Only those with broken hearts are bid to come here to Haiti. For in the pain, the gut wrenching pain of a heart that breaks over the injustice and suffering in this place, can one find the hope and strength in Jesus to persevere and bring His love and truth to these who need it most.
Our hearts have been broken over the last several days. Our strength has been tested. We realize that every moment we need to depend on God for strength, compassion, and wisdom to be able to care for those He has called us to and seek to make the message of Christ known to them through both our words and our deeds.
Both Maria and I have been overwhelmed with the new task that the Lord has led us to in Directing and caring for 22 orphaned children. Granted, we have learned that many of these children have Moms who are alive, but you might as well call them orphaned because nobody else has been able to take care of them. I do wish that we could reunite those that have Moms back to their homes, but I don’t yet know the whole situation. Is their home safe? Were they being abused? Were they being fed? There are too many questions right now that we don’t have answers to, so we will just take the responsibility now of caring for these children in the best way we know how.
So, yes, we have been overwhelmed incredibly in the last few days as we have come face to face with the reality of what life is like for most people in Haiti. Yesterday, we went to that community home in Cabaret where families are living behind ragged sheets for walls. I saw my friend’s 2 room house where he lives with his wife and 2 children. We have even been overwhelmed by our own living situation. We are living in a small place that has no windows as of now, therefore it has been open season for all types of bugs and mosquitoes, as well as a few rats that we have seen come through the windows. We have to tuck ourselves tight under our mosquito nets to keep us as safe as we can from the bugs, and possible malaria carrying mosquitoes. Our water sometimes smells absolutely nasty and is always absolutely salty. So, it has been a hard adjustment for us as well.
Then, this morning Maria comes back with tears in her eyes and a look of righteous anger on her face. She tells me that she just saw some of the children and they are filthy dirty and are dressed in complete rags. Ripped shirts, ripped skirts, no shoes on, etc. She then took a whole bunch of clothes that we had in a bin, got some soap and wash cloths, and went over to the orphanage next door to bathe the little children and dress them for church today. She told the oldest girl there, Madeline, that she did not want the kids to ever wear anything that was ripped or with holes ever again. Then, she gave the security guard her Puerto Rican death look as she saw him standing watch over the girls who were taking a shower.
So, she returned overwhelmed. I have been overwhelmed. We both just kind of sat down with this blank stare in our eyes. We talked about our need to depend on God every single moment. We reaffirmed the call that God has given us. And we just stated that we can only do our best, but we cannot fix everything overnight, and we can’t even ever fix EVERYTHING.
As we pulled into the church parking lot, I saw one of our girls from the orphanage laying down on the back of the tap tap (the truck that transports all the kids). I went over to her and asked her if she was feeling sick. I had prayed for her a few days ago because she was sick and she had said later that day that she was feeling better. But today, I looked at this beautiful young girl trying to be strong, but unable to stop the tears from streaming down her face. She said that she was very sick. I felt her forehead and it was burning hot. So, I told Maria that I would take her back home and then come back later to pick her and Isabela up from church.
I brought her to our house and put her in my daughter’s bed. My heart was breaking for this girl. I just wanted to give her the world in that moment. She looked so helpless and in so much pain. I fought back my own tears from falling. But it was in this moment that I was reminded of the reason why we are here. This is what makes it all make sense. This is what enables us to persevere through our own “uncomfortable-ness” and difficulties. Here is a girl who we are growing to love…and she is burning up with a fever. We laid hands on her and prayed and prayed. She has a fever of 103.4. I hope she does not have malaria.
So, right now she is sleeping in a nice comfortable bed and drinking cold spring water. I wish I could just hold her and take away all her pain. I pray that what we are doing is demonstrating the love and truth of Christ and that this small act will draw her closer into loving and knowing God.
But…this is why we are here.
I guess so much of what I have been describing as overwhelming is really the injustice that we have seen. Families should not have to live in concrete boxes with dirty ripped sheets for walls and dirty smelly clothes for a bed. Hard working, intelligent Haitian men should not have to live in 2 room homes where there are no beds for the children. Orphaned children should not have to be wearing clothes that are dirty, ripped, torn, and smelly.
Haitian girls should not have to shower in an open space where a perverted security guard can gaze upon them. (and something definitely will be done about that). And this beautiful young Haitian girl asleep in the next room should not have to lay down on a wooden bench in the heat with a fever of almost 104. This is the injustice that overwhelms us.
And this is why we are here. May the Lord give us strength to persevere and wisdom to know how to implement change for His glory.