Emmanuel was one of our guides while hiking up Sky Mountain in Haiti. He had no shoes so, he asked a neighbor if he could borrow shoes to take us up the mountain. All the while we climbed up the mountain, he was patient with the many breaks, I'm embarrassed to say, I forced the group to take. On our way down the mountain, Emmanuel was the one to volunteer to run, what seemed down half the Earth, to get water for us to drink. We had 3 other guides with us, but while we lay near death, they just left us. Later we found out, to go rest underneath a shaded area of trees. Emmanuel however, stayed with us, and without a second thought went to get water for us.
Now, I don't know what God did to Emmanuel, but he was down and back up the mountain within 30 minutes. It took us 4 hours just to get up the mountain. When he returned with water, he gave us the water with a smile. As we were hydrating, Emmanuel said he would even be willing to carry Brandi, the other female director, and me down the mountain if he needed to. I wondered: Who is this guy willing to help us spoiled American strangers? He said he is a Christian that attends Pastor Damils' church.
It made me think about his actions. Emmanuel speaks Creole, so it wasn't his words that made him a Christian, but his actions. And his actions are just an expression of his heart. I had to wonder would I treat a neighbor with such love? Especially a neighbor in the world's view, more blessed than I because they are richer? Would I be obedient to God? If God told me to take some people to a place I know is a rough place to go, and then save them when they were in desperate need, and then do it with a smile? Could I...could you?
Or would I first begin by making excuses on why I shouldn't obey? "I don't even have shoes, why go?" I didn't get enough sleep, why go?" "I don't really know those people, they'll make it without me, so I won't go." Would I have patience while serving my neighbor? Or would I complain? Could God use me to save someone because I have the right attitude and willingness to follow Him. Or would I be lazy and become crossed when God asks me to serve someone when I didn't see any benefit I could get out of it? And finally, after all the thank you's for my help and service, would I give God the glory, or would I boast on how my agility and personal strength got the job accomplished? Would I act like a Christian that LOVES thy neighbor or would I act like a Christian who just TOLERATES thy neighbor?
Emmanuel reminded me of what it means to be an ambassador for Christ.The other guides left us, but Emmanuel was obedient and willing to sacrifice. If Emmanuel wasn't the Christian he is, we wouldn't have made it off the mountain. Emmanuel was obedient to God's plan to take us up a mountain. He was patient with us and his life saving actions demonstrated Christian love. AND he didn't expect to receive anything in return. He didn't have money or even shoes, but God used him greatly.
How many times has God wanted to use us to save someone for His glory, but our attitudes and disobedience kept Him from using us fully. God uses people to do the work of his kingdom. With obedience, we can align ourselves up with the will of God over our lives. If He used Emmanuel, a young man who doesn't even have a decent pair of shoes, then I know He wants to use you. Emmanuel is praying to go to seminary to become a pastor. This is a brother who needs a mentor and partner to financially support his instruction at seminary. Please keep this young servant in your prayers.
When we got to the top of the mountain after hiking 4 hours, we came upon the spring. When the Haitian people talked about this spring I imagined a clear stream, gently plummeting into a waterfall. I visualized just below the waterfall, a pool of cool water with butterflies fluttering into the water to get a sip. I Imagined it would be so enticing, I might not be able to fight the urge to cup water in my hands to drink. I envisioned exotic birds calling in the distance, rejoicing in the hidden sanctuary we climbed 4 hours to find.
When we came upon the spring, instead of birds, we heard the snorting of the hugest bovine beast I'd ever seen! Instead of butterflies in the water there was an ornery cow. Instead of fresh springs we saw a pool of sludge. It was true, however that it was an unending supply of water because we saw it bubble up. Once again we were humbled. This was the source of fresh water the Haitians put such hope in.
We began to travel down the mountain. We were so elevated we could see the curvature of the Earth. We were about 1/4 of the way down when heat and dehydration began to wear us down. We had no more water, and we were walking down a mountain with the unfiltered Caribbean sun above. I began to feel the signs of heat stroke. I stopped sweating and I was getting chills. All four of us were tired and thirsty. I couldn't go any further. My husband, Pierre, told me to lay down in his lap while he rested on a rock. I was so weak! We hadn't eaten breakfast, brought no food to re-energize, and had no water.
While I lay there, Pierre asked one of our guides, Emmanuel, to go get water. In my mind I knew it would be impossible to get water. We were barely to the bottom. Emmanuel not only had to get up and down the mountain, but he would have to find a vendor to buy water. All the conveniences of acquiring water in America were nonexistent in Haiti. I laid down in my husband's lap wanting to cry, but knew I couldn't waste the water left in me on tears. I began panicking. I knew I was going to die. They didn't have a helicopter that could come rescue us. Not even a donkey to climb on wandered by. I thought about never seeing my children again. When I thought about my kids losing their mother I began to fight for my life. I was raised a military child--eating MRE's and chasing squirrels with a BB gun in the woods and I knew I could figure out a way to survive. I thought about creating a shelter out of twigs to stay until nighttime when it would be cooler to walk down. I even thought about looking for leaves, laying them out to collect dew, and in the morning we could lick the leaves for hydration.
But, then I thought about the bible story of Jesus and the disciples in the storm in Matthew 8:23. The disciples tried to fair the storm on their own strength while Jesus slept. Finally, overcome with fear, they woke Jesus up and He immediately calmed the winds. That story made me remember I wasn't alone. I was like the disciples trying to save myself with my own strength because I lacked faith. Jesus was with me, I just didn't call on Him. I then began to pray a whispered, weak prayer: "Jesus, I know their is strength in Your name. I know You are here and all I need is to call upon You. God please, could you just send some rain, to just cool things down so we can make it down the mountain? Not too much so we slip down the mountain, but just enough. In Jesus's name I pray Amen." I closed my eyes, drifted into darkness, and void of time. I awoke to my husband calling my name. He said, "Lori, water is here! I opened my eyes and saw Emmanuel, our guide, standing over me, smiling, sweat beading down his face and handing me a bottle of water. (The story of Emmanuel will be shared in Part 3.)
I took the water and put it to my lips. As soon as it touched my lips it began to rain! Out of a clear sky...a cool rain...not too much, just enough to cool things down. When I finished drinking and took the bottle away; it stopped raining! I knew it was God telling me He was with us all along. The miracle didn't stop! Further down the mountain I needed water. When I put the bottle to my lips, it rained again. The same cool, refreshing rain. And just like before, when I stopped drinking, the rain stopped!
God taught us a life-altering lesson To submit ALL to Him. We can do nothing in our own strength. If I didn't build a shelter maybe I would've made it, but why go through the hours or laying in the wilderness when I could just call on Him! He had the perfect plan, and all I had to do was include Jesus. Imagine how many blessings we've blocked from ourselves because WE want control, only trust our own strength, and falsely believe we are trusting God. Because I used my faith to tap into His grace for us, he showed us He was with us. Yes, he used Emmanuel to get the water, but He gave it to us. It's time for us to stop trying to calm the storms around us ourselves, and call on Jesus! God may have saved us, when I was trying to use my own strength, because he is merciful; but, now, that I called on Jesus, I have a miracle to share that glorifies God!
This miracle also taught me the importance of having the Word in my heart. If I didn't read the Bible and didn't remember the apostles waking up Jesus, I wouldn't have switched gears and allowed God to save me! There are areas in ALL our lives we are trying to control when we should submit and let God take control. If we go to Him directly, we use our faith to tap into His grace for us. I pray that whatever area in your life you are trying to control, your submit it to God. He's our father and wants to bless us, but we must submit ourselves to Him first and realize He is the source of our strength.
In Latin "Lucien' means "light or illumination" and the suffix "-ary" means "the holder of".