So English class this morning was a great reminder of one of the things I love the very most about this culture, these people.
For our students, for men and women who love Jesus in Haiti, it's just all. about. Jesus.
Sometimes, still, it just surprises me.
Right as class was beginning, my phone rang, and it was one of my students. He was with two of our other students, and they had just been in an accident on his motorcycle and were heading to the clinic. Obviously shaken up, I told him we'd be praying. As soon as I hung up, we started, and I was touched by how passionately and intimately everyone prayed together for our dear friends.
The community we always talk about it truly the community that we have.
But then we jump into class, and we're talking about changes in our lives, and plans for our futures, what verb tenses to use, etc. Going around the room, I asked them each a question about changes that they have had in the past and present, what they would change about themselves, what changes the world needs, whether they believe people really can change, etc.
And every single one of them gave a mini-sermon, and half of their answers conjured up deep amens! from the rest of the class.
Nobody talked about how their hair used to be long and now it is short. Nobody talked about how they used to be short and now they are tall, or they used to be young and now they are older. They didn't even talk about how they used to be single and now they had a girlfriend.
No. They talked about how God has been working in their lives, what they were like before they asked Jesus to be their Lord, about how sin has crashed and broken the world, ever since Adam, and about God's great redemption plan to change the world, to change our hearts. They talked about what their lives and hearts were like before and after Jesus. They talked about how their churches have changed as they have spiritually grown, they talked about how difficult situations in their lives, like times they were hungry or times they were afraid, helped to change them and grow them and to teach them about God's faithfulness.
They talked about hopes for future changes, about how devastating it is to see teenagers today care nothing for God, about how we can help change our youth for Jesus, about how Godly men and women in their lives changed them into youth for Jesus. About their prayers for family members and friends to give their hearts to Jesus and let Him change their lives.
They talked about positive changes, and then Aldy even talked about the death of his mother, and about the great change that brought to his family when he was a child.
"We thought it was a bad change," he said, "but I realize now that until she died, my mind and my joy and my focus was always on my mother. My faith was in her. And after she died and left us, I realized that I had to focus my life and joy on God, the one who would NEVER leave me, and I praise God today because I tell you He NEVER has, and I may never have grown to depend so heavily on God today if my mother was still here!"
I finally got back to my office after class, and dug right into grading their essay assignments from last week, when we were talking about technology. They were to discuss whether people should or should not have their phones in meetings like church or class, and why.
EVERY single paper talked about how we can use our phones in ways that glorify God, like having our Bible apps with us wherever we go, and to share lessons and sermons with our friends and church members or to play music when we are doing our personal devotions. And then, each student discussed how they believed while phones were good to have for emergencies and safety, how they also believe our phones can actually inhibit our spiritual growth by distracting us from God's presence.
In the end, no matter what their opinion about bringing their phones to class and church or leaving them at home, I promise you that every single essay talked about how careful we have to be not to be distracted...how diligent we have to be to be focused on God...and about how Satan can and will use any foothold to distract us from His still, small, voice.
At this point, I was almost laughing...wondering why nothing can ever just be a surface, easy answer.
I quickly remind myself that making everything about Jesus, filtering everything through a God lens, ISN'T what's weird. NOT forming our opinions and dreaming up our changes with God's perspective in mind is what is weird...and yet I do it all the time.
I always tell you how living in Haiti points us to Jesus and grows our faith, and the way Christ is at the constant forefront of our brothers and sisters lives and mind, and living among them pushes Him there in my mind, too. I'm so thankful.
Thankful for the example that our men and women are at Emmaus, thankful that Grandpa and Ms. Cindy arrived safely today for a few days, and thankful all three of our students from the accident this morning are ok.
Friday...the big match. I'll fill you in tomorrow on what is shaping up to be cross-cultural adventure!