Teacher, Why Are You Talking About My Personal Issues In Front Of The Entire Class?

Testimony of Francique Guyto

A Day at Pechinat Public High School, Jacmel, Haiti

February 2020

Thursdays Are His Favorite School Day

It was a normal school week for Francique Guyto, a Haitian young man in the 12th grade. His daily academic classes were challenging and demanding as he applied himself to learn each concept in biology, trigonometry, English, Spanish and literature.

However, he couldn’t shake a gnawing ache that was even more burdensome than his studies. Hopelessly, he tried digging into his studies to distract his heart and mind from the pain that wrenched his inner core. Today was Thursday, thankfully, and that fact brought a spark of expectancy to his mind. Yes, the one class in which he felt peace and hope just by entering the classroom was his one-hour Bible class taught by CIDM’s teacher Mr. Jonil.

Francique expresses his feelings in his own words:

When the Bible class is taught, I feel really good because it always touches me deeply. Through the Bible class, I’ve heard, read, and learned truth from the Bible that I’ve never known before. My teacher, Mr. Jonil, is tireless in teaching the most important book I could ever learn about, the Bible. Mr Jonil motivates me a lot, showing me how to love the Lord, put Him first place in my life and how to selflessly treat others. This class has had the most profound impact in my life.

Getting to Know Francique

As a typical Haitian, Francique’s life consists of very little convenience as we know it in the United States. He must live with a lack of food, fuel, electricity, healthcare, trustworthy police and government, internet and air conditioning. Severe poverty, theft, personal violations, chaos, hopelessness, illness, and diseases abound.

Unlike the majority of young men his age, Francique has been privileged to receive an education higher than 4th grade. Normally, he walks three miles each way to school, but once in a while, if he gets lucky, he has a few gourde (Haitian currency) to pay his part of a taxi ride with a friend. Most Haitian taxis are scooters on which drivers carry one to four passengers around town or country.

After school, he’s ready for his mom’s home cooking, which is his one meal of the day. Hunger is a normal gnaw in his belly. After his afternoon meal, he dives into his homework with the goal to someday obtain a job with his high school diploma. He’ll be the first one in his family to do so. With a diploma, he will be able to earn a living for himself and supplement his parents’ meager earnings from selling goods at the marketplace. In his free time on the weekends or at night, Francique likes to play soccer with his neighbor buddies.

Although he was born into a Voodoo-practicing family, Francique had no interest in Voodoo or any religion. Everything he saw from Voodoo was empty and unfulfilling. As an adult now, he realizes the evil fruits of Voodoo—manipulation, greed, and revenge—which he wants nothing to do with. However, as long as he lives in his parents’ house, they require him to join them in certain Voodoo activities, and he doesn’t have the freedom to try out a Christian church.

A few weeks ago, Francique’s heart had been crushed and he was experiencing the most painful time he’d ever experienced in his twenty-one years of life. His heart was desperate with heaviness and disappointment. “I am a person who has been a victim in my love life,” he confided.

I had chosen a girl as a close friend, we were raised together, fell in love and planned to be married someday. However, recently my heart’s been broken because she disappointed me greatly by cheating on me with someone else. We broke up and ended the relationship. My whole life has fallen apart, and I feel so hurt and alone.

Back to The Bible Class

Mr. Jonil, CIDM Bible teacher

So, this particular Thursday in February 2020, Mr Jonil, CIDM’s teacher welcomed his students with a smile. His lesson had been prayed over and planned.

Mr. Jonil read the following Scripture and proceeded to explain the truths from the Parable of the Rich Fool:

Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”

Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then He said, “Beware!  Guard against every kind of greed.  Life is not measured by how much you own.” Then He told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops, He said to himself, “What should I do?  I don’t have room for all my crops.”  The he said, “I know!  I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones.  Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.  And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come.  Now take it easy!  Eat, drink, and be merry!”

But God said to him, “You fool!  You will die this very night.  Then who will get everything you worked for?”

“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Then turning to His disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing.”  (Luke 12:13-23 NLT)

Mr. Jonil taught:

“The rich fool had his priorities messed up. He allowed his possessions and the security of them to rule his life, leaving God out of the picture. In this parable, Jesus urged His listeners to cease from greediness or covetousness, because no one will ever be satisfied with possessions.”

While listening, Francique’s heart dropped deeper than normal as he was once again reminded of his forever love who had betrayed him. While not expecting to feel more pain in this class, he did. However, he felt an unexplainable ray of hope. He sat up a little straighter in his chair and focused deeper on the words being taught.

Mr. Jonil continued:

“This teaching opposes the popular conception the world has, that people will have security, comfort, and pleasure if they can just have possessions. This mind-set is worldwide, including the impoverished society of Haiti.  Everything the poor see and hear from developed countries on TV and movies screams out to them that this is the true answer to life, thus, people unceasingly acquire more things for themselves. However, deep in the heart of a rich man, he admits no amount of riches is ever enough.

God made a void in our hearts that people try to fill with riches, relationships, fame, or anything that takes higher priority in our lives that God.”

Francique thought to himself, Did Mr. Jonil just say relationships? I thought he was talking about riches.

Mr. Jonil further continued:

“There’s nothing wrong with these things, but we must not hold any of them higher in our hearts than God. If we do, those things become idols in our lives and our priorities are faulty, just like the rich fool’s.

There is nothing that will satisfy our soul’s deep inner longing outside of Jesus Christ. “

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Thoughts continued racing through Francique’s mind:

“OK, which one of my buddies told Mr. Jonil that my girl cheated on me and I’m broken-hearted?  Hmmm, and did Mr. Jonil actually change his lesson plans to speak to me in my inner pain? “

Mr Jonil continued:

“God’s plan and desire for us is to surrender our lives to Him, enjoying a personal relationship with our Creator. When we put Him first in our lives and daily follow Him, we finally find what our souls have longed for. Our relationship with God is more valuable and fulfilling than all the possessions or relationships we could ever possibly acquire in life. “

Francique couldn’t contain his pounding heart any longer. He didn’t care what his peers thought as he jumped to his feet, exposing his heart before them all. He had to get answers and settle this life-changing issue.

He blurted out,

“Mr Jonil, why are you talking about my personal issues in front of the entire class?

Did someone tell you what I’ve been going through because you’re preaching as if you were speaking to me directly about my issues. The content of this course accurately reflects my situation.”

With a smile, Mr. Jonil assured Francique that no one had told him about his situation and that he truly knew nothing about his life problems.

“God, the creator of the universe knows you, Francique,” Mr. Jonil said. “He loves you so much and wants you to have a personal relationship with Him. So, right now, the Almighty God is the one speaking directly to you through His Word and our teaching.”

Honestly and humbly, Francique admitted:

“My girlfriend was my treasure, my earthly wealth, my dream, my vision, and my life. I knew we’d someday be married, have children, and grow old together. I poured my whole life into her and our relationship. I never worried that I’d ever lose her. I didn’t include God when I chose her, nor did we ever consider God in our relationship. And recently, just like riches for the rich fool, my girlfriend cheated on me, trust was broken and our relationship died.”

After further discussion in the classroom, Francique overwhelmingly understood the biblical truths and surrendered his life to Jesus Christ right there in his Bible class…in his public high school … that Thursday in February of 2020.

Now, Francique’s relationship with God is his top priority.

“I’ve learned that before I do anything, I must speak to God about it first. Putting Him first in my life is a huge change for me, but I understand now and welcome Him into my life.”

Francique’s Charge to Us

Francique concludes his story with this encouragement,

“I invite you to be serious in your relationship with God, to read the Word of God.”

Let’s take to heart the wise and valuable charge Francique shares with us.  Also, as our brother in Christ, let’s pray for Francique as he grows in his relationship with Jesus, that his new life will be a witness to his parents and that they also will put Voodoo behind them and follow Christ.

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