TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
December 22, 2005
I have returned to Haiti after a wonderful three months with my new grandson. What a joy it was to see him brought into the world and to be there to see some of his first smiles and watch as he rapidly grew from a red, wrinkly newborn to an infant going about the business of discovering his world! I thank God for the precious time that He gave me to be a part of this wondrous miracle!
The harshness of life quickly comes flooding back after just spending several minutes sitting in the office of Dr. Paul Touloute, following the Wednesday evening prayer service at the church. I had entered his office to ask him some questions. Sitting with him was one of the newest members of the church. In Dr. Touloute’s arms was her sleeping 2 year old and cooing on her lap was her 4 month old daughter. Dr. Touloute was interviewing her and accessing her needs. A sad, but typical story spilled out onto the pages of Dr. Touloute’s notebook. As a young girl, she was brought from the countryside to work as a servant girl in the home of a family in the city. Upon learning that she had become pregnant by her boyfriend, she was beaten and kicked out into the streets. Now, she has two children and a husband who lives elsewhere and does not support her. She has no home and no food to feed her or her family. She was clutching a New Testament, but it is most likely that she can neither read nor write. The help that she was asking from the church was to take her oldest child into the orphanage. Somehow, she would try to fend for herself and her baby. As I held the baby and coaxed a smile or two from her, I couldn’t help feel sorry for the two innocent children. There they were, completely trusting in the adults that surrounded them. And there the mother was, only a mere child herself, with little hope for a future and a sad story for a past. I breathed a prayer of thanks that she had turned to the church, but what can we offer when she is just one of many that come to the church every day with similar stories of desperation??? Our financial resources are few, even though our hearts to help are big. Only a mighty God in his wisdom can guide us to answers for these difficult situations. Please pray that God will shower us with that wisdom!
In the midst of this helplessness, God continues to send me glimpses of hope. I cannot help to think back on my recent reunion in Michigan with seven children who once lived in Haiti and now have new families in the states. Each boy and each girl are thriving. They are quickly learning English, are thrilled at the sight of snow, and are enjoying new friends at school. They are happy and healthy and have enough food to eat. They have someone to hug them and to love them and to tuck them in at night! What a privilege it was to see how God has blessed each of these children! How blessed each family feels to have these children as part of their lives!
We are able to catch glimpses of joy here in Haiti too! A few days ago, Yelline Isidor Gelin, organized a Christmas Chicken BBQ for the children of the orphanage and their staff. Excitement built as the girls of the orphanage made Christmas cut-out cookies for the first time. For some of the girls, the trip to the boys’ orphanage in the back of a pickup was their first time to see where the boys lived. The boys’ orphanage was cleaned spotless for this fun-filled event. The girls toured the rooms of the boys’ orphanage and were told to look at how neat and clean the rooms were, in an attempt to make them want to keep their rooms in as neat of a condition. (Not much different than in the states when we encourage our kids to do the same.) The early evening hours were filled with music, singing, dancing and visiting. The aroma of the chicken sizzling on the grill was delightful. Okra and Haitian potatoes were also being prepared. When the food was finally served each child ate eagerly. At one point, Israelson delighted in feeding the children as a mother pigeon would feed her young. Eager little mouths opened as Israelson dangled a delicious piece of chicken above their heads. In the morning, the caregivers at the boys’ orphanage were greeted by several urine soaked beds, as the result of too much soda pop being consumed by the boys. A rare treat was hard to pass up and thus the aftermath was the result. The entire event was a joyous occasion for all those who attended! It was a welcome change to the normal days of going to school and then home to the orphanage. It was so much fun to see the smiles and hear the laughter! Simple joys! A true delight!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic
Until next time ………….