From: cooganjd@juno.com

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ - (Jim Coogan) -
As I was sitting in church today (yes, in a pew), the pastor was
talking about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  It made me remember back
to one of the experiences I had while I was in Haiti.  In the light of
how discouraged I felt about the article and how our money was basically
stolen from us from ST, I wanted to write to you to tell you of one of
the glimmers of good that came from the generosity of you dear brethren
that sacrificed for what you believed was right at the time.  So I would
like to tell you this story of what happened when I got to go to Haiti
through your gifts.
I was initially voted to go to Haiti at a Jan. Big Mtg. early
'79.  I was there until around Easter, almost 3 1/2 months.  It amazed me
that I was voted to go.  It had to be the Lord!  I was your basic "scum
brother" at the time.  I guess Jesus must have made that fact invisible
or something!  I thank God for the wonderful relationships that He forged
during the time of this missionary journey.
I had not slept the night before I was voted to go, since I had
been a guard bro in Manhattan.  I had spent the night in prayer.  I
volunteered to go to Haiti because I felt close to, and loved some of the
bros already chosen and voted to go.  Next thing I knew I was on my feet,
Stewart said "who thinks he should go to Haiti?" after a show of hands,
ST, said "OK, Next..." and I could hardly believe it!
The next day and night we spent getting ready to go, packing
boxes of food and clothes, so I got no sleep again.  The bros who were
going got together, to discuss how to "handle" Debbie Nickerson, who was
perceived by some of us as a "formidable" sister.  Personally, I didn't
know her that well, so I didn't know what to think.  The following day,
we boarded an American Airlines plane.  My seat was by the window, and as
I looked down over the ocean below, I thought of how cool it was to be
going to another country to share the Gospel.
I started becoming overwhelmed and I turned to the passenger next
to me, who happened to be Debbie Nickerson.  I said "Isn't it amazing
that we get to do this?"  She simply smiled and nodded.  Then, I thought
of how Jesus died for me and how I didn't deserve it.  I began to cry,
and turned to Debbie and said "Isn't it amazing that Jesus died for us,
Debbie?"  She smiled and nodded again.  So began a quiet and deep
friendship between us.  The Lord began a deep work in her.  She really
changed. She quietly loved the children, and her heart was transformed so
that the brothers could relax around her.  Personally, I think she had
trouble when she came back from Haiti readjusting to the coldness, the
impersonal nature of the fellowship in the States, as many did after the
closer experience in Haiti. She left soon after, as many did.  I hope she
is okay, I would like to hear if anyone knows how she is doing now.
Debbie, if you are "listening,"  isn't it amazing, that Jesus died for
us?
We had a wonderful time and were able to accomplish a lot until
ST came down and bashed everything that we had done.  Maybe you remember
his mock of "peace on the mountains?"  That came from his jealousy of how
well things were going without him.  I took the brunt of it when he was
down there.  So, I was further shunned by those who were going along with
the program.  Therefore, I decided to have more contact directly with the
Haitians themselves.  This involved a lot of hiking, especially since I
didn't get along too well with Haitian horses...
Once, I was with a large group of Haitian bros and a group we had
contracted with to carry the grain we used to give out during the
feedings (thanks!).  We passed a wedding party, and I took the
opportunity to ask the people, "If you had the chance to be invited to
that wedding would you go?"  They looked at me incredulously, and said
"Of course!"  I asked them "why would you like to go?"  They're reply was
because of the food, the drink, the special celebration.  They would be a
fool not to go.  A bit further down the trail we decided to rest under
one of the few trees in that landscape.  Under the shade, I brought up
the marriage feast that we had passed, and one of the Haitian bros got
out his Creole bible, and read out loud the passage about the Marriage
Supper of the Lamb, and the excuses people gave for not coming.   The
part about the land, and the cows they could totally relate to... why
would any fool buy these without examining them first?  We then spoke of
Jesus' Marriage Supper and how they were all invited and we prayed
together.  It was so much like the Bible times, it was amazing.  It was
like being back in the Bible times!  So,  when you lived on a
dollar a day, no sleep, wore the same clothes day after day, worked long
hours, that's what made this story (and others that I could tell you)
possible.  This is why we did it.  I know that you would gladly spend and
be spent for the sake of the Gospel, and that is what we were about.  It
is still what we are about, those of us who are Christians.  We know that
when we joined Cobu we weren't automatically "saved" and going to Heaven,
as the article said, but rather, we came to Jesus and chose to serve Him
there, despite what ST the robber was taking away from the Kingdom, and
from us. ST didn't win, if we continue to love Jesus and each other.  It
is different now, and there is no going back, but there is still the work
of the Kingdom to do, and Jesus wants to include us and show us how He
wants to use us in the future. Not "use us up" but activate us for His
service.
I never got the chance to thank many of you for the opportunity I
was given to represent you in this missionary endeavor to Haiti.  I did
get to pray with people there and see them become Christians.  I did get
to minister to the poorest of the poor, children that no one else cared
for.  I did get to see bellies filled who were suffering from
malnutrition, and to see people cared for medically who had no one else
to help them.  I got to visit the hospital, and yes, to even pray that
one little boy would go home to be with Jesus, as he was so beyond
medical help and suffering so much, and he went home to heaven that
night.  Special thanks to those I got to serve with in Haiti. Wasn't it
good?  Didn't we have something special between us there?  Thanks to Jim
Reagan, Tim Aument (who is now still in Haiti - I'd love to hear from
him), Debbie Nickerson, Claire (I don't remember her last name), Reggie,
Glen from Montreal, Mary Pierce, Jan (a nurse), Carole Thom, and a
sister, whose name I don't remember,  who made me a cup of coffee over a
charcoal fire (quite a task, even when I was lower than low after ST had
come - I was like a leper then!),  and Rocky.  I'm probably forgetting
others.  Thanks to you all - we made a difference for the Kingdom.
Nancy & I got to return to Haiti about 4 years later, when we
were in Bible College.  It was amazing what Jesus did then, and how we
got to look up some of the Haitian people I had known before.  That's
another story I'll tell you soon - it is too long  to go into now - this
is a long post already.  Love to all you brethren, who love Jesus in your
hearts.  It is our destiny to sit at the Marriage Feast with Jesus - it
is why we were created, from the moment of our conception, to the day we
die, it is purposed for us to celebrate this - look forward to seeing you
there, if not before!  God bless you.