Mountainside Church Service, the Real Way to Worship
After what should have been a restful nights sleep, we got our day started early preparing for mountainside church service.
I had been up almost 48 hours, had hit my head pretty good getting in the van (normal behavior when I lack sleep) and my head felt like it would explode. The previous night was a bit restless between the sounds out in the streets beyond the walls of the mission house and the squeaky doors inside the house. However the anticipation and excitement of going to church with the locals in Canaan outweighed the aches, pains and tired eyes.
Once we got dressed for church and ate breakfast we once again met up with our translators and driver outside the mission house. The van once again was loaded with rice, beans and pasta this time bagged up for distribution at church that morning. This van was a bit different from the one from the day before, the air conditioning seemed to blow cold, which was a pleasant addition to the ride. We all piled back in, dressed for church and headed back to Canaan.
We bounced back up the mountain to Canaan, even though we had traveled the same roads (so to speak) the day before there were many sites still to be seen. Goats and dogs roamed the streets and roadways of Port-au-Prince and Canaan. People were walking about everywhere and the streets were crowded. We passed by numerous churches along the way to the church in Canaan, most were full of local worshipers. Most people in Haiti dress up for church and spend hours in praise and worship, a sight not seen so often back in the states.
When we came down the hill towards the school and church in Canaan, a beautiful sound permeated the air. We pulled up in between the church and school and when we got out of the van we were immersed in raw beauty. Although I could only understand a few words (they were in French) the beautiful sound of the voices raised up in that church made of sheet metal and tarps was something words could never describe sufficiently.
Overcome by emotions, I had to take a step around the back of the church to regroup. Never would I had thought something as simple as music in the mountains would cause waterworks. Moments later we were called into the congregation inside the church to be their guests. We were welcomed with open arms and warm hearts. The church although simple felt so pure, the worship was so honest that I will never see church in the same way.
Spending the morning with the people of Canaan in church was a memorable experience. We had the opportunity to listen to both the women’s and children’s choirs sing in French. In addition the Pastor’s own children sang a rendition of 10,000 Reasons that Matt Redman himself would be proud to have on his next album (hint). The worship leader that was in our group lead the church with some of our mainstream Christian songs as well.
Following the mountainside church service we distributed the beans, pasta and rice that we had brought with us. We were blessed by sponsors back home to be able to buy enough food the night before to have enough food for the whole church with food left over. After the distribution we spent some treasured time loving on the kids we had met the day before. The young boy that had recited the Psalms was quick to find me and reminded me about his ball. Fortunately to his surprise we did bring it back and the smiles it created were priceless.
Before leaving our new-found friends in Canaan, we gathered as a group in the school being built to pray. We held hands and each prayed over the school, the people, the community and more. This was the first time that I had prayed with the group or any group really outside of the comfort zone of my own home. This whole weekend it turns out was all about taking me out of my comfort zone, tearing down my walls and breaking my heart.
Soon we will leave the people of Canaan and travel back down the mountain, by no means is that the end of this journey.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.