Moments of call

Triennium worshippers learn about call to love, hear triumphs of Haitian man

July 23, 2010

A man on a stage with a cross covered in colored papers lifts his hand during a sermon.

The Rev. Mitzi Minor tells youth at Triennium that moments of call happen all the time, even if they don’t seem dramatic. —Photos by David P. Young

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.

The Presbyterian Youth Triennium, held on the campus of Purdue University this week, is a place for music. Whether it's at worship, concerts or open-mic programs, music can be heard all over.

Music is also a key part of movies, said the Rev. Mitzi Minor on July 22. In dramatic, uplifting or scary scenes, music gives viewers an idea of how to feel and what to expect to happen next.

"But you’re probably figuring out that real life isn't a movie," Minor said.

And although the Bible stories being acted out on stage during Triennium worship services are accompanied by music, there was no such background sound when they actually happened.

Instead, God' call comes to us in the ordinary moments in life. God calls all believers to live out of the conviction that God is love and that love never ends; therefore, love is the greatest power in the world.

"We are called to love," Minor said. "This call from God comes to us over and over again."

These ordinary moments of call might come when your friends start making fun of someone who is different. They might come when standing up for your beliefs will put you at odds with loved ones.

"There is a really good chance that there won't be music at those moments," Minor said.

These moments might seem small. They're not in the spotlight, so why do they matter?

"These moments are moments of call from God and they matter very much," Minor said.

A young man sitting on a stage, beating awooden drum.

Bill Nathan treats the crowd at Triennium to an inspired drum performance.

During worship, youth also got the chance to hear from Bill Nathan, who directs the St. Joseph's Home for Boys in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

When Nathan was a young boy in Haiti, his mother died and he was sent to live with a family that treated him as a slave. He did all the household chores and was beaten and forbidden to go to school or have friends.

His one chance to have time for himself came when he went to gather water for the family. While waiting in long lines, he used his water bucket as a drum, soothing himself through music.

But even throughout these hard times, Nathan always knew that God would help him. That help came when he was moved to St. Joseph's at age 8.

"St. Joseph’s family became my family," he said.

When he was 21, Nathan became director of the home, founded in 1985. He saw the job as a chance to give back to God.

But when the Jan. 12 earthquake struck Haiti, two of the organization's three buildings were destroyed. Nathan himself fell seven stories in the quake, seriously injuring his back.

Like the rest of his story, Nathan's tale of recovery is amazing. He was flown to the United States on a jet chartered by a writer whom he'd met in Haiti years before. While that writer was there researching a book on the child slave industry, he'd contracted malaria and was nursed back to health by Nathan. When he heard about Nathan's injuries in the earthquake, the writer rushed to help get him treatment.

Nathan, walking around on stage at Triennium before treating the crowd to an drum performance so intense he broke his instrument, said he still has a lot of work to do.

"God said, 'Bill, it is not your time yet,'" he said. "We lost material things, but we have Jesus in our lives."

  1. It was a wonderful message of inspiration - and inspiration that can be imagined. Spread one good act a day - and let them know the love of the Gospel. But, taking into account bad moods and bad days (our very humanity), it is okay if we take a day or two "off" per/ month. What a wonderful conference!

    by Alice Tewell

    July 23, 2010

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