About the author: Etzer Thomas is the Executive Director of Momprince Thomas Foundation, which is supported by ZPC. Etzer was born in Lavanneau, Haiti, and moved to the US at the age of 12. In honor of his mother, who had a passion for helping the community of Lavanneau, he has committed the last 10 years to establishing and running a school, and medical clinic as well as leading evangelism and leadership training. More recently, the ministry set up an orphanage for the children shown above. Etzer left his medical & pastor positions a few years ago to closely manage the operations in Haiti. He and his wife Maggie are currently transitioning from their home in Sabastian, Florida, to live in Lavaneau full time. They have two adult children, Abel and Patricia, who live in Orlando. The ZPC annual VBS program in July is a favorite event for the community of Lavanneau with over 500 students participating. The school students begin asking about it in January.
SCRIPTURES: John 10: 10-13; Psalm: 23
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give abundant life. John 10: 11
There are three characters in the texts for today. The good shepherd, the sheep, and the hired hand (French Bible called this character a Mercenary). The good shepherd is Jesus Christ, the sheep is you and I, and the mercenary is COVID-19. Let me start with the sheep.
The sheep is an animal defenseless. Its survival depends on the master. The shepherd will protect his sheep, even risking his life. The sheep know the voice of the master and follow and obey the master. We as sheep have a master namely Jesus Christ. We can’t do what is pleasing to us, disregarding the instruction of our master.
The mercenary or hired hand is the same as the thief described in vs. 10. It comes to kill and to destroy. COVID19 also comes to kill and destroy. Many lives have been destroyed. Many families are hurt by so many deaths. The world is the flock that is running wild. The world doesn’t know where it is going as sheep in the desert. The world needs a master, the Good Shepherd.
The Lord is the shepherd of his people. (Psalm 23) My wife and I are at peace while many are very anxious. There are reasons to be anxious, but knowing who is watching over us gives us peace. We spend times in prayer. We pray with our children here in the US and with our children in Haiti. We reassure them that the one who keeps watch over us shall neither slumber nor sleep. When you know how powerful and mighty he is, anxiety calms down.
1. Each day, think of one mighty Bible story where the Lord has displayed his mighty power. Share that story with at least one other person. A good place to start is the ten plagues over Egypt. See how the Lord protects his children during each one.
2. Kids in Haiti start a vegetable garden. They plant tomatoes, eggplant, sweet potato, bell pepper, and yucca. The goal is to see what comes first; my arrival to see them or harvesting the garden. They water the plants daily and see who wins; me getting there or vegetables ready to eat. You could plant a vegetable garden or other plants. As you watch them grow remember God's love for you.
Our Father, Almighty God,
We thank you for supporting us in difficult times such as now. We ask you to console those that suffered great lost, and heal those that are sick. Please keep us healthy so we can continue to be your hand and feet in many parts of this world. Help those that are astray return to the flock. Let us all learn to hear what you are saying to us. We beg you to stop this plague on the world.
In the name of Jesus we pray.