Fishers Of Men International, Haiti
Most of us who are true, born-again Christians want to obey God. It’s not always easy, but we usually can handle His commands like don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t commit adultery, and don’t murder. Things that most moral, decent people would not do! But what about those commands that He gives us that are harder to obey, such as forgive “seventy times seven” or “go into all the world and preach the gospel.” These require much more dying to self!
Not many men and women would be willing to lay down their lvery ives, give up everything they own, leave their families, and go to a foreign country like Abraham and Sarah did. Abraham didn’t even really know where exactly it was that God was sending him. But he did have great faith in God and he knew His voice, so he obeyed.
It must have been really hard to leave everyone and everything and go somewhere brand new – a foreign place full of dangers and uncertainties. I’m sure at times Abraham must have scratched his head and thought, “Was that really God?”
It’s not easy to leave our nice, safe, little comfort zones. It’s not easy to give up our own wants and conveniences to say “Yes” fully to God.
But God wants us to hold nothing back. He wants us to give Him our all – because God gave us His all through His Son Jesus Christ on the cross over 2,000 years ago. Will you obey God and do what He’s telling you to do – like Abraham and Sarah did?
I can see Sarah frantically getting everything ready to leave, trying to put aside her own wishes and concerns to submit to and honor her husband. She must have wondered, too, if Abraham was really hearing God right. She must have felt so afraid and worried.
But Sarah trusted in her God and left the consequences of her husband’s decision up to God. As a result, God blessed not only Abraham, but Sarah as well – with a baby, Isaac, in her 90’s – and all the generations after him! God also honored Sarah’s name in the New Testament in the Hebrews 11 Hall Of Faith. (Hebrews 11:11)
Because of his faith and obedience, God called Abraham his friend and blessed him, his children, his grandchildren, and all future generations. He became a father to the nations, and there could be no greater honor than to be called the friend of God!
Yet how many of us could do what Abraham and Sarah did? I know one such, modern-day couple. Pastor Jay and Linda Threadgill left everyone and everything in the U.S. to give their lives to Haiti. In an article on Linda Threadgill in The Farmersville Times Online http://www.farmersvilletimes.com/articles/templates/news.asp?articleid=1544&zoneid=4, we read the story of when God first called them to Haiti, one of the poorest nations on earth:
“My husband and I had a $2,000-a-week cocaine habit, were alcoholics and my husband was beating me,” Linda said. “After we got saved, it was about six months later that we went on our first mission trip. Our whole lives changed.”
Though the Threadgills began their mission work in Central America, her husband said he heard God calling them to Haiti.
Mrs. Threadgill recounted coming home and realizing that her family’s TV and microwave were missing. At first she thought they had been robbed, but she soon discovered her husband had sold them to pay for his first mission trip to Haiti
“I remember saying, ‘Wait. Where’s a Haiti? What’s a Haiti?’” Mrs. Threadgill said while laughing.
Several months later she went to Haiti for the first time herself.
“There were naked, snotty-nosed kids everywhere,” she said. “There were no showers, and I just remember thinking, ‘There is no way I am coming here. God’s sending me to Central America.’ I remember praying, ‘God, get me out of here.’
Instead, while praying on a roof their last day in Haiti, Mrs. Threadgill said she finally heard the call her husband had hoped she would hear: “This is where I’ve called you.”
When they returned to the U.S., the Threadgills set out to raise enough money for the move. After working several months, there still was not enough.
“The funds simply weren’t there,” she said. “My husband walked in one day and said, ‘If the money was in the bank, it would take no faith.’”
And with that, the Threadgills packed up their belongings and headed back to Haiti with about $400. Their original plan was to stay for two years, but as Mrs. Threadgill explained, God had different ideas.
“I swear I cried for a year when I first got there,” she said.
Shootings, voodoo and corrupt police were just a few of the challenges the Threadgills faced when they arrived in Haiti, she said. But when a missionary friend explained to the Threadgills that ministries fail in Haiti because the leaders leave, the couple knew they would have to stay.
And stay they have – 23 years. Through the death of a son, embargoes and kidnappings, the Threadgills have called Haiti home.”
They left home with nothing but $400 and faith! Since that time, pastor Jay and Linda have faithfully served God in Haiti, despite many dangers, inconveniences, financial struggles, and trials. They are the senior ministers of COTR-Port Au Prince, which has grown from 6 to over 6000. Fisher of Men Ministries has planted over 25 Churches throughout the nation, as well as 14 academic schools, and 4 accredited Bible Schools. Fisher of Men also facilitates a feeding program, which last year fed nearly 3000 students throughout the city and in the province areas of Haiti.
Along with helping to pastor COTR-Haiti, Linda is the administrator and principle Morning Star Christian Academy. Morning Star Christian Academy was birthed in 1994 with 11 students, and has grown to capacity, with over 200 students.
It’s now considered one of the premier schools in the nation with graduates attending universities and colleges throughout the U.S. including Columbia, Boston College, and Oral Roberts University. Morning Star’s purpose is to affect this next generation of leaders with a Christ-centered academic education. Morning Star is accredited through ACSI and ORUEF
With the recent magnitude -7.0 earthquake killing an estimated 200,000 and leaving millions displaced and hungry, the staff of Fishers Of Men International went to work immediately. Morning Star’s property became a tent city and field hospital to thousands. My husband Ray and his friend Shawn Neeley arrived January 18, 2010, to help pastor Jay.
With just a duffle bag of medical supplies, Ray started a full-scale medical clinic and field hospital on site, single handedly treating hundreds of injured and sick Haitians each day the first five days of his stay without any help. He saved the life of a two-year-old boy with burns on over 70% of his body, an elderly woman who was having heart problems, and many other people whose lives were on the line.
Shawn provided security around the school compound. Since Ray arrived, God has provided food, water, medical supplies, and more medical people to help pastor Jay, his staff, and Ray in miraculous ways. Ray is flying home Thursday, February 20, 2010, so pastor Jay will need more doctors, nurses, and EMTs to continue the medical clinic.
You can read the incredible story of all that God has been doing through pastor Jay’s and my husband Ray’s hard work in Port-Au-Prince at www.bethjones.net. You can also read the latest updates on pastor Jay’s newsletter, FOMRelef.com.
Truly pastor Jay and Linda are a modern-day Abraham and Sarah. Please keep them continually in your prayers as they stay in the trenches to take the nation of Haiti for God’s kingdom.
The media is no longer reporting much on Haiti, but the great needs for food, water, medical supplies, and medical help continue. Please remember them in your prayers and in your unselfish giving.
Donations to help with the earthquake or other ministry needs can be made to pastor Jay and Linda here.