Several years ago God began planting seeds of change in our lives.
We went to Haiti for the first time in 2004 to visit Tracey’s sister and continued to travel to the troubled nation throughout the years; while always attuned to social justice issues, we were fundamentally changed by what we experienced during these times.
The adoption of our son Samuel soon followed. Prior to bringing Samuel into our home, we were happy in the work that we were doing for our church and school as well as in our chosen vocations. Samuel’s arrival sparked a curiosity as we began to wonder if maybe there was something different, something more that God had in mind for us.
Then we were uprooted from the jobs and community we had been a part of for more than 20 years. Recognizing God’s leading in this move, we consciously and intentionally removed ourselves from the busyness that had come to define our lives. We quietly listened and waited for guidance and direction. We spent time in discussion and prayer contemplating what God was calling us to next. It became very clear: God was guiding us to serve Him in Haiti.
And so we began a journey of preparation. We both decided to go back to school to help prepare our minds for the new opportunity God was going to someday provide. Tracey started a post-graduate certificate program in international development, while I began and completed the Leadership Development Network program, a 3-year training program offered through Christian Reformed Home Missions (CRHM). I also completed a second leadership development program with the Timothy Leadership Training Institute, a Christian agency associated with Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM) through which I am now a Master Trainer.
God has also been preparing our hearts in this time of ‘getting ready’. We came up with a time-line that we thought would work for us and assumed that God would approve. Then, a year into ‘the plan’, the earthquake struck Haiti. We were struck with the sense that maybe our timeline wasn’t God’s timeline. We needed to be ready, willing and open to God’s new opportunity for us when it was right for Him. We waited patiently and continued to prepare for God’s timing.
We began applying for jobs in Haiti. There were a few “almosts” for positions we thought would be a great fit. When none materialized we were disappointed, but continued to trust. There were also other obstacles and challenges to overcome, including preparing with Rebecca and Adam, our 2 eldest children who will stay in Canada, for a pending life-change.
2011 was the year that things began to fall into place. Our oldest son graduated from high-school and Tracey completed her program. In the summer of 2011 we sold our house in Woodstock and moved again, this time to Hamilton. Then, in a total God-moment in Haiti, Tracey met our 4th child, our son Leyson, a blood-relative of Samuel who had been handed over to the same orphanage that had once been home to Samuel for 15 months. Around the same time, we learned of a possible new opportunity in Haiti with CRWM. Eventually the possibility became a reality – I applied for the position of Youth and Leadership Development Consultant, was offered and accepted the position this past April.
God has settled the hearts of our oldest children as they are supportive of this life-change. Our oldest son successfully completed his first year of college and is off to Dordt College this fall and this spring, our daughter got married.
We are so thrilled to be seeing this future unfold ahead of us in part because we can look back and see how God knows how to pull things together so much better than we ever could. He has used the last number of years to stretch us and shape us, to use educational opportunities to further develop skills and talents and to uncover new passions. He has been leading and preparing the hearts and minds of both us and our children for something new.