Friday, November 18, 2011

Haiti's national holiday

November 18th is a major national holiday in Haiti (my husband has been on 5 mission trips and loves the people), commemorating the Battle of Vertières, in which the army of the escaped slaves conquered the last remnant of the French army. Dave Mann, our pastor who serves there, says it's the only enduring successful slave revolt in the history of the world, and it was against one of the strongest military forces of the world at the time, that of Napoleon Bonaparte.

And look at Haiti today, compared to countries whose governments or colonial powers which freed their slaves or serfs due to moral outrage or pressure from Christians and folded them into the economy. The Haitian slaves knew they wanted something elusive, like "freedom." However, they didn't have much cooperation of powerful forces in other countries which also had slaves and feared revolts--like the United States, Mexico, Brazil, etc.

And even if they had, they didn't know how to run the plantations or cities or schools or the government and army. They soon occupied the mansions and consumed the wealth of their former masters, put brutal dictators (lighter skinned than the masses, but still African) in charge who again stole their much reduced wealth, and sunk into poverty that exists to this day. Even so, the faith in God of the Haitian
people would put their wealthier neighbors in the U.S. to shame.

This moment in history brings to my mind today's "Occupiers," vague on the concept of freedom, naive about economics, offending all forces around them that might be more reasonable, and consuming their movement from the inside, but unlike the devout Haitians, they have no faith in anything higher than themselves.

Dave Mann with student choir, 2007, at Institution Univers, Ouanaminthe, a private Christian school.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Getting the Bible into Heart Languages

Yesterday I received mailings from two Christian organizations I support, The World Mission Prayer League, and Lutheran Bible Translators. What amazing people and ministries! Just a few stats to illustrate their importance: There are 6,800+ languages in the world. There are about 340 million people who speak the 2,000 languages where there are no translation projects yet. 1,211 language communities have access to the New Testament, and 457 language communities have the entire Bible in their "heart language." It's very difficult. Imagine Psalm 23 in languages with no word for sheep, or the message of Jesus with no word for forgiveness!

My friend Anna Wan told me something Communism and Chairman Mao did for Christ. He standardized the language--Mandarin. That made the Bible much more accessible and Christianity is growing quickly in China, although they are still a persecuted minority. However, there are almost 36 million Chinese whose heart language is Xiang and there is no Scripture in that language.