After the Storm

After a wonderful trip to visit family, we made it back to our home in Haiti last Friday. Traveling from the Midwest to northern Haiti is not a quick trip, and it took us even longer than usual, thanks to this wonderful little thing called “lake effect snow” that we learned about while visiting my parents in their new home in Michigan. Originally, we had planned to leave my parents house early Thursday morning to head to Chicago for our mid afternoon flight. However, when woke up Wednesday morning, my dad, who had been watching the weather, determined that it was too risky to wait until the morning to head to Chicago – that route would head us straight through icy roads and winter weather due to the lake effect. The roads were already bad, so instead of going straight to Chicago, we ended up leaving a day early to drive around the storm and went south, staying the night in Champaign. That turned out to be rather fortuitous, as we were able to see Bryson’s parents and a couple other friends one more time, and I got another meal of cheese fries from Portillos! Thanks to my dad’s quick thinking, we were able to get to Chicago the next day with plenty of time, and luckily my parents had a safe, though very slow, drive back through the nasty weather to get home after dropping us at the airport.

We arrived in Haiti severely craving some sunshine after two weeks with below freezing temperatures, but we returned to storms in Port-de-Paix. Luckily, there was a break in the rain the allowed our plane to get in last Friday, but the rains started back up again Saturday morning and didn’t let up until early Monday. Over that time period, we received about 11 inches of rain! Houses were leaking, some roads were impassable, and streets were flooded. Though we had planned to start school on Monday, we had to cancel for the day due to the devastation from the storms.

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I’ve always loved the sound of rain. It’s so cozy to be sitting inside by the window, snuggled under a blanket, sipping a hot drink while the rain putters outside. I’ve especially loved it while I was sleeping – any time I would wake up during a storm, I would happily listen to the sounds of the raindrops and they sang me back to sleep. But now, when I wake up and hear rain, I don’t feel quite so peaceful anymore. Instead, I start to worry. How long has it been raining? How long will it keep raining? Are my students safe? Will we have school tomorrow? If we do, will my students be able to get here safely?

In my nice, safe home in America, rain never caused me much concern. It only gave me some mild annoyance when the raindrops would curl my freshly straightened hair or force me to keep a room full of energetic children inside during recess. But here in Haiti, as with many other places in the world, the rain can cause great destruction. Today, during centers, one of my students wrote about how over the weekend she had to sleep in her brother’s room, because her room leaks and lots of water was coming in. During a big storm a couple months ago, one of my students was very late to school. When she arrived, she handed me the note she had received from the office, which stated she was late because due to the damage and floods from the storm two people had died in the road and traffic had been backed up. Can you even imagine that? Being late to school, or work, because people have died from the rain?

I saved that note for a long a time. Sometimes, when I’m looking at my students, it can be easy to forget the world they come from and the lives in which they live. They come to school clean and well dressed – if you look at a picture of my classroom, it looks almost exactly like the ones I’ve taught in in the States. But many of these children face more struggles in one day than I ever will in my entire lifetime. It’s heartbreaking, and I often feel as if I should be doing something more to help them.

But at the same time, we are giving them something – we are giving the hope of a God who loves them and a life so much better than this one. And even though there are many storms throughout life – both figuratively and literally – after the storm, the sun always does shine.

Just as it always does, the sun has now returned to Port-de-Paix. And just as the sun is always behind the clouds, I know the Son will never leave our side. Please continue to pray for us as we work to make a difference in the lives of our students, and for the people of Haiti as they deal with the devastation of this storm. But most importantly, pray for those in our community who are still lost in the rain and are in desperate need of the Son.

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Home for the Holidays

“Where are you from?”

We were asked this question by a group of Americans in the Port-au-Prince airport as we waited in line to board our flight back to the US for Christmas break. Hannah and I both hesitated for an awkwardly long moment and she finally answered “Michigan.” Of course, the gentleman continued the casual conversation by asking “How is Michigan?” Another long awkward pause from us we said, “We don’t know! We haven’t been there yet.”

Hannah was born in Canada and grew up in central Illinois. I was born and raised in central Illinois. When we decided to move to Port-de-Paix, we moved in with Hannah’s parents in Iowa, where we had planned to spend most of our time when stateside. However, in early December, Hannah’s parents moved to Michigan. In summary, I have an Illinois Driver’s License, an Iowa License Plate, a Michigan permanent address, and spend the majority of my time in another country! So when someone asks “Where are you from?” I don’t know if they’re asking where I grew up, where I currently live, or where I am currently traveling to! For most people at least two of those questions have the same answer, but for us those three questions have four answers!

One of the difficult things emotionally for us as we made the commitment to move to Haiti to evangelize and educate students there was selling the house we called our home and leaving the area we knew as home. You see this decision for us has never been temporary. We left knowing that the life and home we had built together in the states – the beautiful house, the great careers, family nearby – was something we may not have again. By choosing a ministry life in Haiti, we surrendered the dream and traditional definition of home. So right along with the difficulty of answering the question “Where are you from?” we feel as if we have no place to call home with any permanence and that we are continually living in transition.

As difficult as feeling ungrounded has been, it isn’t all bad. Over the last four months, as we have begun to live this new missional focus for our lives, we have started to grasp a better understanding of the Biblical definition of home. With no single worldly place feeling like home, we are beginning to see what it means to look at heaven as our real and genuine home. This Christmas break has wonderful so far, as it has allowed us to see and catch up with the family we love so dearly, but we know the joy of worshiping our savior with them in eternity will far surpass this earthly home. As our excitement for heaven grows in our hearts instead of just being head knowledge, we are better equipped to share that hopeful future with our students!

We truly are aliens in this world. Not just because we’re used to warmer weather and find ourselves in the snow. Not just because we spend most of our time as a racial minority in a foreign culture. Not just because we find ourselves visitors of our own familiar culture instead of true members anymore. We are aliens because this world is not truly our home. As Christians, it never was, nor should it be. As we enjoy our time this Christmas with our families knowing it will end all too short when we head back to Haiti, we can take heart knowing that we all have a future together.

 

That is, after all, what Jesus came for!

H&BSnow_CropOut of place!

What’s Your Focus?

I cannot believe it is already December! We have just over one week of school left before we break for the holidays. November went by quickly for us; we continue to stay busy with our classes, bible studies, and church, occasionally sneaking in a trip to the beach or walk around the neighborhood. We had a few days off for Thanksgiving, which I mostly spent planning, sorting sponsor gifts for my students, and decorating my classroom for Christmas. Bryson spent the break sick in bed, so unfortunately he didn’t get much of a rest! He’s mostly back to normal now, but please pray for us to stay healthy as we head into the business of the next few weeks. This past weekend we had the Sonlight Staff Party, which the missionaries put on for all of the local staff at Sonlight, thanking them for the work they contribute to this ministry. We also have the Christmas Program coming up next week, where families are invited and each class performs a Christmas song. I might be biased, but I think the 4th graders are going to be fantastic! We’ve been practicing our song and motions every day and they’ve almost got it down perfectly. I love the Christmas season, and it’s always so much fun to celebrate with my students!

Lately I’ve been thinking about where my focus is. I love teaching. I love leading small groups, finding new ways to engage students, and organizing and managing the classroom. I even love the planning! My passion has always been education, and I could spend hours researching new strategies or talking about the importance of differentiated instruction.

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My goal as an educator has always been to help each of my students meet the standards at hand. But the other day, I came across this verse:

“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

This made me stop and really wonder – what is my focus? What is driving me when I walk into the classroom? Is the teaching, or is it The Teacher? If I’m being honest, more often than not it’s the teaching. I can get so focused on the lessons, the assessments, and the standards. Yet just as a house built without the Lord has been built in vain, any teaching done without the Lord is also meaningless. I could be teaching anywhere, but the reason I chose to teach here is because at Sonlight we do so much more than just teaching. We prepare our students with the tools they need to be successful in this life, but we also have the opportunity to show them God’s love, teach them His ways, and give them the hope of a life so much sweeter than this one. In the end, it won’t matter if my students can multiply or spell or distinguish the main idea of article. What matters is whether or not they have lived for Jesus.

Yes, the teaching is important, and I will always striving to be the best teacher I can, but the focus of everything I do should always be our Savior.

So as you go about building up your life, I challenge you to ask yourself the same the question I try to challenge myself with everyday.

What’s your focus?

Dodge the Mangoes

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As Hannah and I were headed over to the school building on Saturday to work in our respective classes, I casually reminded her to “dodge the mangoes” on the way over. We have a mango tree that hangs over part of the path from our apartment and as we approach mango season, we need to duck and weave to avoid getting hit in the face! This, like many things, is part of our normal routine. As I said that phrase aloud on Saturday, I realized how crazy it is that this is part of our normal life now! I never imagined a scenario in my life in which I’d be living 100 feet from the ocean, dodging mango trees on the way to work, while enjoying 85 degrees in November! This place is definitely beautiful. But in all this beauty, the reality of living here has an ugly side.

Every day, in one way or another, we encounter our student’s home lives in our classrooms. I have students who talk about missing breakfast because their family ran out of money casually as it’s a normal occurrence. In my high school typing class, I assigned my students a creative writing assignment last week and every single student’s writing included themes of broken families, abuse, and abject poverty. Mr. John had the maintenance crew and a handful of one-day hires pouring concrete on the roof of a garage on Friday. Outside the school fence there was a crowd of onlookers hoping that Mr. John would hire them to help.IMG_20171103_071802606

While poverty, abuse, broken families, and unemployment are not unique problems to Haiti, the quantity of them and the in your face nature of it can be quickly overwhelming. I can feed someone who’s hungry today but there are 100 more tomorrow. I can encourage my students all day long but as another teacher put it, “Sometimes you just want to sit down and cry with them.” Mr. John can hire 10 people to help with a job but there are literally tens of thousands in our city alone who need one. It’s hard some days to not feel ineffective.

On Sunday I was surprised when one of Sonlight’s high school seniors took the stage and led worship for several songs. I had no idea Melchi (mel-key) could sing! Not only could he sing, he was charismatic, passionate, and fantastic at leading worship! These are the moments when I am reminded of the larger purpose here. While education, food, and employment are all critical things for us to be helping people with, teaching students to have a relationship with Jesus has an impact beyond the short-lasting vapor of this life. And that is effective. I thank God for the opportunity to witness and begin to understand the meaning of Luke 6:20 “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” While my student’s writing assignments reminded me of the ugly side of life here, every student in some way concluded their story with a projection of hope for their main characters at having a better life than the one they came from. I can’t feed a whole country. I can’t rescue every child, I can’t employ every person, but I can teach them the hope they have in Jesus and for today, that is enough.

Let The Nations Sing It Louder

This past Friday was the end of our first quarter at Sonlight Academy, and we are officially over halfway through the first semester! It seems unbelievable that it’s the end of October, with the the temperatures still in the high 80s, but the breeze has picked up recently and the last few days have been gorgeous. And knowing that the cold and snow are just around the corner for our family and friends back home, I will say I’d rather have the heat!

We’ve really settled into our daily life here. School keeps up busy during the workweek, and our weekends are spent planning, grading, visiting friends and going to church. This month, we’ve been in charge of the Junior Worship for 1st-3rd graders during church, and I love getting to work with the younger kids! Every few weeks we have groups of visitors from the States here, and while those weeks are extra busy, it’s so fun to connect with people from all over and engage in afternoon activities with them, whether it’s going to the market, playing kickball with the students, or visiting a children’s home to play game with the kids. Visitors also help out in our classroom; in addition to working on skills with my students, my last visitor laminated over 100 worksheets and centers for me! It was such a blessing!

Last week, we had Tuesday off school in observance of a Haitian holiday. We used the free time for a trip to a near by beach with a few other teachers from the school. It was about a 20 minute taxi (moped) ride to the beach, and we had to wade through the water to find a nice sandy spot without trash, but the ocean was gorgeous and the time to relax was fantastic!

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Part of our weekly routine includes leading Bible studies for Jr. Highers on Tuesday afternoons. I’m doing 7th and 8th grade girls with another teacher. They are a rambunctious bunch, but one of the things they love to do is sing worship music, so ever week I play some songs off my ipod and we sing along. Recently, I introduced them to the song “Your Name”, and the chorus goes like this:

Your name, is a strong and mighty tower

Your name, is a shelter like no other

You name, let the nations sing it louder

‘Cause nothing has the power to save, but Your name

I absolutely love this song. My favorite part is “let the nations sing it louder.” The first time we sang this song at Bible Study, that line gave me chills. In the States, it can be so easy to forget the world around us. That our customs, language, and ideas are the only ones in the world. That our churches are all that matter – because that’s what we’re used to. But being here, I am reminded that Jesus came for not only those in my immediate surroundings, but for the whole world.

We sing a lot here – kid songs during Junior Worship, praise songs at Bible Study, and worship songs in French and Creole at church or during morning devotions before school. Sometimes, I don’t even know what I’m singing, but I love witnessing the world around me worship the name of Jesus. It reminds me that someday, people from every country and every nation will worship the Father together, in beautiful, perfect unison.

A Beautiful Day

Today is a beautiful day! My precious niece, Sophie Jean Schilling, was born at 2:52 am. I woke up this morning to messages and pictures announcing her arrival! As far as I’ve heard, the whole family is doing well. I’ve had permeant smile on my face all day and have been joyously telling anyone who will listen to me about my gorgeous new niece and showing her picture to everyone around me.

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Yes, today is a beautiful, beautiful day. But it’s also a very hard day. You see, when Sophie’s brother Liam was born, I was holding him within a week. Despite the three states and seven hours between us, I was able to see Liam a lot the first couple years of his life. I watched as he grew from a tiny infant to a toddler with so much joy and personality. I celebrated holidays and birthdays with him. I loved every precious stage I was able to witness.

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But it won’t be like that with Sophie. She will be over 2 months old before I get to hold her in my arms. I will miss birthdays and events and special moments. There will be no collage of me and Sophie like the one of me and Liam above.

These are the days that make it hardest to be here. These are the days that I want to pack my bags, get on a plane, and never look back.

Living in Haiti is hard. Teaching is hard. Ministry is hard. And being away from the people I love most? Probably the hardest aspect of all. Here, we spend our weeks pouring all of our energy and emotions into our students and our weekends planning and preparing for the week ahead. I am desperately trying to understand an unfamiliar language, but learning a new language takes time, so for the time being I’m left unable to communicate with my community, my student’s families, and those around me. I can’t even get groceries or go to a restaurant without someone who can translate for me. When I brush my teeth or wash my hair (which isn’t that often, if I’m being honest), I’m trying to assess how much is left in the bottle, hoping I’ve judged the right amount and I won’t run out before the next boat arrives. I spend hours pouring over my lesson plans, wondering if I’m really doing my best to meet the needs of each one of my students. We are so blessed at Sonlight with amazing ministry partners and friends, but the realities of this life we have chosen can be extremely difficult. Not a day goes by where my heart doesn’t ache for the life I left behind. I miss my beautiful house, my amazing teaching job and coworkers, and our precious families.

So why are we here? Why did we choose to give up our practically perfect life for this road instead? The answer has always been rather simple for us: Because God called us here. We are not here for “fun”, we are not on an adventure, and we did not come for the “tropical weather” aka, temperatures so high there’s literally a puddle of sweat on my seat when I get up from teaching math groups at 9AM. We are here because when we decided to follow Jesus, we decided to die to ourselves. We no longer live for Hannah and Bryson, but for our wonderful, perfect, heavenly Father. Even on the days that I’d rather be somewhere else, I am confident that this is where God wants us to be. And that makes that hard parts a little easier to manage.

There’s another cool aspect of this life as well. My family is all working in ministry. My parents have devoted their lives to minister to people of all ages all over the country, and my brother is a youth minister – he and his wife are invested in bringing up the next generation in Christ. We are all working to further the kingdom of God. I am so blessed to  be part of a family that has always put Christ first. It gives me chills just knowing that this is the kind of family my nephew and new niece and future children will grow up in. And just as I am comforted by looking at the sky and knowing we are all looking at the same sun, I find even more joy in knowing that despite our distance, we are all serving the same Son.

And that, my friends, is what makes today a beautiful day.

I’m so glad you’re finally here, sweet little Sophie. I’m counting the days until we get to meet. ❤

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Yesterday one of my students came up to me after school and asked me for an extra practice worksheet. She wasn’t just looking for some extra points to improve her grade, she genuinely recognized a skill she was struggling with that was jeopardizing her ability to do well in math, and given that she’s a 9th grader, it’s pretty crucial. While some people may hear a request like that and think of the extra work it takes to put something together, I am overjoyed! Even though it could be an indication that I may not have taught that particular concept very well the first time, that request tells me this student not only wants to get a good grade, but that she wants to genuinely understand. I’m new to teaching, but already my heart breaks for the students who struggle in school and ultimately become convinced they aren’t smart enough and can’t learn. I try every day to ensure the students in my classes who have a rough time with math do not feel like this is as good as they’ll ever do. I want them to believe they have a chance, that they can always strive to do better, and that one subject is not representative of their ability overall. Not everyone is going to excel in every subject, particularly math, and I understand that. I want my students to understand that too and not be ashamed by their grades, to be proud of what they are able to accomplish, and know that who they are as people and the way they treat others are more important than their grades on a test. Some days are more successful than others; I am learning as much as my students!

We are currently finishing up our fourth week of school, although last week was our first full week! We cancelled school for two days when hurricane Irma went by during week 2. Irma had little to no impact in our area and Jose was never even close. Hurricane Maria is currently projected to go north of us and stay offshore, we will likely get some rain tomorrow and/or Friday. Please pray for those in the Eastern region of the Caribbean as they were impacted by Irma, and are also being hit by Maria.

Other than the hurricanes, we’re starting to fall into routines here. In addition to teaching our respective classes, Hannah is leading a 7th & 8th grade girls Bible study along with Miss Ashlie, one of the other teachers. I will be starting the 7th & 8th grade boys Bible study next week. Hannah and I are also helping with Junior Worship (1st through 3rd graders) every other month on Sunday mornings. In addition, all of the missionaries get together on Sunday evening for a devotion and prayer. Some of us also hang out on Friday evenings sharing a meal and watch something, play games, or just visit.

This week we have our first group of visitors for the year. Groups, usually from supporting churches, come to visit, help in the schools, and experience some of the culture. We integrate the visitors into our classrooms and spend some afternoons with them doing something outside of the school. Monday for example, the visitors, some of the seniors from the school, and several missionaries including us went downtown to the market and purchased food for several families in need who are connected to Sonlight.

With all of that going on, every day is full! But it is a good fullness. It’s not the busy of commuting to work, running errands, events out of obligation, etc. It’s a life full of people we are either teaching something to, or learning something from. Every day is full of opportunities for us to show the love of Jesus to our students, to the people who come visit, and to uplift our co-workers. Every morning when I wake up, I remind myself that while I am a math teacher, my goal every day is to love students and show them who Jesus is.

The Shock of the Familiar

The Shock of the Familiar

When I was in the teacher preparation program in college, I learned about something called “The Shock of the Familiar”. This phenomenon can occur to new teachers fresh out of college when they head back into the classroom. On one hand, they are entering an environment that is very familiar – the lockers, the desks, the books. The environment they walk into looks exactly like the one they have spent 12+ years in, except with one key difference: they are now on the other side of the desks. Instead of looking for ways to get around the rules, they are now enforcing them. All the work they once grumbled about are now the assignments they are giving to students. I learned that this can sometimes be a stumbling block for new teachers, as this once familiar place is now suddenly something different.

As I start the school year here at Sonlight, I’ve been trying to avoid my own version of “The Shock of the Familiar”. Teaching feels almost as natural as breathing to me, and managing a room full of personalities has been my norm for the past three years. So much of the classrooms at Sonlight looks very similar to the ones I’ve been in before. There are books and curriculum, whiteboards and markers, and students sitting behind desks. They even wear uniforms like the students in my first 4th grade class! And yet, it is also so different – I am now a visitor in a country with a different culture than the one I’m used too. I have a full-time assistant in my classroom, which is amazing but new to navigate as I’ve never had one before. These beautiful students of mine can speak English, but it their second language – these 9 and 10 year olds speak TWO languages and are learning a third (French), when sometime I feel like I can barely speak one! While I know I have plenty of skills and experiences to aid myself in the classroom, I hope to stay constantly aware that what I’ve done in the past may not work now. That I may have to adjust my ideas of teaching in order to meet the needs of the students I’m entrusted with. Every good teacher knows that evaluating, differentiating, and trying new things are crucial components of education!

That said – Bryson and I had a successful first day of school today! I’d say I’m cautiously optimistic about the year ahead. My day started out a little rocky as I tried to hand out name tags to my students in the school yard before school started – I somehow managed to get all the name tags twisted together, and had to lay them out on the ground to unwind them! Not the best first impression for my 4th graders. Luckily, it was all uphill from there and the rest of the day continued with only minor bumps. Bryson has jumped into the teaching profession and has worked so hard to get ready for all 5 of his unique classes. He feels they are off to a good start, and he is looking forward to see his students’ growth throughout the year.

Below are some pictures of our first day in the classroom! Please keep us and our students in your prayers!

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Briye pou Jezi kote ou ye!

IMG_20170827_JerrysPanIt has been a busy week! During the mornings, we went to orientation to learn more about teaching here, living here, and doing ministry here. In the afternoons, we finished getting our classrooms ready, worked on lesson plans, and sorted out the materials and books our students will be using. Registration is tomorrow and classes start Wednesday! It’s hard to believe it’s here all of a sudden! Hannah has 20 students in 4th grade and I have 59 total across my high school classes. We are looking forward to meeting them all!

This week hasn’t all been about school. We got all of our suitcases and the boat carrying most of the things we shipped from the US. After that, we went shopping at the crowded open air market where you can buy everything from live chickens to school supplies! We stuck to basic baking ingredients and potatoes to supplement what we had sent here by frozen shipping container. We also got our local phones set up. Since we have pretty regular internet access, the best way to contact us is still through email.

This morning we attended Sonlight Church, which is in Creole. We don’t understand anything yet but it’s a good venue for picking up new vocabulary. This afternoon we went to a hotel that has a pool and swam around to cool off a bit!

 

We rounded the evening off with dinner at Jerry’s hotel across the road. Jerry runs a hotel that hosts people who come to visit Sonlight during the school year and makes dinner for the staff a couple of times a year. The panorama photo in this post is the sunset view we had, it doesn’t quite do it justice!

During church, one of the songs was repeated from last Sunday and due to its repetitive nature, it seemed easier to follow than the others. The chorus goes “Briye pou Jezi kote ou ye” which means “Shine for Jesus where you are.” It’s not a new concept, but at the same time it’s one we often forget. You don’t have to be a church staff member, an international missionary, running a soup kitchen, or whatever to represent Christ in your life. All that is required is you and the correct attitude that lets Jesus show through!

Please keep us and our students in your prayers as school gets going!

An Instrument’s Job

We Are Here!

After two long days of traveling, we made it to Port-de-Paix, Haiti yesterday afternoon. Our travel here was less than ideal, to say the least. The night before we left, we learned that Bryson’s grandmother had passed away. Though our hearts are broken for the loss and we wished we could spend more time with our family, we continued with our plans to leave Wednesday morning. When we arrived at the airport and began checking our bags, we were informed by the attendant at the counter that we could only bring 1 checked bag each – opposed to the 6 total we have planned for! After Bryson and both of our fathers argued with them back and forth, we frantically attempted to repack what was the most important into only 2 suitcases with the help of our families. We rushed through security and got them to open up the gate for our plane, getting on only minutes before the plane took off!

Our travel woes didn’t stop there. We made it to Chicago, but our flight to Miami was delayed by over 2 hours – causing us to miss our connection flight into Haiti. After arguing with some more airport staff, we finally got rebooked for the following morning. Luckily for us, four other Sonlight staff members were also stranded, so we weren’t totally alone. Travel the next day went smoothly, and we’ve gotten it worked out to hopefully get the rest of the luggage we left behind next week. We have spent our time here so far setting up our apartment, working on getting our phones set up, and getting to know the others at Sonlight. Bryson got the key to his classroom, but I have yet to receive mine, so unfortunately setting up my classroom is getting put off for now.

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Through the chaos of the past couple days, I’ve been thinking about instruments. Earlier this week, I was playing piano with my sweet 2-year-old nephew Liam. He loves to bang on the keys himself, but at one point I played the ABC song, which he immediately recognized. Liam kept asking “ABCs! ABCs!” I wondered if he was confused as to why the piano played the song he wanted when I was touching the keys, but when he was touched them it made random sounds.

That’s how instruments work, right? The piano alone does not have control of the sound it makes. Each instrument is beautiful, unique, and serves a different purpose, but each one is at the mercy of the musicians’ call as to what song they want that instrument to play.

Acts 9:15 says “But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.” At this point, God was commanding Ananias to go and speak to Saul, which was not something Ananias was super thrilled about doing. But as an instrument of Christ, we, just like Ananias and Saul, are called to do things we don’t want to. We are called to go on roads that are not smooth. We are called to face challenges, to press on for His will even in the moments it doesn’t make any sense.

Instruments do not dictate the music. The instrument’s job is to faithfully play whatever sounds the musician chooses.

Our travel to Haiti this week was rough. My heart is aching for the family and lives we have left behind. But even so, I know my purpose as an instrument of God, so I will continue to play the music my Father gives to me.

We’ll update again soon – hopefully with more details on our classrooms! 🙂