Friday, December 23, 2016
Homeless squatters. You wrecked my life. You cause me to lose sleep. You reopened my eyes. You've challenged me. Sadly, I was numb. After seeing and living next to poverty for more than 3 years I'll admit I became a bit immune to it. I could sleep just fine at night even though the world was a mess....until I met you. You wrecked my life. I remember walking into the shack that serves as a squatting area for all of the homeless, the outcast. We made eye contact, but your eyes were empty. You crawled on the floor trying to peak around the crowds to see what I was doing. Polio stole your hope 14 years ago and you lost faith after your parents abandoned you. And now you are left to crawl around on the dirt floor with your big mighty arms because your legs are crippled and bent.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
"That mom" I had my first experience of being "that mom." You know the one that is trying to do 100 things in the morning. The one who is trying to get Noldines uniform on only to find out her shoes don't fit with socks. The mama who realizes I only have purple brets for her hair (hair that I don't even know how to braid yet) and she desperately needs blue brets to match her uniform. That mom that sends my child to school with a lunchbox full of scammbled eggs because there's nothing left in the pantry. The mom who wakes up early to get ready herself only to have that plan destroyed when the baby decides to wake up with a fever. The mom who, admist the stress and the chaos and the wild, arrives at school at 7:03 and feels like they have accomplished the greatest tackle in the world. The mom who selflessly will wake up tomorrow and do it all over again.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
My 6th baby came in July and made her place as the youngest of the other girls. 2 months old and so so adorable! A head full of black curls. One look at you and my eyes lit up. I knew you were now mine. I was amazed at your tiny body but oh so chubby cheeks. Your daddy died before you were born and your mama is no where to be found. It was a breath of fresh air to receive a baby that came without one bit of sickness in the body. Amandalina, you are loved. I had a vision that morning. I would receive a little baby. I would bring another crib into the room and set up your belongings. I saw it all in my head, but shorty forgot about it. Assuming I was day dreaming. But little did I know, you were in route as I was thinking about you. You were on your way to make your grand appearance at your new home. Weighing in at 8 pounds it was a joy to unpack the newborn clothes and start watching you grow from the very beginning. I love you my little sunshine. Welcome home.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
I was driving down Route one. The main road to get anywhere around here. I drive it a few times a week. Several times a month. For the last 3 years. This road gives breathtaking scenery. Crystal blue oceans on the left and green lush mountains on the right. Usually I am taken away by the beauty of God's masterpiece, but this time something caught my eye. There are watermelons for sale all along this road and there are hundreds of little house huts on the mountainside next to the watermelon sellers. All I know was that it was the push from God to stop the car and walk up to these huts. Fear was in me as I wondered who these people were. If they would accept me intruding in their lives. My mind was racing as I tried to think of what to say. Why after three years did I decide to approach these people? But when I arrived at the house, already out of breath from the hike up, walking on rocks and weaving in and out of watermelon vines, my heart fell out of my chest. I tried to act as calm as possible but inside I was raging. I was overwhelmed. I was hurt. 7 people live here. 2 of them are children. The house is made of sticks and leaves and trash. It is about 4 feet tall. Inside is about 6 feet long and 5 feet wide. I had to get on my hands and knees to go inside. Abject poverty is what this is. The 8 year old little girl is named Gabiana. She calls this little hut home. She was so beautiful but so shy as she smiled with her two front teeth missing. They were a sweet family. A loving family. And if I didn't do anything to deserve being born in the USA, then they did nothing to deserve living like this. We as followers of Christ must do something. Making disciples. Going to all nations. Feeding the hungry. It is not a choice. It's a command. And we must respond. We have to start doing something. We cannot sit idle any longer. These 2 children have nothing. Absolutely nothing. Her skirt, which she has worn every day for the past two weeks, is made out of packaging cloth. His shoes were not only too small, but didn't match. Of course the hair was orange and the bellies were swollen. There was not one drop of water to drink or bathe or cook with anywhere around. And the nearest place to get water is a mile aw
Monday, August 1, 2016
Kids in school = Parent jobs I heard a knock at the gate. It was Lovemica and her mama. They had returned to my house to ask once more if I would take the rambunctious two-year-old. She sat back down at my table and I talked with the mom. Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she explained to me that she had nothing. Nothing at all. And she was the only one her daughter had. Nobody else was around to help. And my heart broke in two. This was the third time this month someone has arrived at my gate with a child. A child they loved, and cared for, and wanted, but had no way of providing for her. I explained how much a child needs their mama. I told them that their daughter yearns for them. And if there’s any way possible of keeping the child united with family, that is the road we will take. So I drove Lovemica and her mama back to their tiny house where 10 other people slept. Lovemica showed me the floor that she slept on and showed me her closet. Which was empty. Except for the 3 outfits I had given her. So I hired the mom. She now will be washing clothes for the ministry 3 days a week. No I didn’t need to add another staff member, and no I don’t know yet how I’ll even be able to pay her, but her daughter needs food. Her daughter needs to go to school. Her daughter needs a future. I don’t know where the money will come from, but I am going to have faith that God will provide. I hate to see these mamas at the end of the road. Giving up. I will do whatever it takes to keep these kids with their mamas.
Friday, July 29, 2016
# 5 Well, I didn’t believe them. You arrived at my gate as a crippled 24- month- old. But you were so small. I thought there must have been a loss in translation. You were so lifeless. But your teeth showed it all. You had a mouth full. Your molars had come in. And on June 30th , I learned how vast, how different, how strong the types of malnutrition are. I’ve seen the swollen kind. I’ve seen the skin and bones kind. And now I’ve seen the crippled and stunted in growth kind. You came from up north.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
My girls are growing up so fast! Annia is 4 months old now and can sit up. Ciarha is 7 months old and just got 2 teeth and has started to crawl. Dachena is 16 months old and is finally gaining weight even though she dances all day long. Ketchina is 24 months old and is able to stand on her own 2 feet without assistance now. Noldine will be 4 in August and is the best little helper. She loves to play hide and seek with her sisters.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
“God doesn’t see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 And in my eyes, this was perfect truth and validation to the people of David’s day. David was the youngest of 8. The runt of the family, some might like to say. The Hebrew word for “youngest son” is Haqqaton. Not only does it mean the baby of the family, it also means the least. The lowest rank. The shepherd boy. There are 66 chapters in the bible that talk about David’s story. Other than Jesus, he is the most talked about in scripture. And this made me want to dig down deeper and look at the heart of David, after all, he was “a man after God’s own heart.” Max Lucado put it like this: “God saw what no one else saw: A God-seeking heart. He took after God’s heart, because he stayed after God’s heart. In the end, that’s all God wanted or needed. Others measure your waist size or wallet. Not God. He examines hearts. When He finds one set on him, he calls it and claims it. – Facing your Giants by Lucado Here is what I saw in David. A human. A flawed, sinful, human who needs to repent and needs God’s grace just like you and I. I saw a man that, let’s be real, we all would have doubted he could win the fight against the giant. We all would have laughed and said he’s digging his own grave when we took into consideration his height, strength, and armor, vs the giant. I saw a man who loved the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, but still lived in an imperfect world where temptation and sin stand waiting at the door. But here’s the catch. HE STILL LOVED THE LORD. HE STILL SERVED THE LORD. He broke quite few of the 10 Commandments. And truly, this is what I love about David. He is a hero, but not a perfect hero. He doesn’t put the standards so high that none of us could reach. He reminds us that we are all human, and even a man after God’s own heart, still isn’t perfect. But the king of the Universe loved him anyway. No matter what you have done, remember your relationship with Jesus can never be taken away. No matter what you’ve done wrong. No matter what the world says about you. No matter who holds the standards you are trying to reach. Man looks at the outer appearance; God looks at the heart.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” I’ve read this verse 1000 times but it never really registered with me until now. I’m able to see Abraham's faith more clearly. He was against all odds, except for Gods. The world probably thought he was crazy for expecting a baby at such an old age. The crowds would have rolled their eyes in disbelief. Why Abraham? They might ask. What makes him good enough to get a son at his old age? The answer is his FAITH. He had faith. I read in a book one time that “even the great Abraham had NOT EARNED his standing before God but had received it as a GIFT when he BELIEVED God. Sometimes God makes us wait. Most of the time I lose faith and patience while waiting. Perhaps Abraham did too. Sometimes we try to accomplish it our own way. We try to "help" God to make something happen quicker. For Abraham, at the beginning, it was easy to believe he would get a son. He was young, his wife was in child-bearing years. But after waiting, and waiting, and waiting, he still looked to the sky and counted the stars. Did he doubt? I would say so. Did he question? Of course. Because he was human. He never gave up on God though. He knew who he was and what he was able to do. He believed the unbelievable. He knew nothing was Impossible with God. His faith was assured in who God was. He knew that God is never too late. That the world might say give up, but He keeps saying hang on. The crowd might say you are crazy but He will say “my child, the gift is coming if you keep on believing.” Believe God. Even when the circumstance seems impossible. Abraham did, and now his descendants outnumber the stars. Perhaps you aren't waiting on a baby. Maybe a spouse. Maybe a new mountaintop. Maybe just a miracle. Urge yourself as I urge myself, to believe like Abraham did. To have faith that He can and will move mountains. Father, remind me there is always a way, if it is Your will. Nothing is impossible for you. You hold the universe in your hands. The flowers may fade, but Your word stands forever. Amen
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Ciarha. 6 months old. Arrived April 30th. Admitted into the hospital on May 1. And thus starts our journey. You came half alive. Severely malnourished. Diagnosed with a disease called Kwashiorkor. A protein deficiency causing your small 8 pound body to swell. I thought you were mute. Really, you just didn’t have the strength of a voice. You couldn’t open your eyes fully. You had a voodoo neckless tied around your neck. The same day you arrived, I rushed you to the hospital where you were given a bag of IV fluids. Fluids that I had to go and buy, including the needles and tubes. Because the hospital didn’t provide them. She was Cuban, your first of many doctors. She kept praying and praying to God. And shaking her head in utter disbelief. The next day you were admitted into a hospital 1.5 hours away. For the next 17 days. After filling out piles of paperwork stating that I was the only guardian, that I was the caregiver, and if anything were to go downhill, I was in charge of making arrangements. For your funeral. You were in intensive care for a few days before being moved into a room with 25 other cribs that contained malnourished babies. I came to see you every chance I had. I kissed your sweet head. I prayed over your frail body. And I begged to God to please not take my baby girl.
Friday, May 27, 2016
May 25th 2016 A very long day! I left my house at 3:40 to take a friend back to the airport. His flight was at 8 but due to the main bridge collapsing about a month ago, traffic has become really bad. My dad was here last week and it took us 6 and a half hours to get home. A trip that usually takes 1 hour. This is the new “normal”! So we watch the sunrise as we drive down the road. About 20 minutes away from the airport, the bus breaks down. I had a driver and 2 security guards with me and they all tried to fix it with no luck. The clock kept ticking and I was getting nervous that David would miss his flight so I sent him on a motorcycle the rest of the way! Thankfully, he made it without any problem. After 13 and a half hours of sitting in that bus, I was finally freed!! I wasn’t allowed to go outside due to being in a rough area of town but they did let me find a toilet, but only once! We ate crackers and drank water and watched the kids go to school, and then watched them leave from school. I watched a little old lady try to sell lollipops on the side of the road. All day long. With no buyers. It was a long long day! After 13 hours, I was picked up in a car and taken back home so I could be with my girls, but the bus didn’t arrive until 8pm. 17 hours for those guys. The radiator and water pump was destroyed. Only a week after fixing the transmission. Calix and Richeter are my night time security guards. They come at night and usually leave in the morning. But since I was leaving so early, and since they were already at my house, they came with me. So for 24 and a half hours, these guys tended to my every need. Got me water when I was thirsty. Protected me when the scene got hot. And worked in the sun all day trying to fix the bus. When I returned home, I was exhausted, ready to fall into bed. But I was greeted by a 1 year old and 3 year old who were ready for me to play with them outside. So that’s what we did. We played and played and played until it started raining. In Haiti, when it rains, it pours! Through my front porch blew the rain so hard that it started to flood my kitchen. After the babies went to sleep, the nanny and I spent the next hour trying to mop up, sweep out, and dry the floors before more water flooded inside. When the guards returned back with the bus, they immediately started helping mop the floors and push the water out the front door. They hadn’t showered or brushed their teeth. They stayed on the side of the road working tirelessly all day long trying to fix the bus after they had stayed up all night walking the perimeter of the children’s home. They came home with a smile and thankfulness in their eyes. They did not complain at all. These people teach me a lot. They teach me what is important in life and what is not. What should be valued in life and what shouldn’t. They teach me how to be selfless, and helpful, and thankful. As crazy as this trip to Port au Prince was, I was blessed. I was thankful, I was amazed. I was beyond thankful for this experience because of the few days before it. David from Little Rock, Arkansas came down to measure and draw up plans for La Limye’s next project. A SCHOOL!!! I am so excited that we will be building a elementary school filled with extra curriculum activities for people of all ages. So, no matter how tiring the day was, no matter how stressful the day was, I had something to look forward to. Education. A safe environment. A chance to learn. The construction project will start in the new future. We would love for you to come down and help us build! But until then, if you know a professional mechanic that wants to work on a bus, send him down!!! Life in Haiti. Always an adventure.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Dachena 13 months old. Abandoned. Starved. motherless. These are the words I received when I got the call that my 3rd child was about to join La Limye. On April 29 she was carried into my house, practically lifeless. Hollow eyes, enlarged stomach, weighing 11 pounds. She was so little. Every crevice of every bone showed in her fragile body. She couldn’t even pull herself to sit up from lying down. She didn’t make a sound. I held her little body for what seemed like forever. Holding her tight. Wondering how long she sat on the side of the road, in the dark, all alone. Repeating over and over again “Jesus loves you.” Wondering if I could get her the nutrients she needed. Or if it was already too late. Malnutrition. I hate it. The way Dachena feels is like the way we feel when we are sick, but 10 times worse, and every single day of her entire life. So she is irritable. she is cranky. She is worn. But she holds on to hope. The only movement she had was to reach her right hand out as far as it can go. Hoping someone would put a piece of food in it. She miraculously started to gain energy quickly and found out that all the food is in the kitchen. Every time I would carry her in the kitchen, she would move her body and try to smile. She was so excited. Food at her fingertips. Whenever she wanted it. No more searching. No more begging. She has never been given milk and still refuses to drink it. Her favorite food is bananas and cheese. She has 4 little teeth and can crawl like a champ. She has brought so much joy into my life. She now can wave bye bye and clap her hands. Any day now she will start walking. She snorts all the time and laughs constantly! Her arms are still smaller than my 2 month old, but she is gaining weight and gaining strength each and every day. She is my best friend. She is a child of GOD. The definition of a miracle. I thank God for holding her tight her first 13 months of life. For keeping her alive. For making her beautifully and wonderfully made. I see Jesus in her eyes. Her beautiful, strong eyes.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Noldine # 2 I have known this little girl for 2 years now. For some reason, I bonded with her more than any other child in the village. She was different. She was special. When I first found her, she was sitting in the dirt. She could not walk or talk at 2 years old. This is what started our journey together. Through the power of prayer, people came together to help buy her food and vitamins. I worked with her everyday trying to get her to balance on two feet. She was malnourished, neglected, and developmentally slow. Her knees stayed bent and her back was crooked. But after some time she miraculously started to crawl, and then walk, and slowly a year later, started to talk. When I opened the orphanage I wondered everyday if she would come. I knew in order to get her the schooling and care that she needed, she needed to come but I also knew that she had family. And sometimes it is best to keep the child with the family.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Ania Dorvil (On-Yah) On March 24th the dream became a vision and the vision became reality. 2 years ago I went to the top of the mountain. It was there where I met some orphans and fully decided to build a home for children. Two years after starting construction, the children’s home opened. On March 5th I spread the word that the home was now accepting children. Every day I prayed and TRIED to wait patiently for the first little girl to arrive. On March 9th a beautiful brown eyed miracle was born. Where? On that same mountain in that same village 2 hours away that I went to two years ago. Her mother passed away after giving birth and the father had no way to provide for her. Milk was obviously limited so she was given tea her first two weeks of life. They would have brought her down to me earlier but they didn’t have the money for a motorcycle. I had to send someone up the mountain to bring the father and his daughter down because he didn’t have the $7.00 needed. Seven dollars between life and death for this two week old. She couldn’t live on tea. She would not have made it long. So she arrived at my house in her father’s arms. Her father’s arms. He loved her. He was sad. He was quiet. He was embarrassed. And his only question was if he could get access to a phone, could he call me to check on his daughter. To get updates on how she is doing. And I said yes. If he lived closer, we could have given him a job, helped him raise Ania, given him hope, but because of the circumstances all I could do was take her. Promise him that she is in good care and that she will be loved.