Carol’s Journal #3: Reflections on Thanksgiving
posted in Carol's Journal | Wednesday, January 12th, 2011
21 November 2010
On Sunday, 21 November we gathered to worship with over 600 people of the Port-au-Prince Central Corps (PAP Central)in the school yard under tarps. The building was severely damaged by the January 12 earthquake.
In a country facing pre-election violence and a cholera epidemic…churches are full. Every Salvation Army church in Haiti reports significant increases in attendance. Port-au-Prince Central has added 59 new members since the earthquake with plans for a big Harvest Festival enrollment on 12 December.
In his opening remarks during the morning worship service, the corps office (pastor) of PAP Central, Major Hubert Murat, talked calmly and matter of factly about the cholera epidemic. His instructions were simple, but will save lives if followed: wash your hands with soap, drink only treated water, thoroughly cook your food and ask the market people if they have washed their hands before you buy anything to eat from them.
Then he addressed the election…you have an obligation to vote. The elections are scheduled for Sunday, 28 November. Major Murat instructed his flock to be prudent next Sunday about traveling to church. If you are concerned about your safety don’t come, but be sure to pray…and vote.
Major Magalie Murat gave the sermon on the text Ephesian 6 – we are not fighting flesh and blood but we are fighting unseen forces of evil. As she spoke thoughts of the seen forces of evil Haiti has experience in the last 10 months came to mind: earthquake, hurricane and cholera.
Then there is the evil caused by people. As we drove home we found ourselves surrounded by supporters for presidential candidates. With 19 candidates, opportunity for manifestations of violence between rival political parties in palpable.
With all the negative you would think despair would overwhelm, but Major Murat’s message was simple and encouraging – God who is with us gives us the strength we need to overcome all the powers of evil arrayed against us.
We are thankful to be serving with the men and women of The Salvation Army in Haiti.