The boarding school I went to had a rule. Well, it had many rules actually, but this one came back to me recently. New students at Culver weren’t allowed to go home for the first six weeks. You could call, email and cry all you wanted, but unless it was an emergency, you were stuck on campus with no visits for at least six weeks. Sounds doable, right? No biggie. It was awful! I was a 14 year old, friendless freshman in a new state, with new people, not to mention my recent foot surgery so I was on crutches and I had to sit out the freshman volleyball season. Let me just tell you, that is not the easiest way to start out high school.
My parents probably have no idea how awful it actually was because I did everything in my power not to tell them. I vividly remember those first six weeks being excruciating, but I was determined to be fine. I had made up my mind that regardless of how impossible this seemed, I was going to be okay. My mind game must have worked, because I made it through those six weeks. My parents came for parent’s weekend and I survived freshman year of boarding school. Matter of fact, I survived all FOUR years at that wonderful place and looking back I can confidently attribute many of my most valuable character traits, friendships, and experiences to Culver Academy.
How does that relate to Haiti? I’ve been here more than six weeks – it’s been two months already! When I was 14, I thought the six week rule was a cruel punishment, but now I’m grateful for the lesson it taught me; new experiences present challenges, but you’re resilient and you WILL adjust. Haiti has been a major life change, but it hasn’t been nearly as hard as Culver, or college, or graduating and starting “real life”. I’ve repeatedly been surprised by that fact. When I made the move, I braced myself for the worst. Fear, doubt, loneliness, frustration, etc., but instead I’ve found freedom, grace, joy, laughter, and provision. It has not all been perfect, but the challenges have not broken me and the mistakes have turned into lessons.
I’ve found myself, at several points in this experience, marveling at the awe of how well God has prepared me for this year. In ways I didn’t even recognize until arriving here and in ways that I’m sure I will continue to uncover as the year unfolds.
For this months updates!
– I realized I never actually updated everyone, but Margaret, who I worked with in the VA office, has decided to stay in Haiti for the year as well. God has matched me up with an awesome parter in crime, which I’m so grateful for!
– We got to see FOUR kids go home with their families. It’s an incredible blessing to have front row seats to witnessing miracles. I couldn’t be more grateful for the time we’ve gotten to spend with our guests.
– Another family was able to come to Haiti on their bonding trip to meet and love on their little girl, but also to soak in the culture of Haiti.
– BEACH! For the first time. We finally got to escape and take a day off.
– Continued prayers for the families in the Haiti program at America World who are still waiting on movement at the IBESR.
– One of the orphanage’s we work with, Gertrude’s/Notre Maison, was hit hard with sickness and 2 confirmed cases of cholera and several kids had to be hospitalized. Please pray with me that they’d be able to return to normal soon and that all the children would recover their strength quickly!
There are still plenty of days where nothing sounds better than curling up with a scarf, boots and a pumpkin spice latte in a coffee shop for the day with some friends. Time seems to stand still here when the leaves don’t change and the weather is always beautiful. I love it here, but I miss all of you. Thank you for supporting me on this amazing journey.