Do you remember when I wrote this? It was just eighteen months ago.
So we want to build a school at Yahve Shamma orphanage for the entire community. We want to build a legacy, a real brick-and-mortar Haitian-built, Haitian-managed, Haitian-taught community school to be part of lifting Haiti out of poverty. And we want to do it with you, too.
This isn’t just one small step, not really. Because, you see, there will be 170 beautiful tinies there. In one school, every year, 170 steps, one right foot after another left foot, right forward, into God’s purpose and plan, God’s future and hope. Plus twelve teachers, well, every year, step, step, step right into where they were meant to be all along. And we can be a part of it, walking alongside of them.
Eighteen months ago, I stood in that very spot and told you about our crazy dream with Pastor and Madame Gaetan. And even more wonderful? You all said “absolutely.”
Absolutely we can do this.
Absolutely this matters.
Absolutely we will love these tinies and we will build them a school.
And now, today….
We walked through the gates of the Yahve Shamma orphanage, and I took one look at that gigantic and gorgeous school – and I burst into tears.
I couldn’t stop weeping or smiling, this was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes.
I stood on holy ground when I stood in the kindergarten classroom at Williamson Adrien Academy in Petion-ville, Haiti.
Over the past eighteen months, I feel like I have been witness to the miracle, the miracle of the Church together, the Church united across nations, the Church that shows up and loves well, a Church that stretched from my little home in Abbotsford all the way here to Haiti to your home across the world in Ireland, Australia, the United States, and beyond.
The school is beautiful. Painted the colour of sunshine, each classroom was a joy to my heart. (I’m so glad it’s lovely.)
The school was not simply aid nor is this a hand-out or an invasion. No, this was a Haitian-led community development plan born out of friendship and relationship, and I simply feel honoured to even be a small part of this thing.
I couldn’t wait to share today with you. You were a part of this vision right from the start and you really showed up for these kids in this neighbourhood. You donated money, you fundraised, you wrote your own blog posts and harassed your churches, you prayed and you advocated and then you prayed some more.
Thirty-four orphans and another 250 neighbourhood kids plus all their teachers and parents and families say thank you.
(Sorry for the grainy iPod photos – better ones will be coming soon!)
It’s real, you guys. It’s real and it’s really here. It’s really tiny chairs and desks, blackboards and homemade days-of-the-week posters, notebooks and drawings.
I love doing life with people who are so committed to living out the Kingdom of God in real ways.
And that includes all of you.
I thought of you while I stood there, I did. I thought of you when I sat on the steps, in the heat and the dust.
I thought of you, my friends, and I gave thanks to my God for you.
So much more happened today but I’m still processing it a bit. We visited church, another children’s home, as well as two micro-loan recipients. I can’t wait for you to meet everybody here. Sometimes the stories are too dear to my heart to be told quickly or lightly. I want to give them a bit of time to soak and then hopefully I’ll give them all the dignity and justice they deserve.
Tomorrow, we’re off to Drouin to learn more about our work in the field of orphan prevention in that area. See you back here tomorrow!
P.S. You can catch up with the other bloggers on the trip here. Or follow along for the days as wi-fi permits on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #HONbloggers.
Want to help?
We want to sign up 100 child sponsors in Drouin whose kids are vulnerable to trafficking and 100 hosts for a Garage Sale for Orphans to build a preschool for children who have been rescued from trafficking while we’re here on the ground. And as always, pray for us, pray for our families – and help spread the word by sharing our posts on social media.