Friday, March 25, 2011

Thoughts on Staying in Haiti, Part 2

I’ve already established that it makes sense for me toreturn to the States, so what compelling reasons do I have to stay in Haiti? Firstand foremost is the fact that God has called me here. It’s hard to explainexactly how that happened. I didn’t hear an audible voice say, “Britney, stayin Haiti.” (Unless you count Willem, who consistently told people I was stayingfor the rest of my life before I had been here even a month!) I didn’t justwake up one morning knowing God wanted me to stay here. It was a process.

First I saw how well my personality and skills fit in atMountain Top Ministries. I’m convinced that I was made for this job. It’s theperfect blend of teaching, mentoring, and administrative tasks. I’m able to useall of my spiritual gifts, as well as my professional training and naturaltalents. There’s something genuinely fulfilling about being exactly where Goddesigned me to be. However, I’m human. I still have days where I doubt thatI’ll be able to do what God has laid before me. But when I’m not wallowing inself doubt, I can see that God has given me exactly what I need to do his workhere within MTM’s ministry.

Then there were the precious kids from Laboule Children’sHome. Officially I’m teaching them English after school two days a week, but myrole in their lives runs deeper than just English tutor. These kids don’t haveparents, so they need consistent adults in their lives that are willing to takethe time to teach them important life lessons. We work on manners, showingkindness to others, and taking care of the resources we have. The kids may not bebiologically related, but they are afamily. By the grace of God they’ve opened their arms and included me in thatfamily.

There are also these high school students who crawled intomy heart and carved out a special place for themselves. They each have a story,and I’m slowly learning those stories. Jephte and his siblings travel close totwo hours every morning just to get to school. Richmond’s mother was aprostitute in the slums of Port au Prince before she died. Ferdillia, and manyother students like her, eats her one meal of the day at school. Samuel ishomeless and lives with various families as they allow him to. Jean Peter andWatson sleep on the kitchen floor along with their 3 other siblings. With eachnew story that I learn my heart is bound even more deeply to these people andthis place.

And I wouldn’t be telling you the whole story if I didn’tmention Arold. He worked hard to convince me he was interested in more thanfriendship, and then he patiently pursued me while I took my sweet timesurrendering my fears to God. He’s funny, confident, and gentle. He’s committedto Christ and faithfully serves the Lord. He encourages me with scripture,listens better than most people I know, and finds ways to help in whateversituation he finds himself in.

I believe God used all of these factors to show me that thisis where I belong, but ultimately it was his abiding peace that convinced me. Imiss people who are in the United States, and some days I even miss theconveniences that come with living in there. But, I don’t have a desire toreturn to the life I had there, nor do I feel a pull on my heart indicating there’ssomething to go back for. Even when I consider potentially being away from myfamily during holidays or big life events (living in Haiti doesn’t mean I haveto miss all those, by the way) there’s no panic or urgency to return. It willbe hard to be away from them, but I have peace that God will help us all through those times.

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