Front and center

Front and center

Diana, the main missionary teacher here, just left this morning to go visit family for the next two weeks. Her three students will be off during that time, which just leaves the boys and I to ourselves in the classroom. I’m a little nerve-racked – I’ll be doing devotions each day and it’s completely up to me to keep the boys on track and schedule. I keep feeling a nudge from God saying, “The pressure’s on me, what are you worried about?” A theme my best friend Charity and I have been talking about the past month or two has been – “It’s one thing to SAY you trust in God, but to actually DO it when the rubber meets the road is when it counts.” And, the best place to start is in prayer.

Psalm 63:7,8
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 68:19
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Psalm 119:66 Teach me knowledge and good judgement, for I believe your commands.
72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.

Beach Weekend

Beach Weekend

This past weekend we got the opportunity to go to the beach and rest. I was especially blessed by the opportunity to be all-ears and really get to know some of my brothers and sisters in Christ here. It was refreshing to hear their stories and to find common ground in our lives with Jesus. To feel like I know a little bit more to encourage each one of them personally is really cool and I’ve already started coming up with some ideas. Mwen kontan anpil!

Catch up!

This week has been really focusing on getting back on schedule (Caleb has been behind for about a week) and getting scores up. I’m happy to report back that Caleb is now back on schedule for most things, if not a day ahead for others. Yay! Noah is about 7 days ahead, and he likes to remind you each day.
“Corinne! Guess what! I’m working on stuff that’s due next Friday.” (He smiles and nods his head at you). Mhmm!

Overall, this has been a challenge. Patience is a fruit I’m praying for. I want them to understand, and it gets discouraging for me when they aren’t getting what it is I’m trying to show them. What am I doing wrong? How are they not understanding? How do I rephrase this in a way that is going to help them understand? How much help is too much help? On the opposite side, how long do you sit back and watch them struggle, waiting for them to get it on their own? My big prayer for Caleb is that he would be encouraged, and to not settle or think he’s just not smart or capable of doing good in school even when he’s consistently struggled up until now. Yesterday he was doing really good, getting scores above 85%, and then he said, “Well, that’s going to be ruined once I take my math review. I always get 60 or 70% on those.” Even Noah piped in and was like, “Caleb! Don’t set yourself up for failure – if you believe you’re going to do bad, then you’ll end up doing bad. Right Corinne?”

I was like, “Hah. Yeah, that’s true.”

That reminds me of something a friend of mine, Reuben, said the other day. He wrote, “A sin consciousness will produce more sin whilst a righteous consciousness will produce righteous fruit. Be the tree, you’re already home.” If I wake up today with the mindset of, “I’m going to fail God today,” then I’m probably going to fail Him. If I wake up with the revelation and focus on the Treasure that lives in this jar of clay, Christ in me the hope of glory, and that through Him I can do all things, righteous fruit will come. Neither view denies that I am powerless to be righteous on my own, it’s just that the second goes a step further and abides in Jesus. This breathed life into me because I tend to get discouraged and derailed by my faults and failures and what I haven’t been able to accomplish yet. I wake up and disqualify myself right off the bat and then I operate from this place of defeat, which often times accomplishes half-hearted or non-existent results.

2 Peter 1:3, 4
“His divine power  has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

Sushi

Apparently there’s a pretty good place to get Sushi in Port Au Prince that the boys like so in an effort to help their scores, we’ve come up with a new incentive: They must get at least 85% on every section they work on each day at least three out of the five week days. If they do, I’m taking them to get sushi. Today is the only day so far that they’ve gotten – Noah got 100% on his math quiz and Noah got 90% on his sociology section.

Overall things are good. We had a 100th day celebration for the Bernard boys this morning and made portraits of ourselves when we are 100 years old. I’ll post a picture in a bit. Pretty funny stuff!

God is good. He is teaching me a lot about how to wake up and really depend on the love He has for me each day. When you’re so new and in a place full of new people who already have their own dynamic and inside jokes together, it’s really easy (especially as an introvert) to get lonely and despite a big desire to be social and to relate to everyone I find myself being quiet and sitting out at times. It’s an inner struggle, but everyone here is so wonderful and worth the effort to get to know so it’s been a big prayer of mine to keep at it. God’s really been putting it on my heart to find ways to pour into everyone here and to really love them with His love.

I also want to learn Creole so I can talk to and connect with the Haitians on staff too! I joined a program to learn Creole so we’ll see how long it takes to start being able to have conversations! This is what I know so far: Bonjou! Kishan ou ye?

Worship at Mission of Hope church

Worship at Mission of Hope church

I recorded worship this morning — Claudel Senat led us and it was amazing. I cut it down to the one song that was actually one that God spoke to me through the first time I decided to go to Haiti. It’s called “I give myself away.” What’s cool is half of it is in Creole, the other half in English. Enjoy! (Click the above link titled “Worship” and it’ll take you to the site that I have it hosted on.)

“My life is not my own
to You I belong
I give myself, I give myself away”

Reflections

As I near the end of the my first week here in Haiti, I keep thinking to myself, “Savor the moment! I only have a couple more days left here!” and then I instantly remember, “Oh wait, no I don’t.. I still have four months.”

It is bittersweet, but more-so sweet. It is bitter because I miss my friends and my family. I miss being around them all the time and even just the convenience of getting to talk to them. It’s weird to think I will be away from home for so long. I can come up with more reasons for why it is sweet, which is weird – It is so easy to be here, to the point where I ask myself, “Wait a minute, how is this a sacrifice for God in any way when I am enjoying what I’m doing so much? Maybe I’m doing something wrong..” It’s actually been a little conflicting for me. I sometimes adopt this point of view that thinks God only wants me to do the things I don’t want to do. Which is largely true – I am called to a life of surrender, of taking up my cross and following him, of dying to myself every day and doing things outside my comfort zone. A lot of the times it means it will benefit me in no way. But I think I also forget the verse that says:

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

I looked up this verse’s use of “to will” and it means to prefer, to wish for, to be inclined to (gladly), to delight in, to desire, to love, to be pleased to..So basically, it is God who works in us to DELIGHT in doing His will. He creates that joy in us for the good works He’s set aside for us to do since before the creation of the world. If we say “yes,” it’s almost as if He makes sure that we get something out of it. By that I mean joy. Delight. You long for it. You are fulfilled as you do it. That’s really cool. I’m encouraged and reminded of how good God is. He doesn’t have to do that, He doesn’t have to give us any joy in what He wants us to accomplish in this life, but He does it anyway. Not only that, but He also works in us to act. To do more than just long for it, but to actually go out and do it.

What God calls us to do isn’t always or usually glamorous, comfortable, easy, wise, safe or fulfilling by the world’s standards. A lot of the times it’s giving up your own personal freedoms for the benefit of someone else. It’s cool to know that God has already worked in me to desire and to act on this calling in my life so far. It’s cool to know He’s working in my life, period, considering I’m the last person to deserve it. I’m not qualified by any standard, the world’s or His. To His glory, He chose me anyway.

Quick update too – I got to talk with one of the guys in the leadership here at MOH and we got to talking about my film degree and my goals/abilities… In short, he asked me if I’d be interested in filming short, raw testimony videos of the Haitians. I was obviously ecstatic – fall on my face and say, “ARE YOU FOR REAL, GOD?!” overwhelmed.. Obviously it’s a big commitment and I’d really want to pray about it and make sure it’s something that lines up with God’s will, but I am just so excited at the possibility and opportunity. We’ll see what happens. 😉