There is a new church on top of the hill behind our house. Actually, it is only a shack made from metal sheets. But the pastor has a generator and a loudspeaker, so every Sunday we get to listen to a sermon, sometimes as early as five o’clock in the morning. Well, it is kind of a sermon. It’s mainly a repetition of a few phrases like, “In the name of Jesus! In the name of Jesus!” or “Return to sender! Return to sender!”

There is also a voodoo priestess right next to that church. Sometimes we wonder if the pastor refers to her when he is sending evil back to the sender, but we aren’t quite sure. In any case, when the pastor is done, she takes over with her drums and gongs.

There is a new bar down the road from our house. Every weekend they play loud music until late at night and noisy groups of people walk by our house going to or coming from the bar until early in the morning.

There is a new mosque in our neighborhood. Now, during Ramadan, the muezzin — a Muslim man who, from the minaret of a mosque, calls people to prayer — starts his round of duties as early as 2:30 a.m. to make sure the ladies are up and cooking early enough for the family to eat before daybreak. They also have a generator and loudspeaker.

We live in a noisy world, and sometimes we wonder how we will ever be heard with our message. We don’t have a loudspeaker and don’t plan to get one. We also don’t want to wake people up, at least not literally. We don’t want to engage in a competition of who is louder and who is able to drown out all the other noises. When God met Elijah, it wasn’t in the fire, it wasn’t in the earthquake and it wasn’t in the wind. God talked to Elijah in a still small voice.

Our prayer is that our deeds of kindness, our actions of assistance and our general attitude would speak louder than any sermon or prayer call over a loudspeaker. May God help us to draw people to Him through the sweet sound of living love.

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