What a week in the life of the SFD family! It began last Sunday night with the organization of the Fort Pierce Faith Haitian church and its congregation of 103 charter members. Members of the Harvest Strategy Team were on hand for Organizational Service at 6:00 pm. Many thanks to Pascal Permis, Mark Koch, David Rambarran and Jorge Diaz for being there. What a celebration we enjoyed!
Thought I might go fishing last Monday, but first of all there was a scarcity of live bait in Lake Placid. With less than a half-dozen shiners in the bait bucket, off I went. An email from Pascal Permis caused me to throw the bait overboard and head for shore; shower; dress and make my way to Belle Glade. Our Haitian pastor, Alexandre Paul Metelus, had been missing since Saturday afternoon. His last contact with his family revealed that he was lost in the sugar cane fields behind Winn Dixie (off Highway 80). A district-wide prayer alert was sounded and our prayer warriors began to intercede for Pastor Paul.
I met Pascal at the Belle Glade church where Brother Metelus serves and found a small band of church members there praying. Pastor Paul had not shown up for the Sunday morning service. Many had remained at the church ever since praying for their pastor’s safe return. After singing some Creole songs, reciting the 23rd Psalm, and praying together, Pascal and I and a member of the church went to where his abandoned van had been found. His Bible was still visible on the dashboard of the van.
We introduced ourselves to the officers of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Dept. as a search helicopter flew overhead with infrared cameras scanning the fields nearby the van. Nothing. Service dogs searched the cane fields too. Pascal and I decided to walk the perimeter of the cane fields ourselves calling out for Pastor Paul and hoping to site him. Nothing. I had a sense that I was reliving the parable of the lost the sheep. We had left those safe in the fold and gone looking for the one that was lost. But we were not rejoicing because Pastor Paul had not yet been found. It was a long drive home disappointed that our search was in vain. His wife, Leona, was in Haiti, hoping to get a flight home as soon as possible.
On Tuesday morning, the first call of the day was from Detective Craig Hall, who had promised that I would be called the moment he had any information. He conveyed good news. Pastor Paul had been found by two farmers 11 miles away from his van. Pastor Paul was alive but had been taken to Palms West Hospital. It is believed that he suffered a mild stroke that disoriented him. Kaye and I caught up with him and one of his daughters at the hospital. Pastor Paul recognized me and spoke my name. He carried on a conversation with us and has no recollection of where he was or whether he slept. God’s hand was clearly upon him. The one who was lost was found. Everyone is rejoicing.
From the hospital in West Palm Beach, we headed to Fort Lauderdale and then on to Miami to meet with our Hispanic Pastors and wives at our Ebenezer Church. Pastor Jorge Diaz hosted a dinner for us all with Dr. Jerry Porter, special guest of honor. We enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by the chefs at Home of the Nazarene. Last night (Wednesday, 9/11/13) our Hispanic pastors and people were together again for a rally with Dr. Porter. All of us continue to rejoice at the amazing answers to prayer we continue to enjoy together.
David F. Nixon, D.Min.
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