As people become more and more aware of our new journey in ministry to serve with Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, the one question I am asked more than any other is, “Why?” “Why would I give up a local church ministry in a beautiful area of Florida to serve in Haiti? Why would I make the decision to travel for weeks at a time without my family? Why would I make the choice to give up a secure paycheck for having to raise your own salary? To be honest, often I am the one asking the questions.
The only answer I can honestly give is that for three years God has been reshaping my heart with a new passion. When I was in Haiti in 2010 I knew God was calling me to a new and deeper level of involvement. I knew given all I had seen that I could not turn my back and return to life as normal. I remember standing in a field with tear filled eyes and having the feeling God was asking me, “What are you going to do about this?”
Of course I never thought the answer would be quit my job and sign-up with the mission. I assumed my role was going to be to bring in groups, advocate for the mission and raise awareness of the poverty and need around us to those I had influence over. I did that for three years and now, with a reshaped heart and a new passion, my family and I are diving into this journey head first.
Northwest Haiti Christian Mission is best described in three words: Rescue, Restore and Redeem. There are so many stories of people who have been rescued literally from death because the mission was there to take them in. Babies left to die by the river, special needs children abandoned or abused by their parents, orphans with no place to go, and senior adults who have no family to care for their needs. Because NWHCM exists, they are able to live in security surrounded by people who love them and will clearly share the message of Jesus with them.
NWHCM helps to restore people’s lives by bringing them food security, teaching job skills and healing them become productive citizens in their own communities. Mothers who bring their children to our nutrition program are taught how valuable they are as children of God. Children who need education are able to begin pre-school on our campus. Prostitutes who have used their bodies to make a living are freed from this lifestyle by being shown they are “Princesses of the King” and are trained to make and sell jewelry.
NWHCM helps to redeem people’s lives first and foremost by telling them about eternal redemption found in Jesus. As important as feeding the starving may be, as vital as rescuing someone from prostitution, without the eternal hope in Jesus, none of it will matter. We do not want “fat Haitians” to go to hell because we fed their body and not their soul. And as they become redeemed in Christ, they have a story of hope to share with those who have no hope.
These are a few of the reasons we are partnering with NWHCM. It is our prayer that you would see the value of Rescue, Restore and Redeem and would partner with us to share Jesus in this most vulnerable place.
For more information, please feel free to contact me at John.Harvey@nwhcm.org. If you would like to partner to support us financially, you can do so on-line here: http://nwhcm.org/give/missionary/john-harvey
“The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
How do we begin to fight the battles placed in front of us by the world in which we live? The enemy of our souls, Satan himself, doesn’t fight fair and wants only destruction for our lives. Jesus himself pointed out that Satan was a murderer and a liar from the beginning of creation. So how do we, fragile, frail and apt to faint followers of Jesus actually stand take our place as victors along with Christ in this spiritual battle?
The first leg on which we stand is the leg of truth. We must identify and confidently name the lies surrounding our daily lives; lies that spew like lava from the mouth of the devil himself. “You aren’t good enough.” “Look at the sin you live in.” “You can’t make a difference.” “The problem is too big for you.” “God will not keep his promises to you.” Our minds become filled with, in the words of passage above “warped philosophies and barriers to truth.”
As followers of Christ we must guard our minds and our hearts with the eternal truth of God’s Word. Scripture is a tool in our arsenal to fight this battle for the mind. Paul in Ephesians 6 tells us that the Word of God is the “sword of the Spirit.” What do you do with a sword? You cut off the head of the enemy. Biblical truth, resonating from the heart of God, breaks spiritual strongholds, warped philosophies and tears down the lies of the enemy.
The second leg on which we stand is the leg of supernatural power. God has not given us his word for pithy slogans or clever comebacks to spiritual ideas. God has given us his word for the purpose of connecting the heart of the creation to the heart of the Creator. Rooted in biblical knowledge, the child of God is divinely in tune with the power, vision and purposes of the Eternal King of Glory. As one connected with power, we are dangerous tools against the haunting schemes of the enemy.
Prayer allows us to unlock our spiritual armory. We are able to boldly come into the presence of God through Jesus and access the equipping power of the Holy Spirit, dream impossible dreams to build the Kingdom of Christ, and risk incredible humiliation because we are putting God’s name on the line, not ours. Our dreams, our goals, our plans and our desires become divine opportunities when bathed in prayer.
For whatever reason, God has allowed me to awaken a little after 4:00 a.m. on most days over the last few weeks. My mind is filled with thoughts, dreams, plans, purposes and strategies for changing lives and cultures. My heart races with dreams of Haiti and the spiritual change that God desires for that country. My brain moves with plans and ideas to build spiritual health into the lives of the mission staff. It is an exciting, challenging and fulfilling dream.
My mind is also filled with destruction. “God is going to allow you to fall on your face.” “You will not have the money to feed your family.” “No one is going to join your team as financial supporters.” “You have abandoned security chasing a dream.” Those are not God thoughts. I don’t even believe they are my thoughts. I believe the enemy of my soul is building “barriers erected against truth” to keep me from stepping out in faith to pursue the call of God on my life.
In these moments, when the house is quiet, my family sleeps and the coffee pot is still dripping my morning nectar, I have a choice: faith or fear. I can choose to draw in close to the promises of God in scripture to never abandon me, to provide for all of my needs and to guide me in the way I should go. Or I can choose to believe the Father of Lies and be held captive in fear. The Word of God, the peace of prayer, and the faithfulness to the work to which I am called become the arsenal of victory over the darkness. Taking all thoughts captive, thoughts of fear and thoughts of divine calling, is the difference between advance and retreat. Prayer propels me forward and cements the goodness of God in my heart and mind.
“Never underestimate the power of a single prayer.” Mark Batterson, “Draw the Circle.”
“They went forth and preached every where, the Lord… confirming the word with signs following.” Mark 16:20 KJV
Life in Christ requires faith. You can’t have a relationship with Christ without first having faith that leads to salvation. But saving faith is not all we need.It is a beginning point not an end to itself.
The Christian life is one of faith on a daily basis. At least it should be. When we are living active, fearless, devoted, passionate lives for Christ. faith will necessarily be constant companion. And when you live on the mission field in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, faith is as necessary as oxygen.
Every day at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission faith has to be put into action. In the “first world” Christianity most of us live in daily faith in action is as simple as telling your neighbor about your walk with Christ, inviting a friend to church or getting involved in a new ministry. I don’t want to diminish any of those activities because they are important and vital. But they are a different type of faith than in needed in Haiti.
Operating a mission with a “Rescue, Restore, Redeem” model brings challenges not often faced in “first world” Christianity. When a child like Baby Moses is rescued from the banks of the river after having been sliced open with a knife, abandoned and left to die is brought to the gates of the mission, faith is required to believe that for the next 18 years of his life, God will provide the resources needed for him to live at the mission.
When sweet young children have been used as sacrificial tools for voodoo and the scars on their body reflect the torture and pain of the spiritually dark world in which they were born, faith is required to believe that love, security and the power of Christ can heal that child, not only of the scars on their body, but especially of the scars on their soul.
Life in Haiti is moment by moment steps of faith. Necessarily, they must be preceded and accompanied by prayers of faith. As ministry and needs collide, prayer connects us to the heart of God for wisdom and draws us to the feet of God for provision. The marriage of faith and works is displayed in the actions, decisions and heart of those daily needing faith to survive one more day.
As the verse above states, the message is preached, Jesus is proclaimed and God provides the miracle needed so that he receives honor and glory. It doesn’t happen by accident or chance, but by the choice of obedient children trusting in a sufficient God.
“All of us want to do amazing things for God, but that isn’t our job; it’s God’s job. Our job is simply to consecrate ourselves by yielding our will to his will.” Mark Batterson, “Draw the Circle” Day 3
When we think of great servants of God, a natural tendency is to look at the incredible, life changing, overwhelming results of their lives. From the apostles to modern day missionaries, history is filled with examples of “great” men and women who did “amazing things” in the name of God. What we rarely delve down deep enough to see is how it happened.
The first steps to being used by God in incredible ways is not concentrated effort but consecrated hearts. In our devotion for “Draw the Circle” for today, Mark Batterson reminds us that the first act of the Israelites before Joshua led them into the Promised Land was not getting their feet wet but getting their hearts right.
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Joshua 3:5
Consecrate. Does that mean I work like crazy until a miracle happens? Does it mean I put all of my effort into my actions? Does it mean that if amazing things are going to happen it happens because of me? As we see in the devotion and most importantly in the scripture, it means none of those things.
Consecrate means that we set ourselves apart from the treasures, desires, safety and pursuits of this world to pursue God alone. It means our lives are fully dedicated to his glory, his will and his work. It means we die to ourselves in order to live for Christ.
Jesus defined consecration this way in Luke 14:27:
“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
The first step in being a disciple, a servant and an instrument of God is the sacrifice of the heart. Our actions, our words and our very calling are useless without consecrated and committed hearts to follow Christ.
Today as we “Draw the Circle” begin the internal work of consecration. Begin where your heart collides with the very heart of God. Pour deeply into the work of “set apartness” so God can begin doing amazing things in you and through you.
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16b
“Draw the Circle” is all about prayer. It is about disciplines, postures and plans to approach boldly the throne of God with the desires, frustrations and pains of the human life. Prayer; heartfelt, honest, painful, labored and genuine prayer from the hearts of righteous servants of God has the power to change the circumstances and objects in our lives because it impacts the very heart of God.
As we kick-off fully “Draw the Circle” as a staff, I wanted to place an image in your heart and mind for what a “Prayer circle” would look like for the NWHCM staff and family. How is this going to help? How will this change us? How will this provide depth, insight, intimacy and community in the lives of righteous people serving with passion and being overwhelmed with life?
It comes back to circles. Mark Batterson has brought the concept of circles into a new perspective with his books. “The Circle Maker” and “Draw the Circle” are two of the most inspired books I have ever read. And in many ways, the circle is the key metaphor to the prayer experience.
Circles are unique. When I perform marriage ceremonies I talk about the circle represented by the rings. Circles are endless. They have no beginning point and no ending point. They represent eternity and they help us to see love, grace and intimacy in new ways that ignite hope, passion and desire of the best kinds in our heart.
For NWHCM the circle we draw is a circle made up of three words:
If you picture those words in a circle you begin to see the eternal heartbeat of our Heavenly Father. From the moment of the fall in Genesis God has provided our rescue through his love for us, our restoration through sanctification and our redemption through Jesus. It becomes an eternal and life changing cycle of love and grace from our Heavenly Father. And it flows from his heart, to our heart and into the lives of those we touch through the power of the Holy Spirit; and through prayer.
Over the next 40 days we will be walking through “Draw the Circle.” My challenge to you is to embrace this as a spiritual growth assignment. Embrace the vulnerability of sharing your struggles with those who can pray and encourage you. Embrace the joy of being a support for those who need your prayers. Embrace the bold confidence of approaching God through the grace and love of Jesus.
Each prayer is a prayer of rescue, restoration or redemption. Each moment before the throne of God is a moment changing eternity. Each encouraging word is a word that breathes life, health and grace into the heart of our fellow travelers. And each circle of prayer is an eternal moment that displays the power of Heavenly Father.
“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” James 5:17-18
2013 has been designated by the Harvey family as the year of the “Unexpected Journey.” After ten plus years of serving as pastor of LifeQuest Church, God has called us into a very new and very different ministry. We are partnering with Northwest Haiti Christian Mission (NWHCM) where I will serve as the Mission Pastor, overseeing the spiritual health and welfare of the mission staff.
NWHCM operates all of our ministries with three words shaping our goals:
The concept of “Rescue” can best be described through the story of baby Moses. Shortly before Alana and I went to Haiti in October, Moses had been found by a person in the community. He was only a few days old and had been left by the edge of the river to die. His hands, feet and legs had been sliced open and he had been discarded. Because of the work of NWHCM in St. Louis du Noord, the person who found Moses brought him to the mission where today he is healthy, healed and has a home for the rest of his life.
“Restore” makes me think of my friend Den Den. He is a 16 year-old boy who has cerebral palsy. When I met Den Den in 2010 he could not walk. When I saw him again in 2011 he was walking behind a wheelchair he would hold onto for balance. Today, Den Den is fully mobile, loves to play games (especially pirate where he gives a very scary “AARRGH!!”) and helps care for the needs of other children who live at the mission.
“Redeemed” is a word reflecting the countless lives changed through the tireless work of the missionaries at NWHCM. Orphans have been cared for and have grown into ministry leaders at NWHCM. Prisoners have been brought to Christ and baptized in a makeshift baptistery in the prison courtyard. Prostitutes have come to know Christ through bible studies held in the brothel in which they work and have left the business and returned to their families.
Of all that has been done, so much more remains. It is in this setting that God has placed Alana and me to serve. With so much on their plates, the mission staff have precious little time to care for themselves spiritually. And with Haiti being a Voodoo stronghold, the spiritual warfare is very real. God has placed on our hearts the call to serve as a shepherd to these precious servants.
I will be traveling into Haiti several times a year, my first trip being February 11-March 2, to serve alongside and pastor the mission staff. I will pray with, teach, serve alongside and encourage the people who are pouring so much of themselves into the life of Haiti. Through the summer I will live in Haiti from the end of May until the end of July. Alana and the kids will join me from the middle of June until the middle of July. Emily has applied to be an intern at the mission, which would mean she and I would be working closely together on the spiritual side of the ministry.
One great aspect of this change for us is that we will not have to move. Living in Florida gives me easy access to get into Haiti quickly if needed. There are also many ministries in Florida who partner with NWHCM that I can serve as a liaison to the mission.
As full-time missionaries, Alana and I are responsible for raising our own salary. We need partners to come alongside of us who believe in global ministry, who see the need for the encouraging work of a pastor to missionaries and who are willing to stand in the gap with us prayerfully and financially. The challenge is huge and at times daunting. But Alana and I firmly believe that where God leads he provides.
If you would be so led, we humbly ask for you to support our ministry to NWHCM. We know that many requests for funds come often and that the economy makes every decision vital for families in how their resources are used. We pledge to you that every penny donated to our account will be used for Christ honoring and eternity impacting ministry.
There are several ways you can give.
1) If you would like to send a check you can make it out to Northwest Haiti Christian Mission and put “John Harvey” in the memo line. 100% of your gift will go toward our support. No “administrative fees” are kept by the mission. You can send it to :
Northwest Haiti Christian Mission 7271 Mayflower Parkway Zionsville, IN 46077
2) You can also set up an on-line account to donate. Simply go to this link to access my account page. A picture and description of what we are doing will be there soon. http://nwhcm.org/give/support-a-missionary
3) You can go to the NWHCM site and set up a monthly account payment through your bank directly.
4) You can partner with us in prayer. You can always contact us through FaceBook, my blog, or you can join the NWHCM “40 Day Prayer Challenge” and select a time to pray for the work of the mission. Here is the link to the website. http://circlenwhcm.org/
We love you and thank you so much for your love and support. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or just to chat. I would love to hear from you. The best way to reach me is through my e-mail: John.Harvey@nwhcm.org.
If you are in Florida, please make plans to come by and see us. We live in paradise!!! Or, if you are involved in a church that would be interested in hearing more about Haiti and possibly bringing a group in, I would love to come and share about how to make that happen. Or, if you want to see some incredible ministry first hand, join us in Haiti. I promise your life will never be the same!!!
Today was one of the most challenging days of ministry I have ever had. It is a day that has been prayed over for a while, but it still is challenging and difficult. Today, I resigned as pastor of LifeQuest Church.
Alana and I came to LifeQuest in July 2002 and have poured our lives into this ministry. We have seen incredible joys, lives changed, babies born, marriages restored, and the lost come to Jesus. It has been a place where my children have been at home for most of their lives. Just because you love a place, however, doesn’t mean you are able to stay forever.
God has birthed a new passion and a new ministry in our lives. For three years I have been partnering with Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. I have fallen in love with the ministry, the people of Haiti, and the staff that serves so diligently. Over several trips to the mission, God has revealed a side of my heart that I have never known existed.
As of January 2013, I will assume a new ministry role focused on serving the staff and needs of Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. I will serve, for lack of a better term, as the “Mission Shepherd.” I will be pouring into the lives of the staff, advocating and representing the mission to churches and individuals in the states, and writing and representing the mission online.
The beautiful part of this journey is that Alana and I will not be moving. We will be able to maintain our wonderful friendships and ministry connections we have established in Florida. We will continue to love on and care for the people God has placed in our lives.
Please pray for LifeQuest Church as this time of transition will be challenging. There are many obstacles in the path, but God is a big God and none of this has taken him by surprise. God has a plan not only for the Harvey’s but for LifeQuest.
That is all for now. Please keep watching my blog for updates on how God is directing our new adventure in Him!!