Today we’re hearing a story Daniel Czaplicki, the site leader at our Special Education Site in Jarabacoa.
I’ve worked with the children of Centro Especial Genesis for about two years, and during that time God has taught me far more lessons through the children there than I can mention in one short update. Of these, a recent experience with two of our students was a reminder of why we do what we do every day.
This year we welcomed eight new students at our school. One of our new students comes from a family with some negative views towards Haitians (for those of you who don’t know, there’s a long history on this island of Dominican and Haitian conflict). This new student is very loving to everyone except our one Haitian student, Fabiola.
The teachers noticed this right away and spent an entire week teaching our students about how we were are all beautifully created by God, and that His intentionality in creating us differently is something to be celebrated and admired. We saw a lot of progress throughout the week, but what impressed me the most was the way Fabiola reacted to it all.
If the song “Reckless Love” was a person, that person would be Fabiola. She greets everyone she ever meets by coming full force at them and embracing them with an enormous hug. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, or how long you’ve known her, Fabiola is going to show you how deeply she loves you. Already one of the most loving people you’ll meet in your whole life, she treated the new student exactly the same as everyone, and was seemingly unbothered by his coldness and hatred towards her. Not only has his heart begun to change, it was such a beautiful picture to us all of what it means to love like Christ.
I don’t know what the future holds for Fabiola. She could very well graduate and hold a job, or she may end up living with her family for the rest of her life and never working. Regardless of what happens, her time at Genesis won’t be deemed valuable based on her academic or vocational accomplishments. Her time with us will be a success if she continues to use the gifts God gave her to love on others in order to help change peoples’ hearts towards Christ.
We would love to have more resources, more staff, and a new building for our school, but even without those things, I’ve witnessed countless success stories in the lives of our students. The longer I work here, the more I can see the unique gifts each of these children have been given that can be used to grow the kingdom of the Lord. I’m so thankful for a staff team that desires to grow those gifts in each of our children, and as long as we continue to see our children use their gifts as Fabiola does, we will be able to say we successfully equipped these children for what God has called them into. God’s definition of success is completely different from the world’s definition, and I’m glad I have students like Fabiola who remind me of that daily.