In recent days, the situation in Haiti is still unstable, but for many mission groups this seems to be the last thing to worry about. The bloody rebellion that has left hundreds dead in the island nation has left much of the countries social infrastructure in ruins. In most cities there is now a lack of running water, food, supplies, medical care. Instead, what is most abundant is a general sense of lawlessness.
Despite these conditions, John and Jodie Ackerman, alumni of Anderson University, continue mission efforts in the war torn nation. John is a registered nurse providing much needed medical support to local hospitals, while Jodie is a teacher helping in giving Haitian children free education and, hopefully, brighter futures.
Meanwhile, efforts in Haiti remain desperate not because of the seemingly lack of government control, but because of the demonic Voodoo culture’s continuing hold on Haitian society.
Recently, the Ackermans were able to share their experiences in working in the spiritual war zone of Haiti. The experiences they share greatly helps many young and aspiring youths dreaming of serving God in foreign lands. The first thing that Ackerman shared was the importance of having the right focus in mission work.
“We try to remain neutral,” Ackerman said. “My job here is to be a person of Christ, not a political pusher one way or the another.” With this focus, the Ackerman never get caught up in the many public demonstrations that have occurred after the bloody insurrection ended several days ago.
As missionaries, he emphasized, it is important that the person does not forget that the main reason why we do work for God. Often, in faith, it is important to maintain a focus of working and living for God. This, as Ackerman shows, is an important base in mission work.
So the student must be able to learn the lessons of focusing. Focusing comes from daily praying and meditating on the word. It is through doing these small thing that student remember the reason for serving God. Though it may seem small, it is an important factor for youths considering the life of living for God.
The second thing that John Ackerman emphasized by sharing his experience was the importance of having the right attitude for the people at the mission field. Though John expressed considerable outrage at the rampant corruption in Haiti, he did say, “It's a corrupt situation. I'm not saying that all Haitians are evil types, but there is certainly a percentage that takes advantage. [But instead] We are here for the good of the people. We love the place; we love the people, but they have a lot of growing to do, maturing, let's call it.”
So it is important that though receiving much persecution or see much evil in the mission field, one should never have anger or deep resentment against the people. Rather it is important to see past the sin, and love the people that one is trying to save.
Just as Christ died in loving the worst of sinners, it is important that young students dreaming to be missionaries know this sense of love. Love is having faith. It is having faith that though the person one seeks to save stubbornly refuses to accept Christ, there is still a chance that the person will change after realizing the love of God’s kingdom.
Lastly, there is the importance of having faith. As John expressed, “We really don't feel any fear yet. We've been in some rough times here. We've lived through 10 coups.” It is having faith that though the situation is desperate, one can still take comfort in God's love, and still persevere.
Through this experience, many lessons can be learned for youths dreaming of living the true life of Christ, testifying and spreading the gospel to far-off lands.
So time and time again, experiences of missionaries like that of the Ackermans give important insights for the future generation missionaries.