TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
February 14, 2019
M Y J O Y
While the violence and destruction of the current civil unrest in Haiti is dominating news here in Haiti, I have chosen to focus on my most current joy!
It was not by chance that last night, the movie “LION” appeared on our television screen and that the film was actually broadcasted in English. What a treat to hear something in English! I had forgotten that I had seen the movie in the states, but nonetheless, I was riveted to the story-line that was based on the true-life events of Saroo Brierly.
As a young child living in India, Saroo became lost and was unable to find his way home back to his mother and the community in which they lived. Eventually, Saroo is adopted by a couple in Australia, but never does he forget about his mom and brother in India. His life became absorbed by the longing to find his birthplace and his birth family. The reunion was full of tears and joy!
The movie was all too real for me and my tears flowed both for the telling of Saroo’s story, but more importantly for the unfolding of a similar reunion that I was privileged to be a witness to earlier this month.
Many times, I struggle with wondering if my work in Haiti is truly making a difference. I wonder if the little that I have to offer is of any importance at all. The movie made me realize that if assisting with a reunion of adopted children with their birth family was the only work that I did, God has given me a reason to know that what I do is of great importance! What a glorious task He has given to me! What joy that task brings!
Most recently, after 15 years of being apart, I witnessed the reunion of two young adults and their birth family.
I have known this family since the time the young men were small boys. I have known their adoptive family as friends and members of my home church in the states. What I was able to witness is the full circle that God had planned all along.
The joys were many …
– the first moments of reunion, filled with hugs and tears and stored up emotions!
– the love that the adoptive mother showed to the birth mother
– the love that the birth mother showed to the adoptive mother
– the meeting of parents & siblings, of grandparents, of godparents, of uncles & aunts and nieces and cousins and even a former babysitter!
– the time of heart-wrenching stories of how the adoption all came to be and how God worked out
all the pieces of that puzzle
– the re-experiencing of life in Haiti with things like tap-taps (a form of transportation) and difficult roads and beautiful Haitian landscapes
– the rediscovery of smells, and sounds, and tastes
– the separation of what were memories imagined and what actually had occurred
– the joy of the entire birth family, some of whom expressed that. just like Simeon in the Bible when he finally meets Jesus, they too could now die having been given the gift of this long-awaited reunion
– the observing of memories that came alive of the adopted mens’ birthplace, the Haitian food, the community spirit of extended family and the love that never wavered for them!
– the pride that the birth family felt in being able to provide the very best “banquet” they could give, with the knowledge that the cost of this meal would strain the family food budget
– the laughter of times remembered and new memories being made
– the simple gifts offered, such as coconut milk from the tree in front of the family’s home
– informal Kreyol lessons taught by the birth mother (a former school teacher)
– the joy of parents as they learned that they would have a new grandchild
– the love it took by the birth family to release their children the first time and now another time, not
knowing if or when they will see each other again
– the completion of a circle of love!
It has not only been a joy for me to witness this most recent reunion, but I have been blessed to follow the lives of other adoptees, from their time in the orphanage, then adoption and eventually being reunited with their birth families. One never knows if the reunion will be a good experience or a difficult experience. I am happy to say, that these reunions were no less filled with love and joy!
Thank you, God, for letting me be your hands and feet and a small part of your big plan for the children whose lives have crossed my path!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time, God willing …………