The longer I’m here, the harder it is to write, not because things get less interesting or because life’s busy (although it is busy)…it’s just harder to pick out only one story to write about…or my stories are so harsh and real that I am even shocked when I write them down. 

 

Life here has become my new normal.  But nothing about it is “normal.”

 

It’s not NORMAL to have people knock on your gate to tell you they are starving and haven’t eaten for days. 

 

It’s not NORMAL to visit a family that’s living in a tent in the middle of the road and unable to feed their young baby and two other children living with them. 

 

It’s not NORMAL to have a 16-year-old show up at your house with a 3-month-old daughter and tell you her life story of growing up as a Restavek and being abused then and now.

 

It’s not NORMAL to have to always jump in the midst of children fighting, or adults hitting children and explain that this is NOT a way to discipline.  (Especially when two children are fighting and an adult goes to break it up by hitting the kids that are hitting….oh, the irony).

 

It’s not NORMAL to have to fight with an orphanage director for one of your students (who is a true orphan with no parents) birth certificate so she can take her school tests.

 

It’s not NORMAL for a precious 11-year-old student to look you in their eyes and tell you that they have a bad life or a 9-year-old student to tell you about how their younger brother was killed by a Voodoo priest.

 

These things are not “NORMAL” in my old world.  They are not NORMAL compared to how and where I grew up.  But here’s the reality.  All of these things I wrote above are “NORMAL” here in Gressier.  In fact, many of them are the USUAL for MOST of the world.

 

As much as my idea of normal continues to change, I am reminded how completely BLESSED I am to be involved in God’s amazing plan for this community. 

 

I am BLESSED to be apart of the way God is changing the NORMAL here in Gressier. 

 

I BELIEVE that it will NOT be NORMAL for people to be starving in Gressier, for babies to die from malnutrition or neglect, for abuse and violence to be the answer, for Voodoo and confusion to rule this city.

 

I BELIEVE in the vision from God for freedom, education and victory for this community.