Friday, August 31, 2012

Climate change.

My last blog posted started with me waking up in Canada. Today looks a lot different. I just climbed back up the mission hill and my dusty feet stretch before me as I sit on the tile floor. The shiny new fan that I assembled this morning circulates heavy air and a plastic cup full of ice water sits to my right. These are my feeble attempts to cool off.
This familiar Haitian sunshine, this familiar posture I take on the floor before dinner time, this familiar creaking of the screen door, these familiar faces that I have come to love. It honestly feels as if I never left.
The past 24 hours since my arrival on the island have consisted of countless reunions with people who are so dear to my heart. There is no better way to transition then into such open arms, and the more time I spend with them, the more full my heart becomes. The emptiness I felt lifting off from Buffalo has been replaced with a new kind of joy in this place.
There is undoubtedly more going on in my brain right now than I can properly verbalize. Scenery, climate, people and routine has all changed drastically, but right now in this moment as I look up at the green hills, I can only express the hope of a still, small Voice that whispers and sings over me with love.

Thank you for all of the prayers that have been and continue to be lifted up for me during this time of transition. The Lord is near, and His faithful presence has been reflected time and time again. Let a new story begin!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Come and fill.

I sit in my bedroom. Windows wide, inviting the fresh morning air to linger long. My quilted bedspread still hasn't been made, crumpled under my morning devotional readings and the laptop I type on. Desk and cabinet space are consumed with canisters of creams and soaps, granola bars, ziploc bags, phone cords and spare change. The piles that develop on my floor from summer accumulation are progressively taken to the basement where my suitcases sit at a close distance to the scale... A slow but steady build up to 50 pounds.

Tomorrow is transition day. I will wake up before dawn in this same Wainfleet bed, wrapped under covers and sock feet, and hours later lay my head down in Titanyen, where the buzz of a fan coupled with a hopeful evening breeze will lull me to rest again.

As always, I have mixed emotions about returning to Haiti. Summer 2012 has been more of a blessing than I can put into words, and it's hard to think about closing this wonderful chapter. Clinging to comforts has and always will be my default, and I dread the end of this familiar routine. I can still smell Grandma's perfume from our goodbye hug earlier today. As she drives away, there begins a knot in my throat which will stubbornly take up residence for the coming days. If any of you have advice on how to make goodbyes easier, I would be glad to listen.

But in my mind there is also picture of what awaits: Pierre's reaching hands and bright white teeth, barefeet that run in my direction from mountain houses, loud Creole greetings across the fields, a much anticipated morning routine with my boys in the classroom, and a next door living room full of beautiful hearts and laughter. Oh, how I have MISSED these moments!

And so amidst the tension of going and coming, sadness and excitement, I find myself in a familiar sense of desperation for the One true constant in my life. The peace that I can be rooted in despite the emotional roller coaster I'm about to jump on. Dad's stereo plays downstairs, and I stop and sing along word for word with a song I've known for years...

Come and fill my heart with hope,
Come and fill my life with love,
Come and fill my soul with strength to carry on 
because from here the climb is steep, the road is long.
Come and fill my days with dreams,
Empty me of all the empty things that I hold onto,
Come and fill my life with You.

Yes, this is my prayer, sent from heaven.
This is what I long for - that Jesus would come and fill. That I may I be able to testify the way that He alone fills me with hope and love, fills me with strength and dreams, and may I be emptied, only to be filled again with Jesus.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Jesus, Saviour, pilot me.

Several years ago I stood alongside my cousins and sang a hymn for my grandmother's funeral. I was not familiar with the song at first, but it was chosen by her to be a part of the service, and I soon fell in love with it.
It's interesting how some things in life just don't let go. Time and time again over the years I have found myself almost sub-conciously humming the melody. Then just a few days ago I noticed some sheet music on my mom's piano, and there again were the familiar lines...

 Jesus, Savior, pilot me
 over life's tempestuous sea;
 unknown waves before me roll,
 hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
 Chart and compass come from thee;
 Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

 As a mother stills her child,
 thou canst hush the ocean wild;
 boisterous waves obey thy will,
 when thou sayest to them, "Be still!"
 Wondrous sovreign of the sea,
 Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

 When at last I near the shore,
 and the fearful breakers roar
 'twixt me and the peaceful rest,
 then, while leaning on thy breast,
 may I hear thee say to me,
 "Fear not, I will pilot thee."

There have been moments over the years when I don't have the words to pray, or even the emotions to properly attach to some of the situations that have hit me head on, and ever so gently this song's tune and lyrics will weave themselves into the forefront of my mind. It's a lasting remedy, because it brings me back to the promise that despite life's storms, my Saviour is continually guiding and piloting me through. And just as He always has, He always will.

As I embark into a new year, with new students and new staff, I anticipate great things to come. I look forward to reuniting with friends, and kicking off the school year with my boys. It's impossible not to get excited about what the Lord is going to do in our midst at the Mission of Hope. And yet I also can't ignore the challenges waiting at the doorstep of my heart. Feelings of insufficiency and frustrations can easily overthrow all of my high hopes for what comes. But once again my mind drifts back to the familiar lines of the old hymn, and I echo the words 'Jesus, Saviour pilot me'. Pilot me through the waves, the undertow, and whatever lies underneath. Give me courage to leave the harbour, knowing that there is so much more to discover in You.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012