I, Maria, remember studying Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” when I was at school. I don’t remember how old I was, I wasn’t a great scholar and like many things in life I have forgotten much of it. What I do recall is that the poet, who stood at a fork in the road, was trying to decide which road he should travel. I’m sure I had to learn to recite the whole thing, but now years later I can only recall the last few lines….
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Sometimes I think I have taken the road less travelled by, the road that many others may not choose.
I grew up in Ireland and after completing school went on to university, like most of my classmates. I spent the next four years studying and loved it; I learned all about business practices, consumer behavior advertising, and marketing. I enjoyed my courses and had some great opportunities while there that changed my life direction.
After graduating with a business degree I moved to Haiti and had the opportunity to serve at an infant care center for over the next four years. I don’t think I ever imagined that after spending, what felt like so long, at university I would spend even longer volunteering; taking care of little babies, getting to know and love the local people and attempting to serve others the best I could.
During my time in Haiti I met Arlyn, another long term volunteer. Arlyn had grown up on a farm in northern B.C. Canada and after qualifying as an automotive refinisher he decided to have a change of pace for a while and moved to Haiti to serve as the maintenance person at the same place as me.
I would love to say we had a fairy tale romance but that would be a lie. Dating in Haiti wasn’t always what others would consider normal and life at times wasn’t easy but I’m sure if we had met in a more “normal” environment it wouldn’t have guaranteed an easier life.
I never imagined I would meet my best friend in Haiti, that I would be more blessed to serve than I had ever imagined possible and that I learned more from the local people than I could ever teach. I didn’t plan on falling in love in Haiti; I didn’t plan on marrying a Canadian and I’m so thankful that I’m not the one who makes the plans. If you had asked me years ago what my life plan would look like it wouldn’t have included this path but I sure am glad that I life has turned out this way.
After serving in Haiti for a few years Arlyn and I left last March and moved back to northern B.C, Canada; where Arlyn is from. We spent a few months resting, planning a wedding and Arlyn worked on his parents’ farm. The first six months of our married lives were spent in a cozy cabin by a lake the perfect setting to relax and to learn how to be married. While we are still learning how to be married we are about to embark on our next path together.
Arlyn and I are moving to Swaziland to begin serving with Manna Global Ministries. We are excited about this new venture and are looking forward to taking this path with each other. While this choice may not seem like a normal worldly choice we know that we are not called to conform to this world and we hope that as we begin to live in Swaziland that we can live out Micah 6:8 “acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God.”
I don’t know what this path will look like, I don’t know what our future holds, we have some plans, and some ideas but we hope to be completely open to where God is leading us. What I do know though is that I am blessed to be walking on this path with the one I love. I hope to use this blog to record our travels and experiences.