Sundays are probably the hardest day of the week for me here in Haiti. I think the main reason for that is that Sundays were the greatest day of the week for me in the States.
Nick and I had been attending our church, Crosspointe, for almost 10 years when we moved here. This was our church-- not the church we grew up in, not the church our parents made us attend. Our church. When we were dating we started looking for a church, and that's where God lead us. So we were there for all of our married and engaged life. And we were very involved. I spent a season (about three years) working at the church before we had children. Nick and I served in children's ministry together for 9 years. Nick was an elder at Crosspointe for a year and a half before we moved to Haiti... It sounds so cliche to say this, but it wasn't just our church, it was our family. Our very best friends went to church with us, and we invested much of our lives (all of our adult lives) in this place. If you asked us three years ago where we'd be the rest of our lives, we would have said in central North Carolina, because that is where our church is.
But then God called us to something different. And it's the COOLEST thing ever. I love our lives down here in Haiti. I love the kids I get to work with. I love our team. I love it.
But in my heart, I still really miss my church family back in NC. I miss weekly teachings by Jonathan and Steve. I miss worship with Stephen. I miss serving in Kidspointe with Kris. I miss my kids LOVING their children's environments and coming home bubbling about what they've learned. But mostly, I miss seeing my huge "family" every week.
And church here in Haiti is very different. It's great and it's a big family here too. They love each other and they love Jesus. But I am just not really in that family yet. And it's not in English. I do pretty well with Kreyol these days, but for whatever reason, at church (maybe it's the sound challenges), I get maybe 10-15% of what's being said in a message. Probably less than that with the songs. I try very hard to engage in the worship and the teaching because I do long for this to be "my church." But my heart leaves frustrated each Sunday, having not understood most of what was happening. (But I do get hugged and kissed by at least 200 people every Sunday-- so they are definitely trying to "embrace" me in a non-language way.)
There is a great children's church. Sandra and Nixon do a great job of teaching the kids. And it's interactive and fun. My big kids (Nia and Nico) really like it. All the songs are in Kreyol. And we're learning all the songs, so that's fun. And Sandra does the lesson in English and then Nixon translates it. So that's a real bonus for my kids who aren't fluent in Kreyol yet. I am excited about the prospect of working with the Altidors-- writing curriculum and teaching again...
But the real kicker about Sundays is that Josiah is a bear. For what ever reason, Josiah HATES Haitian church. And any of you know who know Josiah know that when Josiah doesn't like something, he doesn't want anyone else to like it either. It's just kind of his nature. We also attend an English church on Friday nights too. He hates that as well. He cries and struggles generally through the whole thing, necessitating at least one (sometimes two) of his parents removing him from the service and walking outside with him while he cries and whimpers, "I WANNA go HOME now. I WANNA go HOME now."
This has been something Nick and I have really, really struggled with. Do we make him sit through two and a half hours (at least) of church on a Sunday morning? He is only two years old. So do we keep taking him in and out and in and out every Sunday morning? (And Friday night too-- but that's only an hour, so not as bad.) Do we just suck it up and stay home? But then how will he learn to sit still if he's not forced to from time to time?
Our "working" plan (it's not really working that well for us, that's why it's in quotes), is that we (Nick and I) rotate being "on" Josiah. We have different ways of administrating his care. I'd just rather stay at home and not even attempt going. It's just going to make me frustrated with Josiah, with church, with the world... (I tend to be a bit melodramatic... but yes, I do get mad at the world. Often.) When Nick takes Josiah, he generally sits downstairs with him (in the adult service) and just gets up and leaves when necessary, and then comes back, and then leaves, and then comes back. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
It makes Sundays pretty un-fun.
But, this too shall pass. In two years or less he should be ready for children's church, we should speak Kreyol fluently, we should be more involved, know people better... I know this is a stage. A stage I want to embrace and savor, as this is the ONLY time my kids will be THIS age.
But in the meantime...
Any thoughts on making our Sundays NOT suck?