A couple of weeks ago, I was in Haiti visiting our friends at myLIFEspeaks, one of our amazing ministry partners, to work on the design and construction of a new school campus in the village of Neply. I was joined on the trip by my good friend, Tom Rhodes, an accomplished architect, photographer, Third Lens board member and all-around good dude.
At the last minute, I thought to throw my fly rod in my bag as Neply is a stone’s throw from the beach. I had heard rumors there was a fishing camp where boats launched twice daily from its sandy shores into the Port-au-Prince Bay. Maybe I could find a break in our schedule to wet a line, even if for just a moment.
Tom and I were able to adventure to the beach on our last afternoon in Neply. What we found on the beach was nothing short of spectacular. Boats lined the shore. They were handcrafted decades ago. All adorned masts with sails resembling those of the ancient Greeks navigating the Aegean. No motors to speak of.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
We witnessed fishing nets being hand woven out of plastic thread by course hands long since tattered and worn by the sun and the sea. Flip flops were cut in half and tied to the nets along with plastic bottles as floats. Anchors were made of scrap rebar, plastic, concrete, sticks and plastic. Whatever they could get their hands on.
I spent a half hour casting an imitation shrimp and crab from the shore to no avail, while local children gathered to watch this crazy blanc (white guy). A gentlemen cleaned his day’s catch in the stream behind me. It was like no fish I’d ever seen. A hybrid between an eel and gar. Regardless, it appear destined for fire and smoke.
After succumbing to the reality of my fruitless casting in the wind and tiring of instructing the children on the dangers standing directly behind a fly fisherman, Tom and I meandered down the coast line. We happened upon a group of fishermen pulling in a seine net from the shore. A boat had dropped the net out in a crescent shape a hundred yards from the beach and now a group of men were arduously pulling in the hope of bounty.
Seeing that there were three on one end of the net and only two of the end nearest us, I asked permission to join the crew. In unison, we drug the lines in hand-over-hand. Our catch was less than spectacular. A handful of bait fish and two larger species, likely enough to provide dinner for a small family that evening. I thanked the crew for allowing me to join their work and we headed back to rendezvous with the rest of our group. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’m thankful Tom was there to witness and capture with his camera.
Days later, back at home, I was preparing for the weekly discipleship group I lead. It just so happens that the week’s scriptures were The Calling of the First Disciples found in Matt 4, Mark 1, Luke 5 and John 1. For those unfamiliar with the story, Jesus is teaching from a boat off the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Lake of Gennesaret) and then preforms a miracle by filling the fishermen’s nets with so many fish that their boats nearly sink bringing in the catch. This obviously resonated with my recent Haitian fishing expedition.
More importantly, after Jesus performed the miracle, he called upon the brothers Simon Peter and Andrew to drop everything and follow him. They were to become “fishers of men.” Then Jesus calls upon the sons of Zebedee, James and John, to do the same. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Without pause. Without contemplation. These men dropped everything to live out the calling on their lives. They stepped into the anointing and authority given to them by the Son of God.
My revelation was that we have the unique opportunity to live out mission through our gifting and vocation. God is taking us from where we are and on a journey of transformation. We see this in four lessons the disciples learned that day:
- FAITH – the disciples followed a command contrary to their personal and professional inclinations. How often do we choose our aspirations over our calling?
- QUALIFICATION – Jesus gathered an unusual group of fisherman, tax collectors, former revolutionaries and sinners. Why do we disqualify ourselves from what God has equipped us for?
- ABUNDANCE – Although the time and conditions were poor for fishing, Jesus gave them more then their boats would hold. How much more can we receive over what we can produce?
- HUMILITY – Simon Peter had the self-awareness of his brokenness in the presence of perfection. Do we bow before holiness or stand on thrones we have built?
God has formed a ragtag team at Third Lens of qualified individuals willing to step out in faith and humility to serve others through their abundance and gifting in design and construction. I am honored and thankful for this band of brothers who make up our leadership and volunteers. Together, we proudly serve as fishers of men in the greater picture of God’s great love story.
To learn how to become a part of the Third Lens adventure, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
All photos courtesy of Tom Rhodes.