Thursday, February 24, 2011

Books that Wrecked Our Life and Job Openings at QCS

Deciding to leave the life we loved in America and move to Haiti was a difficult decision.  I would say the three biggest kicks in the pants that God used to get us here came in the form of books.  Although the Bible, the earthquake, and the possible opportunity to host a Haitian child on a medical visa were big parts of what began to draw our hearts to Haiti, three books in particular helped grow our faith as we made decisions about whether or not we should say good-bye to everything familiar to us and head to a tiny Caribbean island.

Those books were:  Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, and Radical by David Platt.  I have not been a huge fan of Kevin DeYoung's teachings or thoughts on missions, and he openly criticized David Platt's book, Radical.  So, I think it's kind of ironic that it was a combination of both of their books that God ultimately used to get our bags packed and our airline tickets purchased.  God used Radical to wake us up.  That's really the best way I can describe it.  Radical taught us to take Jesus' words literally (what a novel idea) and to see this world through the lens of a war-time mentality.  That was drastic stuff for us.  We immediately had to repent over the condition of our lives and our faith and ask God to change us.  However, without Kevin DeYoung's book (Just Do Something) we would have sat in the States knowing we needed to change, but waiting on a big fat sign in the sky to get us to actually DO something about it.  

And Donald Miller?  Well...his book came at just the right moment. We'd decided to move to Haiti, but I was fearful. Okay I was all sorts of terrified.  Donald Miller's book brought comfort to my soul as I considered the story I was living and what it said about an all-powerful God who gives us the strength to live lives that are anything but ordinary.

I often wonder what it would be like if David Platt, Kevin DeYoung, and Donald Miller all went to lunch together.  Although they were three key elements in our decision to move to Haiti, I kind of laugh thinking of them all three hanging out.  I wonder if it would be awkward.

Following me so far?  No? Okay....

Those three books were important parts of our story. David Platt's teaching on Jesus' words in Radical broke our hearts for the poor and the orphan.  Kevin DeYoung's book, Just Do Something helped us wrestle through whether or not it was God's will to come to this crazy island.  Donald Miller's book was inspiring and forced me to face a lot of fears I had about serving the poor or working in a country whose culture is foreign to me.  Bottom line:  these books shaped our thinking and God used them to open our eyes to the needs of the poor and orphan.  That's why we came to figure out how to care for people no one cares about...people we had never cared about or even thought about much for that matter.

Aaron found out about Quisqueya Christian School in Haiti.  He applied for a job here.  They hired him.  He's been teaching the Bible to high school students this year.

We have loved the people at QCS.  The kids have had a great year.  We have been incredibly blessed by the friendships we have made with the teachers and the administration at this school.  What a sweet group of people.

However, we had to be honest with ourselves.  We came to Haiti to serve the poor.  To advocate for them. To better understand the issues that surround orphan care in this country.  That's why we said good-bye to everything we knew and loved and came here. That's also why the people supporting us financially sent us to Haiti.  We knew coming in that the students at QCS are not typical of most Haitians.  Most of them are from wealthy families who are quite removed from the sort of poverty people typically describe when speaking of Haiti.  However, we also knew that teaching at QCS would be a great way to learn to live in Haiti.  We've been able to learn about the culture, learn some of the language, and adjust (somewhat) to the pace and stresses of life in this country.  We've loved our time at QCS, and sometimes wished the ministry being done here is why God originally brought us to Haiti, but we knew...God brought us here to serve the poor and advocate for them in a hands-on, in the trenches, face-to-face kind of way. Typing that still scares the crap out of me.
God has gently reminded us throughout this school year of why He originally brought us to Haiti. Through the opportunity to serve at HL next year, He has also provided a way for us to do the things He laid on our hearts before moving to Haiti.  But that doesn't make transitioning out of this role at QCS easy.  It will still be hard to say good-bye to this campus and to the people we love here.  I guess it's a good thing to be excited about next year, but to also know how much we'll miss the people here too.

With that said, we wanted to let each of you know about the teaching positions that will be available at QCS next year.  You never know.  Maybe God wants to fill one of those positions with one of you!

QCS has offered us such a soft landing into Haiti.  Living on campus is unlike anywhere else I have experienced while living here.  They take such good care of their teachers.  Most have hot water (practically unheard of in Haiti!).  QCS offers washing machines and a dryer (another shocker!) for on-campus teachers to use.  Campus housing has air conditioning (mind boggling!).  The housing on campus is safe.  QCS does a terrific job of caring for their employees.  I know it's Haiti, but some days it does not feel like we're really roughing it at all compared to how other missionaries live in this country.  As a wife...a woman...a mother...QCS has been the biggest blessing to me as I've slowly learned how to live in this country and take care of my family in this new, strange place.  QCS offered us a giant learning curve.  They have taken care of so many of the hard things here for us. This made the transition to Haiti easier in uncountable ways.

They also pay their teachers.  Most missionaries living and serving in Haiti must rely on full support from people and churches in the US.  For a family our size, the money QCS pays was not enough to fully support us, but Aaron's pay check drastically reduced how much outside support our family had to raise to live here.  Most single teachers who work for QCS will say they don't raise any support to live here.  As long as they live on campus, they can support themselves with the pay they receive from the school.

QCS definitely offers a unique ministry opportunity.  Although a lot of the kids who attend here are mind-blowing wealthy, QCS gives teachers the ability to incorporate spiritual truth into the lessons they teach their students.  God's Word is proclaimed on this campus to the children of some of Haiti's most wealthy and powerful families.  These are the kids who may have the ability to bring about change in Haiti one day, and hopefully the truth of scripture they have learned and the Christian worldview that QCS has given them will play a big part in how they grow up and live in this country. There are also quite a few missionary kids at QCS who are able to continue in an American style school system while their families are serving in Haiti.  Regardless of ethnic or financial background, this campus is filled with kids who need to know the love of Christ.  Many are still suffering from the aftermath of the earthquake.  There is a beautiful opportunity for ministry here on this campus and we have seen teachers at QCS serve these children with the love of heaven this year. 

If you teach at QCS and you have school-aged kids, your children attend for free.  

If you are a teacher and want to serve in Haiti, please check out the QCS website and the positions available. I remember when Aaron saw the job openings for the first time.  I remember him saying, "Maybe I'll just apply and see what happens."  Kevin DeYoung would be so proud!


Marla Taviano said...

I've read A Million Miles twice and Radical three times. Guess it's time to read Just Do Something. :)

Love this post. As a former teacher, I find it especially tempting.

Shannon said...

Thanks. I've never heard of Just Do Something and since Radical has "ruined" our lives we've been saying, "What next?" so I think I will get that book.

Sandee said...

praying this post is going to change lives. I have a friend, school teacher...who is currently not employed teaching, due to cut backs at the school...and she has just been asking, wondering, if God wants her to go to Haiti. Not sure if he does, but I sent her this post!

Jon M. said...

Read parts of "Radical" and all of "Just..." and "A Million..."
I'm also making my 16 year old read "Just..." It is a very good book. And yet short and simple.

My wife just became a teacher. Maybe one day she'll teach there. :)

Elizabeth said...

Have loved/been ruined by Radical several times now, but must get Just Do Something to help us past pondering and move toward action! Your writing always seems to speak to where I am. We are waiting on final steps of medical visa for a baby from GLA Haiti who needs several surgeries here, but I am so impatient in the waiting. Thanks for so often giving voice to my heart!

ELC said...

I loved Radical Faith--glad you enjoyed it.

Myriam said...

I've read Radical and as you have mentioned in a previous post about Just Do Something - I got it then. Haven't read the third book. I've followed your stories and adventure in Haiti. Thank you for being real.

It's funny that you wrote this post because I literally told a friend this morning - I want to move to either Atlanta (love this place) or Haiti (my native country). She said I'd rather you move to ATL instead of Haiti. As my fiance was driving me to work this morning and I was reading his school material to him (getting ready for a mid term exam today - Bible class) and I made a comment about something and he said 'that's why you should be a teacher'.

So, I prayed and got the application for the teaching position.

Thank you for all that you do.