Any teacher who loses half of their class within 3 days would normally take it as an insult to their teaching. It is a pretty bad sign to have such a significant drop out rate in such a small span of time.
This week I went from a class of 4 to a class of 2, but I'm not embarrassed in the least... I actually couldn't be happier about it.
And this is why:
As many of you have been tracking, my two youngest students, Ana and Mina, have been awaiting their Canadian passports over the past year and looking forward to going to Canada to reunite with their family.
It feels like it has been a never-ending process and extremely painstaking journey for the vanderMark family. Haitian government offices do just about everything under the sun to prolong the paperwork from being finalized, and every time we have thought the girls were home free, another roadblock came out of nowhere. At last, on Tuesday evening Ana entered my apartment and with a bright wide smile announced that her and Mina were going to Canada. The passports and visas had been granted, and much to our delight, Laurens boarded a plane with Ana and Mina on Wednesday afternoon landing in Canada that night. What a reunion it must have been... I get choked up just thinking about it. All glory be to God for His faithfulness and joining this family together for good!
So now it's just me and my boys. Noah and Caleb Mazur are here with their parents John and Mary - John is heading up the 500 homes project for families who have lost shelters through the devastation of the 2008 hurricanes and last winter's earthquake. I am excited to get to know them more personally over the next month and a half before the vanderMarks return as a family and my class size triples. Ana and Mina will return to school bringing their 2 older brothers, Grayden and Bridgely who I have taught since moving to Haiti. It's going to be a great year!
In the meantime though, I do have some extra time on my hands. As I presented in my report this past summer, I am excited about some of the new ministries that are beginning, and getting involved as I can. After my morning school sessions, I am plugging into a few different areas which will carry me through until the vanderMarks return at the end of October, and we'll see where that takes me.
First off, I am loving visiting the families in the mountains who I have gotten to know better since meeting them last winter. I have gotten creative and hitched rides with staff members to and from the mission here and there, and continue to make the independent trek when all else fails. I blogged a bit before about how I do some little school sessions with them and it's awesome to see how they catch on and even the parents participate. Please keep these families in your prayers in the coming weeks that they will have the chance to enroll at the School of Hope. There are so many children needing education after many school facilities toward Port-au-Prince are no longer functioning after the earthquake. This creates a huge influx of incoming students making it more difficult for the mountain kids to be accepted. Pray that they will have a chance to learn in the classrooms this year, even if it's through the afternoon school sessions that the Mission will be starting this fall. I will keep you posted!
The second thing that I am getting more and more excited about is the awesome business that is starting for amputee ladies who have received new legs from the prosthetics lab. Diana Cherry (the 'other' Diana at the mission), who works as the prosthetics coordinator at the mission has initiated a program for women to create fabric accessories to be sold to teams that come to Mission of Hope. The money that comes from selling the created products goes towards a consistent income for the women, as well as future investments in helping local families and earthquake victims get proper education and housing. It is a fantastic ministry, and the women are so excited to begin.
Yesterday I met with the Diana and a few of our interns, as well as the women, and we discussed their official employment with the Mission of Hope. It's such a thrill for me to be a part of this new development and join the women in their work on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Not only will we be making the cutest hair wraps and accessories, but I will have a chance to build relationships with the women and further my Creole vocabulary. What could be better!?
So there's a glimpse into my weekly schedule... Somewhere in the mix I also get the chance to hang out with a beautiful group of people on the staff side of the guesthouse. We have prided ourselves in mastering the art of making Haitian fruit juice, and spend our evenings in great conversation with some of the best background music on the planet.
The simple joys of serving and sharing as a community definitely outweigh any leaky ceiling, pesky mosquito bites, or sweltering hot living rooms.
Life is always better together. Thank you for sharing in the journey.