At the beginning of this week I gave my students a project. Over the course of the next 4 days they had to come up with 100 things they were thankful for, in honour of our Canadian thanksgiving celebration this weekend. Little did we know what the week would entail, nor the blessings we be more aware of a few days later.
For those of you who did not know, yesterday afternoon the Mission of Hope staff received word that Laurens, and 6 other Mission staff members were involved in a head-on truck collision.
When I heard first heard the news about the crash, I felt like my heart stopped beating. My mind immediately began to envision the potholed roads, and giant swerving buses and trucks traveling at top speeds. At that point we didn't know the condition of any of the travelers, however we knew it was Laurens and other MOH staff members, so all we could do was pray. As the hours ticked by we continued to get updates about the specific injuries and circumstances of the crash. Once they reached the hospital in Port-au-Prince, Laurens was diagnosed with 2 broken ribs and received 35 stitches from the shattered glass. The other passengers also had injuries including a broken femur, but they all survived. Reflecting with the other staff members at dinner last night, we marveled at the miracle of everyone surviving. None of us know the exact conditions of what happened, however we all have experienced first hand the chaos of Haitian roads and can testify the protection the Lord gave to each and every person involved. Despite a long road of recovery ahead, we can be so thankful that the lives of these friends and loved ones are still with us - Something we can truly be thankful for.
This morning at school we complied our lists and created a thankful tree outside my front door. the kids taped paper leaves onto fern branches and on each one wrote something that they are thankful for. Underneath the branches I stretched out a tree trunk and on it I markered the verse:
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His faithful love continues forever. ~ Psalm 118:29
I challenged the kids this weekend to have the verse memorized by Monday and it's my hope that by enticing them with mango suckers, they will also find themselves with the reminder of thankfulness close in their hearts.
It's also my challenge to reflect on this verse over the weekend. It's not every weekend where thankfulness is the theme, and the more I ponder the blessings in my life, the more I realize how the cup I've been given is overflowing. Somehow when you begin focus on the blessings, the hard times fade into the background. It makes you want to make every weekend, thanksgiving weekend.
Because even though work is challenging, there are endless rewards everyday.
Even though the heat of the day is draining, I wouldn't trade it for the beauty in the sunrise.
Even though days can be lonely, friends are near to the heart.
Even though pain is present, laughter is contagious.
Indeed, life is messy, but praise be to God because he is good.