www.lalimye.com

Monday, November 8, 2021

My bleeding heart


I don’t even know what to say.

I write when my heart is heavy. Yet it’s like I’m so numb by what’s going on I can’t even explain it. It’s like living a dream… but not those sweet fairy tale dreams that I wish for. It’s the nightmares. The ones that never stop. It’s reality. It’s life. 

But it’s not a true nightmare for me. I’m just watching it mainly. I’m comfortable. Sure, not near as comfy as if I were stateside, but I’m well. I have what I need. But not my neighbors. They’re suffering. Their nightmare continues on even after they wake up. They’re not watching it, they’re living it. 

The motorcycle taxi driver quoted one of my employees how much it would cost for her to get a ride to and from La Limyè. It was half of her daily wage. Which is a fair wage. But with gas off the street being $20 a gallon, what do you expect… instead she walked the several miles home in the pitch black because there are no streetlights. It’s not fair. 

They tell me of a lady who was pregnant but because of no diesel at the hospital that runs off of generators she died. Her husband watched his daughter or son kick in their mamas stomach for a little bit longer until he or she died too. It’s not fair. 

I told them we were almost out of cooking oil- something that is used everyday here since there is no McDonald’s to run by. I usually buy in the 5 gallon jugs which they said will now cost us about $50USD. It’s not fair. 

I get on FB and I see everyone so happy going to football games or family get togethers or shopping with friends and a part of me wants that. Part of me doesn’t want to watch the hungry get hungrier because of injustice. I don’t want to feel guilty that I have 4 boxes of cereal in my pantry or even a pantry at all. Sometimes I want to dream that I’m blinded by it so I can use a hairdryer in my perfectly pre set temperature house, put on mascara that won’t melt away, head to Chick-fil-A la where they cook the food for me and then go over to Target to buy worthless things without feeling like I’m abandoning my friends. That’s what I kind of want at times. And I’ll be so thankful when that blessing comes. And one day soon that’s what I’ll do I’m sure… but what kind of dream is that? Even when I get to return to the States for a visit I’ll never be able to forget what I’ve watched unfold. I’ll never be able to accept how easy life can be for some and how utterly dark and hopeless it is for others. I’ll probably never stop feeling guilty for having a passport. Because I get to run away if I want to. I get food stamps if I want them. I get Medical care if I need it. And yet without that passport La Limyè wouldn’t be in existence- so yes I’m still so thankful.  

But my heart hurts for these people. For innocent lives that continue and continue to one, be forgotten by the outside world and two, be pushed to near breaking point over and over again. 

We do what we can here at La Limyè to lessen the load off  our neighbors shoulders but it never seems like much. 

I use to want my girls to grow up here and then go out into their own country and make a difference, love others, be a light. And I still do in a way, but also I just want to shove them in my suitcase and get them as far away from the ongoing nightmare as possible. I want them to learn gymnastics or piano or softball. I want them to know what it’s like to play on a jungle gym or giggle through a car wash or get a free toy every time you buy a Happy Meal. I want them to be safe and secure and I can’t offer them that here. Nobody can. And yet they’re still so much more secure than our neighbors. 

 But here we are in a country that I’ve called home with people I call family and though I do life with them and sit with them and hear about their struggles and taste and see a small fraction of what real life for some of them really is like, I’ll still never truly know what it’s like to choose the next meal or choose to buy Tylenol for a sick child. 

And so my heart hurts for the hurting. They deserve better. Oh I wish you could meet them. Their strength is beyond comprehension. Their faith is literally to die for. Their determination and their courage and their love is what keeps them beautiful. Amidst so much poverty and destruction and unfairness, I look up to these people. Life is unfair and yet they keep on living. 

And so there you have it… my bleeding heart all poured out, trying to explain my feelings. Counting my blessings and wishing I could give it all away. 

Pray for my neighbors today. I wish you all could meet them.  

You’d meet strength in a whole new way. 

You’d feel love in a whole new way. 

You’d fight for justice in a whole new way. 


—— 

The recent turmoil on this island is mainly due to not having any diesel or gas delivered. We have fuel on the island, plenty of it. But one of the gangs has blocked the roads where the fuel ports are located and any truck that tries to leave to deliver gets kidnapped and robbed. The gang announced that if the prime minister steps down, they will allow fuel to be delivered. If he doesn’t step down, this will continue on.  

For now hospitals, banks, factories, taxi services (which is the main transportation for Haiti), cell phone towers, and schools are either shut down completely or working at minimum capacity.



Thursday, October 28, 2021

Sinking ships

 Life can be so overwhelming at times and everything can feel like a sinking ship at one moment and perfect harmony on a mountain top the very next.


As my heart was pounding with anxiety the other day all it took to calm me down was hearing the nannies and the girls start singing sweet hymns at the top of their lungs praising God amidst so much heartache and disasters and grief in the world. I couldn’t help but have tears in my eyes. 


Amanda sat on the floor making a circle around her with building blocks and said “look Mommy Ellie I made an airplane so I can go visit God” 


“What are you going to tell Him when you get there, DaDa?” 


“mèsi”. 


She’s going to tell the King, “thank you.”


“Because even when I  walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid” psalm 23:4 


And even though “the wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings, the Lord still rules from heaven” psalm 11:2&4 


And even in this parched and weary land, your unfailing love is better than life itself. Psalm 63:1&3 


And even though I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. You are all I really want in life. Psalm 142:3&5


For you are good, Lord. Nothing is to petty of an issue to bring to you. Nothing is too small to ask of You. You shut the mouths of lions and you split the ocean to make dry ground. You made mankind in your image and you called it good, very good. 


So I will trust you on the sinking ships and during the perfect harmonies. I will love you when the future is so fearful or when the present is so fruitful.  


You keep breathing in my lungs and I’ll keep breathing out your glory. 

You keep giving me life and I’ll keep giving it back to You. 


Mèsi is what I’ll tell you. Mèsi.


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Kidnappings








Written on 9-26-21 


 I listened as I was told story after story of what’s been happening in just the last 72 hours….


 Haiti is a “level 4 DO NOT TRAVEL” country and has been for a long time. In the past it’s been due to road blocks and riots, robberies and protests. But now it’s kidnappings. Though the others still are happening often, kidnapping is increasing rapidly in so many areas. Haitian, American, French, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or the color of your skin the gangs are kidnapping people for ransom left and right. Young and old. Locals and foreigners. 

It’s exhausting mentally and emotionally to watch it play out. 

I’ve been told not to go to the grocery store in the city any time soon. I haven’t been in over a month. I’ve been warned not to go renew my residence permit yet. Not to go pick up my mail. Not to go into the city at all for the time being. 

It’s exhausting because we all hear about the kidnappings, see the faces of the victims and then just wait to see if they make it. If ransom is paid. It’s tiring because your friends that are Haitian know so much more about the situation than you do and they say to forget the cheese and the milk and the selection of flavored chips that can’t be bought where we live. Eat a Haitian diet with whatever food can be found in your own little town. Rice and rice and more rice. 

Out here it’s relatively calm. We’ve had very little to no gas or diesel for months, making parts of doing ministry really hard, but for the most part the big issues are all in the city. 

It’s mentally crippling because the girls are stuck here. They can’t escape with me if I were to want to leave or made to leave. My employees who are the sweetest, most caring  people don’t deserve the consequences that affect the country as a whole because of the actions of some. I heard my nanny tell one of my girls the other day that wanted a snack I buy for them but can only be found in the city “we have to eat what’s made and put on the table each day. It’s about filling our stomach these days not about satisfying our stomach. Food is expensive.” 

BUT we’re not giving up on hope in Haiti. There’s too much good still here. Still visible. So many beautiful people who deserve the best of what the world can offer. So many Haitians pressing on, serving their community, loving the Lord their God amidst so much danger. Innocent people who just want to live a life and not be afraid of sending their child to school. 

I’ve dealt with my own fair share of trauma out here but I truly can’t imagine what the mamas are going through in the “hot zones” where kidnapping is a daily occurrence. 

We need prayers. So many prayers. On your knees begging to the Lord for safety, for security, for peace and mostly for change. Change needs to come. It can’t continue on like this. It’s not fair. Divine intervention is needed. So pray like you’ve never prayed before. Please. For the victims, for the families, for the men, women, and children having to watch it all take place. For the gangs.  For the innocent lives. For the ministries. For the government. Just please pray. 

If you know a missionary in Haiti reach out to them, pray for them, encourage them, send a care package or just a little money so they can go to the beach to relax. I think we’re all exhausted over here and yet still willing to press on. It’s a fierce battle some days. The future is so unknown and the present is so messy. But the sun rises and the sun sets and Jesus is still King and always will be…and that’s enough to get us through the hard days. 

Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. These people and their country are worth it. 

The devil might be winning the battle but we already know who wins the war.


——- Since writing this blog but before posting it here, an article came out by the Washington Post on October 9th 2021. Here is some of what it says:



(The last quote is from a lady who sells eggs on the side of the road. Her son was kidnapped and her words are truer than true.)


————————————


“PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Four days after the August earthquake that devastated the south of Haiti, Walkens Alexandre, a physician, was traveling to treat victims at a hospital when a motorcycle blocked his white Ford Ranger. Two men hopped off, pulled guns, commandeered his truck and hauled him to the outskirts of the capital.

He was held for three days while the kidnappers negotiated by phone with his family. He’d be set free for 30 times his monthly salary. Loved ones pleaded with relatives and friends to contribute to the ransom.

“Now I’m traumatized, fearful of people, and reminded of this every time someone slams a door, or I hear a motorcycle,” said Alexandre, 43. “We don’t feel safe in Haiti. There is always panic, always fear.”


“The most troubled nation in the hemisphere is now being held hostage by a surge in kidnappings.”


“Haiti now holds the tragic title of highest per capita kidnapping rate on Earth. Recorded kidnappings so far this year have spiked sixfold over the same period last year, as criminals nab doctors on their way to work, preachers delivering sermons, entire busloads of people in transit — even police on patrol. So great is the surge that this year, Port-au-Prince is posting more kidnappings in absolute terms than vastly larger Bogotá, Mexico City and São Paulo combined, according to the consulting firm Control Risks.”


“During the first six months of the year, there were at least 395 kidnappings, more than four times the 88 during the same period last year, according to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince. After the assassination in July of President Jovenel Moïse — abductions dropped briefly, before surging to 73 in August and to 117 in September, according to the center.”


“Haiti is confronting a convergence of crises: political instability, a collapse of the rule of law, the spread of violent gangs, shortages of food and fuel, and massive need in the earthquake-hit south.”


“The recent wave includes the kidnappings of two senior bank executives, raids of evangelical churches, the nabbing of nearly 20 doctors and the seizures of fuel trucks and their drivers.”


“Locals and foreigners alike are living in fear. The heads of several foreign companies told The Washington Post that the kidnapping wave led them to reassign staffers to remote work in other Caribbean countries, Europe or the United States. Other firms are leaving Haiti altogether.”


“Every time you leave your door in Port-au-Prince, it’s like a game of Russian roulette,” said one European executive”


“Most people who can afford it and have visas have sent their family away, or moved outside the country,”


“In September, a preacher was killed and his wife kidnapped in front of a church in Port-au-Prince. On Sunday, kidnappers wearing Haitian National Police uniforms snatched a pastor and two worshipers from a church in the troubled Delmas 29 neighborhood.”


“David Turnier, president of the National Association of Petroleum Product Distributors, said seven fuel trucks were hijacked and their drivers held for ransom during just the first week of October. He said gas stations across the country have witnessed a 60 percent drop in fuel stocks.”


“We are lost,” she said. “Our only hope for change is God.”


————————— 


Pray for Haiti and it’s people. 


“But mightier than the violent raging of the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore- the LORD above is mightier than these!” 

Psalm 93:4 


Full article can be read at https://archive.is/wasn9


*photo by Rodrigo Abd/AP Sept. 27.




—-And since that article, we found out that 16 Americans and 1 Canadians were kidnapped and are still hostages being held for ransom since Saturday October 16th. 


“I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.” 

Psalm 63:8


Friday, August 20, 2021

The Journey

   



This month marks 8 years living in Haiti

February marked 10 years of being a follower of Jesus. 


The good, the bad, and the ugly 

The blood, sweat, and tears 

The highs and the lows 

The mountain tops and the valleys 

The births and the deaths 

the thrills and the burnouts

I’ve named babies and I’ve bought caskets. 

I’ve watched the child overcome starvation and watched starvation kill the child. 

I’ve seen miracles and I’ve seen witchcraft 

I’ve seen the work of God and I’ve seen the work of the devil. 

I’ve dreamed dreams and lost visions 

I’ve had nothing and I’ve been full. 


This island has taught me to grow up faster than I thought I would through my 20s. This island life taught me how to pay taxes, drive without a GPS, and negotiate through any and every purchase. These people have taught me how to love no matter what, forgive even when it hurts, understand that not everything is right vs wrong but sometimes just different. 

They’ve taught me how to fight instead of flight. They’ve taught me that stuff doesn’t buy happiness and that the world isn’t fair and that God is the God who sees all, knows all, cares about all, loves all, and will forever be our all. 


The last 8 years from age 22 to 30 have been  crippling yet rewarding. And though I’m forever scarred with the trauma of what this life has brought me, I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Because through it all, I was walking with Jesus. No thing, no circumstance, no trauma could steal my peace in knowing Who is in control. No amount of battle wounds could knock me down hard enough to not want to get back up and keep fighting the good fight. Keep running the good race for the sake of making His name known. I fall, I fail, He picks me back up. Every time. 

He is worth it. 

Jesus, the King of Kings, the very being whom we are made in the image of, the man who gave up His life in order to save ours…He is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears. He is worth all the mountaintops of rejoicing and the valley lows of mourning. 

Following Him no strings attached will forever change you. It strengthens you and challenges you. It is the most beautiful, daring, and humbling place to spend your days. In His arms. 

Nothing is easy about following a crucified Savior. It will cost you. A lot. But if I’ve said it once I’ve said it 1000 times. 

It. Is. Worth. It. 


If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. 

Matthew 10:39







Saturday, July 10, 2021

God Listens



 Yesterday evening our little puppy got out and ran to the neighbors yard. Our neighbor is a voodoo priest and no one is allowed to go into his garden behind his house except him because that’s where spirits come and sacrifices are made. Even the people that were in his home weren’t aloud to go into the garden and he wasn’t home for us to ask permission. So we waited and waited for the puppy to find it’s way back home but it was already getting dark and the dog was somewhere in the giant field of plantains that were off limits to everyone except the witch doctor. It wasn’t fear that kept my security guards  from going into his garden to look for the dog, it was respect for our neighbor and his property. 

I told the girls to pray and if God wanted the dog to come back and live with us, we’d find her. The girls prayed and ask God to lead the dog back to our home and then we all went to sleep. The next morning, the little puppy was found, brought back to us, and the girls with their child like faith were screaming with excitement! 

God heard their prayers. God answered their prayers. And now they are saying thank you. 

Prayer is powerful and childlike faith is beautiful. My girls witnessed that this morning and I hope they never forget it. I hope this is just the start of them seeing the power of prayer from our  God even in the little things. 

“I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”

Psalm 116:1-2

We are growing!



 ⭐️ My girls are getting a new home ⭐️ 

My board of directors and I have contemplated this idea for two years and it’s finally coming together. 

By building this new home, the girls will have a lot more space which is very much needed as they get older. 

It’s further from the main road so they will be more secure from the knocks on the gate, delivery trucks, visitors, etc. 

It’ll be built up to code by an amazing architect and contractor that also built our learning center and community center.

AND it’ll allow the existing girls home to be used for team housing/interns AND more outreach classes. 

Right now the community center is used almost every morning and evening every day for different activities but I feel like God has been throwing some ideas my way of expanding some of the ministry outreaches and having that extra space is just what we need.



When I was 22 years old I stood in one corner of the yard and told the builder to go stand over there and that’s how we decided on how big the rooms would be. Thus being 22 and having no idea what I was doing, it is not logistically set up well for 10 sweet residents, but it’s perfect for teams and daily outreach classes and whatever else God lays on our hearts to use it for. 

So here we are!!! Jumping into the deep end holding hands with God and leaning on the power of faith and prayer. 

God knows. He cares. He’s in this. He will provide. And the girls and the community that attends classes will have the space they need to grow and thrive and learn and maybe just maybe teams will get to come back soon because we miss you all so much! 

God willing, if everything works out, this project will be done in 5 months. I’ll keep you updated along the way. In the meantime, pray for provision, for guidance, and for all who will be blessed by this new addition at La Limyè!




Dachena




 I was talking to someone the other day who just took her baby to his one month check up. We were both so proud that he’s already almost 10lbs at 4 weeks old and loves to eat! But it reminded me again how malnourished Dachena was being 13 months old and weighing 13lbs. A sack of bones. I mean how little do you have to feed a child to keep them alive but be starved to nearly deaths doorstep? How many days did she not get fed? If her mama was still alive I’d say poverty played a role. Which isn’t fair. But if daddy was in the picture I’d say neglect played a role. Which isn’t fair either. Either way, the repercussions of starvation and being neglected are becoming more and more evident with this girl. She requires a lot of patience, and love, and structured discipline too. 

But still to this day babies are starved and on deaths door step and we forget it’s even happening. It’s hard to imagine until that baby is on your door step. 

Although I had wished there was a way for you to have been able to stay with your biological family rather than have to leave them, that’s not always the healthiest answer and that wasn’t an option 5 years ago. Every story is different. 

But Dachena, I love you and your heart and your mind that I can’t quite understand sometimes, and your strength and your smile, and your eagerness to always help me around the house. 

Someone recently asked “what can you do for her?” My answer was “well if we lived in a 1st world she’d have doctors and therapists and medication and resources. But we don’t. We live in a 3rd world. So we have God. And prayer. And that’s it. And it’s ok. 


Life is weak but God is strong.