Big Day. Bigger Heart.Rich Stigall
Last week, GO Project and the Church at Coffee Creek had the privilege of hosting Claude Mondesir, one of our pastor partners from Haiti. His trip culminated in an amazing 24-hour period starting Saturday at Sporting KC’s Major League Soccer Eastern Conference Championship game.
Claude’s friendship with us began in 2009 when now GO Board Member (and current Sporting KC brass), Alan Dietrich, was overseeing our ministry operations in Haiti. As of last Saturday, Claude had not seen Alan in over two years. His response to a surprise visit from Alan at the game was trademark effusive, arm-waving, and Jesus-praising, but the fun was just beginning.
Alan took Claude to the sidelines to meet two Haitian-born players, Peterson Joseph and Mechack Jerome, before ushering him to the center of the field for halftime festivities. For decades, Claude has cared for orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti to no applause and no limelight. That was about to change, as Claude’s life was honored to the delight of 21,000+ fans. Minutes earlier they were cheering for Sporting’s first goal that tied the game. Now they were applauding Claude’s faithful service to children who needed family and a father. But, Sporting’s support of Claude was just getting started…
…. as over the PA system, it was announced that Sporting KC’s charitable foundation was giving Pastor Claude $5,000 to help him do more of what he is called to do – care for children. I can’t capture Claude’s response any better than to simply point you to the pic of this bear hug Claude laid on Peterson Joseph who just happened to be within reach.
The rest of the night was surreal, as Pastor Claude, possibly Sporting’s newest fan, celebrated their 2-1 victory with another sell-out crowd and his friends from Haiti, the Church at Coffee Creek, and GO. (That’s Claude in the red jacket; one of seven layers he donned for the chilly evening.)
The next morning, Pastor Claude traded his snow suit for a three-piece number and did what he does best: share the love of Jesus. GO Project’s own, Adrien Lewis, helped translate Pastor Claude’s sermon for his friends at Coffee Creek from English to well….English. This pic says so much about the joy and friendship we experience in God’s “work.”
Claude’s trip wasn’t all soccer games and suits. Earlier in the week, Pastor Claude ministered in some of the tougher areas of KC. He also spoke to students, shared meals in homes, and encouraged our team. He was all in….a truth supported by the fact that he wanted to give some of the funding he received from Sporting to care for children who need family right here in KC, US orphans. It’s as simple as a song. Like Jesus, Pastor Claude loves the little children!
This gets even more beautiful when we embrace the truth that we are all children of the King. We all need to be adopted into His family! We’re grateful for Pastor’s Claude’s big day, but we’re more grateful for the even bigger size of his heart.