"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms"
I had the most amazing opportunity serve alongside Haitians last week through the 410 Bridge. The 410 Bridge has forever changed my view on service and mission work. They have a beautiful model that works and is based around development, sustainability, and building lasting relationships to expand the Kingdom. It really is amazing and it is beautiful to see it work. Read more about it here.
There were lots of service projects throughout the week; We helped build two pit latrines, gave a sex education class, helped in the community garden, and helped Brightpoint set up their sponsorship program. But the one that I was most excited about was, of course, the mural project.
The idea came in lots of conversations before the trip, and all I really had in mind was a large painting... Something the kids could do and I could be a part of. I love to garden, I love to build, and whatever else we could possibly be doing while there would be great.
But I wanted to offer part of me. I wanted to do something that was from inside my heart.
I wasn't sure what would come of the painting or what they would do with it, but I didn't care. It was sure to be a fun experience.
I got a 6x9' drop cloth and primed it before I left. Once in Haiti, I came up with a few sketches and put some light lines down. I was inspired by the folk artist Heather Galler. I love the work my students do throughout the school year based on her.
Day one of the mural.. was not disastrous. But it wasn't filled with my most successful teaching moments! I tried to limit the number of children working on the painting.. but . the language barrier got in the way. Did I mention I do not speak Creole? and that I hadn't thought about that before this project?! I didn't have an interpreter at that moment. And the kids were just ecstatic! they wanted to paint-- everywhere! There was not enough room on the drop cloth for eager hands.
I had to just let go. The kids were having fun! And later I would come up with a better plan!
Day two I did have a plan. And an interpreter to help! Teammates grabbed a child or two and guided them. Their guidance was mostly "coloring in the lines" (did I really just say that?!), helping to explain what the sketches were, and getting them the supplies they needed.We got the painting filled in before we left the community!
It was still insane, but it was fun. There were definitely moments when I felt like I was back at home in my own classroom. Paint going everywhere, brushes in the air, and lots of excited squeals and laughter. But mostly, nothing going according to plan!!
The kids were excited to sign their names, and some left their "mark," if they couldn't write.
That night I outlined their work, and added my own little touch to the painting. Two incredible teammates, Jennifer and Susan, helped me finish it off and stayed up late ( did I mention I felt like I was back home?!) to get it all done.
The next morning we all signed it, prayed over it and it was handed over to the community of Mailiarette. It will be hung in their school that they are opening in September! WAY cool!!!