The other day I explained to one of my Haitian friends what a sketch is.
The context was about 'sketching' out a plan before implementation, and so I took out a pencil and paper and did a quick outline of a house - illustrating (in a very literal way) the simplicity of designing a picture. I tried to demonstrate that as much as the initial draft is done lightly and leaves plenty of room for alterations, it is also the blueprint and foundation for the final image.
I feel I can also take this analogy and use it with my life, because lately my mind has been doing a lot of sketching...
As I enter this season of looking ahead at possibilities and waiting upon the Lord for whispers of peace, I feel like I'm back at the drawing board. I've got this image in my head of a large page of white resting on the desktop. I've got a freshly sharpened pencil in my hand, and I'm tracing out lines and forming figures based on where I've been and where the desires of my heart are taking me.
Honestly right now, the page is looking kind of smudgy.
There are a lot of eraser marks and pencil scribbles from markings that I once drew with confidence. There are grey areas and some lines that are redrawn and others that are marked darker. Of course every once and a while, I have to tear the whole page off and start again.
Next year brings another new page... Let me tell you about some of my latest 'sketchings':
The beloved Rumford family has had an amazing year in Haiti. It is clear to every person that has the privilege to meet them, that the Lord has used them mightily over the past 10 months. He knew we needed them! And yet as we merge into the summer, their peace lies in returning to their northern home and merging back to their lives in Canada carrying a fresh flame. I have loved having them as my next door neighbours (although they have been known to be quite the late night party animals! haha), and I will miss them terribly. Despite this goodbye, I believe that the Lord has great plans in mind for each one of them, and I am excited for all that is ahead as they turn the page.
Recently I met with Laurens and Cheryl regarding their plans for the upcoming year, and similar to the way that the Lord has confirmed a peace in the Rumford's hearts about returning home, the Lord has given Laurens and Cheryl a peace about remaining on staff at the Mission of Hope. You may have read a few weeks ago on their blog about Cheryl's trip to Canada and her decision to sell her chiropractic office. This has been a very significant decision in partnership with their leading to stay in Haiti. It is wonderful to hear them share about their commitment to the growth of MOH and advancing the ministries that are taking shape as we merge forward after January 12.
As a result of their decision to stay, Laurens and Cheryl still have a need for a full-time teacher to carry their four children (Ana, Mina, Bridgely and Grayden) through the 2010-2011 school year (Teagan will be in high school - somebody pinch me! - and will be doing her courses through online correspondence). This continuing role as teacher, along with the sequence of events that have taken place over the past few months has confirmed in my heart the decision to renew my commitment to serve on staff here at the Mission of Hope.
Alongside the joy I find in teaching these awesome kids, the earthquake has birthed a new passion in my heart for the 'new' Haiti. I feel like I have a new point of connection with the people here, and I feel like each day I spend here, my bonds grow stronger. Through my accumulation of new Creole words - making it easier to communicate, new friends and 'family', and more opportunities, the Lord has given me such a peace about returning to Haiti in the fall.
I am so thankful for the way that He has confirmed this in my heart, and for the way He is bringing new opportunities across my path. I know that many of you have been keeping me in your prayers over the past months regarding this decision and I thank you for that. I am blessed by the way that you hold me up.
Now let's back to the sketch board...
The reason I'm still drawing out drafts is because the dynamics for next year are changing once again. Last year, I was preparing myself for an influx of students (merging from 3 to 8 kids). This coming year, my class size is downsizing. Please take with a grain of salt because with the staff members coming and going within the next year term, I can never be sure how many students I may accumulate (Lord, have mercy!). However, I know for sure at this point that I will have 4 students, which left alone will allow for me to broaden my horizons and allow me to go beyond the mission gates on a more routine basis.
As I keep my eyes and ears open for possibilities, I have been keeping a mental tally and sketching out ideas for what I can plug into... Options such as teaching ESL classes, holding guitar jam times with the Hope House kids, visiting my mountain friends, kids church ministry, plugging into community health programs in the local villages, story blogging, assisting with the School of Hope curriculum administration, and the list goes on...
There are so many ministries - many that are just starting to form since the earthquake - and I am praying that the Lord will guide me to 'click' into the right place.
In a few weeks, I will be meeting together with Brad and Vanessa to present my sketch pad. Right now I am not very confident that I have much to show for a final portrait, but I trust that through my discussion with them, they will be able to guide me and confirm the leadings in my heart. I tell you this so that you can pray along with me that the Lord would open the right doors for what additional ministries I can be a part of in the coming year.
Sometimes I have pinch myself to think that I might have the chance to latch onto the vision of the Mission of Hope through village ministry... This is a true passion of my heart which has manifested itself in small ways through growing friendships this year. The possibilities are exciting, and yet I don't want to get caught up in it being all about me. I know that foremost, the Lord wants to keep molding me, which often means becoming uncomfortable and doing things that are out of my bubble. I am trying to keep myself open to needs that arise where at second glance I would like to avoid, but in actual fact will be the perfect fit.
Thank you so much for your continual prayers as my plans continue to take formation and the pencil marks begin to piece together into something worth showing for. I can't wait to see you all soon (my ticket is booked for July 1st!) and share more stories and lessons that Lord has been teaching me on this journey. As I continue to return to the drawing board, may He create His design and purpose through each stroke.