Today’s post is by CPLS mom and guest author Rachelle Colombo.
In the hallway between our family bedrooms hangs a hand-lettered quote from Mother Teresa. It reminds us, as only one who left an indelible mark on the world can, how exactly that is done. It reads, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”.
It is beautifully scripted in blue loopy letters that lap across the page and I like the way it contradicts what we know to be true – with her one life, Mother Teresa did change the world. She served and spoke faithfully with humility and pragmatism that somehow inspires hope in it’s simplicity and realism. Like the carpenter who came before and was nailed to rugged unfinished wood, her life’s work was not to change the world, but to obediently serve the Father who made the world and allow His mercy and sovereignty to reshape us to better receive and reflect Him.
Too often, I get it upside down. When I see the despair in the world I ask the wrong question: why, God? Why so much suffering? Why will the poor always be among us? Why will there always be death and violence and pain and loss? How do we fix it? From the beginning of time deep has called to deep and heaven and earth have been separated by oceans of time and space and suffering and light. Though the sea of suffering is deep and wide, we serve a God who walks on water, who commands the oceans’ tides, who doesn’t simply remove us from the swells, but steps into the water with us and promises it will not overtake us. If suffering is like a sea, then Haiti is an endless ocean. It is among the poorest countries in the world.
It has an astounding number of orphans. The land once rich with resources is depleted. There is no order. There is little justice. The needs are exponential.
But from one small community in Topeka, several stones have been cast and skipped across her waters, creating ripples of mercy, provision and extravagant love… both in Haiti, and here. At a recent soccer game in the blustery cold of Kansas, fifth and sixth grade girls from Cair Paravel piled into a minivan unprompted and prayed for Haiti Lifeline Ministries. One of the player’s parents was traveling to Haiti with a team from Lifeline – something that each of the other girls’ parents had
done as well. They couldn’t fully appreciate the uniqueness of their shared experience. But I knew it well.
I remembered receiving emails, Facebook messages and texts from Cair Paravel teachers and parents when I had traveled to Haiti the year before. I remember how my children were encouraged by other students. I remember how my absence was supported in prayer by my children’s classes. I remember knowing that I was there to claim hope when it wasn’t evident and to believe in a good and loving Father when I was surrounded by orphans. I remember the beauty of seeing the ripples of love flow through living water from Topeka to Haiti and from Haiti back home through the school’s hallways. Nearly twenty families have traveled to Croix des Bouquet, Haiti to cast a stone of love across the deep. I venture to say that each would tell you that doing so is both a life-changing privilege and also just a meager offering. Numerous Cair Paravel staff, students, and families have traveled with Haiti Lifeline Ministries in recent years, opening up their minds and their hearts to God’s great love for the
world. Mother Teresa left this part out, but Cair Paravel students surely know the truth of Newton’s third law: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
We alone cannot change the world. But the stones cast from Cair Paravel are rippling across hearts in Haiti and making waves in hearts at home – and whether here or there, we are all adopted children of a good and beautiful God.
If you’d like to hear more stories from Haiti Lifeline trips, you can talk to the following CPLS participants:
- Faculty: Tom Brian, Craig Congdon, Melody Congdon, Jason & Jenny Lichte, and Sara Vincent
- Parents: Matt & Jill Barker, Brian & Karissa Boyd, Susan Brian, Vermelle Brown-Ghoston, Timm Collins, Jeff & Rachelle Colombo, Cory & Katherine Clutter, Keith Farwell, Tyler & Angela Grindal, and Matt Vincent
- Current students: Jacob Bowling, Carter Brian, A.D. Ghoston, and Chandler Vincent
- Alumni: Dominick Bonura, Sydni Chance, Taylor Jorgenson, and Piper Robb