Thursday, December 8, 2011

"When The Lord Closes A Door, Somewhere He Opens A Window."

Two posts in a week...I must be on a roll!!

I've been thinking a lot about "doors" and "windows of opportunity" in the past few days.  I think sometimes windows of opportunity get bad rap because of the nature of how they are presented. Doors are natural points of entry & exit, beginning and ending. Windows, not so much. They are smaller, less accessible, usually only used as a point of entry/exit in forced invasions or emergencies. But it is really all in the perception...

All this to say, on Monday of this week, the door of opportunity to invest in the lives of the children at the Hands and Feet Project was abruptly closed for me. I am SO disappointed, and heart-broken that all my little toddlers are left with no closure, no explanation, and none of the structure and education that they have been flourishing in for the past five months. I can only trust that God will continue to move heaven and earth for each of them to fulfill their incredible destinies. They are even MORE precious in His sight than they are in mine.

Although the door of opportunity at Hands and Feet has been closed, the windows of opportunity to invest in children in other parts of Haiti are wide open.  There is a tremendous need for accessible education, training, and job creation to ensure sustainable growth and positive change in the country. Early Intervention/Early Childhood Education is the perfect place for me to start. But starting/running a preschool takes a significant amount of preparation and planning, and planning takes TIME. My initial plan, which has been affirmed by a dear friend and veteran overseas missionary, is to take the next 6 months in Haiti to "scout out the land". Because of the unexpected turn of events, I have decided to celebrate Christmas in the US with family, and return to Haiti in mid-January. My three main objectives beginning in January will be: 1. Develop relationships with the people I had the privilege of meeting during my first five months in Haiti. 2. Enroll in language school to learn more Kreyol (speaking fluent "toddler" Kreyol only gets me so far...) 3. Gather as much information as I can from people involved in the education system in Haiti about the requirements and standards for running a school.

This is big step of faith, and I am trusting God to continue to direct me as I walk it out. I would love to invite my friends and family to partner with me in this next adventure. Please consider joining me in one of the following ways (and this is by no means an exhaustive list...If you have other ideas, please feel free to share!)
1. Prayer - for continued safety, health, direction, divine connections, provision
2. Resources/Materials - preschool classroom supplies, developmental checklists, adaptive OT/PT equipment, teacher planning materials, curriculum, etc.
3. People - In the future I would love to be able to coordinate teams of therapists (SLP, OT, PT, Audiologists, etc.), as well as Early Childhood Educators to come on short term trips to help assess children, provide feedback for setting/reaching goals, and provide professional development for Haitian teachers.
4. Funding - The initial estimated budget is $1000/month. This includes living expenses, travel, residency paper application fees, and ministry/education costs.

I am truly thankful for the door that was opened for me to begin my adventures in Haiti...equally grateful, and tremendously excited for the windows that have subsequently been opened to allow me to stay in Haiti until this adventure is concluded.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Home Is Where The Heart Is

I've been back in the US now for almost 2 weeks, two unexpectedly early weeks. I got to have Thanksgiving with family, which was lovely. I take a hot shower every day. I go to the gym every day. I sleep in a "normal" bed...8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep EVERY night. It all feels great. And yet, at any given moment of the day, I suddenly get the urge to click my heels together three times and mutter under my breath,"There's no place like home...", hoping when I open my eyes I'll find myself in a much different (and much warmer) place. I've heard more than a few people living overseas talk about "going home to the States", which lately has struck me as an odd concept. If home is where the heart is, then shouldn't our heart be at home in the place where God has called us to be, even if it's unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and half-way around the world from what we used to know as home? All the things I mentioned earlier are often thought of as "the comforts of home", but they are not the things in which my heart finds comfort. I realized a few weeks ago that while I have talked about a few of the little miracles that have stolen my heart, I haven't introduced them to you properly. They are the reason I am homesick for Haiti:

Bekington, 2 years  11 months old
He is a natural problem-solver. Always an optimist, and a born leader. He's probably a future inventor or worship leader, or both! I miss his enthusiasm for reading books, usually first thing in the morning.

Davidson, 3 years old
He is non-verbal, but he doesn't need words to communicate his feelings. I miss his sweet smile, ear-piercing screech of excitement, and that infectious giggle when someone finds his perfect tickle spot.

D'Jolande, 3 years old
She is a jewel. Sensitive, shy, tender-hearted, dainty. I miss seeing her little face light up when I make direct eye contact with her (or when she is playing with baby dolls). 

Jameson, 22 months old
Mr. Funny Man! He makes everyone laugh. Despite having recurring asthma, he handles frequent breathing treatments like a champ and doesn't let that hinder his love of singing "Itsy, Bitsy Spider" all day (and night). I miss his full-speed-ahead bear hugs around me knees every morning.

 Jessica, 3 years old
My little butterfly. She does not walk, she "flutters about". A true fashionista. She is a little mother hen, always "fixing" people's hair and helping them however she can. I miss her endless imagination, and her endless reciting of "purple cat, purple cat, what do you see?" regardless of what book she happens to be "reading".

Luckson, 3 years old
He melts my heart! Sensitive and shy, but all boy, too. (He LOVES things that "GO".)  He is a thinker and an artist. I miss our daily walks down the driveway, when he holds my hand, points up to the sun and says, "Ky lo, li sho!" ("Kyle, it's hot!")

Mackenson, 23.5 months
Don't let that serious face fool you! He is full of joy and life and adventure. He is a walking miracle. I miss hearing him yell at the dog in English, "GO GO GO T-BONE!" (which is far cry from the hysterical meltdowns of before) and the way he so effortlessly transitions from "Hosanna" to "BINGO" and back again in the same spontaneous music set. 

Marie-Denise, 2 years 11.5 months old
She reminds me a lot of myself. Reserved, by not shy. An equal mix of silly and serious. Very studious, and creative at the same time. I miss hearing her little voice coming from the back room at bedtime, "Ky lo, mwen vle bo!" ("Kyle, I want a kiss!")

Rachelle, 2.5 years old
She's a tough cookie...or she'd like you to think she is! She is 2-going-on-15 years old.  She reminds me a bit of my niece. She likes to get dirty and play with the big kids, all while wearing pink, frilly dresses. She may be young, but she's definitely the leader of the pack. I miss her little mischievous smirk, and watching her dance with total abandon. 

"There's no place like home...there's no place like home...there's no place like home..."