Tag Archive: abuse


Breaking the cycle.

Sometimes when things happen here in Haiti it takes weeks or months to get things out of my head and heart and onto paper….sometimes they aren’t even able to come out of my head into cohesive sentences at all….but then sometimes things happen and God prompts me to start writing immediately… this is something that just happened yesterday and is so fresh that there is no happy ending, no solution…yet.  But God is faithful, and He is working.

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My girls were eating dinner outside on our front balcony and I was continuing to clean upstairs and talk with Kyle and Rita….I heard a faint scream and stopped what I was doing and walked to the back porch.  As I heard it again I ran downstairs and into the back yard thinking that maybe it was from the road.  The third time I heard it, I ran outside of the gate and turned the corner…as I did I saw a young girl running and then hiding behind some rocks.

My heart knew already what was going on and immediately I began to pray.

I walked up to a young girl shaking violently she was crying so hard….her whole body was covered in blood, dirt and whelps…as I took a deep breath I began to ask her what happened….she could hardly answer so as I tried to soothe her…I didn’t even know where to touch her without her writhing in pain.

She took a breath and spit out some words about her father beating her.  My mind began to race…surely this wasn’t her ACTUAL father…trying to figure out who she lived with and where she lived took a little time because she was so afraid…but I finally convinced her to come to my house to clean her wounds.

As we entered the gate I called Rita (who was a CHAMP) and we began to clean the wounds.  I didn’t want to anger the father more by having the child at my house, so I knew that I needed to immediately go find her house and talk to him.   Just as I was leaving the gate, Josh and Jessica got home so they were able to help Rita with the child’s wounds.

I walked over to the young girls house with Tachi (our Haitian superwoman)….we found the child’s mother who didn’t even know what had just happened…we spoke to her for a few minutes trying to figure out what was going on…as she continued to say she wasn’t there, we decided to head back to the house to check on her again.

Seeing a 9 year old girl shaking with fear and in complete pain is something I don’t wish upon anyone.  As Tachi bathed her I went to tuck in my girls….talking briefly to them about what just happened, Micha immediately asked to pray and said that she remembers when she used to be beaten and she knew that God did not want that.  As I tried to hold back the tears from falling, she continued to pray so preciously for this sweet girl who is only one year old than her.

Right as Micha and Jess went to bed the young girl’s cousin and brother showed up.  A few minutes later the girl’s father knocked on the gate.  So here we had the brother, the cousin and now the father.   A few minutes later the mother arrived.  The whole family sitting on my porch.

BOTH of their children go to a good school…my heart just BROKE seeing a FAMILY in Haiti….mother, father, two children….TRYING to make it work.  As I asked what happened…all three of them began to talk about how she doesn’t listen, she won’t do her homework, she doesn’t respect her books, she doesn’t respect anyone or anything.  Her father went on to say that he had given all of his money for her education.

In their minds they had EXHAUSTED ALL resources.  In their minds they had tried EVERYTHING to try and teach their child.  I began trying to ask God WHAT he wanted me to do in this situation.

I am by NO MEANS saying that it is OKAY to beat a child.  I DO NOT agree with what this father did nor the punishment he chose.

But my heart BREAKS for this father.  It breaks because I could see in his eyes that he was trying….that he WANTED his children to learn….that He was trying the best way he KNEW how…..

As we talked more and more God began to open my eyes more and more to the IGNORANCE here in Haiti….even more to the cultural confusion with beating and abuse….to how Haiti believes this is an ACCEPTABLE form of discipline.  And that it might actually “teach children something.”

He told me how HIS father had done that to him.  The mother said that HER father had beaten her.  My mind swirled thinking of this Generational abuse.  My mind swirled hearing him say he thought the last time he did this was in 2009.  I just couldn’t understand this logic and in the meantime there was a crying, beaten and frightened 9 year old child in our bathroom.

Want to know what the consequence for beating the crap out of a disobedient daughter is here in Haiti?  Nothing.

The father stayed for an hour after everyone left.  He began talking about his family life…how his wife’s family didn’t go to school….how his mother in law is one of 9 children and only 2 even learned how to read….and my heart continued to be OPEN to what he was saying….

I HATED the fact that he beat his daughter to “Teach her to do her homework, start listening and take care of her books and not rip them”….but I tried to HEAR his heart, knowing that the answer that God was pointing me to was RELATIONSHIP with this family, to walk alongside them, to help them.

God kept bringing me back to what Respire Haiti revolves around.  EDUCATION.  FREEDOM.  Teaching people the Gospel and TRUTH.

I am FIGHTING for these children…and trusting Christ to use me to help educate and teach them….and I will do this until the day Christ comes back.

My heart breaks for the difficulties here.  My heart breaks for the confusion here.  My heart BREAKS for the children of Haiti.  And now it is breaking for the parents.

Pray with us as we continue to fight for these children, teach our community and break the cycle of confusion and bondage.

Dear Dada.

There are many things that happen in Gressier that rock my world…some in an amazing way…some in the most disturbing and disheartening way…this was unfortunately something that rocked me to the point of tears, nausea and begging God – please be aware that this blog is tough and really shows some of the darkness of Haiti.

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As I turned the corner onto my street, my mind was thinking about a million things until I heard a SCREAM and a cry for Help.

I stopped in the middle of the road and waited for a second…surely I didn’t hear that right.  Maybe she had just fallen and was hurt?  Maybe she was playing?

As I waited a second more, the screaming, yelling and begging to stop continued.   I turned around quickly and rushed to the house…as I got closer to the gate I realized it was open….I peaked in and saw someone hovering over one of the little girls in Michaelle’s 1st grade class.  She had two thin sticks in her hand and was BEATING Dada over and over as Dada laid helpless on the ground trying to defend herself….

I opened the door all the way and ran in….I ran up to the girl beating her (who was about my age)…my heart raced and without thinking I RIPPED the sticks out of her hands.  As she looked at me with eyes of FURY….I couldn’t believe I had just seen her beating this child…

I asked her what in the world Dada did…and she began yelling about how she never listens, she’s disobedient, she doesn’t do what she is told…I tried to calm down and ask her what she was told to do that she didn’t do….the girl yelled back at me that she refused to pick up the leaves off of the ground….

Dada looked up at me with the most scared and helpless eyes…the same helpless eyes that I remember from back in October when Jessica, Michaelle and I turned the corner of our street to head to their first day of school…I remember seeing a child through a sliver in the gate sitting on a cement block surrounded by dishes just washing.  I remember stopping, looking through the gate and having a flashback of Michaelle washing dishes just like that…Knowing there was NO way I could or wanted to pass her every day for the next year bringing my girls to school, I stopped at her house on the way back and enrolled her in our 1st grade.  Dada’s eyes stayed with me.~~

After trying to reason with Dada’s “caregiver” and her daughter (who was the one who had done the beating), I realized that in the midst of all this anger, there was no way that I would be able to explain how what they were doing was wrong.  That no matter what they THINK she is NOT a piece of “property”…that they don’t “Own” her…

I walked back to my house to give everyone some time to cool down…I PRAYED nonstop and returned back to the house in a much more calm manner…Explaining this part is nearly impossible…because it’s in times like this where Creole flows from my mouth and I don’t even know what I’m saying….I remember trying to explain to Dada’s caregiver (and her daughter) that ABUSE is illegal…that BEATING a child is NOT okay….I remember her yelling at me that Dada doesn’t listen…that I don’t understand because children in America listen… (HA! Right?)

After more than 15 minutes of explaining how Dada is NOT property…how God does NOT want us to treat children like this…how there are other ways of disciplining and punishing…and so much more, I felt like I had said my peace and that I needed to trust God to change their heart….not my own words.

Ultimately, I left Dada’s house that day feeling so helpless.  Feeling completely frustrated with the “way people handle children” here in Haiti.  After calling the “appropriate” people in Haiti, I still felt like I hadn’t done enough.  My heart was broken….bleeding…open to a WHOLE new side of my children at Respire Haiti’s school that are Restaveks…a side of their lives that I was aware of, had been told about but hadn’t been in the middle of….until now.

As I walked around in a kind of trance for the rest of the day, my heart kept bleeding and my mind kept turning.  Lord, how do we fix this?  Lord, why does this happen?  Lord, what is going on?

My brokenness over this continued to consume me…but where there is brokenness, Praise God there is healing….

Our God is Healer.  Our God REDEEMS.  Our God gives us overflowing grace and mercy.

A few days after this incident Dada’s “caregiver” pulled me aside and asked for a job here in Gressier in our school kitchen….my heart halfway stopped…we JUST finished our kitchen the week before at Respire Haiti Christian School…Soeur Jacques had JUST told me that she needed some more people to help her cook the 2,000+ meals per week she was cooking.  As this lady looked up at me and asked me this question…everything…EVERYTHING in me wanted to shake my fist at her and tell her she doesn’t DESERVE this job…she doesn’t DESERVE to even ASK me for anything….EVERYTHING wanted to yell that at her…EVERYTHING except Christ’s voice calming me saying….Do YOU “Deserve” Everything I Give YOU?  Grace.  Forgiveness.  Mercy.  Love.  MORE GRACE.

I looked into her eyes…I paused for a moment and looked down…as I closed my eyes I GAVE up…I gave up the idea of trying to PUNISH her for letting DADA be beat….the Lord calmed me as I looked back at her and said…I will check on things.

As I walked away from her…the hardened layers around my heart toward her began to peel away….I thought of her life….I thought of her past….I thought of her story and journey….and then I thought about REDEMPTION.  I thought about how she WAS excited when I put Dada in school last October….about how I had seen glimmers of care and concern in her for Dada…..

I thought about Soeur Jacques our head cook….about her AMAZING LOVE for this community, for cooking…I thought about how she prays over the pots and the food before she begins cooking…I thought about her heart for the Lord….and my heart softened as I realized what God was doing.

I called Soeur Jacques to explain what had happened and she gladly accepted a new person to help and disciple.

Change.  Changing a community like this is HARD.  Through education, through relationship, through discipleship.  It’s HARD.  IF it were up to ME…I would run around pulling sticks out of people’s hands and yelling like a mad woman… sometimes I want to take all of our Restaveks out of their homes and SAVE them…but it’s not up to me.  CHRIST has different plans…Plans of ENDING child slavery in Gressier and in Haiti through educating people, through teaching, discipling….Oh, the PRECIOUS way of JESUS is SO much better than mine. 

Please pray with me for strength, for courage…Pray for Gressier…for the people here and the FREEDOM that we desire for these Restaveks.

Warning/Disclaimer:  The below stories and pictures are graphic, but true.  Please proceed with caution and know that this story is one that needs to be shared so we can FIGHT for these children.

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”  Matthew 10:27

As she closes her eyes tightly, her young mind is filled with confusion.  Her fear is great and her pain is greater.  Laying on the cold, dirty concrete floor…rats run by as once again her belly is empty…

Her mind runs through the faces of all of the people who have come to visit…but yet things stay the same…little food to eat because it is being sold, continuous beatings, neglect, abuse…

Hearing this child scream as I helped clean her 13 day old wound is a sound and a sight that I will never forget.  The pain, the fear, being trapped, not being able to share what happened…

And this poor baby’s burns are just one of the MANY cases of physical abuse and neglect.  Now, what has been said in the DARK is being revealed in the Light…and what has been Whispered for so many years, NEEDS to be proclaimed from the Housetops! (Matthew 10:27)

There are over 75 children in Son of God orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti.  This orphanage is full of abuse, physical, sexual, emotional.  Full, FULL of trafficking. Child trafficking (which one of the directors of the orphanage is now in jail for) and organ trafficking.  Yes, ORGAN trafficking.  Officials have been able to track organs back to this orphanage.  Children’s organs.

But this is JUST the beginning.

 

I, along with so many others, have witnessed terrible things at this orphanage and been fighting for these children for more than a year…There are too many stories about Son of God and these children to share in one blog…but how many more stories need to be shared before we say…Enough is Enough…Please, Help be these children’s voice.  

What can you do? 

SHARE THIS!  (Tweet with the hashtags #childtrafficking #CNNFreedom #Haiti)

Sign this petition to help us bring international attention to this issue!  Click Here!

Contact people who you think can help raise awareness to end this suffering!

 It’s been long enough, we are SO close…these children ARE TRAPPED…these children…

 

                                                                                                        deserve Safety.

 

                                                                                                       Deserve Freedom.

 

Help us FIGHT for the children in Son of God orphanage in Haiti.

For more information email respirehaiti@gmail.com

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