The Friday after getting back to NVM, I received a phone call from a friend in Onaville. At one time, Onaville was the largest IDP camp and tent city in Haiti. After the earthquake, some 600,000 people were displaced to this mountainside. This man lived in Port Au Prince and was one of those who displaced by the earthquake. Our second campus is in Onaville - a 20 minute drive from our campus. While I was there visiting one afternoon, I met Mark-Arthur. After telling him I was a pastor with NVM, he got excited and led me to his home, which was on the other side. While a large part of Onaville is now made up of cinder block homes, he and his wife still live in a tent made out of sticks and blankets. When he was displaced here, he quickly realized he was the only Christian in his new surroundings. Rather than be discouraged, he began preaching the Gospel. He saw every one of his neighbors in the immediate area come to Christ. He now leads all of them in prayer and Bible study each day.
On this Friday, Mark-Arthur called me around lunch time and told me he wanted to come by later that day. Late in the afternoon, I began getting sporadic phone calls from him, asking about the exact location of our campus. He finally called me at 6pm—dinner time—to say that he had arrived. When I went to meet him at the gate, I realized that he had walked the better part of the afternoon to come see me!
I invited him to come have dinner with us in the dining hall. While we ate together, he begins telling me of his church and how they’re still meeting together at 5pm every night and 6am every Sunday (before the sun gets hot, because they have no building). Then, he asks me to be their pastor. I was floored by this request. At the same time, I was afraid that I would upset him when I turned him down. For the next few moments, I affirmed what he was doing with this group of believers and tried to help him see that he is their pastor! He was very apprehensive to be given that title, because he said he really wasn't a pastor. So, I asked him to be a part of our Pastoral Development Program, where we can give him some tools and resources to help him do what he’s already doing in that community. He agreed to come this Saturday to our seminar and insisted that I come to the church on Sunday to visit. I’m excited to see what God does through Mark-Arthur in Onaville!