Friday, March 4, 2011

[dia de indpendencia]

2.25: The day that the Dominican Republic gained it's independence from Haiti. What better way to celebrate than to have every class in the school perfom? Dancing, singing, reciting poems etc. 

[Some of the high schoolers perfomed a wonderful dance with even more wonderful skirts. I wonder if I can borrow one sometime...]

[SOME of my class singing a song]

[That afternoon we had Revolution (an all school assembly) and the 4th grade danced to "Lean On Me" by DC Talk. It was right up their ally to get to break dance]

[Me and some of my students waiting for Revolution to start]

[capturing beauty]

2.27: So I know I am moving backwards in my posts, but I thought I should catch up a little bit. So I have this friend, Sarai. She works with me at Doulos. Last semester, I noticed what a beautiful woman she was. I thought to myself, "Man, she would be a great model." So I told her this, and then about 3 months later I actually got around to taking photos of her. She is quite an incredible woman, who has such a mighty heart for our Jesus. Here are a few of my favs from the shoot...

Thanks Sarai for the opportunity to capture your beauty. 

[he has planted eternity into human hearts]

3.2:Yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of a dear friend, Lauren Lewis, passing away. I will go ahead and say that I am going to be pretty candid in this post. This whole week I have felt that there has been this looming sad cloud over the week. Not only was I preparing myself for that day, and thinking heavily about Lauren's family, there were 2 students in my class that lost their grandparents this week. On Tuesday, when one of the girls came back to school, I just greeted her with a really long hug. It was the precious moment between us, and she proceeded to cry. Just the sadness in her heart, broke mine as well.
       In my team meeting on Tuesday, I shared with my fellow members about these feelings. Our instructional coach, Sara, thought that this would be a great opportunity to talk about this in devotions one day this week. To talk about loss, sorrow, pain. And let me tell you I was not that excited about the idea because I just thought I could not hold it together while we talked about it.
      So Wednesday night, I prayed a lot about it, and searched through my Bible for some good verses to talk about. And MAN did God totally show up that morning! I started off by sharing with them that today was a special day, a hard day for me because I had a friend that died 3 years ago on this day. We read

Ecclesiastes 3:11 "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end." 

       I asked them to think of a time when they had lost someone or had felt a lot of pain in their heart. Almost all of the kids raised their hands and shared about a time that either a grandparent had died, or a family member, or even a time when their parents told them about when their grandparents died. Many of them started to even tear up when they were sharing about it. I asked them why we get so sad when these things happen. Most of them said that its because "we want them around. We don't want them to leave." But one of my girls objected and said "No. I'm sad because my grandpa is sad that my grandma is gone." Wow. What a step in feeling empathy for someone. I was quite impressed with that statement. I skipped down to read verse 14...

"God's purpose is for us to revere Him."

       What does "revere" mean? To respect and to stand in awe of. As I was sharing this with them and explaining what it means to stand in awe of something, I myself was overwhelmed with the joy that will come when I get to "stand in awe" of God. In His majesty. I let them listen to the "Revelation Song" by Kari Jobe, which they all know and love. But I asked them to simply listen to the song, and think about when we will sing this song. Some of them just layed on the ground. Some bowed their heads. Some closed their eyes. But for once, not a word was spoken. During the whole song (which is kind of a long one) they did this. Their hearts and their minds were in this beautiful state of worship. For a few moments, I just looked around and watched them. And THAT is what brought tears to my eyes. 19 little 8 and 9 year olds worshipping our God together.
        We proceeded to talk about WHEN we will sing that song. In heaven. For eternity. Over and over we will sing

"Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty. 
Who was,
and is,
and is to come." 

We will be in this place where "he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." 
        So yesterday I honored Lauren in different "earthly ways." I wore green. I listened to Dolly Parton's "You better get to livin.'" I watched Across the Universe. etc. But I'm sure all those things REALLY didn't matter to her. She's not concered with any of that any more. She is now surrounded by God's majesty worshipping him all day ever day. And THAT is what I want to long for. I want to long for that moment. I want to long to spend eternity singing his praises
        So to all those who knew Lauren, I hope that today was spent honoring her, but more importantly left you longing for eternity. 
[Lauren and I at Habitat for Humanity in the fall of 2007]