So... the end of our school year at Emmaus has arrived.
Wow. What A year. So much accomplished. So many relationships built.
Dozens and dozens of visitors passing through here, it feels like September was yesterday.
The solar project is happening, actually happening. We've talked about wanting a solar system for years. I simply can't believe that it is almost finished.
Due to the hard work of our awesome team, the support of all of you, and our gracious Father, we have done so much this year.
I love getting to walk out here everyday and see how much God has blessed us.
How much God has been blessing this seminary, and it's work.
I have enjoyed life with our wonderful students. Enjoyed their conversations, enjoyed their advice, and enjoyed being part of the Emmaus family with them. Our Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ, and our partners in ministry.
This here is the baby of one of our graduates from last year, who married a current student of ours. He is absolutely adorable.
Graduation. Some people say winter is the most wonderful time of the year, but in my opinion, its definitely graduation. Everyone is smiling and laughing (even if we are all drenched in sweat and half suffocating in our fancy dresses and suits). During the service there are choirs and a marching band, beautiful songs lead by our students, an encouraging message by one of our professors or alumni, the Valedictorian of the class giving a speech (which includes him/her telling jokes and saying what they love about their fellow classmates), and praying over the students.
(And then, of course, they're are these fun moments in between...)
I loved hearing our students singing,
"Prends, o Jesus, prends ma vie,
Elle est tout a Toi!
Et dans ta grace infinie,
Du mal garde-moi!"
The song is basically saying, "Jesus, my life is in your hands. By your grace keep me from evil."
It's a lot prettier in French, but you get the idea :)
Here are our Port-de-Paix guys with their diplomas. I didn't have the chance to get to know these guys well because they didn't live on campus and only came for intensive courses. But I could tell by the few conversations I've had with them that they are joy-filled Christ-like men, and it was a pleasure to get to see them on this special day.
The craziest part comes right after the service finishes. Everyone practically tramples each other, hugging, hand-shaking, taking millions of pictures, all together in one sweaty mass.
All our staff members are so proud to have us meet their spouses or fiancés, and take pictures of them too :) (Don't you love our guys' silver and red suits?!)
Merlande Raymond, one of the two female graduates and me...
Then, of course, there is the after party at the seminary. Hundreds of happy people with their families, eating our Haitian food made by our splendid kitchen staff. My favorite part was getting to see my closest friends of the students, laughing and joking together like we were never apart. They left last Friday since it was the last day of class, but came back today for graduation. Maybe to you a week apart from them seems like nothing. But after spending almost every day of my life with them since Christmas break, a week seems like forever. I have literally been counting down the days until this momentous day.
Now I know that I might have made life in Haiti sound absolutely perfect, and that life at Emmaus is a care-free vacation. But it isn't. Emmaus is my home. Haiti is my home. I am certainly in love with what God is doing here, but don't get the wrong idea. We struggle through everyday life. We experience good days and bad days. We miss family and friends back in the states. Its hot, sometimes really hot. But it is all worth it. It is worth the difficult stuff because we are working towards helping Emmaus be what God intends it to be. We have gone through so much, seen so much pain, but continue to give God glory in the midst of suffering. We believe that as Christians, we can find joy in our pain, and that it helps us to grow stronger.
"But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
My feet have closely followed His steps, I have kept to his way without turning aside."
So yes, God is doing wonderful things through Emmaus. Yes, I adore each one of our students and faculty and life here in Haiti. But we are still human. We still struggle. But we use this as an opportunity to learn, so that we may be made better. We still need your support. We need your prayers, your encouragement, your love. Thank you guys for being here with us on glorious days like today, the average days, and the days when nothing seems to be going right.
Thank you so much for reading this blog.
Until next time... :)