I don't know if time is going by fast for you all back in Canada, but it sure flies in Haiti.... Just this week a new team arrived, and the leader of the group was one of the first people I met when I arrived in September. When I saw him the other day, all of my memories of first arriving at the mission and eating and sleeping at the guesthouse came back and I realized how far I have come, or instead, how far the Lord has brought me.
Yesterday I was doing some reading with Bridgely, and he asked if we could go back into his book library - books he has written himself... you know what I am talking about Kristine ;), and we were both really surprised at what we saw... His handwriting has changed so significantly we hardly recognized it! It was really neat for us to see how far he has come over the past few months, and it was quite rewarding for me as his teacher too! And that's just one small area of growth in the academic department... Each of my students have been growing and learning so much, and it's often not until times like yesterday when we were able to look back and really see how far we've come. It's in those moments of reflection that I really see the Lord's guidance, purpose and blessing. Often in day to day reality I am not aware of the bigger picture, but even in my growth spiritually, I see the value of the mountains and valleys I've journeyed in my times of looking back.
Now looking ahead to the days to come, I have lots to look forward to and more places for my roots to get deeper. One highlight that has just begun has been my opportunity to work with Jacqueson, one of the boys at the Hope House. Jacqueson was born with a cleft palate, and just this past December was fortunate to have surgery done by an organization called 'Operation Smile' to have it repaired. Although his mouth has healed completely, he still has many poor speech habits based on the twelve years he spent talking without a part of his mouth. Since the surgery, Rachel has been working with him almost daily, using exercises that were recommended by a speech therapist, in order to help Jacqueson develop proper speech techniques. The way I fit into all of this is that Rachel is currently in Canada helping to plan her sister's wedding among other things, so for the 3 weeks that she is gone, she asked if I would work with Jacqueson. I was pretty honoured that she would ask me, and am thrilled for the opportunity!
We have had only 2 sessions so far, but I am really enjoying it. One thing you need to know about Jacqueson is that he is quite a character and loves to joke around. Yesterday, we were doing one of the exercises where he had to blow out a match using his mouth, not his nose (a way to practice controlling his breath). I struck the match to light it, and usually he blows it out immediately, but as I held the match by his mouth he just looked at me with a little smirk as the match burned down closer and closer to my fingers. At first I waited expectantly for him to blow, and then realized the joke he was playing on me, so much to his amusement I began to react, and pleaded with him to blow it out before I got burned. Sure enough, he blew out the flame without it burning me and then we laughed together, but that's just an example of his sense of humour.... He keeps me on my toes! :)
Another thing that I am looking forward to is traveling to Oranzge with the mobile clinic team tomorrow. Currently there is a medical team at the mission that has been doing out-trips and giving free treatment almost everyday to surrounding villages. On numerous occasions I have heard Cheryl talk about the village in the mountains (Oranzge) that is quite a trek in the pick-up trucks, but what a rewarding experience it is to go and treat patients who have no means of getting to the clinic. I've had the hope of going along for quite some time just to experience it for myself, but they usually go out on weekdays when I have to teach. However, it just so happens that this weekend they are taking a team there on Sunday, where they plan to play the Jesus movie and have a church service with the village people in the morning, and then do treatment in the afternoon. I spoke with Cheryl yesterday and she said that they would probably have room for me, so I am really looking forward to it! By no means can I treat people or offer much assistance in the medical field, but I am willing to do whatever I can to help with organization and assisting the doctors and nurses with an extra pair of hands. It is also my hope that I will get to see many of the children and love on as many as I can.
So I guess that's a little update from me.... I hope to post some pictures from the day along with some stories from my experience tomorrow. Thanks again for all of your prayers!