When You Know You Are Home

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The girls with freshly painted fingernails

The enemy knows right where to hit us when we’re down. When I get really busy sometimes I am not good at putting on
my armor to deflect him. I have been back in Haiti now for one month.
Though it feels amazing to be here and is definitely home for me…it has been a tough month. We have some incredible teams coming and one that just left this week and I am already getting hit with the spiritual warfare from what God is going to do here.

The day before I left the states to head back to Haiti my vertigo returned, with a vengeance. I know most of you have never had vertigo, or driven in Haiti, much less driven in Haiti with vertigo. Well, imagine your worst nightmare and there it is. I have also had insane migraines along with ulcer type pains. I have had three Haitian friends of mine within one week’s time tell me that I have gotten a lot fatter since the last time they saw me, or that I need to “put the fork down”…to quote verbatim. Though I have gained weight this past couple months from the cocktail of meds that I have been on through this medical journey, there is no reason for comments like that. I understand the cultural differences between the US and Haiti, but hurtful words are hurtful words. I am not obese, not by any stretch of the imagination, but when weight gain is a result of a spiritual physical attack, it is a rough reality. Especially when he combines it with whispers in your ear….or out loud.

In a year that I have chosen “Worthy” as my word for the year to focus on and accept, those words hit me where it hurts. I am challenging myself to accept the self-worth that God has created in me, and believe that I am worth loving…something that has been very hard for me to believe in the past. I am a child of God and I am His “Beloved” and nothing can take that away from me.

Ysalene….
in my sunglasses chillin’ on her new porch

I have grown to love and be part of a family here in Haiti called the Alphonse family. If you have followed me on here or Facebook, you are familiar with them. Calypso, Yberman, and Ysalene are the three children in that family that I spend a lot of time with. Their Mother is a lovely woman that doesn’t have the means to take care of them and, in my opinion, doesn’t know how. Though she has given birth to 10 kids total, it doesn’t seem that she knows what these kids need. I go up to their house and love on these kids at least once a week because they are severely neglected. Because of their social awkwardness it has taken them a long time to warm up to me. One day a few months ago, I asked Ysalene what my name is (since she is quiet I wanted to know if she remembered it). Her response with a big smile was, “Manman” (which means Momma). Calypso laughed and repeated..”Manman Cynthia!!” I didn’t know how to respond at first. It put a huge smile on my face, and yet it made me wonder what their real Mom would think of that.

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Ysalene’s photo she gave me

When I first landed back in Haiti after spending the Holidays at home in California, all I wanted to do was go see my kids at the school, especially the Alphonse kids. I spent a few hours up at their house because their Mom was gone at the market and they were all alone, and then I walked back to the school. A few of us were there talking when I see Madam Alphonse come up to us and started speaking in Creole. She told us that she has something for me and to wait while she ran home and came back. When she returned she had a small, wallet size photo of Ysalene. They had recently gotten pictures taken for an event and had prints given to them. Madam explained to us that when they received the prints, Ysalene told her to put this one aside in a safe place for “Manman Cynthia” when she gets back from the US. She handed me the cutest picture I have ever seen. Though she is not smiling (which is standard in Haitian photos), it is perfect. I couldn’t believe that she was so sweet and gracious to give this photo to a random white woman that her daughter calls “Momma”.  I was beyond thrilled and blessed.

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Their newly being built home

This week we had the privilege of starting to build a new home for this family. Madam Alphonse is not a friendly, smily woman though I know she is happy that we are doing this for her and her children. While the team built the home alongside of our Haitian construction crew, I took it upon myself to keep the kids busy and away from the chaos. As you can imagine, a lot of neighborhood kids gathered there each day to play with the “Blan” (white folk).

Madam Alphonse and Calypso

Madam Alphonse and Calypso

About the 3rd day of being out there this week Madam was cooking food for the crew. I was sitting near her with a few of the kids. A new kid had showed up that day and was a typical “too cool for school” teenager and was showing off his English to me. He asked me question after question in English and I answered him in Creole and we were getting to know each other. He asked if I had any kids and I said no. Just then, I hear Madam Alphonse speak up and say in Creole, “Yes she does!! She has Ysalene!!” She had a smile on her face. I had no words but definitely a few tears welling up in my eyes. Ysalene gave me a big squeeze and smiled while looking up at me.

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Me and Ysalene

Am I making a difference here in Haiti? What is my exact purpose? What can I look at and say that I accomplished? What about my to-do list that keeps growing and growing and never seems to get complete? What about the tough days that no one on our staff is willing when I need them to help me with something? The harsh words of discouragement…both in whispers in my ear for the enemy as well as out loud from others?

In that moment….all questions and concerns were answered.  I shared some very special moments that day while Madam took a pile of pictures out of her humble house and sat next to me. She showed me pictures of all of her kids and we spoke in Creole, without a translator and bonded.  I was able to tell her how beautiful of a family she has and see the smile on her face. These relationships and my witness to her are all that really matter.

I am home.

Here is a video I made with a few of my pictures and video clips from this week:

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