Saturday, December 13, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Last week at the grocery store I bought paper towels. When I got back to my apartment and took them out of the package, they had flowers printed on them and the words ‘Home Sweet Home’. The phrase struck me for a moment, and for the first time, it sunk in. I realized that this is my home. For the past 2 months, I have been moving in, painting walls, unplugging sinks, washing floors and working my way up this point where I can walk in my front door and.... relax. Believe it or not, I think i can say it’s arrived. I’m so thankful for this piece of independence, this space I can call my own, and for the way that the Lord has helped me adjust to this new way of life.
But this new ‘home’ is more than just my apartment, it’s life in Haiti....
It’s waking up in my bed to the sound of birds outside my window, the breath-taking view of mountains as soon as I step out my front door, riding on the back of an ATV in my church clothes through the dust and dirt of the mission road, the intense heat from the sun shining through the palm leaves... It’s walking to children’s church with an escort of 10 children clinging to my arms. It’s the hugs and kisses I receive every time I walk down to the orphanage... and above all, it’s believing that there is no better place in the world for me to be right now, than right here in this place. It’s nothing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life, but it’s everything I’ve dreamed of and more.
On Sunday morning I got to tell two bible stories in children’s church, and it was such a blessing to share Jesus with these dear Haitian children. Telling the story of the lost sheep, from the bottom of my heart I prayed that these children would listen and believe the message I was telling. Jesus loves each of them so much that He would leave the flock to search for them. In being here I have feel like I’ve captured such a passion for living and loving people, based on the blessings I’ve been given from these dear people, and it is amazing. If I can give back half of what I have received since I’ve been here, it will be a miracle.
I think it’s kind of ironic after writing all of this to say that in about 3 weeks I’m coming home. Home to Canada for Christmas! Now keep in mind that just because Haiti is becoming like a home to me here doesn’t mean that I don’t think about Wainfleet or the people I love. I can hardly wait to get off the plane and see my family and friends and catch up on all that has unravelled since my departure in September. It will truly be a sweet reunion! And Wainfleet is home to me too, just in a different way. Wainfleet is my comfort, my joy, and my foundation, because it’s the place where I recieve such love and support and feel spurred on to experience what I am doing today. I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that I would not be thriving
here without your prayers and without the presence of the Lord.
I guess after putting my thoughts on ‘paper’ I can come to the conclusion that home is really never a permanent place where you physically reside. Home is the place where your heart belongs. And right now for me, Haiti is where God has placed me, and every day, the more I open up my heart to life here, the more I belong. It won’t be home forever. Like all of us, our callings change, and God leads us to new ‘homes’. But for now I thank God for leading me here... Leading me home.
On that note, yesterday Rachel’s kittens said goodbye to their mother, and I moved Hanna (named after the 3rd hurricane which hit Haiti in September), downstairs into my apartment. She meowed through the whole night, and all day she has been hiding under my couch. Just this evening she crept out and ate a bit of her food, and now she is resting peacefully on my cushy chair. It’s going to take some time (and a lot of patience on my end), but eventually this place will be home to Hannah too. Beginnings are never easy, but they’re worth it. Welcome home.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Well, I've only got a few minutes to write a brief post to share with you the events from last evening... After getting home from the grocery store around 4:30, I noticed some small puddles in the entrance of my apartment. It's become pretty normal in my house to have small drips from time to time, which is caused by an unknown leaky source somewhere above me, but it's never been too severe. However, while making and eating supper last night, I heard more water coming down, and assumed it was raining outside, until I felt the cushions of my couch and saw the water near my door. Looking up at my ceiling I saw a clear line of cracks and seeping water from my front door all the way to my kitchen (about 10 feet across the ceiling). The water was dripping quite consistently at this point and I knew that I needed to investigate the situation.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Written Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - 7:30 pm
It’s been a rough, tiring past couple of days... I’ve been going non-stop teaching, painting my apartment and watching the van der Mark children in the afternoons - as Laurens and Cheryl have been moving into their home and taking a exploratory trip to another mission on the north part of the island.
And on top of it all, I haven’t had internet. For some reason my connection has been lost for the past few days, and so I have had no contact with anyone from home. Tonight it’s all kind of caught up with me, so even though I am unable to post a blog tonight, I am need to get my thoughts down (I will post the blog for you to read as soon as my connection returns).
After supper tonight, I was feeling very discouraged and lonely, so I read some verses in my bible and began to look at the many cards I was given from family and friends. Reading all of the loving messages and encouraging words first brought tears, but then filled me with a sense of peace and purpose. Even though these past days have been testing on my patience and hope, I still have a lingering comfort in my heart.
One of the verses that really jumped out at me from the cards was from Psalm 139 - If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
How I long tonight to be home - I think I would do just about anything to sit at the kitchen table with my family, or take a long drive through the countryside with friends... But the Lord has placed me here - Just as the verse states: He has ‘settled’ me on the far side of the sea (the Caribbean sea to be exact). Although I am faraway from home, I am not alone. I am held fast by the right hand of God.
Over the past five weeks I have undergone a huge life change. Change in country, language, climate, job, living space, people.... I’ve had to adapt to new responsibilities and customs and expectations... I’ve also been trying balance all this change with my ‘old’ life by keeping in touch and somehow helping you all understand this new life I am in.
And yet through all of this, the Lord has remained true and faithful - guiding me and revealing His character in surprising ways. He has been right beside me. My best friend, my comforter, my shepherd. Just as I wrote about the mountain and the valley, I can testify that tonight, He is with me here in the valley. It’s dark and scary and lonely here, but He is with me. I am confident in His power to carry me through - and when He does, I’ll have the chance to look back and once again, be amazed by His faithfulness.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
On Wednesday, it was my birthday, and I had planned to have a special morning at school with my kids and then to go down to the Hope House in the afternoon. However, these plans all changed when Rachel knocked on my door shortly after I woke up and told me that I had one hour to get ready before we were heading out on the town! Shocked, I asked “But what about school!?!”, and she smiled and told me that she had already discussed it with the van der Mark’s, and I had the day off.
So, still unknowing where we were going, I jumped in a truck with Rachel and Patris, and we began to head up the mountain. I was amazed at the breathtaking view of the villages and homes below... Even though the pictures don’t do justice, I’ve included some for you to take a peek at.
When we arrived at our destination, I found out that we were at the Baptist Mission. This Christian mission is similar to the Mission of Hope, except it has been around for a lot longer, so they have many ‘attractions’ including a zoo, museum and gift shop. We spent the morning exploring through the mission and taking pictures, and then sat down to a delicious meal of pizza and ice cream.... Ahhhh, what a wonderful taste of home! :)
On the way home, Rachel and I also seized the opportunity to stop by the grocery store, so that was an added bonus!
That evening after supper, the van der Marks and Rachel had yet another surprise waiting for me... A birthday cake! :) It was very special to share it with them. Looking back on the day, I am just amazed how the Lord abundantly blessed me. Even though it wasn’t easy to be far away from those I love, I am so thankful to have been able to experience my birthday in a different place, and for all of the special memories I made... It will definitely be a birthday I will never forget!
Another celebration I was fortunate to be a part of took place last night. The Cabaret children who have been staying at the mission since the hurricane are returning to their orphanage today. So last night as a special celebration, Rachel had organized a party for all the kids, complete with singing, skits, dancing, games and best of all, CAKE! The party actually came together last-minute, so right around supper time Rachel called me and asked if I would be willing to help her finish the cakes. So before the party as Rachel ran errands, I stayed in her kitchen and made 4 batches of icing and decorated the desserts. It was such an fun job for me, knowing that it would be such a treat that all 150+ kids would get to enjoy.
When I went down to the church (where the party took place), I was thrilled to see so many excited children laughing and singing. It was such a joyful evening, but it was still difficult to say goodbye to all of the beautiful Cabaret children. Fortunately they aren’t going too faraway, so I will be able to go and visit them on occasion, but last night as they all returned to the high school (where they have been staying) for bedtime, I went along and my heart broke. Most of the children were preparing their beds (a flat sheet on the floor), while others lined up by an old, dirty bucket to use the bathroom, and still other small children, too young to get ready themselves, remained outside sitting in the gravel and waiting for an adult to take them to bed. It all started to hit me, that the lifestyles of these children, so seemingly desperate, was normal. These children have probably never slept in a comfortable bed, worn clean pyjama's, taken a warm bath, or felt the comfort of a loving mother who tucks them in, like I and most North American children have experienced. As I held, smiled and kissed the little ones around me, I whispered a prayer in my heart for each one. During this special time, Lord spoke to me and reminded me, despite the pain I felt for these children, He is the same Father to them as He is to me. Even when their care seems inadequate and their futures are full of unknowns, He made each one, and created them with a specific purpose. Just as I feel His presence in my life, He loves each one of them and will be faithful to them through the calm and through the storm.
Sometimes I question pain and why bad things happen to people, especially the innocent children of Haiti, and yet I have realized that without pain, there would be no hope. I feel blessed knowing that in some small way I am able to play a part in offering these children hope, and as the little boy in my arms fell asleep, once again I felt a fullness in my heart that this is exactly where I need to be.