It seems like almost everyday that I live in Haiti, I am either filled with joy to the point of tears or broken to the point of tears. There are times that I feel overwhelmed. What would God have me do? There is so much pain, hurt, illness, starvation…where do I start? And how can helping ONE person in a sea of need do anything to make a difference in this world?
I have seen children with special needs left alone for hours at a time on the porch of their home because their parents don’t want to be seen with them in public. Or maybe the parents believe the child will never be worth anything. The children rarely get food, often lie down in urine for hours, and have bugs crawling all over them.
I have held a six month old baby that weighed 5 pounds and begged with God to help save the baby. I could see nothing but skin and bones, yet the baby’s life was so beautiful and worth so much. I found out the following day that the baby died.
I have watched children in our village work by cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, and caring for other children just to earn their place to live. Child slaves…something that is accepted in this culture.
I have watched my husband, Chris, and friend, Elizabeth perform CPR on one of the most incredible children I have ever known. I have loaded him into a car to go to the hospital knowing something that my heart couldn’t bare. Jay was dead.
I have watched Jay’s parents overcome with grief, crying out to the great Healer, knowing just how they feel. I had a child die just a few years ago. But, words don’t come easy…we just sat, we cried, we hugged and we held each other.
I have witnessed living conditions that I wouldn’t allow my greatest enemy to live in. Rat infested, crawling with bugs, shacks that someone calls home.
I have watched children get beaten with tree limbs so severely that they have welps to prove it for hours. What exactly can a child do to deserve such beatings? Nothing.
So much pain, so much hunger, so much heartache, so much tragedy, so little to celebrate….or so it seems.
But, then I can’t help but look further into the hearts and lives of the people that I am surrounded by. Unspeakable joy? Yes, I see it. Authentic worship for our Lord? Yes, I hear it. Genuine laughter? Yes, it is contagious. So, once again I am brought to tears by simply experiencing life with this tiny village.
As I walk through the village, I hear my name…lots of little children are hollering and running after me. I pass out hugs and I give away kisses. And I look them in their eyes and say to them, “I love you…you know that, right?” Yes, they know…their smile shows me.
I sit and spend time with families of special needs children on a regular basis. One family wanted to give their son away only three weeks ago. God is working in their family and I get a front row seat in the beauty of it all. Not only has this sweet little boy received better care and nurturing from his family, his brain and muscles are responding rapidly. Three weeks ago, he could hardly move…tonight, he was sitting up all by himself. God is changing their hearts…they are beginning to believe that every life was created by God and EVERY life is worth so much.
My husband, Chris, and I are constantly being watched (which, in a sense, is very scary)…in a foreign land, it is very foreign for couples to show any type of affection to one another publicly. Women are often viewed as objects rather than beautiful women worthy of encouragement, service, and love. But now, couples are beginning to see the value of showing your spouse that you care about them. The husbands enjoy hollering at me just to show me that they are going to hug their wives. They call my name just so that I will watch them kiss their wife on the cheek. Redemption is beautiful…the rebuilding of beautiful and biblical marriages has started.
We have been blessed by so many people that want to love and protect our children. Our family is being served on a daily basis. People are teaching us so much. They are teaching our children so much. Our children are blessed beyond your imagination because they are experiencing life beyond what is comfortable. Real, genuine life does not happen as often as we might think…but, here, it happens every day.
And every day, you can find me moved to tears by the difficulties and challenges of life in Haiti. And at any given moment, you can find me moved to tears by the realization that, in so many ways, these people have it so right….and I have so much to learn. So, if I had to choose the easy life with all the comforts I have ever known or the life that God has chosen for me right now, I would choose life in Haiti. God is here, He is alive, and He is using this land for His glory.