Yesterday we had our last day of class before break - and we spent it at the beach! All week I told the kids I had some surprises up my sleeve, and so on Friday after devotions they opened their stockings and included inside was a ticket to the beach. They were pretty excited about it, and we had a wonderful time. Basking in the waves of the Caribbean sea under a cloudless sky with my students, I thought of all of you back home in the frigid north and was thankful for a day in paradise... I could go on but I think I'll stop there - I don't want to make you jealous! ;)
When we arrived back at the mission, I was also thrilled to see that one of the Canadian containers had arrived! I had about 10 big boxes outside of my door, which was quite a treat. Most of them I still haven't opened - They are donated books for school with the kids which I am very grateful for. I think I might make a little project for the kids and I on Monday to open them all up and see what goodies are inside. Along with the school boxes were 2 rubbermaid bins which I had packed before I left. Inside there were many decorations for my apartment, so I'm excited to find a place for everything! For those of you coming to Haiti with the Canadian team in January, I'm excited to show off all of my interior decorating! :)
So the rest of my last weekend in Haiti will be spent wrapping up all of my school plans and packing to come home. It still feels surreal that next week at this time I will be home in Canada. I feel like the past 3 months I have begun a whole new life in a completely different world, so it's going to be really crazy to go back to where it all began. I honestly never thought that I would feel like this... I am sad to leave. It's hard to know what to do with these emotions - I am so excited to go home and be a part of the Christmas celebrations - there really is no place I would rather be this time of year. But these past few weeks in Haiti have been so wonderful. I am starting to make friends with the Haitian people, and I feel like I'm a part of something so much bigger than myself. It's the feeling I get every morning when I walk outside and see the view of the water and the mountains. It's bigger than a calling... It's the life I am living every day... It's like a dream! And I think if this was it - If I wasn't coming back in January, I would really struggle with the goodbye. Fortunately, it's not over and I get to come back in the new year. I guess this feeling confirms that the country and people of Haiti are really finding a place in my heart. I'm not done here. I feel like I've only just begun. It makes me think of what will happen when my year commitment is over and I am left at a crossroads - to stay here or come back... It's still very unknown - after all it's still a ways away, but I continue to pray that the Lord would guide my steps and lead me where I belong. Whether it be Haiti, or Wainfleet or somewhere in between.
The feelings of love I have for this place take me back to my struggles and fears I had about leaving during the summer. Reading my June/July/August blogs and journal entries I am reminded of my feelings of the unknown and uncertainty about what I was getting myself into. But now that I'm here, I realize how all of my stress and worry was so unnecessary. I am amazed how the Lord has carried me up to this point and He has totally showered His blessings on my life. And to think, if I would have turned down this opportunity because of fear, how I would be missing out on this. I can't imagine turning this life down now that I'm here, but when I had to commit without knowing what was ahead, it was difficult to submit. It all just comes down to faith - believing without seeing.
It's eye opening to see how Satan takes advantage of our fear and paralyzes our faith.... Working at a mission like this has always been my dream, but I struggled when I had to say yes... It was so hard to step out - and even after I decided to go, I wavered and worried about what would become of the life I had in Wainfleet. I just realize how much the Lord had already taken care of everything, and before I came here He already had plans for all of the experiences and joys that I am living everyday.
It just makes me want to surrender everything to Him. So many times I hold on to things because I don't want anything bad to happen, or just because I want control. But looking back on these past 3 months, I am speechless. I can't even express in words how much the Lord has met me and shown me how much He really can do when I offer up my life.
Let me also say that sometimes it's in the deepest, darkest moments that we fear the most which are the times that are the most beautiful. It's not just in the sunshine and happy smiles that I see the Lord working. It's in the places of sorrow and confusion - when I have to simply let go and trust. I don't know what's ahead next month, next year or beyond, but I do know more now than I have ever known that the Lord has more in store than we could ever dream, and He wants to do something amazing with each of our lives.... I just want to keep living in the sweet spot!
So in just a few days I'll be flying home and it will be wonderful to see you all.... You have become like a big northern family to me, and I can't thank you enough for the love and prayers you have showered on me as I've ventured out. I know that the time will fly when I come home, so don't expect to see a blog for another couple weeks.... Until then, may you all cherish the joy of the season and look ahead to more blogging in 2009!