The Holding Pattern
Holding Pattern; defined as the flight path maintained by an aircraft awaiting permission to land. When an aircraft has reached it’s destination, but is delayed from being able to land due to other traffic on a tarmac or inability to land, the aircraft follows a set racetrack flight type pattern in the air, a loop that keeps the target in sight, then circles around until it’s allowed to land. In effect, or applicable to our daily lives, it’s a state or period of no progress or change.
This is how the past number of months have felt like. We were on a set course with a destination in mind, a vision that momentum was propelling us forward to reach. But with unforeseen circumstances none of us could have predicted or imagined with COVID introducing itself into our lives and landscape, everyone and everything came to a halt, waiting with bated breath each day for change to come. Many of the changes were not those we were hoping for as our freedoms that we have taken for granted were taken from us; moving freely, conducting our business, with unveiled faces, enjoying affectionate companionship, and travel. If we are all being honest, it’s taken a toll on us all, on our psyche, our patience, our confidence. We’ve had to rethink how we do things, how we live and breathe!
But through it all, we are reminded by James in the Bible to count trials as opportunities for joy, to find the silver lining in the storm clouds. This is something we have been very accustomed to over our years of ministry, with the myriad of challenges we have had to overcome. If we stay in the downward spiral of negative thoughts, it’s like trying to climb a muddy mountain without any gear. We don’t get any further, but just slide back down the cliffs we are meant to overcome. So, although we have felt like we’ve been in a holding pattern for months, circling without being able to land, we’ve at least had the opportunity to study the view, and choose to count our joys.
I count it all joy, that my husband arrived home before international travel was shut down, that we were able to face the season together as a family unit, and build a united front to fight against the attacks of anxiety, frustration, and trouble that would come.
I count it all joy that we have had deep, rich moments of prayer, joining with believers through online platforms all over Canada and Haiti, to intercede for our local and international needs, and build stronger relationships of faith.
I count it all joy for the provision of a safe, warm home for our family with enough food and water (and toilet paper).
I count it all joy for an awesome church community that has embraced us in Canada while we have been away from our own church in Haiti.
I count it all joy that despite the immense challenges with raising teens in this sort of environment, we have seen tremendous victory and we have God’s promises to stand on.
I count it all joy that we have seen many direct answers to prayer through this season and believe we will see many more.
Marc was finally able to travel back to Haiti for a month, after 6 months of being grounded in Canada. It filled him with a renewed excitement and anticipation that the momentum of pursuing our calling and vision will land again. Restrictions in Haiti have lifted so that our regular programs and projects have been able to re-open. Our elementary, high school and technical school have all been able to finish out the stalled school year, with efforts to make up for lost time. The new school year will start in November. Our clinic will re-open this month with 4 days a week operations. The Children’s Village, though it never shut down, did go through some changes. We have just welcomed a new couple as house parents into the village. Construction crews were able to get back to work building the cafeteria and school offices. And the church eagerly gathered again as soon as they were allowed. We are hoping that soon enough all travel restrictions will lift, including the mandatory quarantining for those entering Canada, so that we can have teams again. In fact, with the Alberta government’s recent announcement of a rapid test pilot project starting in Nov for those flying home through Calgary, we hope to plan an open trip for any who’ve been waiting to come to Haiti, in January 2021. Stay tuned for that! The holding pattern is about to land!