Friday, March 25, 2011

Thoughts on Staying in Haiti, Part 2

I’ve already established that it makes sense for me to return to the States, so what compelling reasons do I have to stay in Haiti? First and foremost is the fact that God has called me here. It’s hard to explain exactly how that happened. I didn’t hear an audible voice say, “Britney, stay in Haiti.” (Unless you count Willem, who consistently told people I was staying for the rest of my life before I had been here even a month!) I didn’t just wake 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 at Mountain Top Ministries. I’m convinced that I was made for this job. It’s the perfect blend of teaching, mentoring, and administrative tasks. I’m able to use all of my spiritual gifts, as well as my professional training and natural talents. There’s something genuinely fulfilling about being exactly where God designed me to be. However, I’m human. I still have days where I doubt that I’ll be able to do what God has laid before me. But when I’m not wallowing in self doubt, I can see that God has given me exactly what I need to do his work here within MTM’s ministry.

Then there were the precious kids from Laboule Children’s Home. Officially I’m teaching them English after school two days a week, but my role in their lives runs deeper than just English tutor. These kids don’t have parents, so they need consistent adults in their lives that are willing to take the time to teach them important life lessons. We work on manners, showing kindness to others, and taking care of the resources we have. The kids may not be biologically related, but they are a family. By the grace of God they’ve opened their arms and included me in that family.

There are also these high school students who crawled into my 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 to two hours every morning just to get to school. Richmond’s mother was a prostitute in the slums of Port au Prince before she died. Ferdillia, and many other students like her, eats her one meal of the day at school. Samuel is homeless and lives with various families as they allow him to. Jean Peter and Watson sleep on the kitchen floor along with their 3 other siblings. With each new story that I learn my heart is bound even more deeply to these people and this place.

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

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

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