temple, built and destroyed centuries ago. The author of Hebrews, however, interprets it eschatologically (Heb. 12:28) and thus I believe that we can, too. In these last days, God is shaking the nations and pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh, even upon Haiti. He is bringing the rains of revival to a barren land, and I hope that you will join me in praying, watching, and laboring for and with our brothers and sisters there, because the glory of the latter house in Haiti is going to be an incredible sight to behold.