"…Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood."
Dear Ministry Partners,
As you know, I have just returned from a long weekend of ministry in Haiti over Easter. When I landed in Port-au-Prince on Maundy Thursday, I received a text message from Patt saying that our 9 year old twin grandson, Luke, had been flown by Life-Flight to UNC Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill. By now, I hope you have read the update that Patt and I sent out. Needless to say, this family crisis brought the Easter message home to me in a very personal way! But God was faithful and sustained me. More importantly, He graciously spared Luke's life – who is still in recovery.
EASTER ON THE EDGE
While my days in Haiti were brief, they were diverse and intense. Through the years, I have almost always been away from home for Easter – on some strategic spiritual battlefront. In the early days of the New Directions, we usually 'hit the beaches' to share the Easter Message with thousands of college students – who were soaking up sun, sand, suds and sex! In later years, I was either in India, Nepal, or Africa celebrating Easter with one of our strategic national partners. This year, I was in Haiti to celebrate with the earthquake victims. While I have ministered in Haiti over Easter a number of times in the past, it was especially timely because of the killer earthquake of January 12, 2010.
Dear JLPF Partners…In America and all over the world people are suffering. Here at home thousands are suffering from wild tornados that are coming in unprecedented numbers. In addition to the suffering from natural disasters, there is also the ever-present physical suffering through sickness and disease. Many of you are already aware of the suffering we have been facing as an extended family through the meningitis that my grandson, Luke, has come down with -- which we deeply appreciate your prayers for.
As you know from my recent emails, in Mali, West Africa, our Christian brothers and sisters are suffering at the hands of Radical Islamic groups. They have been forced to flee from their homes, lands, churches, Bible Colleges and towns and become refugees in their own country. In Haiti where I just was for Easter, hundreds of thousands of earthquake victims are still suffering from homelessness and lack of basic essentials. In parts of India, Christians are suffering at the hands of Hindu militants who are destroying their homes and churches. In Sri Lanka, Believers are being persecuted by Buddhist militants -- who were previously tolerant and non-violent. The list of suffering goes on and on...
To help put this into a wider Biblical perspective, I am sharing this timely study entitled "The Fellowship of His Suffering." I believe you will find it helpful. After you read it, please feel free to forward it to other family and friends who might also be facing a particular time of suffering -- whether physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally or financially. If they are not suffering now, it is only a matter of time! None of us get through this life without some level of suffering. So arm yourself with these timeless Biblical truths! Then share them with others.
In His Sustaining Love,
Pictured: J.L. with Luke in the hospital upon his return home from Haiti;
Luke with his stuffed animals; Joy Yael, Owen, Patt and Luke;
Luke with ‘Easter candy’ that the Haitian children sent him
Dear Friends & Partners,
As most of you know, when I landed in Haiti last week on Maundy Thursday for a series of Easter Services, I received a text from Patt that made my heart stop – even with my pace maker! She texted me that our grandson, Luke, had been life-flighted to the Chapel Hill Hospital with life-threatening meningitis. As a father and grandfather, that's the kind of dreaded news you never want to receive! When I read her one line text, I wanted to get on the next flight home! But since it was Easter Weekend, all flights were over-booked – making that virtually impossible. So I agonized over what to do...
Like so many others before me, I was caught in the conflict between the two callings of a parent and a preacher. Down through the centuries, scores of other Christian parents, pastors, missionaries and military personnel before me have been caught up in this same conflict of conscience and calling. But after multiple phone calls to Patt and my son, Jonathan, it was determined that I should stay in Haiti on a day-to-day-and-hour-by-hour basis since Luke was being stabilized medically. So by raw faith, I gutted it out and stayed to complete my preaching for Good Friday through Easter Sunday.
Dear Friends & Partners,
Loving greetings from Haiti. I had a joyous Good Friday service at this tent on a hillside outside Port-au-Prince. It is called Onaville. Before the earthquake, this hillside was barren of trees and people. Now over 500,000 people live here in a make-shift shanty town. My friend and partner, Esperandiru Pierre started a ministry here with a small tent doing medical and social work. A church was also started -- which I had the privilege of preaching at on my last visit for their first official service. They quickly over-flowed the first tent --which was replaced by this larger one -- which is also overflowing. We hope to build a large permanent church for them before year's end. I will preach here again on Easter Sunday morning to another packed tent! Thanks for your prayers.
When I landed in Haiti I received a text from Patt saying that our twin grandson, Luke had been life flighted to Chapel Hill with menengittis. Obviously my heart sunk! I wanted to get on the next flight home. But due to the holidays that was impossible. However after talking to Patt on the phone -- and my son Jonathan, they felt I should stay unless Luke got worse. Right now he is stable and on antibiotics. My heart continues to be torn between being back home and being here with these earthquake victims -- who have also been through unimaginable trauma and tragedy. And Jonathan understands this well as a father and doctor since he came to Haiti with me after the earthquake to do medical work. So we all covet your prayers as we walk though This family crisis by faith.
In His resurrection love and power,
“Go into the village…find a donkey and a colt…
bring them to Me…the Lord has need of them.”
Dear Friends & Partners,
This past week Christians around the world celebrated Palm Sunday. It’s the beginning of Holy Week when we commemorate Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey amidst shouts of “Hosannas.” It was Jesus’ last day of public popularity. In just a few days the fickled crowds would become hostile and cry out for His blood! The donkey would be traded for a cross. By Friday, the burden-bearer would be Jesus. The donkey would not be carrying Christ – Christ would be carrying the cross. He would not be on a donkey’s back – but a cross would be on His back!