Rainstorms on cloud 9
I wake up to a video of large groups of men, women, and children fleeing their homes in the middle of the night because the gangs arrived and war is happening and they were forced to evacuate with nowhere to go. There is no motel down the road. There is no spare bedroom at your closest friends house. There is nowhere to go but they have to go, somewhere, in the middle of the night, with no street lights.
My phone beeped and I opened the message. A dead man lying in the road covered in blood and taxis and motorcycles are just passing by. It’s just another day, a new normal sight to see. Perhaps gunned down by the gang. Perhaps apart of the gang and gunned down by police. No one knows. Did he lose his way as a teen and had no one to turn to? Did he get so desperate for food for his daughter that stealing was the only option he thought he had? Was that day just the day he would be taken from earth and his little boy is waiting for him to get home not knowing he’s drowning in his own blood from a bullet to the head?
I hear the beep and I pick up my phone again. 4 gang members taken out during a failed kidnapping attempt. 4 less.
It dings again. A man, wife, and child are kidnapped by child soldiers. Yes, 14 year olds with automatic weapons. Did they choose that life because it’s the only way to make an income? Were they forced into that life and now have no way to escape?
In a country with such limited resources, lack of education availability, starvation, lack of medical care, no housing support, no troubled teen support groups, no therapy, no food stamps, no job opportunities, no visible way out of the circle of poverty I can understand why things like this happen.
I think about flying to America and the anxiety flows in. Churches will want to meet with me. They’ll want an update. Sunday school classes will want to hear how the new projects are going and how fun the summer activities for the girls are.
But how can I explain what living in seasons of hell feels like without scaring them away?
I’ve seen the work of the devil and I’ve seen his army face to face while being surrounded by their automatic weapons. And I beg you to fall on your knees worshiping Jesus because you don’t want to experience hell one day because of your choices in life today. It’s real, it’s raw, and it’s more terrifying then your worst nightmare. I’ll forever be haunted by him.
So what do I say? I wake up to seeing pictures of dead bodies and half their face being blown apart from the pressure of the bullet but I still look and try to depict their age and what road they’re on.
Do I tell them that kidnapping is rampant and trauma is suffocating and the poor are poorer than ever and no one can afford schooling and child soldiers are the new thing, and I’ve watched groups of men walk down the road shooting their AK-47s in the air and death, disease, and the power of gangs seems to be overtaking the little island and God is good but I can’t help but feel like the devil is winning the battle but one day I know God will win the war?
Some days I’ll smile at friends and family and say everything is fine and then I’ll turn away to cry and have heart palpitations because the story is too cruel and there’s no way to verbalize it. Because it’s beautiful and it’s messy and it’s amazing and it’s traumatizing and it all depends on the day.
Can you imagine that on Poplar Avenue, local friends?
Can you imagine evacuating your child at 3am because if not you’re bound to get your home ransacked and then potentially raped or at least shot?
Can you imagine listening to me trying to convince you that Haiti still needs your help and the innocent don’t deserve this and my employees are good hearted souls that just want to feed their kids and send them to school but as I’m talking I wonder if you’re thinking “they’re too far gone, they’re getting what they deserved, lets help somewhere safer and easier and more accessible”
Seeds are planted, y’all. The Spirit of the Lord is alive and working but we’ve got to just hang on a little bit longer for the harvest. I promise it’s coming. There’s still hope. The Haitians are resilient. They’ll never lose hope.
So I’ll go to America and I’ll smile and talk about how the girls are at home painting pictures and beading bracelets and nonchalantly say they’re being watched by armed guards paid to protect them but we have enough rice and beans for the next month so everything should be fine even if we don’t leave the house. I’ll tell you how blessed we feel to have your support to have a learning center for children with disabilities and the beautiful works of the Lord that happen by pouring ourselves into this forgotten and -thought to be cursed by voodoo- community
I’ll tell you how our beach day was just perfect and the water is so clear and backpacks need to be bought for school and God is working wonders and making miracles happen and I’ll tell you all this because it’s true. It’s truer than true.
But when asked “how is it really??”
It. is. hard. My heart breaks for what the Haitians are going through. What my girls are being raised in. Where I’ve been living.
I don’t want to think about it mentally when I’m
Stateside. It is living in what feels like hell on earth at times for the reason I don’t or can’t or won’t talk about it in detail.
And then sitting in home sweet America it seems so foreign to be true. How is that only 90 minutes from Miami?
So when I’m asked to go to a speaking event it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s not that I’m not desperate to get their support to continue supporting the Haitian community at and around La Limyè, it’s that I’ve been so mentally exhausted that after finally arriving back onto cloud 9 in America after the earthquake of life I just experienced and back to the land of hot showers, a/c, all the food choices one belly could want, and no visible sight of abject poverty at the peaceful trip to Walmart- I don’t want to remember what just happened and what will happen again after the week of cloud 9 evaporates. So I smile and give the happy version of life so I don’t have to remember and relive reality.
I have to advocate for them. They deserve it. But it’s hard.
During the happy times and the hard times,
during the good experiences and the ones I can’t verbalize just yet and maybe never, I must remember it is God who holds us in the palm of His hand.
It is God who knows every hair on our head.
It is God and only God that knows what will happen tomorrow, and the next day, and next week, and next year.
He is worthy to be trusted. He is worthy to be honored and he is worthy to be praised.
Thank God we were raised in a way that we have the ability to change the world and change lives by a little donation, by a little prayer. The power is in our hands to change the trajectory of lives here and there. We are so blessed. May our blessings never be stored up for moths and dust to destroy. May we freely give and freely love the hurting souls in our world.
God help us. God help the Haitian community. You’re our only solution.
Your will be done.