Yesterday was a rough day. I know that this journey has a purpose. I know that I am here for a reason and I am blessed beyond belief that God chose be to me here today.
I am supervising three amazing young ladies that are interning with us for two months. It has been a joy and privilege to be able to lead them and I pray that this is a growing period for them and that God reveals great things to them as He has to me during my time here.
We had the opportunity to walk around a community called Williamson yesterday where one of our schools are and talk to some families. We had a chance to talk with people and hear about their lives and how God might use World Wide Village to educate and develop this area long-term. The girls and I were able to pray with them and encourage them and just be a friendly face to see and hold. Last week when we were hanging with the kids in our school one of our interns, Acassi, made a sweet connection with a little 3 year old named Calypso. As we walked around the neighborhood yesterday she asked our tour guide, our Pastor of Williamson’s 11 yr old daughter, if she knew where Calypso lived so we could get a chance to say hi to him. We were actually really close to his house so we went there.
As I walk around I realize…my eyes and my heart are used to seeing poverty. Though I have only been here just under 2 months, there is no escaping it. It is everywhere you go in Haiti and I wouldn’t say I am numb to it at all, but I find myself seeing these places and people through the heart of God and love them so much that I don’t see only the negative anymore. I look for opportunities to minister and help and pay close attention to needs that I see throughout each day.
The sight we saw when we got to Calypso’s house has been replaying like a video on the screen in my head ever since. Sitting on a cement block on the side of their tiny house all huddled up together were these three kids crying their eyes out. The situation we found out shortly after we arrived is that their Mother goes to town and walks the streets to sell Popsicle type things to make money. Each day she leaves early in the morning and comes back after it is dark, the daughter told us. Since their are no real neighbors nearby they have zero supervision, food or water during the day or a chance to bathe. It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life. They seemed almost sedated by neglect and exhausted from sitting in the heat and crying for hours.
Our Operations Manager, Peter, that was out there with us yesterday was as distraught as we were and we immediately switched from tears to action. We asked the little girl a few questions and she was able to grab a couple of items of clothing and we took them with us. Watching this probably 5 yr old girl have to be in charge of her two brothers and was so sad herself was just horrifying. After walking to a neighbor and letting them know what we were doing, we took them in our arms and carried them with us to our school where Pastor Joussaint and his wife were. We were able to bathe them, change them into clean clothes and feed them a snack. I literally gave them all of the Haitian money I had on me so that we could get some food to cook for them for the rest of the day as well as the next.
While his wife prepared a meal for them, Pastor Joussaint explained to us what he knew about this family.
They do not have a present Father at all. There is an older brother, around 13yrs old, that isn’t around much. They had given him things to go sell to help out but he would usually spend the money before he even got back to his family and would go missing for days. Pastor told us that about 2 years ago, the mother was gone all day selling things and came home to her 5 yr old child dead.
I can’t imagine what these kids have seen and had to experience. I can’t imagine being left alone in what I couldn’t even possibly call a home, without something to eat or drink all day in the squelching heat. I can’t imagine wondering if or when my Mom would come home and having to comfort my younger siblings as a 5 yr old. A beautiful 5 yr old that should be playing and laughing. A little baby that should be learning how to walk and talk from his Mother. A sweet 3 yr old that is almost dead socially from the lack of attention and affection.
We were able to leave them with food in their bellies, clean clothes on their freshly washed bodies (even though all we had was a dress for the baby boy:-/), and a hint of a smile.
The struggles the day brought me were many but each one very real. I struggled to maintain my composure as a leader in front of my 20 yr old interns. I struggled to act strong and in control, risking them thinking I am heartless, so that I can make good decisions and a plan of action. I struggled as they asked me to bring the kids home to the guesthouse with us when I knew I had to say no, but all my heart wanted to do was take these kids away with me. As we drove the hour an half home after this exhausting day, I cried. My mind couldn’t let go and stop spinning with the images I had seen and the pain that I experienced for these kids. As the interns slept in the backseat of the car, I attempted to process my thoughts and began writing things that came to my mind.
I came home to a guest house with no Spouse/Partner to digest this day with. No one to hug me and tell me it is going to be OK and we will figure something out. I know that God uses these times to fill that void and be there for me, and He did that last night. Some days are just tougher than others to be here on my own and handle some of these things but I am still grateful for every minute. I am still grateful for every tear I shed in pain for these people because I know God brought me here with a purpose.
My Devotion today said this, “Stay calmly conscious of Me today, no matter what. Remember that I go before you as well as with you into the day. Nothing takes Me by surprise. I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me. I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents. Collaborating with Me brings blessings that far outweigh all of your troubles. Awareness of my presence contains Joy that can endure all eventualities.” (Psalm23:1-4; 2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
Praise the Lord.