Matt with Elise Lubin, Lubin Mosanto, Moise Etienne, Robins Fleurinord, Marie Lubin and Moise Deshommes. All baptized at the beach in Ft. Lauderdale!

Matt with Elise Lubin, Lubin Mosanto, Moise Etienne, Robins Fleurinord, Marie Lubin and Moise Deshommes. All baptized at the beach in Ft. Lauderdale!

When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica (Ft. Lauderdale), where there was a Jewish synagogue. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. Acts 17:1-4

On Wednesday, August 13th, I took three brothers with me to the Miami area and it was like entering Thessalonica or Corinth in the First Century! How did we get there? On Tuesday, August 12th I received a call from our dear brother Alexis Turgeau who is from Haiti. Alexis is the church of Christ minister who was baptized as a true disciple two years ago at the GLC. He had heard of the movement and was desperate to meet the leaders in LA. Once there, he saw the radical hearts of “sold-out” disciples and realized that though he had been baptized he had never been “made” into a disciple! He was then baptized, thus forgiven of all his sins and so SAVED! He then went home to Haiti with a deep passion in his heart to save his people. In the past two years, the disciples in Haiti have grown from one man, Alexis, to 155 disciples in five churches all over the island! He called me and said, please come to the Miami area as Jean-Bonard and I have been studying the Bible for over a week with our Haitian friends here. Several of them are “pastors” or “preachers” in a church here and they want to become disciples and be baptized Wednesday night. There are several others…seven in all who are almost ready to be baptized!

Then during Staff on Tuesday, which was a HOT time as we had Gainesville disciples in the house and some FIERY preaching, Kip McKean called me. At the break, I quickly called Kip back and he said urgently, “Matt, I think you really need to get down there tonight or tomorrow. Sounds like these people are almost ready and you and the Orlando church will need to support them. Alexis and Jean-Bonard have to get back to Haiti.” I said, “Amen, the Spirit has spoken. I will gather up some brothers as soon as possible and get down there by Wednesday afternoon.” I then contacted Alexis and he was so fired up we were coming! Adrian Jimenez, Zico Frantz and Devon Hairston all joined me as we took off on our “missionary journey” to Ft. Lauderdale.

We met up with the disciples, Alexis and Jean-Bornard plus their wives in Lauderhill, just outside of Ft. Lauderdale and talked through the issues and made the best plans we could. There was a lot of confusion as the small church had been rocked by the teaching of the gospel. Several leaders and members did not want to repent and be baptized and do not share the vision of making disciples of all nations. So, how to actually “run” the worship service and get the seven ready for baptism became very difficult. Robins, who seemed to be in charge pulled me aside and said, “Matt, I no longer have control of the group. 15 of my people including a pastor and administrator have left me for my new convictions knowing that I will be baptized tonight.” I was so inspired and impressed with the hard-line yet loving stance he took! He was hurt by his group pulling back but pressed on with determination. This inspired everyone! We eventually gathered all who were there that night as Jean-Bonard passionately led singing. In the mean-time, Alexis and his wife were fervently counting the cost in the back room with the seven.

Those in opposition seemed to “back off” and joined in, even letting Jean-Bonard (our brother and zealous preacher from Jacmel, Haiti) lead the way singing and preaching and did not oppose those getting baptized as they were counting the cost. At one point, Jean-Bonard even stopped the singing and “taught them to obey” by exhorting them to sing with all their hearts because disciples are full of joy! All of the service was done in Creole and so much of it had to be translated for us by Zico, our Haitian brother from Orlando. After a while, Adrian, Devon and I began to understand some Creole a little better as our Spanish language training came in handy. Creole is a French dialect from Haiti, thus a Latin based language, and many words are similar. Come to find out many of our Haitian brothers actually speak Spanish as well since the Dominican Republic shares the island with them.

It was such an exciting, crazy and chaos filled worship service…yet we were so fired up to see how the Spirit of the Lord was powerfully moving. Finally around 9:00 PM, I was asked to preach. I spoke about four radical marks of a disciple that must be present for one to be a true Christian…a true follower of Jesus. The four points were: Disciples Must Hold to the Teaching- John 8:31-32, Disciples Must Love Like Jesus- John 13:34-35, Disciples Must Bear Much Fruit- John 15:1-8 and Disciples Must Be Devoted- Acts 2:36-42. Jean-Bonard did a fantastic job translating the sermon and this was quite possibly his first time going from English to Creole preaching! The crowd began to get into the preaching too as many yelled out the translation of my words to Jean-Bonard in Creole! I literally felt like we had been transported back to the first century and were in the synagogue in Corinth or Thessalonica!

At the end of the sermon I asked all who were being baptized that night and any “would be” disciples to stand and come to the front. I explained that those joining the seven being baptized would then have to finish studying and then be baptized as well, as soon as possible thus forming the new Miami/Ft. Lauderdale International Christian Church! With about 40 in the crowd, amazingly about eight more responded and walked boldly up front. Clearly Alexis and Jean-Bonard and their wives had done an incredible job of teaching the little church what it means to be a disciple…yet the crowd was divided. Most stayed back, but it was so powerful to see these brave souls come forward and join with the seven who were ready to be baptized, risking their relationships and possibly causing a scene.

God was very gracious as we were able to take six of the seven (one had small children and had to wait) to the beach. None of us had bathing suits or towels (thank the Lord for the warm weather and water of South Florida!) so we simply went for it with our suits on and the women in their dresses! Alexis said, “Matt, can you be John the Baptist tonight?” He had no change of clothes and was leaving in the morning so I had the privilege of baptizing our new disciples! What a joy! All of us were in awe of God as the six boldly entered the water and were so fired up to become part of God’s church and God’s new movement! The Holy Spirit has initiated a remnant group in Miami! Please keep us in your prayers and our amazing Haitian brothers and sisters in Haiti. Much thanks and tremendous thanks to Alexis and Jean-Bonard for their tireless work and passion for the gospel…this week we were able to truly be bonded heart in soul as partners in the gospel!

He stoops down to make (us) great,
Matt Sullivan



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