In June 2011, I traveled to Haiti for the first time – I did not have a clue what I would do – I just knew that I needed to go. Following my sister’s journey of adoption from a small orphanage in Port au Prince, and a longing to go and learn…I simply showed up. It was 18 months past the devastating earthquake of 2010, and the orphanage had gone from 30+ children to 3 little dudes. The director of the orphanage had determined that since he had the space, he ought to use it to start a school. When I arrived that summer, the first year students were just ending their school year. Upon meeting these darlings on their “report card day” it was determined that since I was a teacher – I should teach! So with just a weekend to plan a summer school English class, Monday morning arrived with 25-30 learners ready to go. I spoke no Creole and they spoke no English. My sweet 18 year-old daughter that had accompanied me on this adventure and I jumped in feet first, teaching English 8-noon for three weeks, living in the orphanage/school and bonding with those three remaining children and the students that kept showing up each day.
Here I am meeting some of the kiddos that first day – all sweaty and excited and completely naive! (Clef, Lovinska and Phadia remain in the school yet today!)
This is our final day of class that June of 2011.
As each day passed that summer, and as each day/week/month go by now, I do my best to be a listener and a learner. What is God saying? How am I partnering with my friends, staff and students in Haiti? What now? What next? So often with the establishment of a non-profit organization, the desire is to have a Vision – a 5 Year Plan – a step-by-step, detail-driven articulation of tasks to complete. And yet we at Kozefò seem to function differently – we have a board that meets to discuss dreams, details and projects – we monitor our finances wisely with smart folks that can track the income/out-flow and wire transactions to Haiti – we take teams regularly to learn from and support our staff and students on site. And then we TRUST. We make decisions prayerfully and slowly…and sometimes impulsively. We do our best to let God control our steps.
Kent Annan (writer, speaker and co-director of Haiti Partners – a nonprofit focused on education in Haiti) just released his latest book – Slow Kingdom Coming. The truth he shares, put words to the experiences that I am having, as I attempt to navigate the kingdom work of “loving mercy, acting justly and walking humbly.”
Kent mixes philosophical beliefs, biblical teaching and real-life practices in this new book. His five principles of awareness, confession, respect, partnering and truthing apply to all of us as individuals in “how to participate in God’s justice in your family, community, country and the world. They can help interactions with a neighbor as well as how to decide what nonprofit to give to. They can help you think through how to volunteer, travel, start a business, buy things. They can become part of the practice of your faith in action, shaping you and shaping the neighborhood and world around you.” (p. 24)
This life we are living is a journey… “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Thanks for walking with me…for teaching me…for learning with me…trusting as we go.
Check out Kent’s book on Amazon, by clicking HERE.
Learn more about the work of Kozefò by clicking HERE.