Meeting Pastor Lee R. Carroll

I had the opportunity, along with some friends and family, to meet Bro. Carroll and his daughter Naomi on three occasions.  He impressed me in a number of ways.  I recall walking into his house one time to find him studying about the city of London, England.  He was in his mid-nineties at the time and of course had no hope of ever visiting the place, but obviously enjoyed learning.  I learned that he was an educator long before he became a missionary.

His memory was quite impressive.  As he and Naomi would tell stories about Haiti and Mountain Faith Mission it was obvious that this elderly man continued to possess tremendous memory and intellect.  At times Naomi would pause to ask her father to remind her of someone’s name or some other detail that she had forgotten.  When Pastor Carroll would answer her, she would say, “Yeah, you’re right Daddy”.

Pastor Carroll lived down the street from the church he attended.  By the time I met him he did not drive a car, but had a golf cart that he would drive to church.  He would attend early morning prayer sessions at church, often arriving before anyone else, and opening the church door.  I remember him telling of a recent incident of him returning home from church.  As he was attempting to step up onto his patio he stumbled and fell, basically doing a somersault over his head.  He told us that when he was a much younger man he had injured his neck, resulting in a stiff neck for many years.  But as a result of the tumble he took as a man in his mid-nineties, “Now my neck is just fine,” he told, while moving his head from side to side!

Pastor Carroll told friends and myself numerous amazing stories from his time in Haiti, stories of miracle after miracle.  But he was such an unassuming man that we had to listen closely as he talked, or we would be told of a miracle and miss the “big ending” as he would begin to tell of something else.  He told of a time when he was a young man in the states and a eye doctor was visiting the small town where he lived.  “The Lord had already told me that if I would serve Him, I would never have vision problems.  But my family wanted me to have my eyes checked while the eye doctor was in town.  He checked my vision and I have been wearing glasses ever since.”  He believed his lack of faith in God’s promise was the reason he needed eye glasses.  But he told, “Later the Lord told me that if I would serve Him, that when I was an old man I would not have many of the health problems of old people.  I learned my lesson from having my eyes checked by the eye doctor, and didn’t doubt the Lord about my health.”  He continued to be in quite amazing health into his upper 90’s, and died at the age of 101!

Pastor Carroll was an amazing man, a great Christian missionary.  But as I mentioned previously, he seemed to be a very unassuming man.  He lived next to a large church, where he attended.  Despite the fact that he had served as a foreign missionary for decades, he was not one to call attention to himself.  I recall being able to attend his funeral, along with Kenneth Akers and Denver McKay, who had both been able to meet Pastor Carroll as well. The  funeral was held on a beautiful day in south Florida.  I was frankly disappointed to see the small number of people who attended the funeral, being held in this large church he attended.  I wondered how someone who was so impressive in his faith, a hero of the faith in my eyes, seemed to have been forgotten.  But I also witnessed the fact that there were a number of Haitians who had traveled to Florida in order to pay their respects to the man who had “brought the good Gospel to our people” as one Haitian has described Pastor Carroll.  These were people who were young men and women when the Carrolls had arrived in Haiti.  These Haitians had been greatly influenced by the Carrolls and the eternal destiny of each one of them was changed as a result of the work of the Carrolls in Haiti.  That contingent of Haitians represented hundreds and hundreds of Haitians who would also loved to have attended Pastor Carrolls’ funeral. But you see, those countless Haitians could never afford a plane ticket to the US.  They couldn’t afford the money to purchase the passport necessary to fly.  And due to the extreme poverty into which they were born, could never obtain a passport due to not possessing a birth certificate!

It occurs to me that it was not so important for a large crowd to attend Pastor Carroll’s funeral.  Because I’m convinced that prior to the funeral on this earth, there was already great rejoicing in Heaven as Lee R. Carroll entered.  Much rejoicing as he was once reunited with his wife and other family members, as well as countless Haitians who had been converted as a result of his ministry.  And of course there was great rejoicing as Lee Carroll was finally able to see the face of The One who he had faithfully served and had spoken to countless times, as one talks to a friend.

-Ronnie Lee
MFM Treasurer

The History of Mountain Faith Mission in Saut d’Eau

This is being written from the memory of a girl who was 13 years old in 1947.

I begin by bringing in a history of a Haitian man who came to see my father, Rev. Lee R. Carroll, when we lived about 4 miles from Cap Haitien, Haiti. Daddy was working under Rev. G.T. Bustin to fix up buildings on a property that Bro. Bustin had bought to start doing missionary work. This man’s name that visited was “Butler.”

Carroll picture

Pastor Carroll and his wife, Molly

Butler seemed to be a very pious, soft spoken man and he named a missionary that he had been working with. He brought a French poodle and wanted to sell it for $4.00. Mama and Daddy had never bought a dog, but knowing that Paul and I had little else, gave in and bought “Mickey” for us.

Daddy wanted to make sure that this man was sincere, (although he acted like he was) but just to make sure, Daddy sent a letter to this missionary and the missionary did not even wait to write a letter (and telegrams were not popular in those days as they cost money). Instead, he sent a telegram to Daddy with these two words on it: “Butler Volere” which means “Butler theif.” So Daddy dismissed him and later he was seen following police, handcuffed, walking on the road toward town. This happened in 1945.

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Ryan’s Trip: Day 7 – The Last Day

It’s nearly midnight in Haiti. But it’s the last night for our team. For my teams, this means an emotionally draining night. The children know we leave shortly, and we are stuck in the bittersweet place where we are returning to spouses and family, but leaving friends in Haiti.

Today, we were able to visit the school for one last day and meet new faces and say goodbye to familiar ones from Sodo. Then, a few members of our team were able to go to LaBoule, where Dr. Charles runs the medical clinic. We saw the new building project for a much larger church, and also visited the new medical clinic where he was seeing patients.

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Ryan’s Trip: Day 6 – Wednesday in Haiti

Wednesdays in Haiti are great. During the day there is the market and at night is church meeting. Most of all it is about being able to just spend time in Haiti.

Work has continued on the short term mission team house. The roof is completed and plumbing for two bathrooms has begun. The walls have been repaired and painting will begin tomorrow. The goal is for the house to accommodate 20-25 short term mission team members who are visiting Mountain Faith Mission in Saut d’Eau.

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Ryan’s Trip: Day 5 – A Different Perspective

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? (James 2:5 ESV)

My first trip to Haiti in September 2007 just happened to have me reading through the bible when this verse was on my schedule. And it has always stuck with me since that trip.

When we think of Haiti, many times it is thought of as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Or, the island that has been struck with hardships such as the earthquake of 2010, or the cholera outbreak that happened and has claimed the life of over 8,000 people. Or, maybe it is simply that poor country in the Caribbean plagued with corruption.

Negative media can be found anywhere, but when I look at Haiti, James 2:5 sticks out. Haiti is the “poor” if the world to the westernized nations. We look at their way of life, lack of goods, and numerous other published issues and define them in that way.

But experiencing Haiti in the sense we experience it completely shows the verse in James to be true. While there is an obvious financial difference shown…the truth is, we each feel as though we are in poverty as we serve in Haiti.

Jamie Harger and I have sat and simply talked through this very observation. At night, as we sit on the porch, it transcends the human side of things. It is not a group of Americans and a group of Haitian children laughing and singing. There is something more. As we sing All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name, there is worship. There is spiritual refreshment. And the truth is, it is typically the Americans who are brought into worship.

It is every day life for the Haitian children and people to worship each day. Singing and spending time together is a way of life. And as we are able to experience it and worship it fills us. It refreshes us. It shows that we are the ones who are poor, as our Haitian brothers and sisters, though “poor” by the world’s standards, are truly rich in faith. And their faith ministers to each of us. It is because of them that we come home with a burden. Not to change their way of life or thinking. In fact, my burden is not even for the Haitians. My burden is for myself.

My hope is that I will have the faith that exudes worship in all that I do. I want the faith that walks daily with Christ. I want a faith that can bring others into the presence of God, simply by being with me.

I am poor. But each time I experience Haiti, I find myself to be the richest man in the world.

Ryan’s Trip: Day 4 – Another Day in Paradise

Another day in paradise, that is what we jokingly say this about Haiti.  However if you’ve ever been here you know the sense in which this is a true statement.  Waking up to the sound of roosters and a few Creole voices is one or the best feelings in the world.

Today began with an early morning look at the old girls dorm where work continues on adding a roof.  The trusses were set throughout the day by the Calvary Fellowship team.  During the day the entire roof trusses were set in place with half of the metal sheeting complete.

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Ryan’s Trip: Day 2

For me, waking up in Haiti is always a good start to my day. Hearing the sounds of voices and an occasional rooster crowing is just a great way to start my day.

But today was an exceptional day as I was able to witness the marriage of one of our girls from the children’s home. Guerda Felixe is twenty-one years old and is such an amazing young woman. I have gotten to know her throughout my trips to Haiti and it was an honor to have her plan her wedding at the same time my group was here.

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Ryan’s Trip: Day 1 – We have arrived!

After a long day, we are able to sit and rest. The day started at 3:00 AM in St. Louis, Missouri. Seven people from Calvary Fellowship Church loaded up for the annual trip to Haiti. Mike Prather, Matt Fox, Bob Roskowske, Jamie Harger, and I have traveled together to work with Mountain Faith Mission where I work with the children’s home. This year, we welcome two new faces to Haiti with Nicole Ridings and Eleanor Conley, one of my youth group students. Also joining us are my father in law from Nashville, TN and Casey Lewis from Washington, NC.
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