Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Let’s be honest. There is a lot of things missionaries don’t tell their supporters. For instance the feeling of “ burn-out” for fear that finances will stop coming in. Or explaining the stress and chaos of daily life overseas for fear that they might see you as unfit, unqualified. But let’s be real. We need to be real. So take us missionaries off the pedestal. We are no more worthy. No more holy. No more strong. So read into my diary. You’ll hear the good stories. Stories of success and dedication and victories… but be ready, because you’ll see the nitty gritty stuff too. The stuff that I shouldn’t share but have to. You have come on this journey with me as I spill out my heart onto pages. So here we go. Life doesn’t prepare you to bury your newborn child. Life doesn’t prepare you to watch your 2 week old fall unconscious and stop breathing. It doesn’t prepare you for the knocks on your door “offering” children to you time after time again. It does not prepare you for the mountains you must climb in order to get two inches closer to the witch doctors heart. It doesn’t prepare you for the illnesses month after month with the only known cause factor being stress. Nor does life prepare you to be mama to the 10 most rambunctious and darling little girls. 2017 scared me. It has made me wonder if I can keep going. If I can handle this any more. If I jumped in the deep end and suddenly forgot how to swim. But you guys, I’m going to hold on. On February 16th 2011 I gave my heart to Jesus. And when I gave it, I gave all of it. No matter the cost. No matter the sacrifice. No matter the blood, sweat, and tears. Because truly knowing Him is the only thing I want. Life hasn’t prepared me. But He has. He’s constantly been there with me through it all. He has grabbed me when I tried to run. He calmed me when the storm rolled through. He threw out the lifejacket when I jumped into the deep unknown. And he does it every time. So here is to 2018. To new adventures and challenges. To new awakenings and to new lifejackets. Here is to Him. The king of the universe. Who hold all things together. He who counts the stars and calls them all by name. How could any one live life without Him? How could one look to the stars and still not believe? He is the author. The beginning and the last. The one and only. And you will carry you through life if you’ll let him. Trust me, it makes every hardship worth it.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
The trip to the city never happened after filling up the car with gas. I was excited to get away for a few hours and had planned to indulge in some ice cream at the market. But everything changed when Alecson, an eight year old little boy knocked on my window with his dirt stained hand reaching out. I rolled down the window and gave him some crackers. I started talking to this brown eyed boy who's life consisted of begging in order to be fed. Eight years old and this is what he must do. Everyday. He hopped in my backseat and we drove 2 miles to the village he previously came from. Hiked for 10 minutes up the mountain and finally arrived to a little hut made out of sticks and leaves and mud. "8 days since we last saw you!" yelled the grandmother. I sat with this family asking many questions and was remembered just how hard most lives are here. Alecson lost his childhood. His mentally ill mother could not provide for him so Alecson took the 2 mile hike to the nearest town each day to beg. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I said. The question startled him. His mind didn't know how to dream such dreams. So out of his soft voice he muttered, "just to help my mom." All of life was thrown back into perspective right then. "I usually sleep in the ditch if there isn't water....I tried to sleep on people's porches but I got caught so they burnt me." He took off his shirt to show me the burn that was given to him by a match when the owner of a home caught him sleeping on the roof. My mind is frazzled as I think about my next trip to the States. How easy and comfortable we have it. Safe and secure on our cushioned couch with our overflowing pantry. This little boy deserves to be playing soccer. Learning how to write. Sleeping in a house without fear of the evil around him. But he doesn't. So today, be thankful. Thank God you have what you have. A family, a house, food on the table and water in the sink. Everyday God's heart breaks for this little boy....yet we can go to bed just fine at night. We flip the page and turn the channel. Let's open our eyes to the hurting world around us. We've been blessed so we can bless others. So let's do just that.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
He bent down and kissed her sweet cheek. My eyes lit up as I watched this father with his child. He actually wanted his daughter. Even though the mother died at child birth, he still loved his baby. Rare. So many times I see fathers giving up their kids. Too much work. Too much responsibility. No bond. But he was different. He showed me that he loved her. But he could not provide. He wanted to give her up for her sake. He wanted me to take her and raise her. But I wouldn't. I couldn't after seeing the way he looked at Vadgencia. I said my speech that I say every time someone offers me their child. "I'll help you with formula, diapers, and a job...if you will raise her. It's always better for a baby to stay in a family." So many times they still say no... but not this dad. He will work his hardest to raise his daughter. He will do anything he can to help his baby girl. Vadgencia has a disease causing a tissue to cover up part of her airways causing her difficulties to breathe and also a gasping noise with each breath she takes. Doctors said she will grow out of it once she's 2 years of age... If she makes it that long. So we will pray. Pray for this dad who is currently homeless. Pray for his baby, who is fearfully and wonderfully made. Pray that La Limye can show them Jesus. Show them where hope comes from. In Christ alone.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Essie had just returned from the hospital stay when Mary (the children's home nurse) came over because Essie was about to be rushed back to the ER. As we were running frantically, tripping over the Nebulizer cords, and trying to count heart beats, she mentioned that a little baby needs to come into my home. Her mom is crippled and I need to do something about it. It stopped me in my tracks for just a minute as I was already flustered wondering if the newborn in my arms was still breathing. I said we will talk about it later but left it at that. A few days later, the baby's story was mentioned to me again and I mentioned that I would like to visit the family and assess the situation in their village. Little did I know what I was getting my self in to. We jumped on the back of motorcycles and drove the uphill battle for 3.5 hours. We got off around 11 times and had to climb over big rocks and track through mud filled paths while the moto drivers pushed the moto through. After falling off twice (due to the back tire sliding on the mud or hitting a big rock) my sore, bruised, and muddy body made it to the top. There, I found a hut. Smaller than my bathroom. Made of mud, leaves, and rocks. And I found a girl. Not much younger than I am, sitting outside that hut....with no hope in her eyes. She was crippled. She has club feet and a mental disability making the daily rituals of bathing and using the restroom by her self impossible. Her eyes met mine as she spoke in a gentle soft voice that I was the first white person she has ever seen. My heart broke into a thousand pieces. How? Why? Who? Who could have shattered her joy? Why would someone ruin her dignity? How in the world did she birth this baby? This tiny baby that is 2 months old but has only eaten watered down crackers since the day she was born was birthed by this young teenager who's joy was stolen from her. Noviette was raped. The neighbors were all in the gardens working when someone came in and did this to her. She carried Novia, birthed Novia, but because of her mental disability she doesn't really understand the meaning of being a mom. She's handicap and needed just as much help as her tiny baby. After communicating with the locals around, I went up to Noviette and invited her to come live with me. I told her I would love her and her baby and take good care of them. She would no longer have to be afraid of the dark hours of the night, or the hunger pains that she's immune to, or the fear of life itself. I told her I have soap at my house and her eyes lit up. Soap. Something we take for granted but is treasured gold to her. As much as I dreaded that awful ride back down the mountain, I had peace. Peace to bring a teenager into my home filled with babies. Peace that I could somehow show her the love of Jesus and help her feel loved and worthy again. I gained 2 more girls and now I have a family of 10. Watching them grow and thrive is the best feeling in the world. Noviette needs a lot of help...mentally and physically. Novia needs lots of prayer as her little body is underweight. But I have a good God that loves us with an everlasting love. The devil meant to harm her, kill her, shame her. But God used it for good. God used it to bring new life to them. To give them their hearts desire....food, shelter, and love.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
It all seems like such a blur. It all happened so fast and as therapeutic as it is to write down my feelings, I have no desire to think back to that day. To those events. Essie Mae wasn't acting normal. I picked her up and knew something was wrong. She wouldn't wake up. Her heart rate was too fast to count. Her lips were turning purple. The feeling of racing to the ER with Melody all came back to real that night. It was around 10pm. We were heading to a hospital 30 minutes away. Essie stopped breathing before we arrived and every ounce of my blood ran to my toes and that same piercing of the heart that I had gone through just 3 months earlier was back stabbing and all I could do was repeat the name of Jesus. Over and over and over. One of my interns started CPR and in that moment I watched God breath life back into her fragile lungs. But the hospital was out of oxygen. The only hope was to go to the city. An hour and a half from where we were. All in hopes that we would make it in time. I found the phone number for an ambulance and in the late dark hours of Sunday night we pulled over on the side of the highway and I jumped in the ambulance with my beautiful 3 week old baby girl. The night was long and emotional as I rushed into that ER door and demanded help for this precious baby. I was not about to buy another casket the size of my purse. I was not about to bury another baby. I couldn't. I refused. I didn't sleep that night. I sat by her side and watched her breathe. I watched as mom's and dad's of other ill children slept on pieces of cardboard and sheets all around the hospital driveway. I watched as rats ran between hiding places in hopes for someone's leftover food. I watched Essie's chest rise and lower. I held her close to my chest and watched the clock...but time seemed to stand still. She stayed in that hospital for 3 nights before being released. Bronchiolitis is what the nurse diagnosed her with. A lung disease that almost took her life. Ann Voskamp said "not one thing in your life is more important that figuring out how to live in the face of unspoken pain." So I will spend the weeks and months after this learning how to breath again. How to trust the "One whose breath births galaxies into being births healing into the heart of the broken." I will learn that serving Jesus doesn't mean ease and comfort. But I know it's worth it. Every heartache, every pain, every fear...its worth it for the sake of knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord. Esther Mae is home and healing. She is a beautiful 8.14 pound baby that has captured the hearts of everyone she has met. Essie is here for a reason. She has a purpose to fulfill on this earth. She is a miracle from the Miracle Maker.
Sunday, June 4, 2017
I got the message 2 day after she was born. A beautiful 7.5 pound orphaned baby was carried down the mountain by her teenage uncle after losing her mom from child birth complications and her dad from an accident a few months back. She was brought to another ministry, who’s children’s home was already full, so they messaged me. My mind immediately went back to Melody. It had been almost 3 months since the day she breathed her last... but not a single day had gone by that I didn’t think of her sweet soft voice and still small body lying helpless in my arms. I fast forwarded my thoughts and pondered on all the “what-ifs”. What is this baby dies also. What if I have to buy a casket the size of my purse all over again. I had already given away all of my baby clothes. I was scared. Scared to be hurt again. Scared to love again. Scared to try again. She was orphaned. She had no mother and no father and I was asked to take on that role. How could I say no? I saw her precious picture light up on my phone and I took a deep breath and relied. “ yes, I am still taking in children.” Ann Voskamp said “Not one thing in your life is more important than figuring out how to live in the face of unspoken pain.” I had to learn to cope. I had to live by faith. As I clenched my fist as if I am clinging onto the hands of Jesus, I said yes. “Maybe this broken way is making something new. He is making all things new.” Welcome home, Miss Essie. You’ve given me my strength back. You’ve given me hope. I love you, sweet girl.
Friday, March 24, 2017
From Then Until Now. One year. Wow. It has been a whole year since La Limye opened the doors and welcomed in the first baby girl. One year of lots of laughter and lots of tears. Memories that I’ll never forget and celebrations that will forever be engraved in my heart. One year of learning the ropes to being a mother figure to the most wonderful group of girls. One year of sleepless nights and bouncing through the hallway 10000 times trying to get the babies to sleep at 2am. One year of watching these girls hit milestones and beat malnutrition like warriors. One year of more sickness’ than my body has ever had. One year of crying out to Jesus and leaning on the only shoulder I had, His. One year of learning to be more independent and taking care of others before myself. One year of answered prayers and joyful recoveries. One year of dodging bullets and gas bombs. Lockdowns and plan B’s. One year of falling more and more head over heels in love with my Savior. Of risking it all for the sake of the gospel. One year of trial and errors. One year of failing, asking for forgiveness, and trying again. One year of grace and mercy given by Abba. One year later with 33 employeesand 7 children. It has been a whirlwind of a year but a blessed one for sure. I have learned that without Jesus, none of this would be possible. Annia, from 16 days old to 1 year old: You made this last year possible. I remember the day I got you. March 24th 2016. I had no idea how to take care of you. You were my guinee pig. You are my sunshine. You keep me breathing. Now you have the biggest personality in the house and are spoiled rotten. You, my child, are a gift from God.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
I don’t even know what to say. My whole being is numb. Every ounce of my fiber cries out. If only I could hold you one more time. Kiss your sweet cheeks one more time. Listen to that still small tune that flowed out of your mouth... one more time. She was born in the wee hours of the morning on February 26th. Her mom wanted her dead…but she was rescued. Then the mom fled. Perhaps it was the plan all along. She became number 8 into La Limye. She was so beautiful. I cleaned her up since she hadn’t been cleaned after making an entrance into this world, and I wrapped her up nice and warm and frantically called hospitals to see who could help her. I was scared as I held her three pound body so closely to mine. Living out in a rural area of Haiti meant no doctors close by with the materials needed that could help. She needed a place that had the resources to take in premature babies. So we made the drive. Over an hour in the car as I kept my hand on her little heart to make sure it was still beating. When we arrived, I rushed inside, hoping for a miracle, but it was too late. Melody died just a few minutes before arriving. I knew the reality but couldn’t believe it so I moved her around trying to wake her up. She was just asleep I thought. That sweet small tune had just came out of her mouth. The nurse kept checking…hoping I was correct… and then she said the words that will forever ring in my ears. “I’m sorry. She’s not breathing.” I gasped for air and started to shake. I felt sick to my stomach and the floodgates opened. This was my baby. I already had a crib made for her. I already had friends buying preemie clothes and teeny tiny diapers for her. I gave her a name. Melody. I already fell in love with you. You already met your new sisters and already captured my heart. Melody…the sweet tune coming from your mouth would only be a voice clip on my phone now. I stood there and stared at your lifeless body on that table. Racing through the emotions and feelings. Wondering if I did something wrong. I couldn’t believe it. My head felt like it was beating out of me, I didn’t think there was any more water left to pour out of my eyes. The only think I could do was clinch my fist and imagine squeezing Jesus’ hand as you busted through the gates of heaven and ran into your daddy’s arms. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. The images are on replay in my mind and they won’t go away. But you are good. So good now. You are dancing on streets of gold. You are laughing and smiling and that sweet tune coming from your mouth is now chanting Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. I will indeed miss you…but I know you are looking down on me. Telling me to press on. To hold my other girls even tighter. To be happy. Because you are happy. I don’t know how or even when I’ll learn to cope but I can lean fully that one day “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4 Have fun with Jesus, sweet girl.
Friday, January 27, 2017
Silvean It didn’t take long for you to become my best friend. The highlight of my days are going to your cemetery to talk to you. At 81 years old you sleep on top of your mother’s grave. In Haiti some tombstones are more like little rooms, about 7ftx7ft. So thankfully you have a roof over your head, but that doesn’t do justice. As I sit there and talk to you, you always tell me you can’t see me. You tell me this 10 times during our conversation because cataracts had stolen your sight. I met you as you were starving to death. You knew it too. I could wrap one hand around your legs. It is skin and bones. No fat, no muscle. Every day I watch as your eyes swell up with water as you say to me “I’m going to die like this. No one can live like this.” You tell me about the rain and how you get so wet. You tell me about the wind and how during this season in Haiti it is really chilly at night. And then you tell me you can’t see me, but you can hear me. I tell you about Jesus and you tell me to pray for you, but I wonder if I came too late. Your mind wonders and forgets and can’t seem to make it through a full conversation. I hate watching you cry. Wondering why no one cares, why no one comes to visit. I know a little about your past. Why some people say you got what you deserve. But when you tell me “please don’t forget about me” I tell you I won’t. I serve a God of mercy and grace and nothing of your past makes you unworthy of His love. My mind wonders to this quote: “We have given people just enough Jesus to be bored but not enough to feel the surge of holy adrenaline that courses through your veins when you decide to follow Him no matter what, no matter where, no matter when.”-Mark Batterson. I think about this quote and all of the reasons people won’t come help him. It’s too expensive, I might get parasites, I’m too busy. And I say ok and I fully understand but my mind drifts to Silvean. This is someone’s grandfather. Someone’s father, who also is blind physically and can’t help him either. And I think about his conditions, and if only people knew, if only people saw him as a best friend like I do then maybe, just maybe, they would come help. Reality is, he is going to die soon. One day I am going to show up to the grave yard and yell his name several times like I always do because he is hard of hearing…but one day he won’t answer. Eventually I’ll have to bury him. And every day I wonder. He’s right. No man can live with the conditions he lives in. And I guess what hurts my heart the most is because of the blind. Silvean is now practically blind by fate, the Pharisees were blind by choice. They choose to live chasing after the desires of this world and forget about the words of Jesus in the gospel…yet filled the pews every Sunday and followed all the rules… How often do we get caught up in our stuff, our identity, our looks, our achievements, that we forget about Jesus? We forget that we serve a crucified savior who never said to live comfortable. So if we follow a crucified savior, we must act like it and walk like it. No more being blind by choice. Open your eyes. There is a dying world out there longing to see. Longing to see. I’ll pray for you Silvean. Thank you for letting me your granddaughter