A Band of BrothersRich Stigall
By Trip Manager Stephanie Mutert
What was happening in the Jumecourt dining room? The acoustic tones seamlessly merging with Creole lyrics would make any passerby curious. The effect even stopped and redirected conversations of GO Haiti staff on the upper deck as the worship overwhelmed their words. GO Haiti partner pastors and leaders had begun their time of study with John Gillespie. John works for a ministry called Global Training Network, equipping pastors all around the world with Biblical Truth.
As the three days of teaching progressed and each session opened with prayer and singing, John could be heard uttering, “It’s just fantastic when they sing.”
The teaching this week centered on the book of Romans, and was the fifth in a series John has conducted with the pastors over the last year and a half. From John’s perspective, the experience of diving into Scripture each time they meet gets richer as the community grows closer. Minds are being sharpened. Relationships are being deepened. John is continually impressed with their thirst for the teaching he brings, as well as how grateful and alive they become with each session.
On Tuesday evening, they all gathered for a question-and-answer session after dinner. As the pastors asked questions, it was apparent the conversation could go on until midnight. Many pastors would get a glimmer in their eye as they tried to ‘stump’ their teacher with questions about theology, church leadership and holy sacraments such as communion, baptism and marriage. In fact, it only ended when John’s voice gave out after a long day of teaching. “The pastors are very alive. People who aren’t alive don’t have questions. They are not with it enough to have questions. These pastors had all sorts of questions,” John expressed.
For the pastors and their leaders, the affection and respect John has for them is mutual. Pastors in Haiti wear so many different hats. It can be very difficult to get away from not only their responsibilities at their villages for several days, but also other jobs and needs that demand their attention. Pastors drove six hours from Cayes, south of Port-au-Prince, and as far as six hours north from Marmelade in the mountains east of Gonaives to be with John and receive his teaching. Several pastors conveyed that when they hear John is coming to teach, no matter how busy they are, they will always come to learn from him.
A large part of the majority world finds pastors in constant competition with each other for resources, leaders, aid, and many other things. It is a refreshing feeling to see pastors in a room together providing encouragement and support to one another in the extreme environments of Haiti, and it is renewing to hear their voices lifted as one body of servants of our Lord.