Saturday, August 29, 2009

You were loved.

I was brought to tears by a simple quote last week.
'In this world, you were loved.'
Let me give you a bit of context. Sarah got me hooked on this book called 'Angels of a Lower Flight' by Susie Scott Krabacher, who writes about her journey and unfolding passion for the children of Haiti. The first chapter sets the stage in a story of heartbreak from a rundown hospital where a baby and her mother are struggling to survive. The chapter ends with both of them losing their lives to malnutrition and disease. The emotions and pain that are expressed by the writer are so vivid and heart wrenching. Where is God in this situation? A situation that re-occurs moment by moment in such a hopeless place.
But the punch line is this quote - Words written on a page and placed on the tiny casket of the innocent child being buried:
In this world, you were loved.
Even as I type this post, my emotions are getting the best of me.
Isn't this our purpose? Isn't this the answer?
We may not be able to cure to disease, heal the pain, fix the problem, save a life, but oh, we can love.
And more and more I am convinced that love is enough.
Isn't that what the Lord is asking of us? We aren't miracle workers, He is. We don't have the cure, but He is.
He isn't asking us to do the impossible. His call to us is simply to bring the love He has freely given to this broken world.
It's what everybody is searching for. It's the only lasting solution.
From the multi-millionaires living in luxury, to the starving children on the opposite side of the world. Everyone is yearning for love. For acceptance. For belonging.
It's Susie's goal to make this statement true to every person she interacts with, one beautiful stranger at a time. I believe that this calling is for each of us.
Love changes things. Not my love, but God's love. It goes beyond what I could ever do in my own power, but what a indescribable blessing to be the vessel.
Despite my human nature, it's my prayer that I can echo Susie's words. That I somehow, day after day, I can be a part of this love revolution.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Meet the students.

We've all been there.
Meet the teacher night is something that goes along with every school year. It's an event that creates feelings of anxiety and anticipation, fear and excitement. Questions fill your mind. Will the teacher be strict or kind? Will they like me? Will they notice my weaknesses? What if I fall behind? What if I don't understand? Will they go the extra mile?
I'm realizing as I establish my role as a teacher that these feelings of the unknown grow even stronger, and I have more questions. Except, this time it's not about the person guiding me, it's the ones I'm guiding. A thought that is extremely humbling.
Yesterday I traveled with my family to Guelph to meet my students. Three of them I am already familiar with, Bridgely, Grayden and Teagan and as expressed in a post in June, I am so excited to spend another year with them. They are awesome!
But four of the kids I knew only from a photo, so there was a lot of anticipation going on in my mind. Most of the questions above were spinning in my head as I awaited the chance to meet them face to face.
As always, the Lord calmed my heart and gave us a wonderful day together, the van der Marks, the Rumfords, as well as my parents, Broc and I. Even in the few hours we spent together, I already feel connected and blessed to be a part of the time these families are committing to in Haiti. Each child is unique and special and we all share an enthusiasm for the school year ahead... Hmmm, correction: Maybe not so much as an enthusiasm for tests and homework, but a definite enthusiasm for discovering more about one another and growing together as a team.

That's us, the Haiti gang!
In addition, as most of you are already aware, the picture above is not quite complete... There are 2 more students that I have the priviledge of teaching when I return to Haiti in September. Laurens and Cheryl are pursuing the adoption of 2 Haitian twin girls who will be entering grade one in the fall. Loudmina and Loudiana (who I have nicknamed the LouLous) are pictured below and I am very excited to be their Canadian teacher. You can read more about their journey into the van der Mark family on the VdmCrew blog which can be accessed in my links sidebar. Please pray for them as they maneuver through all of the paperwork and custody agreements in the months ahead.
But honestly, this whole addition of the girls has been such another confirmation of the Lord's leading to me as a teacher. Not only am I teaching Ontario students, but Haitian orphans! What an amazing opportunity that could only ever be orchestrated by the Lord. I'm sure I'll have to pinch myself in the fall to make sure it's actually real.
As much as I have such a confidence that this is what I am called to do, and a peace that the Lord will accomplish it, I still have my daunting moments of fear and struggle. With the triple in class size, as well as students who don't know the language, I've definitely got a challenge ahead of me. When I start thinking about the logistics of it all, I feel very overwhelmed and inadequate for the position. Sure, I've taught for a year, but only 3 kids. It's a whole new ballgame with 9 students. There has got to be another person out there who can fit the criteria. It's these moments when I have to stop myself and be reminded that it's not me doing it but the Lord. He is the only reason we succeeded in the classroom last year and He is the only one who can bring us through the year ahead.
Thank you for your continual prayers surrounding this whole school year and each one of us involved. Pray for the kids: For Loudiana and Loudmina as they adjust not only to a new school system, but a new way of life. Pray for my two little guys, Riley and Bridgely, that the foundational language and math concepts I will be teaching will come easily and that I can establish a love for learning in their minds. Pray for my grade 5's, Samantha and Grayden, that they would be a good team and that they would not be afraid to ask questions when the work seems complicated. Pray for my grade 8 girls, Madison and Teagan, that they would challenge each other and work together as friends to accomplish all of the work laid out for them this term. Pray for Michelle, who is working through an independent correspondence course for grade 11, that she would not be overwhelmed or discouraged about working on her own, but that she would complete her tasks effectively and find joy and fulfillment in assisting me in the classroom. And finally, pray for me in these weeks of preparation, and as I look ahead to the fall with a classroom full of students, eager to think outside of the box and participate in activities that make learning fun. Pray that I have creativity when I run out of ideas, and patience when I run out of time. Also pray that I can establish a special bond with each of the kids, and above all, that I will point them to the ultimate Teacher and Guide for their lives.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers that I will surely feel on this road stretched out in front of me. As shared in a previous blog, nou ba Ou tout louwanj ak glwa, a creole song that sings, we give Him all the glory.