Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Taking the Next Step

   In my life, God often puts only one step ahead of me at a time. Some people speak of God showing them a path or a road to follow, and I envy them - because I wish I could see that far ahead. I wish that I could see what lies ahead of me, both in the immediate and distant future, so that I know how to plan for what's coming. 
   But God, in his wisdom and knowing me all too well, shows me only one step at a time. Because if I knew what lay ahead, I would likely rush straight in, or turn on my heel and sprint in the opposite direction. Yet what He wants is not for me to run ahead (or away), but to walk with Him, waiting and trusting in Him to provide each step in His perfect timing. 
   But knowing this doesn't make it easy. 
   There have been times when I have been stuck on one step much longer than I wanted to be. I prayed for God to put the next one ahead of me; to let me move on. But He made me wait.
   There have been times when I have been afraid of the step I see before me, and hesitant to step out.
    There have been times when the next step has been clear and exciting, and I've moved forward without fear or doubt.
    There have been times when I've felt the step beneath me disappearing, and it felt like God waited until the very last second before placing the next one before me. 
     And there have been times when I haven't wanted to leave the step I'm on. Like right now. 
     Because this step - Haiti - is one of the very best I've ever taken. These past four and a half years have been full of people and places and experiences that have become a part of who I am. This step has become home. 
And so even when I see God very clearly place another step in front of me… I don’t want to go.
   We've fought over this one, Jesus and I. I've wrestled and questioned and doubted and continued to pray even when I'd already been given the answer. 
   Because I love this place. With all of my heart. I love watching the sun rise over the mountains and  set over the ocean. I love listening to the breeze sway the palm trees when I sit on my roof. I love speaking KreyĆ²l and learning to cook Haitian food (still a work in progress). I love going for walks with Bendjy early on Saturday mornings to get my favorite Haitian coffee, and stopping to get spaghetti for breakfast on the way back. I love my Preschoolers and our students at Sonlight. I love my assistants. I love the people who have become not just friends, but in many cases like family to me. I love the ways that I have seen and known God here. And I can't imagine leaving.
   Haiti still holds my heart. And I still firmly believe that this is where God has called me to be, and that when the time is right, he'll bring me back. But for now, I know that he is leading me to America for a season. And so even though I don't know what's coming next, I will trust and follow his leading - one step at a time.  

Friday, September 16, 2016

First Days of Pre-K

      We're wrapping up our second full week of school here at Sonlight Academy, and we are already working hard in Preschool. While the first few weeks are extremely challenging, especially because of the language barrier, it's been so much fun getting to know my new class and see how quickly they are learning.

Alexandra peeking through the door to the classroom on the first day of school.

We are thrilled to have Miss Rosenie join us in our classroom this year!

Trying to explain things like elevators, escalators, and eskimos to
my ESL preschoolers is a challenge. Talk about foreign concepts. :)

Laura and Evelyn have become fast friends.

Maira and her million-dollar smile.

Red table is working hard...

...and playing hard, too.

I've also enjoyed catching up with my students from previous years. It's amazing to
see how much they grow every year, and how their English improves!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Meet the Preschoolers 2016-2017

Meet this year's Preschool class!


























Senly Isaac




Suze Dawens


Friday, April 15, 2016

Wonders in Darkness

It's no secret that this world of ours is a broken place. That our lives, while beautiful in all of their intricacies, are full of pain. There is joy, and there is sorrow. There is love, and there is hate. There is life, and there is death. The effects of the fall still haunt us, echoes of a harmony that turned discordant when we shattered shalom with our rebellion. And sometimes the weight of the darkness threatens to snuff out what light remains.

A fuel truck explodes in a small town in a country with no fire department. Lives go up in smoke and flames.

A baby boy, loved and prayed for by hundreds of people, is laid in a casket just days after being placed in the arms of his adoptive family.

I have watched, heartbroken and helpless, as people that I love deeply walk through valleys of shadow that seem to have no light at the end.

I have begged and pleaded with God for answers that have not -and do not- come.

And in the midst of it all, I stumble across this verse:

"Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon? Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness is the land of forgetfulness?" 
Psalm 88:11-12

I mull over these words. I feel the sadness mix with bitterness and anger, and like the psalmist, I begin to question God. "Where is your steadfast love? Your faithfulness? Where is your light? Are your wonders here, in this darkness? Are you?"

Is God here in this place?
This place where I find myself pondering the lamentations of the prophets and the psalms with no resolution far more than I read passages full of joy and promise?
This place where I find myself unable to sing the words in worship, but praying that God will make them true of me? That he will help me believe them?
I long for the darkness to lift. For the pain, sickness, suffering, and death to meet their end. My soul aches because I know that this world is not as it should be. That I am not as I should be.
And as I sit in this place, it is so tempting to give in to despair. To allow sadness and hurt to turn into bitterness, cynicism, and eventually apathy. Because hope feels like foolishness and a setup for disappointment.

But God, in his faithfulness, waits for me. He waits through the sadness, the anger, the hurt, and the questions, until I have nothing left. Until I am finally still and silent before him. And he speaks.

He reminds me that my feelings do not dictate truth. That when I sit in darkness, he will be my light. That he is a good and faithful Father. That his ways and thoughts are higher than mine. That though he may be silent, he is not absent. That he is always working things together for my good and his glory. That he never changes. And that he is the only thing that will ever fully restore and satisfy my soul and this broken world.

I don't need answers. I need Jesus.

So I will pray that whether or not my circumstances change, he will use them to change me. Instead of building walls around my heart, I will continue to love and allow it to be broken. I will remember that while death may still sting on this earth, it does not have the victory. I will choose to have hope in the One who holds all things in his hands. Instead of becoming frustrated by a lack of clear direction, I will listen for the still, small voice that guides me one step at a time. I will hold all things not with clenched fists, but with open hands, remembering that nothing truly belongs to me - it's all his. I will pray that God will continue to show me the wonders of who he is and what he is doing - even if it's in the darkness.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Happy Easter!

Here are some pictures of our Easter festivities in Preschool this week!

Josue working on his Easter craft.
Coloring sometimes requires two hands and intense concentration.

Gluing the different pieces of our craft together.

Ryan showing off his work.

Joanide and Schadrac

Alisha working on our Easter-themed worksheets.

Peeps for snack!

My two class clowns.

After we finished our crafts and worksheets, we went outside for our Easter egg hunt. 
As you can see, they had a blast. :)

Eldine was grinning from ear to ear.

Matz, Andjie, and Max with their Easter eggs.

Checking out their haul.

Happy Easter!