I've got lots of news. GOOD news.
Good news is good... Puts a little spring in your step! Well, my weekend has been sprinkled with lots of it and I feel very blessed!
First things first - I have just been informed through contact with FTC that my year support has been reached! I want to take a moment to THANK each one of you who made it possible for me to serve here in Haiti this year. I can't express in words how appreciative I am for the sacrifices each and every one of you have made in order to support me. I feel so blessed by the prayers, encouraging messages and financial gifts that have been generously given to me. It is such a confirmation that this is where I need to be during this time of my life, and it wouldn't be possible without each one of you! Thank you!
Secondly - You have likely read my latest blog about my need for an ESL assistant. This has been heavy on my heart for a while now, and I have really been questioning how the Lord is going to provide in this area before I burn out completely. Well, just this past weekend I received an e-mail from Laurens' parents with a wonderful proposal. In just over a week's time they will be coming to Haiti to visit the van der Marks for 14 days. Laurens' mother contacted me sharing that based on her career experience working with special needs and ESL students, she would like to offer her assistance in the classroom while she is visiting! I can't wait to get some professional help this month and learning some good techniques myself while she is here.
I am still amazed at the timing, qualifications and willingness of the whole situation... The Lord surely knows the bigger picture and provides in perfect timing! As I stewed and stressed last week, He already had this all in mind. I guess I'm still learning that He's always got my back. When I don't see Him, He's working in the background setting up something I could have never even dreamed.
In other good news, the babies are GROWING. You may remember seeing pictures of two very frail and bony bodies at the beginning of the summer. Well, Hannah Grace and Jeremiah have literally TRANSFORMED within a matter of months. I did not even recognize them when I returned this fall. They are HUGE. Currently we have two Haitian mommies working round the clock to care for them in my old downstairs apartment. It's so nice having them downstairs and I love checking in on them. Every Sunday, Rachel and I perform our morning routine with Mommy Edi to bring the two darlings down to church. There we are ready to go!
Fortunately Rachel recently acquired a truck from the mission, so it comes in very handy as a baby carriage compared to an ATV! Rachel is the chauffeur, doing her best to make the descent as smooth as possible over the rocky terrain, and Mommy Edi and I squeeze into the passenger seat with the babies on our laps. We shield their eyes from the sun and try to keep them comfortable as their sleepy eyes stare up in a disoriented expression. It's not long though before they are snug in the baby carriers and get to enjoy the music of the service, and smiling faces of the Hope House kids. Just this past Sunday I say beside Rachel who had Hannah in her lap. Perched on Rachel's legs she lit up with the brightest smiles every time Rachel leaned in to give her a kiss. Once again I am reminded how truly blessed I am to watch such precious lives grow.
And even more good news... After the service on Sunday I was introduced by my friend, Sadrac to the family of the children I met a few weeks ago on the road (from my Here on Earth blog)!!! Yes! They were at church! I saw Shalyn again! Unfortunately Senson was sick and not able to be at church, but I met their mother and a few younger brothers and sisters. I was so thrilled to know that they have been at church and I am hoping to go and visit them at their home sometime soon. I am so grateful to the Lord for this new connection and the joy that comes in sharing His hope!
Since I'm on a roll here, let me share another really great story before I head back to marking science tests... I think last year I may have mentioned one of the Hope House boys that I have the privilege of teaching guitar to. His name is Jean Marc and he is quite a gem! Just look at that smile...
Every couple of days he comes over for a half hour or so to practice on my guitar and I sing along. Last year we would have to stop every couple of words as I corrected him on a chord or slow him down, but since I've been back he is really turning into quite a musician. I don't accredit this to any of my teaching, he is extremely dedicated and passionate about developing his talent! I am honoured that I get to watch from the sidelines what the Lord is doing. Many Sunday mornings I glow when I see him up with the worship team keeping rhythm with the tambourine or playing guitar with the soloist for special music. In addition to his growth musically, I am also been amazed at his spiritual growth over the past couple of months. He truly loves the Lord. I can see it in the way that he plays, the way he sings, the way he worships. His sincerity toward serving the Lord is so evident. Every time he comes over I encourage him on his skills and show how impressed I am, but he never takes the credit. He always gestures with a pointed finger upwards and reminds me that it's all for God. Just this past Saturday Jean Marc popped his head in my apartment after lunch and asked if he could play. I welcomed him in and asked what song we were going to start with, but he paused and said that he had a different suggestion. With genuine words, Jean Marc asked if we could begin our time by praying before he played.
My heart swelled and my eyes moistened as I humbly invited him to pray. As I sat there in the quiet of the moment with Jean Marc softly speaking words of praise and thanksgiving to His Father, Our Father, I was in awe of the opportunity that I have been given to get to know this special boy. His life is a testament to the grace of God, and I have no doubt that he is going to be a world-changer in his generation. What a blessing it is to know him, and to watch him worship so tangibly. The Lord is evidently at work in his life and I'm challenged by his love and dedication in following after all that the Lord has for him!
So there's my good news weekend in a nutshell... Hopefully it's left you with a spring in your step too! :) I'm leaving you with some snapshots of the halloween festivities and view of my apartment... Enjoy!