I know we just came off of a nice break, and Christmas, and New Years, and that’s all supposed to be the highlights. And there are some sweet memories (and a lot of sick ones.)
But today? Today was where it’s all at…today I left the finance pile on my desk and left a homeschool pile with Lauren (the daughter of two of our visiting professors whom the girls have deemed a far more fun teacher than mom), left a happy Nora with her beloved Gertha and did the most basic, fundamental, first thing we do at Emmaus after prayer: I just went to class.
And it was so good. I wish I could have taken you. And I’m so THANKFUL that over 100 men and women from all across Haiti, most of for whom such education and equipping seemed IMPOSSIBLE, today, were there too.
It was beautiful to hear Dr. Jerry Caskey, a man who is just never going to be content with how things are in the world, whose whole heart is so obviously dripping for Jesus that it pours out his eyes more than once or twice a lecture. He’s teaching Synoptic Gospels to our first year class, and today they were going through different kind of miracles and what they SAY, what they meant, what they mean. I could have stayed all ten days, it was so interesting, and relevant, and fresh.
And it was beautiful to see Simeon translating the material and language and ideas as passionately as Jerry is. I was proud and I was thankful, because what good is bringing Jerry’s heart and mind and experience all the way here if nobody understands it? That’s a big calling our staff who translate take seriously.
What’s more beautiful that this? What’s Haiti need more than this? What do I need more than this? An earnest, thorough, digging and receiving of the Word.
And then there is Ms. Pam, who has been spending at least a month a year of her life at Emmaus since before Matt and I came in 2007. She wouldn’t tell you so, but she’s quite brilliant, and the students have finally stopped trying to stump this female who carries the reputation from year to year as one who can run rings of theology around anyone in this love-to-debate culture.
This just encourages more good conversations in this Systematic Theology 2 class, and I loved watching her translator, Blaise, dig into his own Bible countless times when students couldn’t quite get deep enough, searching it out for himself, Pam, searching it out along with them.
I love this second year class…they’ve never found a thing they can’t make fun, and I just relished this more the joy and community they have with each other. After being spread all over the last month, these brothers and sisters are obviously happy to be working together again.
Talk about brains. I didn’t even try to figure out what these three were talking about, but with Fanfan stepping into the Academic Dean position, and Dr. Joyce Thornton mentoring him through (while also running all of our masters programs and frequently teaching), I’m just THANKFUL for the highly intelligent, faithful and detailed man Fanfan is and the brilliant, no-nonsense, get-it-done woman Joyce is (as long as she has an unending supply of coke and coffee 🙂 to come alongside Matt and HELP. Like, really really help.
Another God moment this morning finally coming out of my first trimester survival stretch was chatting with AnneYolie and Phida. Phida you know we know and love and send and there’s just nobody better at compassion and Gospel-sharing here in Haiti. But AnneYolie’s just been with us since September, and she is a humble and uber-capable woman we have prayed earnestly and deliberately for for y-e-a-r-s. She’s a major team player, anxious to learn and it is so good to have a great receptionist, the center lady of it all, after all this time without (or, for a few months, worse than without!)
And I KNEW when I passed through the cafeteria that Edlin would be faithfully making his billionth gallon of juice, that Granny and Paulcine would be shredding their thousandth head of cabbage. And I knew they’d be chatting and laughing, because they always are…what a testimony. What a testimony of support ministry, of servant ministry, of faithful followers of Christ.
I ended up in the library, always doubling as our only large classroom, which is necessary when what you see here is third year. What a joy it was for me to sit back and watch Larry and Verna (and really Leme, too) co-teach the music and theory class. Incredibly talented and culturally sensitive (Larry grew up in Haiti and just glows when he’s “home”) they have the joy of teaching an across-the-board major love of the Haitian Christian…MUSIC.
There was lots of singing, lots of practicing, lots of conducting and testing and examples and nodding as techniques our pastors, worship leaders, and singers have been using for YEARS finally make sense, have a name, have a reason.
Verna plays the opening chords for English hymns she knows that apply various theories, Larry belts out the name of the hymn in Creole, someone yells out the hymn number (not that it matters, because nobody has a need for their battered hymn books) and in a matter of seconds, the room is full of boisterous melody, strong and harmonious as most of the students clap or conduct in their seats, and Verna is laughing again with Leme, who may have lost his voice by the end of this week.
I really could have just sat in that worship all day if I hadn’t already spent so much time in the other classes – there is no such thing as a half-hearted singer in Haiti, nor should there be when we worship in ANY country. It’s never forced but always ready, not about individual talent, but about a very deserving God, and somehow Haiti has wrapped it’s roots around the idea that worship is the same as prayer, prayer the same as worship.
It makes for a holy class, as holy as the other’s digging deep in their Bibles.
What a morning, one I am so thankful and grateful to have experienced and to be some small part of.
As are you, as are you. Wish you were here.
I’m off to the 1-6 pm combined masters class, with our MACL (Masters in the Arts of Christian Leadership) and our MED (Masters in Education) students come together for Dr. Joyce Thornton’s Fundamentals of Teaching class…better equipping over 40 principals, school directors, teachers and and school administrators from elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities throughout Northern Haiti…what a need, what a gift.