Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New whispers.

Spring has always been a season of listening for me; a time to be intentional about waiting, fasting and praying for peace about the coming school term. In years past, it's also been an exciting time of connecting with parents and preparing for new students and grades. The Lord has been so faithful in giving me direction about my commitments year by year, and granting me with hopeful anticipation of what lies ahead...

The Lord said to Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
~ 1 Kings 19:11-12

I love this passage. It reminds me how God's word rarely comes in neon lights, but rather in the seemingly insignificant. I can look back and recount so many times throughout my life where the Lord has stirred my heart in the most wondrous of whispers. And so He has again...

He whispered it when the mountain families received their homes.
He whispered it on Micayel and Fania's first day of school.
He whispered it when Robenson received his driver's license.
He whispered it when Abigail Rose was born.
He whispered it when Rocky and Lily adopted Pierre.

I admit, at first I was ignorant to these clues. The thought of leaving Haiti was way too big for me to process. But nudge by nudge on His part, and denial after denial on my part, I became aware of a stunning realization:

That five years ago, as I sat at my small bedroom desk in Wainfleet, I faced these same whispers. Whispers that involved leaving a comfortable place. Whispers that meant change and newness and stepping into unknowns. Whispers bigger than I, that drove me to my knees praying that the only way they could come into fruition would be if He did it.
Eventually, I whispered back. Words of surrender and trust, and praises for peace beyond understanding which could only come from His hand.

And look what He has done! A journey which took me from a wide-open-spaces backyard view in a small town of loved ones to a foreign mountain village in Titanyen. A land where the most earnest desires of my heart and my greatest fears collided. A place where no one else could catch me but Him.
By His grace and provision, year by year, these strangers of a different race and tongue have become like my family. These 4 concrete walls crawling with lizards have become more than just a temporary shelter, but a home. Indeed, it's been a physical journey, but also a journey of the heart... And it's far from over.

Because, here I am again. Morning by morning waking to the same promises in His book, feeling my heart stir towards change that sends me spinning in a tension of dread and excitement. Little by little, I've whispered back words in my journal that resonate the peace I've found in letting His word be my lamp, even if it means I'll be led away from this beautiful place. And slowly but surely, my heart has rested in the decision that this will be my last year in Haiti.
Even though the road from here involves a painful letting go, and the future is still foggy, I find hope in my outward steps drawing me back to a familiar posture - surrendered with open hands, and eyes on the lookout for fresh glimpses of His presence and provision that can only be found by moving passed my comfort.

I thank you all, for standing by me, holding me close, and praying me through the past 5 years at Mission of Hope. Thank you for loving me so well and showing me glimpses of Jesus in the ups and downs. I am at a loss for words when I think about your generous sacrifices and encouraging words, not just in this season, but from the start.
I am beyond blessed to share the journey with you, and it's not over yet.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seeking and finding.

I took a long walk down the hill tonight. The tropical blossoms awakened my senses and the sky shone another masterpiece. Little Jeremiah's satiny-chocolate cheeks brushed against mine and glowed from the sky's radiance. Up the hill a little further came the sound of his older brothers and sisters singing their evening chorus in the kitchen.
On nights like tonight, the air is ripe with His presence. It makes me wish I could stay here forever - marinating in the stillness and beauty. But Paul's words remind me that even when these evening shadows fade away with the light, and our world spins on, He is not far. May we live and move and have our being in Him alone.
Keep seeking, friends. 

Acts 17:24-28....
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,  for 'In him we live and move and have our being’.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Piti a piti...

piti a piti, zwazo fe nich li.
little by little, a bird builds it's nest.

Laura shared this Haitian proverb with me on our way up from 3cords the other day. It's a quote that's been floating in my head ever since... A comforting reminder that even the smallest effort or investment can be added and accumulated up to the dream we are aiming for. But attached to it is a challenging question my heart has been asking - 'what am I building?'
We're all creating something, just like the birds that awaken me with their morning songs. So upon reflection, here are some of the things I've been building lately.

1) Relationships
I guess that's my best excuse for less post action on the blog... The Lord has brought some beautiful people to my doorstep lately. Whether in the form of a skype call, facebook message, watercolour painting with local artists, house guests(!), or late-night couch conversations with neighbours. Sitting around for turkey lunch at the Beaurivages, eating a traditional Easter meal made by my Haitian mommy, or having a taco potluck under patio lantern lights in the yard. To mentor and be mentored, disciple and be discipled... I feel blessed by the community and support system that the Lord has give me near and far, and I just want to keep pouring in.

2) Quiet times
In contrast to some of the beautiful moments I've shared alongside friends here, it has also been pressed upon me during the past few months to be more intentional about being by myself. I've been spending extra morning times to wait upon the Lord and seek His will for my upcoming decision for next year. He has been so faithful in years past, giving me peace beyond the ever-present questions that sweep my head with doubts. As I approach this time again, I am confident that He will show me which path to take. Thank you for praying along with me in this, and stay tuned for an update soon!

3) Love of learning
Each weekday morning, I sit in my swivel chair and hear the chatter of my boys making their way up the hill and into our classroom. Their morning greetings coupled with brotherly love and banter gives me a fresh wave of gratitude and awe for what I get to do every day. We've begun a new month verse on the fruits of the spirit, and with a little help from Pinterest, we have successfully created fruit trees out of paper bags (pics coming soon!) Reading silly stories and discussing the illustrations together (which has led to the most interesting of conversations let me tell you!), studying the states of matter through various hands-on experiments, and filling our inside walls with colour and design from our desktop creations has been so rewarding for us all. It has truly become our 'sweet spot'.
Time and time again, I am reminded of how blessed I am to work with such a happy, hilarious, and vivacious bunch of growers and seekers. As we look ahead to our final months of the school year, I am committed to filling our hours together with as much joy and purpose as I can muster.

With His help and blessing, piece by piece, little by little, these 'nests' are coming into fruition. Often, all I can do is stand back and be amazed at what He's already done. Keep building, my friends.