This month, the Mokma family will be heading back to the US and we say goodbye to them as missionaries at COTP. It was back in June 2015 that Kevin and Sarah, with their five children, moved down to COTP to embrace the calling to be house parents to children in the Grace House. Along the way, Kevin also stepped into the role of Administrative Director. One and a half years later, as they follow their calling back to Michigan, I am sure that they would say their experience at COTP has left their mark on their family – and we are so grateful for the ways in which God has also used this family to leave its’ mark here in Haiti.
There is a blogger, Jason Johnson, who shares his reflections on foster parenting; his words have encouraged many of us around COTP. When explaining foster care, he says this: “Everything…everything about foster care is equal parts good and bad, joy and sorrow, beauty and brokenness.”
If you sit down and talk with Kevin and Sarah about their time as house parents, you would hear stories overflowing of both joy and sorrow, beauty and brokenness. Whether it was navigating the transition from one set of house parents to another; or walking the wearying journey with children that is the arduous wait to be united with their forever family; or navigating the challenge of deciding how and where to give of yourself when the needs seem to outweigh what you have to give, the Mokma’s knew the challenges that come with fostering. And yet, the beautiful thing is that their experience doesn’t stop there. When God places a calling on our life, we are often brought to places where we see brokenness – and then we are called to have faith that we’ve been brought to this time and place to be part of the beauty that God is going to work out of the brokenness.
Through the Mokma family, we were able to see that faith in action and how God has used this family to shape His beauty out of the brokenness. We are grateful for the way they have taught the kids in the Grace house, with grace and truthfulness, what it will mean for them to join their forever family. They’ve helped the kids find joy in anticipating their future plans, even in the midst of the hard waiting. They’ve provided the steady love, care and validation the kids needed to know that they are wanted and they have a place of belonging. In good times and bad, they’ve provided the safety and assurance to teach the kids that it is ok to feel happy, sad, or angry. And the Mokmas have modelled what it looks like to be part of a forever family – and in doing so have helped prepare the kids for their future transitions. God is doing beautiful work in molding the lives of those precious children in the Grace House and he used the Mokma family to be his hands and feet there.
Along the way, their mark has been left beyond the Grace House as well. Through his role as Administrative Director, Kevin provided leadership on COTP’s campus by providing a consistent presence for staff and managing our financial stewardship. We are so grateful for his commitment to these roles; with his help, we have grown in our ability to plan with foresight, wisdom and accountability.
So, as goodbyes bring us to a time of reflection, we are so grateful for the Mokmas and their testament of putting faith in action. Not cheap faith – not the kind of easy “talk about it on Sunday morning” faith. Rather, the kind of faith that puts trust in what God has called you to even when you wake up in the morning and know it won’t be easy. The kind of faith that is still there at the end of the day – whether with hearts rejoicing from a joyous moment had with the kids, or with hearts broken at seeing the pain a child is working through. Mokma family – thank you for how you have loved, for how you have shared yourselves, and for how you have demonstrated that – in this wild journey of faith in action – God will use us in his plans to make beauty out of the brokenness if we are willing. You will be missed at COTP and we pray grace and peace over this next chapter of your journey.