Monday, March 19, 2012

Love is...uncomfortable

It really is.  Often we get into this mindset that love is beautiful, easy, wonderful, stars and rainbows and hugs and kisses and perfect!  When, in reality, love is messy.

This last weekend I did the Seguin hike again, but this time it was just to Seguin and back, and it was with the senior class of QCS.  There were 23 high school seniors and six chaperones.  Yeesh!  We had a great time in spite of the difficulties we encountered along the way, and I personally really enjoyed getting to know the kids better.  We left QCS Friday morning and I knew 22 of the 23 students.  By the time we returned Sunday afternoon I felt I had bonded with each of the kids.

The first day we headed out with a sunny sky and excited kids.  We drove about eight miles past where we started when we did the trip in February, and that made a huge difference for Amber, Robbie, Irene and myself.  For the kids, however, the ten miles that lay ahead was still a rude awakening.  Some of our kids made a speedy job of it, arriving in Seguin in three or four hours.  I believe it took our last student about six hours to do the hike.  Keep in mind that the last part of the hike we were greeted by a torrential downpour that lasted a good two, or three hours, with short sun breaks.  That didn’t make the steep inclines very easy or fun.  

We spent the weekend playing games, hiking to a waterfall (at the right time of the year, but at this time it was a trickle), eating good food, and laughing a considerable amount.  We spent time in devotion with one another, and by Saturday night we found ourselves huddled in the common area of the main lodge with Robbie – the kids’ bible teacher – reading to us from John about the Passover meal.  He set up a chair and a basin, and brought some water and oil.  Robbie offered to wash the students’ feet, whoever wanted their feet washed, and invited kids to wash one another’s feet as an act of servant hood.  In this moment all I could think about was how uncomfortable love is.  How come we humans have such a beautiful, tidy idea of love?  Especially as Christians we should know that love is truly uncomfortable!  For crying out loud, we serve a God who sent His own Son, His only Son, to live a life on earth, living with people he loved and showing them how to live.  He sent His Son knowing these same people he lived among would one day turn against him and nail him to cross, mocking him and beating him out of fear and hatred.  Then, once he had died, they would bury him and refuse to see the miracle of his resurrection in three days time.  That’s a messy, uncomfortable story. 

All of our relationships are like this, generally not to this degree, but there is still this level of discomfort that is felt in a relationship that truly stems from love because, let’s face it, we are flawed beings, and if we ever hope to be loved we better hope that whoever loves us is willing to put up with the uncomfortable things we will say or do or wear, or whatever! 

So in this moment, sitting in this common area with 23 high school students who are all uncomfortably staring at their Bible teacher, who genuinely loves them and wants to help them experience love, in this moment I couldn’t shake the knowledge that I am not used to the truth about love.  Love is uncomfortable.  True love, the kind of love that is worth having, this love that challenges us and prods us and coaxes us along, and in that process makes us uncomfortable.  I don’t want to be in surface-level relationships with people who allow me to never change.  I don’t want to serve a God who does not require growth from me.  I don’t want a stagnant life and boredom and monotony.  I want to experience love, and I want to be aware that the discomfort I encounter just might be challenging me to love better.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Newness and Change

There’s always new adventures to be had, new things to discover about people.  As we go about our days living our lives we encounter new experiences which challenge us to adapt, so we can continue functioning with this new truth in our lives.  Whatever those changes may be we choose to continue on as if nothing has changed – because we know that we either choose to change or choose to reject this new truth – or we sludge through the changes, visibly disgruntled by the way life has pushed our feelings aside in order to allow the world to function.  Either way, we soldier on.  We continue putting one foot in front of the other and somehow we get where we are going, and we manage to wake up every morning still breathing life into our lungs.

This last week brought adventure, change, challenges, and newness to life in a whirlwind of experiences.  A group of eight of us friends who live here in Haiti, and my friend Lori who came to visit, chose to hike to Jacmel through Seguin. This is a thirty mile hike with a 3,300 foot elevation gain, and 6,300 feet back down to sea level.  We did it in 2 days, hiking thirteen or fourteen miles one day and sixteen or seventeen miles the second day.  

We weren’t all prepared for this type of hike, me in particular.  We brought too much stuff (for example, a regular camping tent that weighed around ten or twelve pounds), we didn’t wear appropriate shoes, and we simply didn’t anticipate such difficult terrain.  It was a stunning hike.  We walked along a road that many people I know back in Washington would qualify as a trail, but the towns along this road seem to function daily with a steep, rain-washed dirt road just fine.  What was seriously humbling were the women walking up the same roads as us, going a steady pace, but wearing too-small sandals with no heel strap and a load twice the size as mine perched on their heads.  By the end of the first day we found water we could treat and then safely drink, we stumbled into a section of the pine forest that lies at the top of the mountains in Haiti and picked a place that was relatively flat and far from the road.  We could still see people passing by, and the occaisional taptap that passed once it got dark could still illuminate our gear a little, but we felt safe.  We cooked dinner on a propane stove that Irene and Robbie brought (Lord love ‘em!) and we all fell into bed, vowing we would be good as new in the morning.  When we did finally reach morning, all at different hours depending on the deepness and restfulness of our sleep, we met a kind, Haitian man who had been wandering around our campsite for a while and had worked-up the nerve to come over.  He greeted us, and through Irene’s ability to speak kreyole better than the rest of us, we learned that a group had been murdered in December from camping too close to the road.  He warned us that we were not far enough from the road and it was dangerous.  We thanked him, asked him where we should camp if we ever did this again, and thanked him again.  Some of us had slept fitfully because the ground was hard, or the mountain air was colder than we had anticipated, but had you asked any of us if we were worried about walking up the next morning I think we would have thought that was a silly fear.

So, by the morning of day two we are grateful for
1.    Surviving the hike; ie: putting one foot in front of the other.
2.     Waking up, in spite of our own niĆ«vety.

We cooked our breakfast, packed up camp, trudged down to the water source to replenish our supplies, and then started out, finally beginning that days’ walk at about 10:00am.  The whole second day was downhill, which was easier in the logic center of our brains, but so very hard on our feet.  We had the same spots rubbed over and over by our shoes as we spent nearly 7 or 8 hours ramming our feet forward into our shoes.  Some of us stumbled, due either to the tiredness of our legs, ankles or feet, or the rocky terrain of the mountain road we were following.  But again, the view was stunning.  We crossed fields of jagged, intricate rock formations, 

stretches of beautiful, red earth, and villages that consisted of as few as 2 or 3 houses to as many as twenty.  Every single place we passed at least one person called out, “Blan, blan! Bay m ti kado” which means white person, give me a gift.  The smallest of people to the oldest of them would cry out to us, some merely greeting us and commenting on the silly blan who seem to have all their earthly possessions strapped to their backs, and others asking for things.  At times it was frustrating because as Christians we are to love people as Christ did.  But when your day is filled with hundreds of strangers who’s first words to you are ‘give me something’ grace seems a much more difficult calling.  I found the best thing for me was to bite my tongue and keep my eyes down as I walked.  It did seem rather difficult to visualize Christ in this position though. 
We walked, stumbled, and fell down the mountain, finally arriving in Marigot, about twelve or fifteen miles from Jacmel.  We found a taptap that would take us to Jacmel and we all let out sad, whimper-cries of gratitude as we climbed aboard the rickety truck.  The driver took us through five or six Rara bands.  This was Tuesday night, and the next day, Wednesday, was the final day of Haiti’s National Carnival celebration.  Rara Bands are things I have heard about but never experienced, and hadn’t really wanted to experience.  I have heard they are dangerous, better viewed from a safe distance and that they can become riotous.  We drove through them.  A truck full of white people, loaded down with huge backpacking packs driving straight through this cultural bomb.  We were fine, and it was actually a good experience now that I look back on it, but at the time I simply closed my eyes, lowered my head, relished Damon’s protective arm around my waist and prayed that we would be safe.  Eventually, we reached the Salvation Army Church and School where Damon had arranged for us to stay.  Of course there were unforeseen aspects that had to be worked out once we got there, but we were able to settle in, eat a delicious meal a la Robbie and Irene (once again!) and fall into our makeshift beds that were lined up in a row on the roof of the school.  We slept somewhat fitfully, but woke more rested the next day.

Day two held blessings we had not anticipated as well, such as:
1.     Being thankful for blistered feet and skinned knees, nothing worse
2.     Passing through the Rara bands unscathed
3.     Finding a safe place to sleep that night

We spent the next two days in Jacmel enjoying ourselves.  We went to the beach all of Wednesday and tried to stay that night in a hotel but that didn’t work out.  The next day we found our way up to Basin Blu so Lori, Damon and the Captain could experience this stunning work of art God has created.  We swam and all of us girls showered in the clear, blue water.  That night we took the Captain and his family out to dinner to thank them for sharing their space (especially their bathroom) with us while we were in Jacmel.  Then we bedded down for one last night with the sound of the ocean lulling us to sleep.

Friday morning we got up early, gathered our things, prayed with the Captain and his family, then headed out on foot, to find the taptap station where we could inquire about a taptap to Port-au-Prince.  When we planned this trip we had all agreed we would be hiking to Jacmel, staying for a bit, then hiking back.  We wanted the glory of the challenge to be beneath our belts, as well as the bragging rights.  Nearly all of us were in agreement by Friday morning that hiking back would be stupid.  I was so grateful to sit in that van, puttering over the mountain and watch as miles and miles of potential foot soreness whizzed by my window.  We made it safely back to the courtyard of Quisqueya school in less than three hours.  I thank God for Rodney, our taptap driver, he was an angel in disguise.

As a group, we have traveled together quite a bit and had adventure upon adventure.  We are learning how to function as a unit, how to be thoughtful of one another, and still how to take care of the group as a whole.  

Having Lori here was a challenge because I wanted so desperately for her to enjoy her time in Haiti and not leave with negative experiences, so I wasn’t quite so concerned about the feelings of my friends who are quite capable of ‘roughing it Haitian style.’  Lori did a fine job pulling her own weight and not complaining.  Damon and I as a couple had many new experiences that our short relationship has not had the chance to encounter before.  Somehow, spending five days together really speeds up the time line of learning each other (o; But we too were able to function and come out of this trip still caring about each other and not wanting to leave each other on the side of the road.  Very fortunate (o;

We have functioned as a group, and we have functioned as a family, but this trip really seemed to move us further towards family than we had been before.  I am so blessed for each of these people in my life; for their willingness to have bizarre and intense adventures.  Their self-sacrifice when they know I need a hug even when they don’t love physical touch (Amber), or when they think I need someone to slow down and walk my pace with me (Nathaniel), or offer to switch packs so that I might have a lighter load (Josiah, Jill, Lori, and Irene).  Robbie’s willingness to doctor our feet, no matter how often we ask him to stop or how stupid we’ve been about our own foot-care.  And Damon’s desire to simply do right by me in every single area of life.  I am truly blessed, Lord.  You have lavished gifts upon me that I never thought to ask for.  Thank you for taking care of your child so well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

food and friendship

So often we find ourselves in a situation that is foreign to us.  We may be in a familiar place, with familiar faces, but the activity is new, or the place is new and all other things are familiar, either way we have to adjust.  We are momentarily out of our comfort zone, forced into a new mold, required to wiggle around until we find a spot we seem to fit into.
One of these past Saturdays I had the privilege of having my friend Mirlande come over and teach me how to cook one of my favorite Haitian dishes, Mais Moulen ak legum.  This dish is a course corn meal with black beans in it and it is served with a mix of wonderful vegetables and often meat of some sort.  Mirlande’s tradition is to offer to come teach a group of us ladies how to cook a specific Haitian dish, but this time I was the only taker, yet, as it is one of my favorite dishes and I happen to already have most of the ingredients, and because my teacher is generous with her time and wisdom, I took Mirlande up on her offer and decided to brave the long day ahead.
Cooking in Haiti is an event.  Agreeing to take part in this lesson I was agreeing to give Mirlande the majority of my day, and luckily I knew this ahead of time.  It also meant that I would be offering all that time to another language as well.  Mirlande has wonderful English, but whether she is aware of our desire to learn Creole or she simply thinks we need to learn it I knew that this day would be spent mostly speaking Creole.  Needless to say I was in one of those foreign situations, but on the more extreme end of the spectrum: my place was familiar, but my company was still fairly new, my language was new, and the activity we were engrossed in was completely new to me.  I knew it would be a day of learning, and I knew I would need a nap afterwards.
Mirlande arrived mid-morning and we sat a while and chatted while finishing our breakfast.  Then we made a grocery list, I already had the Haitian course-ground corn meal that we would need, and I had plenty of oil and butter, and some pimant (spicy peppers) and magi (Haitian bouillon, but it comes in little squares that are premeasured for buying and using convenience).  I also had black beans, garlic and cabbage and Mirlande had brought some militon from her garden to use as well.  We still needed carrots, green onions, onion, eggplant, sweet oranges (in Haiti there are sweet oranges and there are oranges that are not sweet, they have different uses in cooking), green beans, parsley, thyme, tomato paste, and beef.
We began by peeling and cutting vegetables as water and oil heated in a large pot on the stove for the beans to boil in.  I was informed that putting salt or magi (because it has salt in it) in the water would cause the beans not to cook quickly, so instead one must put oil.  Actually, one must put “ti lwil” which appeared to be about a tablespoon of oil.  As we waited on the water to boil we cut the militon into quarters, the carrots and eggplant were merely pealed; the green onions were cleaned then cut into sticks about an inch and a half long.  The beans were cleaned up as well, removing any stringy parts and cutting them into half inch pieces.  Once the water was boiling we put in the beans, about two cups, covered it and periodically Mirlande would pour a little more water in the pot.  She claimed that the cooler water stirred the beans up from the bottom of the pot instead of actually stirring them, and I’m not sure if this is true or if I simply mis-interpreted what she said, but whatever the reason may be, we added cool water to the boiling water. Next we turned our attention to another pot we had placed the raw meat in.  Mirlande had pealed and halved the oranges, taking out the seeds.  She rubbed the meat down with the orange halves being sure to cover the meat thoroughly with the oranges.  Then we poured the orange juice into a bowl to keep it for later on in the cooking process and started heating the meat up on the stove, periodically pouring orange juice over it and water so it wouldn’t burn.  Once the meat was cooked through Mirlande covered it with the tomato paste, mixing that around in the bowl so that it completely covers the meat.  Then she placed the vegetables on top of the meat; this was done strategically and with care, and therefore I feel the process needs to be repeated here as well to ensure you do it exactly right when you make it yourself. 
1.     First the eggplant go on top of the meat, do not cut them, simply place them on top of the meat but on the edges of the pot, then place the carrots in a similar manner but along the eggplant. 
2.     On top of this place the cabbage, cut into smaller chunks, about the size of the palm of your hand similar to how one might prepare cabbage for Corned Beef and Cabbage. 

3.     Lastly, the green beans and spinach, leaves whole.  The whole thing must be covered with plastic and then covered with a lid that is smaller than the pot so that as the vegetables get steam-cooked they can be squished down with the lid. 
As the vegetables were steaming we finished the beans and prepared the mais, or cornmeal.  The black beans, once soft, are strained (save the water) and a generous amount of butter is placed on them to melt around them (about a half cup of butter).  The water that was just removed from the beans moments before is added back to them and a piman is placed in the pot to add some heat.  Mirlande poured about a cup and a half of the mais into a mixing bowl, going through it to make sure there were no bad pieces among the course-ground cornmeal.  Then she filled the mixing bowl with water.  She washed the cornmeal, stirring it up with her fingers.  Once it had settled she poured out the water, and since it is such a course-grind there was no real straining necessary, it simple laid heavy in the bottom of the bowl.  She repeated the process and then poured the now slightly more voluptuous mais into the pot with the beans and added a magi or two, according to taste.  More water is added as necessary, but once the correct amount is added (and honestly I think this is a matter of opinion, there seemed to be no real measuring going on) the mais should only be stirred to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, but otherwise left to boil, soften, and grow. 

The remainder of the process is merely allowing the food to reach the correct tenderness.  Once the vegetables are properly steamed they are to be removed from the pot, the militon, eggplant, cabbage, and spinach are to be crushed into a pulp, another little tube of tomato paste is to be added to that mush and it can all be stirred together.  The carrots get cut up and they, with the green beans are placed into a skillet, along with the diced up onion and green pepper.  The previously mushed vegetables go in here, as well as some cloves of garlic and stalks of green onion, which are crushed to a beautiful, green pulp in the pilon (mortar and pestle) and the whole thing becomes a wonderful mix of all these amazing, green goodies.  
This can be seasoned to taste.  Once the vegetables are finished, the beans and mais has reached its appropriate plumpness, and the meat has been cut into more manageable-sized pieces these three things can be served on top of one another.

This meal was absolutely divine I hope it turns out well for you if you attempt it.  It took us about three hours of actual cooking, four to five hours with prep and discussion included (o:  But this meal, this cooking lesson was so about so much more than food and technique.  I learned about history, about patience, about friendship and conversation.  We discussed Christ, Godly relationships and the things that seem trivial when written down for the world to see, but to me at that moment, allowed me to feel like a part of Mirlande’s life, like a true friend

Monday, October 10, 2011

seeking growth

In my time here, and really for months before returning to Haiti I have been struggling with transforming my faith.  Moving from a Sunday school faith to a more mature faith that really reflects who I am in Christ. I have been struggling with this because there are certain changes that I know need to be made in my heart and in my daily walk with God, but I have become comfortable in my sin and changing those habits is undesirable.

I recently took a walk with a friend and discussed this issue and others.  I told him that it was ridiculous to me that I know the path I should take, I feel I know why I should take it, and I have evidence in my own life that choosing God's path over my own produces a richer life; yet still I stubbornly cling to worldly things and tell myself I'm 'not ready' to make this change.  This is just laziness on my part and fear.  That age old fear that changing will produce a 'new me' who may come with responsibilities and behavior that I either view as boring, or fear others will view in that way.  So, essentially what I have made myself to believe is that if I follow the one who died for me - who has created me for His pleasure and joy - if I follow Him instead of the world, the world may reject me.

Hasn't the Bible told us this is so?  Didn't we sign up for this when we chose Christ?  Doesn't the Bible repeatedly proclaim that the world will reject us, and we will face hardships and persecution, but that we will not be alone?  I often find myself in these one-sided conversations with myself, knowing the answers to all the questions I pose, but wanting a new truth to arise, one that will not call me outside of my place of comfort and allow me to have my cake and eat it too.

I have been attending a church body that is made up of mostly QCS associated folks, and the sermons have been a video series.  Yesterday's sermon was about living our lives for the glory of God and not for our own glory.  The pastors addressed our tendency to reject ideas about Christ that make us uncomfortable, like the truth that God's ultimate agenda is His Glory when our idea of God is this humble, meek loving God who would never have such a selfish agenda.  This is a very difficult thing for me to accept, that God is out for His own glory, but when I look at it after hearing this sermon and pondering this topic for the past 24 hours I wonder why it makes me uncomfortable?  This God who's ultimate agenda is His own glory, this is the same God who created the Earth in all it's sinless splendor to to be good as He saw it, He created Man and Woman to be in harmony with Him so that He could come down to earth and walk among the things that reminded Him of His glory and brought Him joy.  When that creation failed Him, he guided it, reprimanding it as was necessary, but still desiring whole union with it so that His glory could once again be seen by all.  Through the many hundreds of years this same God has shepherded/guided/parented this world and the people in it, sending His only Son to be a presence among the people, so they might learn from Him, and essentially that they may learn from his death on the cross and glorious resurrection, that He Is God.  All things, the ultimate agenda is for God's glory, but why not?!  What else would be worth living for?  If our lives are to be lived striving to please God, striving to BRING HIM GLORY why would it make us (me) uncomfortable to know that this same God I want to bring glory to also desires that glory?  God calls ME to be meek, not himself.  He calls ME to be humble, not Him, knowing that I learn better in humility than in pride.  He wants me to be patient and kind, because if I am these things I can be a better witness of HIS love, so that more and more people may discover the glory of God, and His Kingdom may grow!

I spent part of my afternoon yesterday on skype chat, discussing this sermon and this very thing.  Confiding in a friend that this truth about myself is disappointing and frustrating to me.  He agreed that he has dealt with similar things, and directed me to James 4:1-10.  These verses discuss our stubbornness to walk away from our sin, the evil desires of our flesh, but how Christ has called us out of our sin to save us, to redeem us from ourselves, from this world of destruction.  These verses are uncomfortable for me to read because they apply.  Because the truth of this passage rings in my ears and calls to me do what I know if right, to turn from the things that bring me momentary pleasure, turn from them towards the One Thing that can bring me ultimate Joy.  What is so difficult about that choice?  Especially when I know that it is the right choice, and I know it is Truth.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

my first weeks in review

It has been three and a half weeks since i have arrived in Port and I've only been teaching two and half weeks.  I am learning so much, mostly about myself and being a teacher, but also about those around me; my colleagues, students and neighbors.  I have been inspired, humbled, challenged, and frustrated in some degree or another every single day.  I have also been absolutely filled with joy on numerous occasions.

My first week here at Quisqueya Christian school I spent my time with my roommate, Amber, wandering campus familiarizing myself with the facilities here, and trying not to think about the fact that I had no idea what I was doing.  I didn't begin teaching until the wednesday after I arrived, which gave me almost an entire week to act like I was preparing, without actually knowing what that would look like.  I found out the resources available to me here are much more than I had believed, causing my great joy and also giving me something to do, as most of those resources were absolutely filthy.  I was awarded an office amongst my resources and even a desk all my own!  It was a momentous occasion for me (o:

As Wednesday approached I found myself feeling more and more like, "Ok, here goes nothing!"  I have not pretended to know the first thing about teaching, and was very clear about my lack of teaching experience when I applied to QCS, but our director Steve Hersey said something that made me confident he was comfortable with my skill level when he said he had prayed for weeks over the decision to hire me or not.  And I have every aspiration to become the best teacher I can possibly be.  So far I have been consistently surprised with my ability to fill thirty minutes of time with relevant, skill level appropriate material.  It's been very encouraging and surprisingly exhilarating!  Here is my weekly schedule as it was given to me:

Monday begins at 7:15 with an elementary/high school staff meeting.  At 8 I grade papers for the 6th grade teacher Mrs. Mattenley and at 9 I help with Miss Rutz's low readers in her 2nd grade class.  I teach my first class at 12:30, 5th grade for a half hour.  There are 23 students in the 5th grade. Then I have the 6th grade class for a half hour at 2, and there are 25 of them. My scheduled day ends at 2:30.
Tuesday is my biggest day.  I start at 8 again helping in 6th grade, and then at 9 in 2nd grade.  My first music class is at 11:15, I have kindergarten (19 of them!) for a half hour.  I then scoot on over to 4th grade at 12:15 and teach the 18 of them for a half hour (so far my best behaved class and so eager to learn!). At 1:30 I have 2nd grade (25 students), and at 2 I have the 1st grade class (17 of them).  My day again ends at 2:30.
Wednesday is a light day, beginning at 7:15 with the elementary staff meeting and my two classes I help out, but it isn't until 1:15 that I have my first class of my own.  5th grade has another half hour music class, followed very closely by a half hour with 1st grade, and my day is over, once again, at 2:30.
Thursday finds me heading to chapel at 8:15, then helping in Miss. Rutz's 2nd grade class, and then grading for 6th and beginning teaching my own classes at 1 straight through until 2:55.  This is my least favorite schedule simply because of the closeness of the classes, it seems that my last class of the day is always shorted at least 5 sometimes ten minutes of their lesson because it is often difficult to get out of the first two classes on time.  Thursdays I have 2nd and 6th grade each for a half hour, and then I get to spend about 55 minutes with the 18 3rd graders.
And then of course Friday closes out my week with by far my easiest day.  We have our 7:15 staff devotional time and then I'm off to 6th grade to help out, but usually 2nd grade doesn't need me, so I'm free until 11:15 when I have the pre-k class (all 11 of them) for a half hour.  Then at 12:15 I have 5th grade for their second half hour slot for the week, and I am finished with my work week at 12:45, allowing me plenty of evaluation and prep time for the week and the next week approaching.

My biggest challenge has been learning students' names.  I came about 6 weeks after the year began and need to learn the names of some 156 students' names, not to mention that next semester I will be teaching high school choir as well, which will add at least another hundred students to my list of names to memorize.  I would give quite a bit for a large poster with pictures and names of all the students for me to study in all my free time!  Other than this I have been quite pleased with how things are going.  Every single one of my classes has a majority of students that are thrilled to have music.  There are quite a few who are so thrilled they sometimes forget to speak at reasonable decibels, or to ever cease speaking, but eagerness is a shame to squelch (o;

Aside from school I have many other things going on.  There is a bible study available everyday it seems.  I currently attend one on Wednesday, one on Thursday, and have contemplated taking up a second thursday evening one, if the scheduling allows.  I think I have found a church to attend, along with what I would like to be monthly visits to Park Chretien Methodist Libre, but transportation is difficult with that one, and I prefer to go to the 6am service over the insanely hot 9am service, so that makes transportation even more difficult as I know few people willing to get up at 5am to sit hip-to-hip with strangers while listening to a French and Creole service for three hours... so we will see how often I make it to that church.

I have had many adventures, hikes, beach trips, tap-tap rides (Haiti's local transportation, which is often a pickup truck with the bed of the truck remodeled to provide passenger seating and some sort of canopy so one is not at the mercy of the elements) and many opportunities for frisbee and volleyball.

There is also an unwanted house guest in our apartment who we have attempted to poison a few times but who seems reluctant to perish.  I saw him scurry across the floor from the bathroom into the kitchen about twenty minutes ago.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Adventure Begins

I leave in 13 days to move thousands of miles, once again, to a tiny island in the heart of the Caribbean where natural disasters reign supreme.  I'm going to the land that once tried to swallow me whole, to teach children to sing, to love music, to hear the song in their lives, in the streets, in the wind.  I have no certain plan.  No outline to bring me comfort or settle my soul.
I have a God, though.  The God.  The one who held me up beneath the rubble, who cradled me in his arms and whispered words of comfort in my mind.
Strangely enough, the place I am going does not frighten me, it is the task that is daunting.  What if I fail?  What if I am incompetent, or fumble?  What will I do if I go all these miles only to fall on my face in shame?
Yet still I go, because the adventure, the unknown is far too intriguing to back down simply from fear.  And like I said.  I have God.