There is much to share today...the last class of intensives, fourth year off to the mosque in town for their Islam class, an awesome update from chapel Monday, residential courses beginning this Monday, etc.
But first, can I take a personal post to praise the Lord for how we see Him at at work in and through and for our girls?
This day, four years ago, was one of the hardest of my life.
Little Miss Lily, only 3 years old, heading off to Haitian school.
It was hard because it was her first day of school. It was hard because she would be the only foreigner in 1000+ students. It was hard because she'd be the only English speaker among the 1000+ students AND staff. It was hard because she would be different. It was hard because she was three. It was hard because she was my first born. It was hard because she was growing up. It was hard because Matt and I never WENT to Haitian school, and could know very little of what to expect or how to prep her.
But we spent months praying and talking and talking and praying, and we felt clearly that at least TRYING to send our kiddo where everyone else in Saccanville (who can send their kids to school) send their kids to school was important. We felt strongly that if Lily was going to live and love and serve and enjoy life in Haiti along with the rest of us, she needed FRIENDS. She needed the language. She needed the culture. Just as much as we did.
And we knew this would make her friends, give her the language, and teach her the culture better than ANYTHING else. Better than we could.
So we did. And two years later, sent Sofie, too. And when Lily's school just was too much for Sofie Lovely, we tried somewhere else, an orphanage with 100 kids instead of 1000, where Sofie is still the one and only foreigner in 100 kids, but had the one and only foreign teacher...helping her adjust to the language and the culture at a little less abrupt rate.
Suddenly, with a million bedtime prayers and a million more midnight prayers they know nothing about, it is today.
And they have not only done it, not only survived, not only made it work...no, they have just totally blossomed.
I mean, they love it.
They pale Creole, and speak it well, correcting my accent and saying things I've been saying wrong for 9 years and haven't realized until I hear them say it. While I braid her hair in the early morning, she is reciting her French verbs, ready to be called upon.
They have friends, more than I do! When I take them to buy in the village, they greet the dozens of previously nameless children by name and are greeted like peers, not foreigners. When I ask if they want someone over to play, they ask for names I struggle to pronounce. When it's their turn to pray, they are praying for the poor, the hungry, the orphans...NOT as such...not even REALIZING, no. They are simply praying for their buddies.
They haven't learned the culture. They LIVE the culture, and it is theirs in a way it never will be mine, hard as I try. Things Matt and I try not to gawk at, they don't even notice. Things I avoid like the plague (fried spaghetti with hot dog, catsup, hot peppers and mayo, for example) they devour and ask for more. Things I try to understand they have long since accepted. Even loved.
Yesterday afternoon I put the baby down and Sofie called to me from outside. They'd just finished playing soccer with one of their favorite students, Jean, and now Sof wanted me to see her sister.
She had finally figured out how to get up in that big tree, and Sofie was as proud of Lily as Lily was.
As I watched them and we played outside together, the much needed rain coming in over the mountain and cooling the air, just a touch, I was heavily struck with such awe of our God, such gratefulness.
Alongside of these towering blue mountains and lush green palms, He made every little intricate complicated miraculous inch of Lily, Sofia and Nora.
And as I fight, every single day, to lay down quickly at His feet every OUNCE of worry I am tempted to shoulder over our girlies, I was so heavily reminded yesterday how FAITHFUL He has been. How GREAT His hand has been in their lives. How faithful He has been to be close and working. To protect and to heal. To help and to grow. To form and love and forgive.
How faithful He has been to give JOY.
IMAGINE telling myself 10 years ago that I would have two little girls thrilled to go to Haitian school each morning! (or that I would be homeschooling in between!) Little girls who would have friends and have languages and have culture and who wouldn't even ask for mom anymore, and barely come in to kiss mom before changing and running back out to play, out to buy hot fried peppers with bronze foreign coins with Junior or Shayla or Noel, out to play with the students, out to climb trees.
Of course, I am proud of them. I am proud of them when I see them love others with His love, when I see them love each other well, when I see them run into the mix of our lives with joy.
But I'm sharing all this Stacey-brain not because I am proud of my girls, but because ALL OF THIS, all of it, is a testimony of HIS hand in our lives...God's work in our girls...God answering many prayers...God being "faithful is He who calls you." (1 Thess. 5:24)
I praise Him, because not an ounce of my day would be possible without Him. Praise Him because He cares for my girls even more than I do. Praise Him because He has made possible many impossible things.
It's all Him. And I am so incredibly grateful that it is.