TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
May 25, 2008
Today, as I write this, it is Mother’s Day in Haiti – not the second Sunday in May as in the United States, but the last Sunday of May.
For weeks now, I have been trying to wrap my mind around what happened to me in the weeks preceding Mother’s Day and the actual weekend of Mother’s Day in the United States. What started it all was my daughter entering me into a contest that she hoped might win me flowers for a year. What resulted was quite different than we could ever have imagined! Through it all, we were certain that God had orchestrated the whole event to bring attention to the needs of the people in Haiti. We never imagined that He would use National television to achieve this! Through it all, I prayed that His name would be glorified! I prayed that one person would be touched by my story!
I had come to the states to do my income taxes, a few speaking engagements, and to visit my daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons. Only a few days before my return to Haiti, my daughter and I received a confirmation phone call that I was one of fifteen finalists to be featured on the TODAY Show for Teleflora’s America’s Favorite Mom Reality Show, in part due to the missionary work that I do with the poor and orphaned children of Haiti! I postponed my return to Haiti and got ready for the ride of my life. Soon, I was whisked away to a whirlwind trip of pampering and jet setting! I arrived in New York City on Wednesday, just in time to be treated to a show on Broadway. Thursday, I was up bright and early, chauffeured to Rockefeller Center, where I found myself in the make-up room of the Today Show, preparing to be on Live National Television for a short one minute or two!
Delays in my return flight landed me in Denver at 2AM on Friday morning and then on to Los Angeles, a few short hours later, where I met up with my daughter and two other guests who I was allowed to invite for a short weekend of star treatment. A beautiful hotel, a free rental car, and dress rehearsal at the renowned Sony Production Studios were all part of the dreamlike weekend. I met several incredible mothers, who were also a part of the “competition.” In reality, it was not a competition at all! It was a celebration of the many ways women can be great mothers. There was lots of love being shared amongst the “contestants” and a mutual respect for the talents that each mother brought to the lives of their families! We all enjoyed our time on the set – visiting the make-up and wardrobe trailers, having a dressing room, meeting Donny & Marie Osmond, filming in the studio where the original tornado scene of the Wizard of Oz was once filmed, and taping the Mother’s Day show before a live audience. My daughter’s dream of being able to financially help the people of Haiti through this contest came true when I was voted the winner of the Adoptive Mom category. The cash prize that was awarded will go a long way in helping with some of the many projects that are in the works in Les Cayes and Ile-a-Vache! THANK YOU GOD! THANK YOU TASHA!
For those of you who watched the show, you already know what the biggest surprise was for me – the surprise guest appearance of my husband Léon!!! I was totally blown away!!! After 6 weeks of being apart, there he was! He was able to share in this unbelievable weekend that I knew I would not have the words to explain to him when I returned to Haiti, as he knows nothing about the world of national television in America and the shows that are so much a part of the American way of life. It was not until we were both back in Haiti that we could talk about the experience that still seems like a dream. The production people had called Léon at 11PM on the Thursday night before Mother’s Day and told him to be on a plane to Los Angeles the next morning in Port-au-Prince …. no small feat (as those of you who have ever traveled in the uncertain transportation of Haiti know) let alone that it was asked of a person who had only been to the United States one other time and had NEVER traveled alone through the airports of the U.S.A!!! Léon explained to me that until he arrived in LA and talked to my daughter on the phone, he was not sure that the whole trip was just not a hoax. He said he trusted strangers and took the chance. He thought perhaps I was very sick and people did not want to frighten him, but rather asked him to come to LA with a different explanation OR maybe he was taking a chance that he would be sorry for. What a joy it was for him to realize it was a “good thing” that he was traveling to LA for and that good people had helped him make a BIG surprise for his wife. I was so proud to learn how he had been able to maneuver through the airports, change his flights to standby and actually make it to LA with little or no problem. Upon leaving Miami, he had thought that LA was probably about 1 hour away from Miami. He said after two hours passed, then three hours, then four hours and finally after five hours, he decided to ask the person next to him how far LA was from Miami. When he learned it was about six hours, he finally relaxed and took a nap. He had NO idea it was so far away. The surprises continued for him as he learned about television in the United States and the huge amounts of money spent on us. We were even given an extra day together in LA, where we enjoyed the beach and watched someone catch a shark on the pier!
Too soon the weekend was over and Léon headed back to Les Cayes and I returned to Casper Wyoming to pack up my things and say goodbye to my daughter and her family, returning to Haiti a few short days thereafter!
The true reality of all these recent events settles back in when I have the kids of the orphanage in my arms. The kids here know nothing about TV Shows and celebrities. To them I am just plain Mommy Nora and they tell me that they do not want me to be gone so long again! These are the kids that the excitement is all about – kids that need love, kids that deserve a chance in life!
God has been doing some incredible things for their future through the ripple effect of the television exposure. I have received some interesting and promising telephone calls and emails. I now await what God has in store for the future! Don’t we have an INCREDIBLE God?!?!?! Can you wait to see what His next plan is????
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time ………….