Friday, December 9, 2011

10 days.

I know that there is still technically 16 days till Christmas, but over here, I'm on a different kind of countdown. Just 10 more days until I arrive in Canada for my winter break. From what I hear, about 3 inches of snow fell today which makes for even more excitement!
And yet in the midst of my countdowning, I'm also growing increasingly aware of the short amount of time I have left to wrap up ends on this side. Here are some of the details:

According to the school day countdown we have on our classroom door, there are only 5 days left that we have together as a quartet (Zach, Noah, Caleb and I). When I return in the new year, I will only have the Mazur brothers, since Zach will be returning to the States with his family while I am in Canada. So instead of just closing up the school term with Noah and Caleb, and I'm also closing up the year with Zach. With just a few final days of bookwork ahead of us, we will finish in style with our annual beach Christmas party, baking extravaganza, and this year, even a Christmas concert!

The next 10 days also hold a lot of goodbyes. Last week the first dominoes of the tumble effect began as we sent off the fall intern group (one of them being our dear Heather). Even though their time with us seemed so short, we were thoroughly meshed together in no time, and it was difficult to see them go, knowing that the chapter was closing on our group dynamic in this time and place.
The domino effect continues in the coming days with more staff goodbyes, which I am not thrilled about. With the year coming to a close, the Malmstrom family as well as, Brianna, Courtney and Naoki will all be turning a new chapter. It's not easy to picture what life here is going to look like without these wonderful people, but I am trusting that just as He will guide each one who embarks outwards, that He will also grant peace and provisions for those of us who stay.

In the midst of this, I am also trying to finalize the paperwork and collaborate with John on the ground here to get the homes started for the Louissaint and Ferdinand families (aka. mountain families). I'm afraid I won't have many building pictures to show off until I return in January (due to a few logistical hiccups), but the more finalizations I can put in place before I leave, the quicker we will be able to launch when I return.

Thank you for your generous support and prayers for me during the past 4 months. It's truly amazing to look back and see how far we've come since September. I eagerly anticipate reuniting with you all upon my return and giving more of a personal update during my time in Canada!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

'Tis the season!

Some may say that getting into the Christmas spirit is a little more difficult in Haiti. Without the snow falling outside our windows, all-day Christmas music on the radio and warm scarves and sweaters to wear, I agree that it takes some getting used to... However, the boys and I eagerly embraced the challenge this morning as we set out searching for the perfect Christmas tree.

We considered getting one of the baby palms being planted by the new guesthouse area, but in the boys' opinions, they were just too puny. So, we pressed forward onto greater heights, being in the form of some tall seedling trees that grow in abundance in the valley at the back of our classroom.
We carried three tools with us - A gardening hoe, a hand shovel and one giant pick axe.


Several coats of bug spray and two bee stings later, we found our winner and began clearing the thick grass away with the hoe. Our first inclination was to dig the tree out by it's roots, so we each took turns swinging the pick axe to loosen it's rocky foundation. Unfortunately, because the tree was located on the side of a small incline, it made the work a little tricky and hindered our aim - which caused numerous scars on the tree trunk. After about half an hour of intense digging, we hadn't made much progress, so we all agreed to cut it down instead. Caleb left to retrieve his manual chainsaw and within a few minutes we had the tree trunk secured with soil and rocks in a cement bucket and dragged it into the classroom.


Then the fun part began as we decorated with stars, glitter, tinsel and even a string of garland crocheted by Noah. They had to play around with it first, of course.


We may not need a coat rack by the door, nor hot cocoa to warm up after our adventure, but with a Christmas-ified tree taking up a substantial part of the classroom, and carols on our instruments, I think it's safe to say we're ready to celebrate the birthday of our King!

Happy December and Merry Christmas from Haiti!

PS ~ Pierre got his Christmas present early this year... Yes, his wheelchair!!!
Pictures coming soon. :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Praise the Lord.

The last 3 chapters in the book of Psalms repeat the line 'Praise the Lord' 25 times. I just counted.
From the shining stars, to the mountains, to the lightning and hail, to the armies of heaven.
Praise the Lord.

Today I watched the waves kiss the shoreline and go back and forth over and over again. The soft, warm sand formed foot puddles with each step I took, and the palm leaves whispered and nodded overhead.
This world we're on has a pulse. Look around you and it's pretty obvious that we're surrounded by a land created by Something greater, and for Something greater.

Donald Miller writes 'If I have hope, it's that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me specifically into this story, and put us with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, enjoy your place in My story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.'

This weekend I'm celebrating my second thanksgiving of the season. Another reminder to stop. To count my blessings. And to realize that I have an overflowing cup. Not because of circumstances or 'stuff', but because God's love is wrapping me up and pulling me into His beauty. A beauty that makes me want to stand in awe and praise.

Monday, November 21, 2011

hi.

In case you didn't know, Pierre is a living miracle.

When he first came to the mission, all he could do was lay flat. We tried to prop him up with pillows, but if his body was leaning too far forward, his head would drop and his neck muscles didn't have the strength to lift it back up. He barely made a sound besides a weak cry when he awoke and a soft moan when he took his bottle.

Flash forward 14 months.

Pierre loves to show off. He tilts and dips his head in all directions. He waves, he smiles, he cries, he laughs, he baby talks the names of his other brothers and sisters, and makes all kinds of other random sounds just because he can.



But the best thing I've heard come out of his mouth thus far was yesterday in church...
He looked up at me with complete ease and in his most cheerful and clear tone he said,

'Hi'.
And then he said it again. And again. And again.

Thank you for praying for 'Ti Pierre' (which translates to 'Little Pierre'), as the kids like to call him. The love and support he has received from near and far has transformed his little life into an incredible testimony of hope.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Liberté - Egalité - Fraternité

Since living in Haiti, I have partaken in things that I never imagined I could ever be a part of.
I often find myself in moments thinking, 'how on earth did I get here?', and it's then that I smile to myself and remember how the Lord is consistently re-creating and refining me.

Over the past few weeks, I have once again found myself in a very peculiar and unexpected situation:
Real estate.
Until this season, I have had zero interest or experience in this particular area, and yet somehow I have found myself diving head first into the world of surveying and notaries and negotiation. All the while with a finish line in sight - Land for homes to be built for the mountain families.

Months ago I was connected with a man who had land to sell, and with the help a very intertwined list of his relatives and the MOH office staff, I have managed to score a sweet plot of land on the side of the mountain overlooking the village of SourceMatelas and beyond to the Caribbean Sea. The location (about a 5 minute-walk from the water source, and a 15-minute walk from the families' current location and gardens), and the sea view were definite perks.

Last week things got serious as I sat down with Jean Jacques, Robenson and the land owner, Jean Claude, in his makeshift office - an empty classroom. We slid the desks together and had what I would call one of the most formal Haitian conversations I have witnessed. Even just reliving it as I type makes me chuckle because any North-American outsider would be mortified at these standards, and yet to these men it was a true Haitian bureaucracy. Jean Jacques very formally wrote out an official witness statement on one of the tear-out pages of my notebook, and even included the traditional Haitian slogan as the page header, Liberté - Egalité -Fraternité (which translates to Freedom - Equality - Brotherhood). Upon completion of the document, Jean Claude and I both signed our names, and I shook everyone's hand. A done deal.


Now with just a few more boxes to check off the 'land list', we are almost ready to begin the building process! When mom was here last week, we got to walk to the newly purchased land which has been graded and flattened in preparation for the new homes that will soon occupy it. What a joy it was to stand with the fathers of the families and take in the anticipation of their new homes. A place they can call their own.

Thank you for your continual support and prayers surrounding the building of these homes in the coming weeks. Please pray that the last pieces of paperwork and ownership will be finalized quickly, that the builders would use their skills effectively, and that the families would be able to dwell in these homes for generations to come. I eagerly await what happens next!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Memories with Mom.

Well, I was doing pretty decent until I walked back into my apartment after dropping mom off at the airport. I saw the breakfast dishes in the sink, among many other small reminders of her presence, and that familiar empty feeling set in.
Our time together was so rich from sun up to sun down. We laughed, we cried, we cleaned, we cooked, we shopped till we dropped, we held a lot of babies, and of course, we kicked it in the classroom. :)

I realize that the sense of loss in my gut causes me to pity myself and to mope around (a-hem... like I've been doing). But instead of dwelling on her departure, I want to be so much more thankful for the chance we had to share the past week in together.
I am blessed beyond measure to have a mom that is so beautiful inside and out, who points me to the Truth, who challenges me to serve with my whole heart, and gives me a taste of the love of our Saviour.
May this week of wonderful memories spur me on to live out that love in the days to come.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday night.

Today was a good day.


Julien and Gilner (21-month old twin boys) were welcomed into the Hope House! When I stopped by the baby house this afternoon, I wasn't surprised to find the room buzzing with action. The boys were being cuddled and prodded and talked to and stared at by their countless new brothers and sisters. I too joined in the action, but I could see by the look on their faces that they weren't too sure what to think of all the attention.

Later this evening, I joined the babies, toddlers and their Mommy on the way back to their room from movie night at Maggie's Kitchen. Jeremiah led me by the hand inside their house and I watched as Mommy prepared their bottles before bedtime. Hannah, Jeremiah, Matthew, Julien and Gulier stood watching her, but it wasn't long before one of the twins (who I can't yet tell apart), began to cry.
For a moment, I just paused and began to think about the events of the day for this tiny little boy. Starting with leaving his father and the rest of his siblings, and being put into the arms of a stranger. Travelling into a foreign place and being shuffled around by children all day, and then to be carried back to a dimly lit room where you feel simply exhausted and confused.
Even just one of these events would be enough for me to lose it, and here the little guy stood, finally not being able to hold it in any longer. So I picked him up, and walked back outside into the cool night air. As we stood in the silence, he stopped crying and I could feel his little hands wrap around my neck tightly. He was no longer timid or afraid, he just wanted to feel love.

It's one of those moments that I will remember for a very long time. A moment where the Lord spoke to me saying, 'this' is exactly where you are supposed to be.

Honestly, I think being in that place was more for me than the boy in my arms. Because I feel like I always have questions and concerns and uncertainties about what's around the corner. I don't know what the next month looks like, or where I'm going to be in a year. People and plans and work here is constantly changing, and sometimes it is a pretty daunting thing. But all of the worrying questions didn't even have a chance to interject tonight, because all that mattered was the little boy in my arms and the blessing to just be. Perfectly ordained by the Lord.
After a while, I brought him back inside and watched as he calmly took his bottle, I smiled to myself thinking how someday this little guy is going to have an incredible testimony. That even though he would have much rather been in the arms of his family tonight, that the Lord was turning the page into an incredible new chapter of his life. Like all of the Hope House kids, he came from tragedy, and yet in the months and years to come, his life is going to be radically transformed by love and the promises of God - promises of Hope.

I don't know what types of things lie ahead in the future for me or for this little buddy, but I thank the Lord for the reminder tonight that He is faithful, and that He is so much bigger than we are, and our questions. May we rest in the truth that His presence alone is more than enough.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Great Teacher.

God puts a bit of Himself into us.
He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think.
He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another.
When you teach a child writing, you hold it's hand while it forms the letters:
that is, it forms the letters because you are forming them.
We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hands while we do it.

~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The joy of boys.

Not long ago, I wrote a blog about the challenges of teaching some advanced material to Zach, Noah and Caleb. The work isn't getting easier as we move ahead, but upon further consideration, I've realized that there are a lot of perks in spending extended amounts of time with 3 boys. The following is a running list of some of the joys I've experienced over the past 2 months with this terrific trio.


- I never have to fret when I encounter an uninvited critter in my apartment or the classroom. It may require a delayed start to the school day, but the boys have never let me (or the neighbours) down once with their efficient removal/disposal services.

- Cute baby goats!

- My aim is getting better. The last BB war we had, I shot Zach from a fair distance! They still have to give me extra lives so that I can play longer (I have the battle scars to prove it), but you've got to start somewhere, right? Reload.

- Going along with the battle theme, the boys have been teaching me the basics of Halo. So far I can successfully shoot backwards while running, jump onto higher platforms and use a jet pack. Now that's certainly a step up from MarioKart!

- Whether it be calling one of the digestive parts the 'ball gladder', taking apart calculators at recess, eating handfuls of soda crackers, and turning just about anything into a competition, they always keep me fully amused.

- Tomorrow's another day... Guaranteed another adventure.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The purple dress.

You may remember me writing about May 2, 2009, the day my cousins Erin and Jesse got married. Looking back, that was probably one of my hardest weekends to be in Haiti, knowing that there would be such a great party happening for them back on Canadian soil, and feeling so far away. But, thanks to my genius Uncle Rand and a strong Skype connection, I got to watch my beautiful cousins and friends enter in their purple gowns, and then I bawled uncontrollably as Uncle Pauly led Erin into the sanctuary while the pianist played a 'How beautiful' melody. For the record, I realized in that moment of running for kleenexes that it was probably a blessing I wasn't at the front of the church!

Fast forward 3 years... Following their engagement, my dear friend Sidonie and her fiancee, Mike set their wedding day for October 22, 2011. This past summer I got an e-mail from Sidonie, asking me to purchase a purple dress to be a part of their processional. With only a few weeks left before I was returning to Haiti, I began searching the stores for something suitable to wear with no luck. Finally, it dawned on mom that most of the bridesmaids from Erin's wedding still had their dresses unaltered - purple dresses! Thankfully we've all got the same body type, so it wasn't long before I was doing fittings with Cort and Kels, and then loading up the borrowed dress in my car. Upon my arrival in Haiti, I hung it up in my closet and waited for the day to arrive....

And what a day it was! I was so honoured to participate in the opening processional with Sidonie's other sisters, cousins and close friends. I was paired with Robenson, and we followed the Haitian tradition by doing a dancey-type of march down the aisle. Throughout the week we had received some coaching on this and did a few practices together, which is another story, but it definitely added to the experience! Robenson is pretty shy to begin with, so the whole idea of walking in front of a large crowd of people wasn't exactly his cup of tea. As we practiced though, I could sense his confidence growing, and yesterday just after we were seated from our entrance, I glanced over at him - He was beaming and giving me a big thumbs up. Success! :)

Following the vows, prayers, and a huge cheer for the kiss, we all made our way over to the cafeteria for a Haitian feast (including crab and lobster - yum!), with music and a lot more pictures. Unfortunately due to a poor internet connection that we've had over recent weeks, I am not able to include any with this blog, but I'll be doing my best to upload a few favourites when the connection cooperates.

Scrolling through all of my snapshots from the day, I realize how blessed I am to be a part of such a wonderful group of people, and what wonderful memories were made!
At the end of the night when I reached my apartment, I looked at my reflection and smiled. Even though I was unable to wear this same purple dress for the Moore/Czepek wedding a few springs ago, the Lord provided such a fantastic substitute. A substitute that I never would have imagined, but then again - He's really a master at unexpected blessings!
And a little shout out to Erin, Cort and Kels... Thanks for letting me carry on the purple dress! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Leaning curve.

I feel like I hit this wall every year... What did I sign up for?!
And it's about that time again... When the back to school hype ends along with the review lessons. And there are still 8 and a half months to go.

To be honest, I kind of thought I had it in the bag this fall... Only 3 boys, that I already knew well, and curriculum that covered all the bases. Not much to fret, right?
Hmmm... Wrong.

You see, there's a reason why I chose to specialize in elementary education. Teaching the basics like how to write your name, how to tie your shoes and counting up to 20 is right up my alley. Because I already know it like the back of my hand... There's no studying after hours.

But when you teach grade 6, 7 and 8, not all of it is the common sense that I'm used to teaching. Not at all. Today it stopped me in my tracks. And I began to look back on my commitment to teach these guys last year wondering - What was I thinking?

This year, more than ever, I'm on a learning curve. I'm reading up on the digestive system and mapping strategies while I chat on Skype. I'm analyzing my devotional books for prepositional phrases and subjective complements. I'm practicing algebraic formulas in the margins of my journal.
But even more than a learning curve, I'm realizing that it's a leaning curve, because ultimately I know that I just don't have what it takes to master this stuff. Broc (my brother) got all of the book smart genes between the two of us, and no matter how many hours I pour into studying, there are always pieces that I miss.

And so as I strive for the understanding that will help my boys get through the next lesson or the next test, I'm depending ever more desperately on the Lord to be my confidence, my direction, and ultimately my peace that He will get them through. That despite my knack for retaining all the pertinent facts, that He would provide for us as a class and that we would grow stronger together in Him. Through learning and through leaning.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Live it like a song.

There have been so many of my highly-anticipated albums released over the past few weeks... My iPod has to be synced every couple of days because of all the sweet music coming out from NeedtoBreathe, Switchfoot, Ben Rector, Gungor, Leeland and more. Music is one of the few things that is easier to keep up with on in this island, and for that I am very grateful.
For our past weekend journey to Jacmel, I made up a little playlist for the road trip with some of my recent favs and on the twisty drive home through the mountains I plugged in. I didn't have the songs in any particular order, but it quickly occurred to me how they were all playing towards the same message - as if I had spent hours working on directing them towards the same theme.

Lyrics like 'wake on up from your slumber', 'one man wakes with dawn in his eyes, surely then it multiplies' and 'why would I wait till I die to come alive'?

Notice the trend?
Ironically, the music that I have collected to make my life a little rosier has actually become my greatest discomfort and conviction. As I've cranked up the volume and hummed along with the words, I've actually grown more and more aware of my need to make these lyrics a reality... Stepping beyond comfort lines and pouring out myself moment by moment. And that just isn't what I was planning on when I downloaded them.

In our Bible study over the past few weeks, we've been talking about what it means to follow Jesus and we've been honest that it's easy to cop-out to the tough stuff because we live in Haiti. After living here for 3+ years, I admit that it's really not that uncomfortable anymore. But when I feel the Lord nudging me to step out in something new as He's been doing, I hesitate because I think I've already gone far enough.

I am beginning to accept that there is always more to life than what we're living. And based on the discomfort I feel from the messages of some of these songs, I know that the Lord is working on me in this. Asking me to loosen my grip on the predictability around me and opening my eyes to new growth ahead, which will only cause me to lean on Him a little harder.
The good news is that He is patient, and never loses hope in me. But the more I put things off and claim my rights to comfort, the more I am missing out on the fullness of the story.
It's my prayer that as these lyrics sink into my heart, that I wouldn't just sing them, but be completely awakened and have renewed vision, so that as Switchfoot sings, I may live it like a song.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Highlight of my day.

No, it wasn't being greeted by this once-alive creature (placed ever so carefully in position on my doormat by Zach and Noah).


... Now that I think about it, it's probably about time I start assigning homework. Something better to do with their time than think up pranks for their helpless teacher! ;)

Actually, the highlight of my day was seeing Marie Rose and Senson walking up to the clinic with their class this afternoon. Here's why.
This week, there is a medical team that is giving out free typhoid vaccines to the School of Hope students, Haitian and North American mission staff and everyone and anyone in between. I took a pit stop at the clinic on my way down to 3cords today to get a booster for myself as well. But as Brianna and I ascended the hill on her four-wheeler after saying goodbye to the ladies a few hours later, we passed a class of about 40 children - all dressed in their uniforms, with a teacher at the front of the line leading them along the roadside up to the clinic. First, I spotted Iverson and Stevenson (both Hope House kids) at the back of the line and Brianna and I called out greetings to them as we drove by. While we were passing, I heard my name and glanced back again thinking that it was one of the boys... Who did my eyes fall upon but SENSON, gazing up at me with bright eyes and a wide smile. There he was, amidst the other kids going for his vaccine. Such a simple exercise, but so significant in my mind. And then just as my gaze left Senson I saw Marie Rose up in the line just a few steps ahead of him, showing off her famous grin. I lifted both hands and almost fell off the ATV - ridiculous? yes. Embarrassed? not really.
Even now, I can hardly express the fullness of my heart that these sweet children are a part of real classroom. And not only do they get to learn, but they get access to the programs and benefits of the other ministries happening around the mission.

Tonight, my arm is a little bit tender - evidence of the prick of a needle earlier today. But what's neat to me is that 'my kids' are also probably feeling similar symptoms - all of which will be cleared up by morning, but immunization from disease that will last for years to come. We are in this together... How cool is that?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A thousand words.

I spent this past weekend visiting Jacmel, a beautiful beach town on the southern coast of Haiti. Pictures and words could never justify these views, but here's a try.
... If you're ever in the area, I really recommend you checking it out for yourself!







It also just so happens to be Canadian thanksgiving weekend... In keeping with the pictures and memories of the past few days, I am so very grateful to serve such a marvellously creative God.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Today.

Today, every spot of shade, every inch of the basketball court, and every sidewalk is overflowing with children big and small, embarking on day two of a new school year. The little black penny loafers and white hair barrettes and ribbons are in abundance. And every child that approached me in their cute little uniform brought a wide smile to my face.
Because it's more than new backpacks and sharp pencils. It's more than a fresh haircut or the plaid uniform pattern. It's children who get to begin a new trend for their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The opportunity to gain knowledge, grow in wisdom, and eventually graduate from one of the most highly-esteemed schools in the country. It's teachers and a Christian curriculum that will tangibly transform lives. It's a new generation of literacy.
And for Peterson,


Senson, Dida, Marie Rose and Jean Bathel,

this is a hopeful future, just as the Lord promises in Jeremiah 29:11. And I believe this is just the start.

Over the next few weeks, the Mission of Hope will be running a school sponsorship campaign for the 1444 children (53% of the currently enrolled students) who do not yet have sponsors. Peterson, Dida, Senson, Marie Rose and Jean Bathel fall into this category, amongst the hundreds of others. If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of one of these children, please contact me or e-mail Katy at the MOH office (katy@mohhaiti.org).
Thank you for partnering with the future generation of Haiti!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tomorrow.

I just took a step back in time as I scrolled through my blog archive to October 2009, the month that I first met the mountain children. Reading that post, I can still relive every helpless emotion that I felt as my feet trudged back up the hill that evening. I was desperate for a solution... Little did I know that the Lord was calling me to be a part of it.

Since that time, by the grace of God, I've been able to connect and build relationships with each of the children and their parents. I've watched the newborn babies learn to crawl and talk and take baby steps. I've watched the children learn to write their names and count numbers. I've watched watermelons grow in their father's garden. I've watched the goat trails I walk on grow wider and smoother as other friends and family members have joined in on the journey. I've watched the families come to church and build relationships with other church leaders.
I've watched the Lord work in incredible ways, but most of all, I've watched the way that He has turned my confused and devastated heart, into a testimony of His love and hope for the least of these.

Tomorrow I will watch again. Along with over 2,500 other students, 5 of the mountain children will be entering the mission gates to receive an education here at the School of Hope. Over the past week, I spent a lot of my afternoon time with Robenson checking off our lists, meeting with the parents to explain the school schedule, buying last-minute supplies at the market, and outfitting the children in their new uniforms (stay tuned for pictures coming soon!).
Even after all of this, I still can barely absorb that it's actually happening. These children are going to have a chance at something new and marvellous. Indeed, their lives will be forever changed.

So when you read this, wherever you are, I ask you to say a prayer for Peterson (kindergarten), Dida (grade 1), Sonson (grade 3), Marie Rose (grade 3) and Jean Bathel (grade 6). Pray with me that these children will continue to become all that the Lord has made them to be as they embark on this new journey. Pray Luke 2:52 over them, that they may grow in wisdom, stature, and in favour with God and man. Pray that they would love to learn, and that this year would be a new generation of growth, not just for them but for their families as well.
To God be all of the glory, for hearing the cries of His people and for His faithful provision. May He continue to carry out His good work until completion in the lives of these dear children.

Monday, September 26, 2011

a reason to hope.

the knowledge of our own poverty is what brings us to the proper place
where Jesus Christ accomplishes His work.
~ oswald chambers

and there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
and love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
get over your hill and see what you find there,
with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.
~ mumford & sons

may the God who gives hope fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in Him.
then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.
~ romans 15:13

Friday, September 23, 2011

To be continued...

A month can hold so many things, and since I've been back it's been filled to the brim with a mix of events. There was the grand opening of the new 3Cords building, sweet reunions and new friends, baby walks (are they ever growing!), a wedding, mouse captures (and escapes - yikes), a school kick-off, waiting outside the principal's office, and indulging in my favourite fruit season... who says you can't eat avocado and drink grenadia juice for every meal!?
Now that we're on the brink of October, the dust is beginning to settle a little more. Noah and Caleb have been on vacation with their parents as well, dwindling down our class to just Zach and I, which has been great, but also very different from what I'm accustomed to. This 'breathing' time has given me an opportunity to look beyond my horizon to some of the other ministries and needs on campus.
I ask you all for prayer as I seek out the different ways that I can serve in this place, and to find wisdom and peace in knowing where I fit. That I may discover new investments - not just a way to fill up blank spots in my days, and to strike new chords with the passions in my heart that the Lord has given me. He has guided me so faithfully these past 3 years, and I am excited to see what doors will open in this next chapter.
To be continued...
:)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Get growing.


Almost every property in downtown Port-au-Prince is bordered by a wall or gate of some sort.
As we were zigzagging through the city streets today, dodging incoming tap taps and bustling pedestrians, a certain cement wall caught my eye. Through the stones and cement plaster raised from the jam-packed sidewalk, there were a few different kinds of plants growing outward. Something about this little drive by sighting stuck with me and wrapped me up in my thoughts for the rest of the ride home.
Maybe it's because Caleb and I have been studying plants in his science unit and I've been drilling in the needs of living things. Water, sunlight, good soil, carbon dioxide... You know, this lesson isn't rocket science - after all we see this growth happen everywhere, but the sight that flew by me downtown defies those simple odds. Somewhere back in time, a few seeds found themselves caught between a 'rock and a hard place' (literally), and had to beat the odds to sprout and flourish. Call me crazy, but that process has given me a new perspective.

Ever since I've been back in Haiti, I have found myself dwelling frequently on the things that I lack. There have been a significant amount of changes since I was here last June including the dynamics and number of staff, my job, and the daily routine... And they just keep on coming. I have had numerous chats with the Lord about this, knowing that it's all in His plan to teach me more about who He is. And yet deep down inside I feel like I have a 'right' to some of the things He's taken away, as if they are necessary for my survival here - just as the plant needs those few staple provisions to stay alive.

Driving past that wall of cement today was a bit of a wake up call for me. A testimony so to speak, that in the darkness and dryness of a dusty wall of cement, a seed could have enough gumption to grow. Or maybe not so much accrediting the seed with the gumption, but a miraculous demonstration of the Lord... Even if the only fruit was for me to see it and get a kick in the pants.
The truth is, I'm going to adjust to these changes one way or another, but right now a lot of it has to do with my attitude and openness. The title of my blog that came to me in a prayer over 3 years ago is still staring back at me as I write this post - embrace hope. Because if I can turn my eyes from the rear view mirror, I will be able to see the bright opportunities waiting for me on the road ahead... I'm pretty sure once the seed caught a glimpse of the light, it made the process a lot more easier.

Deep down inside, there's something new to sprout. The change may seem dark and dry, but the hope and promises of the Lord are more than enough to get me growing.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The principal's office.

The back-to-school week has always been known as a little crazy, but I think this year's 5-day stretch takes the cake. Amongst the gear-switching of routine and extra-curricular action, I found myself sitting outside the principal's office multiple times... And contrary to the norm, I actually wanted to be there.
To recap on some previous blogs, I have been working alongside my friend Robenson to try and enrol the mountain family kids into the school at Mission of Hope. Before I left Haiti for the summer, I met with the principal (Met Soufrann) a few times and we got the ball rolling on their files for the upcoming school year. This week, I was back at his doorstep ready to finalize everything for the year ahead. Fortunately, the national schools don't start classes until October this year, which has given me a bit of an extra cushion to lay out all the groundwork before the offices become grand central station.

So down to the principal's office I went on Monday afternoon, where I first met up with Robenson to develop our 'game plan'. This pretty much consisted of me telling Robenson what I hoped we could come away from the meeting with, and him refining those ideas into a feasible course of action. From there, Met Soufrann invited us in, and we began assessing each of the mountain children based on their age and the grade level they would be placed in.
Unfortunately, it wasn't long before we were made aware of another hurdle. The documented information that we had discussed about the children before I left last June had been lost in the heap of file folders on his desk, so we couldn't move forward until we had new copies of their birth certificates to verify ages. In addition, the kids also needed photos for their files.
So back to the drawing board... We scheduled another meeting for Tuesday, and I left feeling slightly defeated at our lack of progress. Robenson was still in good spirits though, and he assured me that if we focussed on getting the missing pieces in the coming week, there was still lots of time to sort things out before October's school start.
By evening, I was feeling better because I had gotten another printout of the birth certificates (thank you Mazurs for your copy services!), and Robenson informed me by phone that he had been in touch with a photographer from SourceMatelas who would get pictures of all the kids the following day.

Tuesday afternoon I bounded down the hill once again, straight Met Soufrann's office with birth certificates in hand. Another hiccup. Due to some all-too-familiar cell phone service issues, Robenson was MIA and I couldn't get a hold of him. So I left the birth certificates with Met Soufrann and we postponed our next meeting for later in the week.

Thursday rolled around and down again to the principal's office I went. The secretaries and janitorial staff were getting pretty used to seeing me at this point! Robenson was waiting for me on an orange plastic chair in the hallway, and we caught up on our latest advancements. He informed me that the photos had been taken and would be printed on Monday. Things were already looking up!
We got up from our chairs to go in to see Met Soufrann, and he quickly came around the corner of his office door informing us he was off to a meeting. We all stood there for a moment not sure what to say, and then he quickly switched directions and rushed us and his secretary into his office, telling her write fast to get the paperwork done before he had to leave. Bless his heart for taking time for us! Soon another school administrator (Jocelyn) joined us and began confirming placements of each of the children. The sad news I have to tell you is that the 3 oldest children: Francia, Wala and Shaylyn are too old to be enrolled in the school, so Robenson and I now need to investigate other village schools that may accept them. The good news however, is that the 5 other kids: Peterson, Dida, Senson, Elumain and Jean Berthel will all be attending classes at the School of Hope this coming school year!
After Met Soufrann confirmed logistics, he went on his way to the next appointment, and we stayed with the other administrator to complete the paper work. Sitting there with Robenson and witnessing Jocelyn finalize the enrolment was such a rewarding moment for us, and I can't even begin to say how grateful I am to the Lord for His provision in this. Only He could have aligned all the details so perfectly.

I also can't go on another sentence without recognizing all of the Haitian staff at the school for their faithfulness and hard work in making this happen. I would have easily understood if they would have discluded these children - with no past identification or association with the school - from enrolling. However, it truly reflects the heart of their ministry and their passion to see a future generation of literacy and life-change.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support in these days of waiting and searching out possibilities for these students, down until the last pieces are in place. If you would be interesting in sponsoring one of these five beautiful children, or any other children attending school this year, please contact me or e-mail sponsorship@mohhaiti.org.
Let the learning begin!

Monday, September 5, 2011

back to sChOOL!

The pencils are sharpened, the desks are cleaned and arranged, the books are lining the shelves, and the BB guns are loaded!
To state the obvious, this is a very different and stretching kind of school year for me... The do-it yourself calendar that once hung on the wall a few feet off the ground to be in reach for my smaller students is now in storage, along with the primary colour wheel and easy readers.
Instead of singing the months of the year and counting coins, I am diving head-first into Algebra, American history, and the scientific method to name a few. With Zach in grade 8, Noah in grade 7 and Caleb in grade 6, it became apparent to me over the summer that my story circle and finger plays weren't going to cut it. Instead I had to think a little more outside the box in the line of creepy crawly, flex your muscles 'coolness'.
Hence - the back to sChOOL title and knock-off Ray Bans for everybody!
Cheesy? Maybe.
Effective? I'd like to think so!
See for yourself here:
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150766328760046.726886.521950045&l=2913b7792e&type=1
(Wish I could post pictures on my blog page, but the internet isn't cooperating very well today!)

Praise be to God, we started school this morning and had a great kick-off. We dove straight into the story of David in the bible, hung up our American, Canadian and Haitian flags, and the boys even got their first whiff of that 'new book' smell. I'm excited for all this year will bring and for the daily learning that will come about for each one of us.

A few months ago, one of my previous students shared a few of her favourite songs with me, and one of them was titled 'Lead Me' by Sanctus Real. If you've heard the song, you know it's geared more towards husbands and fathers, but as I sat alone in the stillness of my classroom this morning, before any boys came bounding in, I hummed the chorus to myself.
Father, give me the strength to be everything I'm called to be
Oh Father, show me the way to lead them, won't you lead me.
Lead me, cause I can't do this alone.

... So that when the sunglasses come off, the blaring speakers are turned down, and they look back on these days in the years to come, that they would remember the ways that they grew not just in knowledge, but in their love for the one true Leader of their lives. May they rise up to become all He has made them to be.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Part of the family.

I have always loved weddings. There's something about family and friendship and love and celebration all coming together that warms my heart. I remember attending ceremonies as a little girl, just to see the bride enter the church with her father. My emotion always gets the best of me watching the parents let her go, and seeing the groom with eyes full of deep adoration. Over the years, I have had the privilege of being a part of the weddings for some of my closest friends. These have been some of the best days of my life, from the wee hours of the morning primping and crimping to the late night dance parties.
Yesterday I got to be a part of a different kind of wedding. My friend Idelie (who was the teacher for the mountain children this past school year), got married to her fiancee, Duvenel. This experience was like nothing I had ever imagined, but what an amazing day it was! After church I traveled to SourceMatelas to see Idelie's family, and before we even reached her house I could see the hustle and bustle in full swing. It was as if the whole village was preparing for the wedding event. Everywhere I went, I could see people carrying large dishes, hot ironing suits and gowns, blowing up balloons, loading Coke bottles into pick up trucks and on and on.
Reuniting with Idelie's mother and siblings was so wonderful, and thus began my own involvement in the day. I first found myself in the outdoor kitchen area of their home, where about 20 ladies were all working on the reception meal. After being fed some goat for lunch, I helped about 6 ladies fry plantains. They were really sweet to let me do it with them, as I was quite a rookie!
After that was finished, I was taken to the home of the eldest brother where the bride and all of the other girls in the wedding were getting ready. Now, based on past Canadian weddings, I was prepared for somewhat of a chaotic scene, but nothing could have prepared me for what I would encounter. The house was made up of 4 rooms, and when I arrived there were probably about 35 women and girls inside. One room was full of girls getting their hair done (the curling irons and straighteners were probably radiating more heat than the sun), one room was where the flowers and food were being gathered, one room was full of gowns, jewellery and shoes, and the last was where the flower girls were getting ready and congregating. In the whole house there was just ONE mirror, and ONE fan... There are no words.
At that point, I didn't really know what to do with myself, but I didn't have to worry about that because Idelie gave me plenty of instructions. The first step for me was to take a shower, so she handed me a cup and took my out in the backyard to a tin enclosed-type closet. It was dark inside but I managed to find the bucket of water and a bar of soap. All I could do was laugh, but after being inside the house, the cold water felt SO good.
After that, I was handed a curling iron by one of the ladies so I squeezed behind the flower girls and found a vacant part of the mirror to style my hair. After creating about 4 decent curls, I was summoned into the dressing room by Idelie's sister, Sidonie, to begin helping her get Idelie into her wedding gown. Now let me just say that Haitian's go all out on wedding garb. Satin gowns, jewelled veils, long white gloves, and sparkly earrings and necklaces. I was zipping, bustling, buttoning, clasping and dressing first Idelie, and then Sidonie. It didn't help that both ladies' dresses were probably 2 or 3 sizes too small, but I did my best. Then they sent me back out to the mirror where they gave me a palate of eyeshadows, and to the best of my ability I beautified the bride (she really didn't need any makeup!). The flower girls and other bridesmaids were all trying to give their own opinions on my work, and it wasn't long before the eyeliner was snatched from me so they could do it their way. I was so relieved!
Not long after, Robenson entered the house in a cream suit and told me to come with him, so I followed him back to the other home where the wedding vehicles were parked. After snapping a few pictures, the bride arrived, and I squeezed into the small SUV with her and 8 (yes 8!) others.
I am happy to say that despite the flurry of preparation, the wedding went on without a hitch. From the grand entrance, to the pronunciation of husband and wife, to the grand feast afterwards, the wedding was so beautiful!

During the ceremony, as I sat in the front pew with Robenson and his mom and watched the couple take their vows, I tried to absorb everything that had taken place earlier in the day, and how my presence had been so undeservingly welcomed. It was such an honour and blessing for me to be a part of the wedding day, but even more, a part of their family.

Matthew 19:29 says ~

And every one who has left houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit life eternal.

I have mentioned this verse in my blogs before, about the wonderful people that I have met over the past 3 years in Haiti. People who have become more than just acquaintances or friends, and yesterday was no exception. I thank the Lord for allowing me to testify His promise of provision in being a part of such a beautiful family. A family bonded together by Him.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A good place to start.

It's hard to condense the past 72 hours into this text window. Saying my last Canadian goodbyes, hurricane alerts, a cancelled flight in New York (it's official, JFK and I do not get along), an earthquake, a rough landing through storm clouds, arrival in Haiti and into the constant stream of open Canadian/American/Haitian arms.
Each one of these events is deserving of their own blog post, but I struggle with where to even begin. I had a lot of struggle in the 48 hours of my journey... Wondering what kind of a start this was to my year. With every hiccup, I found myself falling inch by inch into clouds of doubt and yearning to be back in my lovely summer days.

It was in those days that I stumbled on a verse that I jotted down quickly for future reference. Little did I know how soon I would need it.
Look to the Lord for strength. Seek His face always. ~ Psalm 105:4
These words became my foothold.

Despite the unnerving circumstances, the promise here provided me with the peace to look to the faithfulness of my Father. The One who holds the earth in His hands, and whose presence is ever with me. Amidst the turbulence happening physically and mentally, it was certainly a good place to start.
It's my prayer that this verse would continue to resound through my days in the year ahead. That I would be made weak so that I can testify the strength of the One who is strong. May He be ever glorified. Thank you all for your many prayers that carried me back to my home sweet Haitian home safe and sound.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Snowbird


Last night on my drive to a coffee catch up, I saw birds flying overhead in a V formation.
I smiled to myself thinking about how in just a few weeks the skies will be full of Canadian geese making their way south for the winter. And also how tomorrow, I too will be in the sky above... A little earlier than the usual Canadian snowbird, but heading south just the same.
It's been the best summer a girl could ask for, and from some recent status updates I've seen on facebook, I know I'm not the only one with that opinion... Can't summer just last forever!? From the weddings, to the travels, to the home cooked meals around smiling faces at home in the kitchen, I couldn't have asked for anything more.
The coming months hold hope for a great fall term as I soak in a different kind of sun and switch gears into a new role and routine. Thank you all for making the last 2 months so memorable, for your heartfelt encouragement and for your every/anyday prayers. I look forward to seeing you all on my Christmas break!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

i thank God i miss you.








Living in two different worlds leaves me with an inevitable reality: No matter where I go, there will always be someone I miss. The faces above capture a very small percentage of some of the dear friends in my life - people that I didn't know I needed 3 years ago.
In 2 weeks I will be returning back to Haiti and reuniting with most of them, only leaving me to miss the ones that I get to be with right now. It's never an easy trade-off one way or the other, but Ben Rector puts a good spin on it.

'Sometimes I feel these words are cheapened by the way they're said, we do not mean them.
From a million miles away words are all I know to say, so I am speaking to you write now...
I thank God I miss you.'

I thank God for bringing such beautiful people into my life.
I thank God for the memories we've shared through the valleys and the summits.
I thank God for each one of you who has shown me a glimpse of what real community and love and joy look like. Thank you for being a shoulder to cry on, a reason to dance, and the most inspiring people I have ever known.
I thank God for bringing you into my life - some for a short time, and some for a lifetime.
I thank God I miss you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Purpose in the process.

We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at that goal is of little importance. What we see as only the process of reaching an end, God sees as the goal itself. - Oswald Chambers

Often times in life I have expectations. Expectations of myself, of others, and of God.
I believe that if I pull my weight, and if others cooperate, and if God is what I believe Him to be, then my life will reap the benefits. It's like a math calculation... Equate in the proper variables and you should end up with the desired product. Sure, there can be hiccups along the way, but nothing too costly, and in the end it will be worth it because with everything working in harmony, the desired goal can and will be attained.

Unfortunately I have a far-too large and ever-growing collection of stories and experiences that don't fit into this cookie-cutter model I set up for myself. No matter how high I keep my chin up, the reality of life is harsh. It leaves me asking questions without answers.
I don't have to list examples here. We all have them - A bad diagnosis. A lost job. A broken relationship. An abandoned child. A homeless family. And on and on it goes.

The beginning quote from 'My Utmost for His Highest' was a reminder to me this week that often my human perceptions of what our lives are about aren't always what we want to admit. A happy life of rainbows and lollipops may be endearing, but who needs God in that? The more we seek out a life free of pain, the less we recognize God's purpose in the midst of it.
What Oswald is trying to say here is that there is little we can learn about His character unless He takes us through the storm. Without being able to look back and testify His strength in my darkest moments, I wouldn't be able to understand who God is. And ultimately, our lives aren't about a particular outcome. It's not about succeeding, or reaching the summit, or redeeming our pride, or overcoming our illness or even saving the world. Instead, it's about us becoming closer and more reliant on a God who loves us more than we can fathom, and trusting Him above all the tangible things on earth.

For the things that concern me today, and for the people closest to me, I am praying not just a matter of winning and losing, building and breaking, surviving and dying. Instead of wanting to just reach the other side in one piece, I pray that we will find purpose in the process and faithfulness in the Father as we pick up the broken pieces. He is the only One who can put us back together.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy trails.

Praise Him under open skies, everything breathing praising God

In the company of all who love the King
Let us dance, let us sing
It could be heavenly
Turn the music loud and sing

Lift your voice to heaven
Lift up your head and sing
To the One who gave his love
This is our offering
Lift your voice to heaven
Lift up your head and sing
To the One who gave His son
Here our lives we bring

From wherever you are
Wherever you've been
He's been there
So let his people sing

And it's so wonderful to be here now
Wherever you are wherever you've been
He's been there

These lyrics from David Crowder Band have been humming through my brain over the past few days. On the backseat of a motorcycle, in the passenger seat of a pickup, and in the driver's seat of my mom's Mini... Cruising happy trails and back roads past lush vineyards, rows of cornfields, towering spruce trees, tiger lilies, mailboxes, sprinklers, fruit stands, freshwater lakes and old farmhouses. How blessed I feel to be home in the heart of a Canadian summer!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Morning song.

This morning I was awakened at 5am by birds outside my open window.
My instinct was to roll over and rest some more, so I did. Except I couldn't fall asleep. The harder I tried to drift back to dreaming, the more birds added to the chorus, and the louder they became. My newly-woken mind began to critique why birds have to start their song so early... For goodness sake, it was still dark out! But the sound continued and increasingly more birds added their unique harmonies.
So I gave in. I would like use romanticized language here and say that the birds beckoned me outdoors to the dawn, but I'm afraid due to the hour, it was more in the form of reluctance to be dragged out of bed.
As I reached the doors of our back porch, I saw the deep violet tone of the sky with a hint of colour at the horizon. No turning back now. So I wrapped myself in a blanket and watched the sun creep it's way into the day. The backyard was so still. So entranced by the dawn. Everything was frozen in time except for the continual change of colours and ever growing light of the sky. And the birds were still singing.


As I sat bundled in the patio chair, I think I learned something this morning. The birds do this same routine every single day (I just usually prefer to sleep through it). They do it in Canada, and they do it in Haiti, and they do it all over the world. The greet the morning with singing. And they don't just wait for the light. They sing in the dark. They make music even before they see the sun.
It's something that I think I need to realize in my life. Often, I only sing or praise the Lord when the sun is shining on me. In the darkness I easily lose my gumption to see signs of the morning, and I would rather sleep and be waken when it's over.

And yet if I would only take a lesson from the birds, to wait faithfully for the Lord. If I would praise Him simply for who He is and not because of my external circumstances. The Bible promises if I do press onto to know Him, He will appear, just as the sun rises (Hosea 6:3). I hope you can be encouraged by the birds today, just as I was. In the darkest disappointments of my life, I want to worship and believe that hope will rise. And I want to sing about it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

My home and native land.

I've been a little MIA on the blog front recently.
I made it home 10 days ago and dove headfirst into a flurry of activity, marrying off my dear friend Vicki, and reuniting with the people I love most.
Today is Canada day and how good it is to be in this beautiful land. I woke up and met my dad on the back porch where we looked out to the open space of the backyard and beyond. The crisp mornings, the mature trees that canopy long country roads, and the shadows cast by the sun going down way past Haiti's 6pm norm is all too wonderful for words.
I'm so thankful today for Canada, and for the other people and places around the world that have captured my heart.
I look forward to sharing these next two months with you, true north strong and free!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just yesterday...

It feels like just yesterday I was in the back seat of my dad's pickup driving to Gateway Niagara to meet Laurens and Cheryl for the first time. Flash forward a few months and again, it seems like just yesterday that I was boarding a plane with their family and headed for Haiti, an island so faraway and foreign to me. Hours later, we landed and once more, it was just yesterday we were bumping down the Port-au-Prince streets in the back of a rusty bus. Cheryl was my informal tour guide, pointing out sights to my left and right as we bounded past. My mind resembled the blurry images flying by around us - a clouded mush of shock and awe of all that entered my field of vision. Even though we had only be friends for a few weeks, Laurens, Cheryl and their kids were one of the few pieces of familiarity and comfort that I clung to upon my arrival and during the months to follow.
3 years have passed in Haiti since those yesterdays. This past Sunday at church the vanderMark family was requested to come to the stage and were recognized for all of the work they have done alongside their Haitian counterparts. Through the earthquake, hurricanes, disease outbreaks, and generator crises (to name a few), they have been on the front lines 24/7 serving and using their God-given talents to further the kingdom.
Meanwhile, I've had the privilege of working with their 3+2 children. Working with Ana, Mina, Bridgely, Grayden and Teagan each day has been one of the best highlights of my time in Haiti. We have all grown in our knowledge, experiences, and our faith. Each one of them is such a unique combination of passions and giftings and I am so excited to see where the Lord takes them as they continue to grow. And I will miss them like crazy.


Today was another farewell day as their family was recognized in a staff send-off party down at the cafeteria. There had to have been at least 80 people, mostly Haitian, who were in attendance to show their gratitude and appreciation to Laurens and Cheryl for their ministry and leadership in their roles here in Haiti.
Later on as the crowd diminished I stood with Cheryl and we chatted about their last days here and all that the final days will bring. Through teary eyes we laughed about how backwards it is in our minds that they would be leaving Haiti before me. Ask anyone when we arrived including me, and we would have all agreed that I was on my way out far before them. And yet here we are, with them tying up loose ends and me advancing plans for the year ahead. Even though we all know that this is the Lord's plan and He has given each one of us a peace about where He is leading, it seems so weird that this same family I looked to and leaned on is branching off in another direction while I stay on a similar course. Once again, it's a reminder that only the Lord knows our path, and he provides and directs us according to the bigger picture that only He can see.
Please be in prayer for the vanderMark crew in the coming days as they say their final goodbyes and prepare for the next chapter that awaits their family. Thank you Laurens and Cheryl for taking me with you on this part of your journey. May God bless you and continue to use you for His glory wherever He may lead.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Countdowning.

Each day that goes by on the calendar, I can't help but squeal a bit inside. I'm growing ever closer to family and friends that are just a skip downstairs or a country drive away, crisp summer nights out on the town, loaded salads, milk, fresh picked berries and DAIRY QUEEN (I could go on).
But also the reality that I'm really really really gonna miss this,


and this,and this.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Resonating.

Most of you know that music is kind of my thing. I am thankful for great bands and melodies that give a soundtrack to my days. I'm not much of a musician, but a few years ago I added a guitar to my most loved possessions and make do with a few favoured chords that I have picked up along the way.
Little did I know that this beginner acoustic would years later come to Haiti and fall into the hands of some amazingly talented and aspiring musicians. Granted, it looks a lot different than it did when I cradled it as my own in the beginning... It's got battle scars - chipped varnish, sweat smears and dusty residue, but it's never made a more beautiful sound. The acoustic blend with lyrical harmonies brings perspective in uncertainty and a comfort to the soul.

This week I've been reminded in a symbolic kind of way that I'm very similar those rusty strings on my guitar. I am flawed and temporary and without the great Musician I am absolutely useless. Just as my guitar is completely reliant on music-savvy people to fulfill it's purpose, so I am 100% dependent on the Lord to breathe His song into my life. How incomplete I am apart from the Musician who plays me. How reliant I am on His life-giving power.
So many times I think I know how the song goes, and I try to get it out on my own, but how can I possibly get by? It's simple, I can't. Just as the clay depends on the Potter, so the instrument can't decide or resound the notes on it's own.


It's my hope and prayer that the Lord would create His song out of my hollow being. That I would be completely dependent on Him to make a beautiful sound out of my life. Like that faithful acoustic, may we resonate and glorify Him through our days.