I taught kindergarten in the public school system in Jacksonville, Florida for 8 years. Although it was a challenging job and I went to bed most nights by 9:00pm, I absolutely loved it. During these 8 years, I took my first trip down to Haiti in which I met the kids. That trip turned into several more and an eventual calling to move down permanently. Because Haiti and the kids at the orphanage became such a big part of my life, it made it’s way into my classroom. In the 2 years that I was still teaching and was also becoming more and more involved at the orphanage, the students I was teaching (as well as my whole school…Greenfield Elementary) rallied around the orphanage. The kids in my classroom and at Greenfield learned the kid’s names and became pen pals with them. Not only that, but they learned what it meant that we, as Americans, have so much and many other people and children around the world have so little. In all fairness, they learned this mostly because I constantly said it.
A special blessing for me in those last two years of teaching was a child named Noa. Any teacher reading this will understand what I mean when I say that Noa was one of those students you teach you will never forget. He constantly wanted to please me, loved me unconditionally, and had a heart for others. I was fortunate in that I got to teach him for two years in a row. These 2 years were right in the midst of my trips to Haiti. It became a regular thing in my classroom that if someone complained about anything we would say, “Do you think the kids in Haiti get to do this?” It got to the point that other kids would say it for me and one of those kids was always Noa. I could not have been happier when Noa’s wonderful family contacted me about sponsoring a child. This meant that even when I was not teaching Noa anymore, we would still have a connection. This also meant that Noa, this child I love, would love Fedeline, one of my kids at the orphanage!
Noa’s family took the next step this past June and came down as a family to visit the orphanage. That first Sunday we went to the orphanage and I got to see Noa and his family meet Fedeline. That night we met as a team in our house in Haiti and as we brought the meeting to a close, Noa reached over, grabbed my hand, and closed us in prayer. I couldn’t help but think what an amazing gift God gave me in getting a chance to meld together the two things I have felt God calling me to do in life: teaching and taking care of the kids at the orphanage. We spent the rest of the week doing a VBS, medical clinics, and serving a meal at Pastor Herold’s church in the mornings and spent our afternoons at the orphanage. As we dished rice and beans at the church and Noa stood to my left handing me plates and serving with me, it reminded me just how amazing our God is. God always knows when we need encouragement and sometimes sends that in the form of a nine year old.
All Things New is blessed with amazing sponsors and supporters. There are many of you who are family, many who are friends, and then many who we have not even gotten to meet yet and you all support our kids and us in so many different ways. It is hard for me to even describe how thankful we are for you and how much it means to have you involved. Noa is one of many who I know will help to change the lives of the kids.