Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Afternoon rain.

Since the start of school, the boys and I have been focussing our morning devotions on the different parts of the tree and how they symbolize aspects of our spiritual life.

We start out like the small seed. Seemingly insignificant in the world's eyes, but known and planted by God, chosen to become all He designed for us to be. The trunk, how it grows and stretches to higher heights as the years pass by, and how we too are to build up our faith and strengthen our hearts as we grow up in Him. The way the roots sink down deep into the soil and draw up nourishment, and how our lives need to be anchored deep into God's promises of love, and hold fast even through the storms of life. And the branches that reach towards heaven and produce a bountiful harvest, may we stay connected to the True Source that will produce in us the fruits of the Spirit.

Just a bit ago, with school done for the day and a few hours before dinner, I was sitting and reading in my room. And then I began to hear it... The rumbling thunder. Thick waves of pressure rolling overhead, which beckoned me out to the balcony where I now sit. The rain is singing it's song on the tin roof for my background music, and the garden leaves are dancing along.
There are few things as refreshing as the smell of fresh rain air, or the softness of cool mist that kisses my skin. After several days of hot sun in a cement block house that bakes from the outside in, this is what I (along with many others) have been waiting for.

And so it is once again that the Lord speaks to my heart, reminding me that I am like the tree. Planted, cultivated and showered on. It is His perfect provision and timing that captures me, as He gently lavishes down His love in the way of an afternoon rain.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wonderfully unexpected.

It's been a while since I've sat on this couch. My apartment's screened entrance has become like a revolving door as I step in and out of the different contexts, lesson plans and people groups of the day. Despite the busyness of my routine, I cherish the early mornings with a cold cup of iced tea and my Bible. It's these moments that truly have sustained me and kept me centred when the hours of the day seemingly begin to unravel.... Staying fixed on the blessings rather than the burdens are what keep me going. And let me tell you, the blessings aren't hard to find!

Let me tell you just one quick story about the Lord's goodness this week...
As many of you already know, ever since I left Haiti this past June we have been on a hunt for an assistant to pick up some of the slack in the classroom this fall. With such a wide range of grades along with a second language in the mix, I can use all of the help I can get! But weeks turned into months, and though we had several qualified applicants for the position, nothing was really 'clicking'. I didn't have much of a choice but to accept that fact that I would be starting my year solo, all the while continuing to pray alongside many others that the Lord would provide in His timing. 

Several nights ago, I sat on the guesthouse porch with the staff girls as we ate dinner, and a few newcomers who are a part of this fall's intern class (serving at MOH from September through December) stopped to chat with us. As we were getting to know one another, I learned that one of the girls in particular (Lindsey) had received her degree in Education a few years earlier and had since worked as a high school math teacher. As you can imagine, I was immediately enthused to chat with her more in depth and since then, she has begun working with me in the classroom, focussing specifically on Noah and Caleb's grade 7 and 8 courses - her specialty. :)
Needless to say, it's been more than I could ask to have her not just as a qualified assistant, but a new friend! And most of all, it's pretty amazing to look back and see how the Lord had been planning this all along... He truly provides in the most wonderfully unexpected ways!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A week in review.

Today marks day 5.
5 days of boxed crayons, pencil marks on the wall, calendar jingles, chalkboard letters, oscillating fans, trampoline recesses, star stickers, condensation on plastic cups, popcorn kernels, Tropitex paint, blown up balloons,, and Luke 2:52.
It's been a blur to say the least, but so far, so good!

Several times over the past few weekdays, I've found myself sitting back on my kitchen chair and staring off into space. After 4 morning hours of interchanging English and Creole, tracking with Noah and Caleb's online courses, and keeping the eyes on the back of my head fully engaged (every teacher's superpower), the luxury of silence and stillness combined is enough to lull me away from my avocado sandwich.
And it's in these quiet moments that I've prayed desperately for more wisdom, more creativity, more joy, more clarity, and a double helping of patience.

Thank you all for praying along with me and for me in these virtues. That despite the sense that it's all just a little too overwhelming, I could take each day moment by moment, and child by child.
Because when I look back on this year, I want to remember the way that these 5 awesome boys and I laughed together, the way that we celebrated the milestones, and the way that we grew not just in our knowledge of the world and each other, but in the Lord.
Yes, may the bright eyes of Noah, Caleb, Joshua, Olivier and Joseph light a fire in my heart to keep me rooted and growing the whole year through.

The flower that was blooming outside the classroom door on our first day back

Class of 2012-2013 from left to right: Joshua, Caleb, Joseph, Noah and Olivier

Our classroom tree

Olivier and Joseph raising their hands - Yes!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


On Sunday at church I got to see and reunite with many familiar faces and families including my dear friends from the mountains. As I embraced each one, I was so thankful to see them in good health and the children continuing to grow and develop beautifully!
I wasn't sure about how the youngest ones would respond after not seeing me in a while, especially due to their timid nature, but even Fania and Micayelle approached me with big smiles and affection.

I followed the families into church where we filed into a pew bench one by one and soon after, Fania wiggled her way back down the row to sit on my lap. It wasn't long before she drifted off to sleep, and there she remained curled up in my lap until the last 'Amen'. Several times I looked down at her to check if she had been startled by random noises or movements on the bench, but despite frequent feedback in the sound system, or her older sisters shuffling by us to go to kids church, her little eyes remained closed and her angelic face stayed in perfect peace.

I thought to myself how much I wished I could have this kind of trust, this kind of peace and rest like little Fania. Because yesterday and today and tomorrow I awaken to a new day. A day of decisions to be made and lessons to be planned and phone calls to answer and appointments to attend. Before my feet hit the floor, my mind visualizes a scale of possibilities and impossibilities, wondering which one will win out. I think now more than ever in this new school year start, I can easily get tricked into busyness equalling my worth. It's a vicious cycle of needing to do more and be more in order to make something of myself. But before I even realize it, I'm spun out and unraveled.

Sunday taught me a lesson with the simple act of Fania sleeping in my lap. The decision to simply rest, rather than chase an idea of control or perfection that I could never fully be satisfied with. Just as this precious little doll let down her guard and rested so peacefully, I want to do the same. I want to stop and let go of the things that prevent me from finding comfort in the arms of Jesus.

Tomorrow morning kicks our school routine off for the year. The dusty desks have been pulled from their corners and wiped down for a whole new batch of boys. I am eager and ready to begin with them, and excited to fill these months to the brim with growth and fun. And yet the picture of Fania's peaceful  sleep also reminds me to stay rooted in my Comforter, taking time to get away, to breathe, and to find rest in my Father's arms. That whatever may come, I may be fully surrendered and trusting of Him to carry me through.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You. 
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. ~ Isaiah 26:3-4