Rubber hits the road

We are all on a journey of growth.  All growth is spiritual growth. Let us encourage and spur one another on to love and good works until the day Jesus comes again.
Rubberh Hits the Road

No laughing matter!

Aug 18, 2012  |   From the minister  |   David Ratten

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Final Truism - David Ratten has a distinctive laugh. I don't know why but people often tell me I have a distinctive laugh. I have been in a crowd of thousands and people will tell me they know where I am in the crowd because they heard me laugh. It is one of those things I am not aware of and find hard to believe it is true. Well the group of ministers from Australia sharing the trip to Haiti, gave me a hard time because of my laugh. In fact they spent a lot of time laughing at my laugh. For the record, when I get together with my 6 brothers and sisters, there is common agreement that my sister Barbara has the most distinctive (and loud) laugh. I don't even rate a mention. Come to think of it, it was good to have times of laughter over the past week. It gave some balance to what was often a challenging, difficult and sad time.

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Heading Home

Aug 17, 2012  |   From the minister  |   David Ratten

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Tomorrow we leave Haiti and I begin the long journey home. What an experience and thank you for sharing it with me. Today we met a group of Restavaks? There are an estimated 300,000 Restaveks in Haiti. They are children whose poor parents give them up to families in the cities. They are told they will be given an education and a future. This rarely happens. The reality for most of these children is nothing short of slavery. Many are sexually abused. Compassion has a program where they offer free education to these most vulnerable of children. They work with these "host families" to give these children dignity and hope. It was inspiring to hear them tell their stories of being without parents and yet finding a home in a local church and the Compassion program. The team I travelled with are an awesome group of individuals. Most of them pastors from around Australia along with staff from Compassion. I will miss them as we go our separate ways tomorrow. For the record, Compassion has …

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A hope and a future

Aug 16, 2012  |   From the minister  |   David Ratten

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Tim Hannah, Australian Director of Compassion, asked me to pray with and for the family whose home we were visiting. It is possibly the most difficult prayer I have ever prayed. Following the earthquake in 2010, 1 million people were without shelter and a mass of tent cities were constructed in various parts of the city of Port a Prince. Public parks, empty blocks of land and any spare space was given over for this use. The United Nations and many non government organizations were involved in this response to the humanitarian disaster. Two and a half years on and many people have been re-housed, but they are the lucky ones. Over 300,000 still call these temporary shelters home. Today we visited one of the tent cities which still exist. It was simply depressing. Up to 3,000 people live in what can only be described as a ghetto. It is situated on a large piece of vacant land adjacent to an industrial estate. It is dusty, smelly and devoid of any community facilities. It is simply a cro…

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Tags : , Haiti, hope
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How do you change a country?

Aug 14, 2012  |   From the minister  |   David Ratten

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Haiti is a hopeless nation. By this I mean there seems no hope. It was a very impoverished nation before the earthquake in 2010, however it is now a devastated nation. It is difficult to describe this devastation. The city centre is a wasteland of broken buildings. It is reminiscent of the aftermath of a war where a city has been left desolate. Employment in Haiti is 30%. That means unemployment is 70%. Corruption is a way of life. This is a country with a tragic and sad history stretching back 3 centuries. It is a country without hope. So how do you change a country. In the past 24 hours I met two young men who God just might use to change Haiti. The first was Janiel. He is 20 years of age. He became a Compassion sponsor child at 7 years of age. This gave him the opportunity to be educated through to the end of high school. He became a Christian during this time. He then was selected by Compassion for a special program that helps a student to gain tertiary qualifications. They assis…

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Church in Haiti

Aug 13, 2012  |   From the minister  |   David Ratten

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We went to church today. Wow! Firstly, let me tell you that prior to the earthquake there were 1500 members in this church. There are now 6,000. They hold two Sunday services and we attended the first. The chapel is a large outdoor room with a metal roof but no walls. People were crammed onto wooden benches. All were immaculately dressed - the men in long sleeved shirts (many with ties), the ladies in dresses and the children beautifully dressed also. Us Aussie visitors felt quite under-dressed. The worship was exuberant. Arms waved in the air and energetic and fervent singing and praying. The service was in Creole, as far as I can understand it is a mix of french and local languages. French is the official language of Haiti. We were greeted as honored guests and sat on the platform to one side. These people really wanted to be there and were so enthusiastic for every part of the service. You get the impression that their faith is their life. It was a wonderful experience and a humbli…

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