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.