Monday, 23 January 2017

New Year, New Perspectives

Everyday at 5, we wake up, get dressed, drink a cup of coffee, and head out the door at 6 to be greeted with this-

a variation of this every single day without fail. Morning after morning, week after week, month after month. The faithfulness of the rising sun is really the perfect representation of the way we have seen the faithfulness of God demonstrated in our lives over the course of the time that we have been living in Haiti. Sometimes the sunrise is wild and vibrant- the way we often see God when blessings flow, our ministry is flourishing, school is going well, and life is good. Sometimes it's more subtle- hazy and soft and more gray- the way we sometimes perceive God when His presence is not as felt, when difficulties are encountered at work, and our souls feel weary.

Right now, life is more of a vibrant-type of sunrise. We are refreshed after three weeks home for Christmas break, school is back in full swing, and we have a busy short-term team season ahead of us. Being home (in a loose sense of the word; Haiti is always first home) is always a confusing mix of comfort and discomfort. We relish in the love and attention of those who spoil and care for us, yet somehow feel as though we don't feel quite as at home as we used to. Haiti is in our blood, and as difficult as it can sometimes be to live here, the difficulties always outweigh the blessings when our focus stays on God.

We're riding on a bit of a school high as well. We're firing on all cylinders and the kids are firing on
all cylinders, and magic is happening. We are pushing a lot of English vocabulary and reading skills, math with a lot of manipulatives, using a lot more technology in our classes, and focusing on some heavy-duty character development. Character development is a biggy. Our students have so much crazy potential, but unless that potential is grounded in Jesus and loving Him, and understanding how to treat others and interact with them respectfully, their potential doesn't have the proper channels to flow to others. Sometimes it's hard for us to always remember how far these kiddos have come from last year. We remember venting about how mean they were to each other, how they would hit and pinch and push and bite and yell- but it truly is night and day. They are memorizing Bible verses, and
hearing Bible stories, and understanding the consequences of their actions. They've started to apologize to their peers without teacher intervention and remind each other of school rules, they tie each other's shoes and help each other with their school work. We still have days where everything seems to go wrong, days when it feels like we're taking steps backwards instead of forwards, and days when we struggle to understand if we've actually made any progress with them. But as hard as it is sometimes, we've been more purposeful about our perspective.

That's been a big word for us in the past couple of months, even going back to post-Hurricane Matthew. In light of everything that happened, we are reminded so much more often of what a privilege it is to be here, to be the ones loving on these kiddos and molding their spirits and characters. There are so many more qualified people that God could have chosen to send here to work at our Academy, but He chose us, and it's still humbling to think about. When your perspective shifts to how privileged you are to be where you are, that God doesn't need you but chooses to use you, that changes everything. It means that even if you can't see progress, you're still planting seeds. Even if you have bad days or failures or disappointments or discouragements, you have something to give where you are that only you can give. And that makes all the difference.

On a different note, we're only halfway through this school year, but we're at that point again where we have to make a decision in the next few weeks about whether or not to stay in Haiti for the 2017-2018 school year. We covet your prayers. Two years in Haiti sounds like an adventure, but three years starts to sound a little bit more crazy. We obviously love it here and would be heart-broken to leave, but ultimately we want to be where God wants us to be.

Sending love from a currently bi-polar Haiti, where days are hot and nights require long pants, socks and multiple blankets!

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