“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)
Where did you go to school? Was it a large school; did it have desks, blackboards, projectors, a furnace or air conditioner, a solid concrete or wood floor, a bathroom, electricity or running water? I started school in 1955 and back in the day I would have to check each of the above qualities with a “yes”. Not to mention locking doors, windows with glass, a gymnasium, a kitchen and lunch room, a music room, a separate room for each class and I was blessed to have attended a Lutheran grade school so we also learned about Jesus. That was in 1955 and the last time I visited my old school it has seen many upgrades in the past 55 years.
The attached photo of the school at Bois Marchand was taken in March of 2010 when I visited Haiti following the catastrophic earthquake that damaged much of Port-au-Prince. These children could not have said ‘wi’ or yes to almost any of my questions regarding their school; they have a kitchen which a pot setting over a pile of coals outside and they also learn about Jesus; that is it.
Their desks are where they study and eat lunch and they also double as church pews on Sunday as their school is also their church; nothing like my old school. I am reading the ‘Not a fan’ book by Kyle Idleman and there was a story about an old missionary who retired and was going to spend the remainder of his life living near his daughter in the Midwest. He flew into CA and then took the bus east and arrived in Las Vegas late on the first night. He decided to walk down the strip to his hotel and saw the large crowds of people who were aimlessly walking at midnight, all the bright lights and heard the loud noise of the slot machines ringing as coins filled empty buckets; it was an amazing sight considering how he had lived in the mission field. He got to his room, opened the drapes and got down on his knees overlooking Vegas and prayed; ”Thank you for this day Lord and for me not wanting this more than I want You”. That prayer might be on the lips of these children from Bois Marchand if they made a visit to my old school for reasons that many living in North Americans would not understand. When I interviewed fifteen of these boys and girls I recognized the unique way God created each of these kids and is preparing them to share the love of Jesus at every turn along their journey. To me, at this point in my life that is what is really more important than the report cards, elective classes and trophy cases full of sports medals at my old school.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” and that causes me to consider the words, “… in the way he should go.” At times it seems that our world is placing more importance on training our kids that the “way he should go” is to chase worldly achievement instead of chasing God. Whatever they learn to chase as a child, they will chase as adults; you and I both know that to be true. Their school may not look like much but these children are so very special to Him and to His work in Haiti. When they give thanks for their Trinity/HOPE meal each day, they are thanking our Triune God for you, for helping to make their lives so special…for Him. Thank you for sharing your excess with these who have nothing to spare. God be with you.
Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay