I think the last time I updated was on Friday so I’ll start with Saturday. I was able to sleep in for the first time since I have gotten here! I slept in until 9:40am and it was SO NICE! I think I really needed it and this whole weekend to rest. I love the kids that I’m teaching, but I do not have the gift of teaching nor do I have the gift of patience when it comes to constant complaining, which it seems like is all the kids do nowadays. I completely understand why they complain though. It’s almost summer for them and they want to be done with school. It hasn’t been that long since I’ve been out of school so I know what it’s like to want to be on summer vacation, but now I understand why teachers hate the end of the year. Report cards (which I have no idea how to fill out seeing as how I wasn’t actually here for the whole year), cranky kids, and not enough work to keep them all busy. All that complaining from me aside (very hypocritical, I know), I do actually love the kids and I have cherished every moment with them. I wouldn’t trade a second of any of the days I’ve been here. I have really grown to adore these kids and sadly enough, tomorrow may be the last time I ever see them. (School ends tomorrow if you didn’t know.)
So, after I woke up on Saturday, I read practically all day long. I’m still reading The Reason for God. It’s just as good as I explained last blog update so if you want to know what it’s about, read my last blog. As I was reading over the weekend, though, two things really struck me:
One thing was that one of the biggest objections to Christianity is people say they can’t believe in a God who would send people to Hell. I know a lot of people with this objection, but I honestly never knew how to refute it. I know God is a loving God, but that’s from experience. I know that if we just love God, he will allow us to have eternal life with Him. But, to explain that to someone without being subjective, isn’t easy. And nowadays, people need proof, evidence, not subjective, but completely objective without emotion tied into it. Timothy Keller, the author, quotes CS Lewis who says, “There are only two kinds of people—those who say ‘Thy will be done’ to God or those to whom God in the end says ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice it wouldn’t be Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.” At first, I was a little taken back and caught off guard. I had never heard that before, but it makes sense. God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, people choose it when they choose not to believe in God. Everyone is given the choice. But, it is our job as Christians to try and see that no one chooses this way. It is our job to “… go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded.” (Mattew 28:19-20)
The other thing that struck me was the way he describes God. I guess it didn’t really strike me as much as it did bring more clarification on how to better explain God to people especially little kids. He once again quotes CS Lewis who says he believes in God, “as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” This is under a section titled God the Playwright. God is the writer. We are the characters. He writes our story and we only get to know Him when He writes himself into the play. He compares it to Shakespeare and his characters when he writes. I thought it was a pretty good analogy. Read the book. It’ll make more sense.
Saturday, I was also able to go to a store on the side of the road with Jane. We were able to walk out of the compound and go to a store just right out front to buy some stuff for dinner. It was really neat. I have either been in the compound or at the school (besides when we go to church) since I have been here, so I haven’t been able to really interact and see the culture. It was a very tiny store, but it was nice. We weren’t at the store long, just a couple minutes to grab what we needed. It was cool though to see the way day to day life works. People were just sitting out front of the store hanging out and talking with each other. The store clerk was sitting on the steps of the store until we came to buy something. All you do is walk into the store, tell them what you want and they get it for you. Jane knew the clerk really well. It just goes to show that people are more personable around here. They get to know you. One, because they have nothing else to do (All the kids at school tell me that it’s boring living in Haiti because there’s not much to do, I didn’t come to this conclusion on my own.), and two, because that’s their culture. Haitians care. When they ask you how you are doing, they don’t want you to just say fine or good, they want an answer. They want to know how you are actually doing. They want to know what’s going on in your life, and not because they’re nosy, but because they care. That’s not life in America, but I hope that’s life when you’re involved with a community of believers. I think at CCG, that is how we are. At least, I think so.
Sunday, I went to church at a church three blocks from the compound. I actually had a translator for the whole thing this time, but his accent was so thick that I couldn’t really understand him. He tried so hard though. From what I could tell, he knew English really well, I just couldn’t understand him. And, this guy was nice who translated for us; we didn’t even ask him too. He just came up behind us and sat down, and then he looked at Maury and asked if we would like a translator. Maury said sure so the guy began to translate for us the entire sermon and he translated all of the worship songs. It was really neat to be able to hear at least some of what was being sung by them. No one has ever translated the songs for me. The difference between church in the states and church here is that their worship is an hour long and their message is only 15 to 20 minutes. They think the majority of their time in church should be spent in worship. Cool concept. I wonder if that would fly in the states?
Sunday afternoon, I spent putting together a video montage of all the pictures I’ve taken. I think it’s neat. I’ll post it on my blog when I’m completely done with it which will be when I get home.
Today was the last full day of school and as I said earlier, I am ready for it to be over. I love my kids, don’t get me wrong, but I’m ready to start being the hostess for the teams that will be coming in. I’m excited for that and honestly I’m getting a little anxious. I know the Bible say “Do not be anxious about anything, but with prayer and petition, present your requests to God with thanksgiving.” (Maybe not word for word, but I think its Philippians 4 or something..)
At school, we were doing a craft about our plans for the summer. We all had to draw three things that we planned on doing this summer. I drew a picture of Haiti, CCG kids camp, and BigStuf (high school and middle school camp) all of which I will be doing this summer. Anyways, when I got done, I folded it like a letter and wrote on the front, Miss Renee’s Summer Plans. Junior was sitting next to me and you know little kids, they copy what the older people do, so inevitably, he folded his paper and then wrote something on the front. I tried to peek but couldn’t see what he wrote. When he got to the front of the class to present his summer plans, he held up the front so we could all read it. It said “My summer plans. I love Miss Renee.” It was so sweet. It made me happy. And, at recess, Joulkania and Abbie bombarded me with hugs a couple times. I think I may be starting to make an impact on these kids. It’s sad that it ends tomorrow. Even though I’m ready for it to be done, I think I could definitely teach longer if I was teaching these kids. They are sweet and they are very kind (when they aren’t complaining ;)).
Apparently this one wasn’t going to be short. Sorry. But I figure if you wanted to quit reading then you would have and you wouldn’t even be reading this part anyways. I think that’s all for updates. I get to go to an orphanage tomorrow, then the teams start coming in on Wednesday. I’ll update you on all the details just like I have been for the past three weeks. (I can’t believe it’s been three weeks already. It doesn’t seem like I’ve been here that long. I like it.)