When the Apostle John wrote his little letter we know as 3 John to a young Christian man named Gaius, apparently an up-and-coming leader in the early church, it is clear that his goal was to encourage and instruct a dear brother in the faith. Gaius is commended as a servant of God, a devoted, faithful man with a reputation for loving hospitality. In his brief letter, John also contrasts what he saw in Gaius with another man in the church named Diotrephes who had come to be known as a bossy, stingy, unloving and prideful gossip. So John rejoices at the news about Gaius and the fruit of his faith: his selfless, visible, loving, generous life, and summarizes his thoughts about Gaius with this beautiful word of commendation: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3 John 1:4).
That verse is one of his main encouragements to Gaius…but what exactly does John mean by the words: "walking in the truth?" Well, we know something of how John would define this phrase by what he writes in 1 John. "Walking in the truth" would mean to know the truth about the person and work of Jesus Christ, and to live by it. Reading through John's first epistle, you get an idea of what he means: not walking in darkness (1 John 1:6 ), confessing our sins and turning from them (1 John 1:8), knowing God and keeping his commands (1 John 2:4), loving as Jesus loved (1 John 2:8-10), having the Holy Spirit in you (1 John 2:20), laying down your life for others (1 John 3:16-19), recognizing the Word of God (1 John 4:6), and believing in the death of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins (1 John 5:11-13). It brought the aging apostle supreme joy in knowing that this dear younger brother was a living testimony of the grace of God.
Fast forward now nearly 2,000 years to the Caribbean island of Haiti, where the Orthodox Presbyterian Church has an overseas mission working to establish an indigenous Reformed church. Nearly five years have passed since the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince and many in the OPC have asked how things are going in Haiti since the earthquake. Although most of the tent cities are gone, and the rebuilding of destroyed buildings continues slowly, OPC Missionary Benjamin Hopp and I have been greatly encouraged by the work of the Spirit among the next generation of church leaders, especially those we have seen in the Église Presbyterienne Réformée de Delmas near the International Airport in Port au Prince.
Four times a year, I travel from my church planting work in Naples, Florida to Haiti to assist the OPC mission in Haiti through preaching and teaching of the Word. After each day of teaching from 1 Timothy to all ages of men and women this March and then again in July, Ben and I did something different. We asked just the young men (ages 18-30) to stay for an hour at the end of the day to encourage them in the faith as future leaders in the Lord's church. The high point for me was our very last session with these young brothers before my return to the United States. At the close of our time with these up-and-coming leaders, Ben and I asked them how we could be praying for them. We were so encouraged by what we heard! What great joy it was for us to hear that these young men desire to be walking in the truth. We could relate to what John wrote to Gaius, because we left that session to return to Ben's home with joy and thanksgiving to God for what we heard. As they made their prayer requests, I wrote them down so that we could remember their words. I've listed responses below so that you may join us in lifting up their desires before the throne of God, and so that you may be as encouraged as we were in what the Spirit of the Lord is doing in Haiti.
Ben and I asked these men, "How can we be praying for you?" Here is what they said:
Truly, what greater joy could there be than to know that these young men in Port-au-Prince are walking in the truth!