Tuesday, May 29, 2012

God of Wonders.

This past weekend I got to travel to the Dominican Republic for a Pure Joy International retreat. What an amazing blessing it was to join in with so many other missionary women across the Caribbean to worship and encourage one another.

Ladies across North America, most who I will never meet on this earth, made it possible by 'paying it forward', and allowed us to stay, play and be spoken into at the most beautiful of resorts. Each hour that went by left me and the rest of the girls from Mission of Hope stunned by the way we were lavished upon.
From the moment we stepped out of our shuttle onto the front entrance of the lobby, we were greeted by name by the leadership team. They had been praying for us individually for weeks in advance, and continued to demonstrate their genuine love for us through their teaching times, prayerful encouragement notes, and lots and lots of chocolate. :)

During one of the morning sessions, we sang 'God of Wonders' together, and in the chorus of the other ladies I flash backed to the early morning drive on the bus to high school. Back in the days of the walkman, I had made myself a mix tape that I would play faithfully every day on that long ride to E.L. Crossely. The songs circulated from contemporary worship to hit songs on the radio. As my sleepy eyes gazed out the bus window onto the creek, I can still remember Mac Powell singing 'God of Wonders' through my headphones. The perfect soundtrack to the fish jumping out of the water and into the morning mist.
That same captivated feeling has followed me so evidently since then, and I cannot cease to adequately express the wonders and beauties that continually surface. As I stood in that conference room surrounded by sisters in Christ and watched the palm trees outside dance along with our voices, I couldn't help but be reminded and humbled once again by the amazing things that God has done in my life, right up to that very moment.

Truly, He is a God of wonders.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jean Marc jams.

Jean Marc, as you may remember from previous posts, has come a long way in his guitar skills. From the handful of chords I limped him through 4 years ago, and now with the guidance from the church worship team, he has become an avid and skilled musician.
His involvement in different ministries around campus keeps him stepping, but he came up to visit me this week to jam. Each time he picks up my guitar, I am more and more impressed with his skills, and this visit was no different. He keenly switched keys without missing a beat and naturally meshed harmonies and rhythms. When he finished the song set, he started playing a catchy little jam which when I inquired about, told me that he had made up himself. He probably would have kept playing all day on that velvet chair if he hadn't been late for class.
And before he left, he made sure to teach me a few chords that he challenged me to master before his next visit. My, how the tables have turned... I think got a little taste of how parents feel when their children grow up!

Later on in the day, my mind reflected back on my time with Jean Marc, and the Lord whispered the word 'stewardship' into my heart. Truly the Lord has blessed his son, Jean Marc's stewardship of his musical gift. What an amazing transformation to witness.
And isn't it the same with each one of us? The way the Lord causes the gifts He gives us to thrive when we use them for Him? May this breath in our lungs and passion in our hearts be channelled continually toward His kingdom... Growing, stewarding and glorifying the Giver of good gifts.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mornings that last.

After a blurry week of integer reviews and mothers day crafts, 3cord countings, Pierre sing alongs, evening cookie feasts and a road trip to the city, I sit by the window and feel the cool rain air breeze through.

Lately, the days here have been hot - hotter than the usual temperatures over here, anyways. The morning heat accelerates into the afternoon, but by night the clouds roll over and the south wind carries with it a lasting refreshment until the sun breaks through the dawn again.

I'm thankful for this change in season. For the green that covers and consumes this island. For the life that thrives around me. And for the reminder that I too and growing and brought to life. 

It starts in the morning. I love the way I get to begin my day. Looking out into my mountainous backyard, the pop of the toaster coupled with fresh Haitian fruit for breakfast, as the sound from my speakers harmonies with the words in my Bible.

This preface for the day is rarely interrupted, and I am so grateful for this peaceful staging before the unfurling of the rest. Because when my screen door swings, and my phone starts jingling, I quickly feel the carpet-like foundation I've set for my day coming rolling out from under me. The prayer times and the heart to hearts and the divine morning words from my Bible can become but a distant hope in the back of my mind instead of the forefront. More and more I realize that it takes an continual intention and discipline to keep the Lord at the center.

It's my prayer that in the days to come I would be more focussed around the power and peace that I experience every morning. I get to do life with an incredible group of people in this place, and I am challenged daily by their words and wisdom based on the way that they are centred around Jesus. I am humbled and challenged to pursue this lifestyle on my own. A form of meshing my practical life with the gospel, which I think was best quoted by Tim Keller, presented to us in staff meeting this week.

The gospel is that we are far worse off than we believe, and far more loved than we could ever imagine.

As I stumble and fall over these simple truths, tonight I'm thankful for the love that covers me, just as the rain falls to the ground. May it not return empty, but produce life and fruit. And so it is with us; may the words and truths run deep into our lives. Consuming and transforming us so that we too may accomplish what He desires for our days.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven

and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
~ Isaiah 55:10-11


Saturday, May 5, 2012

These are the moments:

As promised, here are the photos that didn't make it into my last blog...

My morning view
Mary Denise - Our latest 3cords addition :)
Fania jumping on her new bed

This simple exercise of retrieving photos and attaching them into my blog prompted me to take a little stroll down memory lane and recount some of the wonderful memories I've made since September. It's stunning and humbling for me to think that I had the privilege of living out the very images on my screen.
The beauty. The laughter. The heart swells.

These are the moments I thank God I am alive:

Barefeet on the balcony.

Sheet lightning flickering over the clouds after dark.

Noah's eagerness for me to listen to a song he wrote himself.

Counting cords with Mary Maude.

Pierre's wide eyes and zealous laughter when I peek over his crib.

Late night fashion shows and hopes of baby piglets with my neighbours.

Experimenting with avocado recipes.

Early morning Isaiah verses.

The faces around the table.

Sounlove singing hymns while she sews.

Mountain kids dashing down the path to give me a hug.

The squeak of the classroom door.

Squeezing far too many people in the back of a pick up.

Playing 'Wipe Out 2' with Caleb.

Sipping Haitian fruit juice as I mark science tests.

A perfect sunset every evening.

I could not ask for more.