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Faith and Family Multiplied

I have wanted to write about this for weeks, but it seems like the words couldn’t come out.  My sentences were incoherent and my thoughts were spinning…

 

People who have visited here always make comments about how they can see how easy it would be to all of a sudden have a house full of 20 children.  Our kids we work with come from a multitude of mostly terrible situations…restaveks, orphans, abusive situations…and after these peoples comments about having a houseful of children, I normally smile and chuckle a bit and then say my prayer of NOT wanting that…my mind spins with the amount of therapy, healing, prayer etc went into two children…

 

Having two children from restavek backgrounds has been a challenge enough, and we seem to have arrived in a beautiful moment where their past is their past, and God has grown these two girls into beautiful, healing and blossoming children.

 

But God knows OUR stories and OUR journeys WAY before we do.

 

A little over a year ago I received a call from a Pastor we work with saying that he was really worried about some people that had just moved near him.  In his words, “These people are VERY poor and they have nothing, can you come see if you can help them.”  As I got off of the phone with this pastor who lived in between a tent and a hurricane broken house, my mind spun with his comments.  I felt like I was in the MIDST of poverty already, so for someone to call me who already LIVES in poverty and express that they were worried about someone in poverty, I couldn’t imagine how it was.

 

As I arrived at the place where these people were, I saw two incredibly thin children with oversized t-shirts living under a tarp.  Their mother and father were dead and they were living with some “relatives.”

 

God knew that meeting these two children would only be the beginning.

 

As Respire enrolled them in school since they had never been before, I knew that I would be able to watch and monitor them more…but I had no idea what kind of relationship HE was starting.

 

Over the next 6 months we grew in relationship with not only the children but also the people “taking care” of them.

 

It wasn’t until a knock on the door in January changed everything.  You can read the whole story in a previous blog as it was fresh in my mind here.  But basically the 12 year old girl was kidnapped and brought to a Voodoo Temple.  Her 10 year old brother divinely led us to her.

 

As she began living in one of Respire’s houses, a few weeks later the 10 year old boy, her brother,  went missing.

 

Our hearts broke as we had only a faint idea of where he might be.  Josh and I prayed daily for his return and then as ONLY God can do….He rescued this precious boy.  You can read more about that story here.

 

With both of these precious children living on Respire Grounds we began praying fervently about these children.

 

After much prayer and support, we have…God has, grown our family.

I am so blessed to have a mother that is so supportive and encouraging, and friends and family who trust what Christ is doing in our lives here in Haiti.

And most importantly, I am beyond blessed to have an incredible husband who is a natural parent and is such a good Daddy to so many.   In his words, “6 months of marriage and we aren’t adding kids we’re multiplying :)”

 

The healing that needs to happen is huge.  We can definitely use your prayer.  Although their bodies are free, their minds are still in a battle that ONLY God can heal.  Please pray with us for protection, courage and healing.  Voodoo, oppression and demons are VERY real here.  It is a long process to understand and work through the things that our children have seen, heard and experienced.  We have been HONORED to see that God has already made remarkable changes and can only imagine the incredible plans that God has for these beautiful siblings.

 

 

 Johanne (JoJo) 12

JoJo

 Saintil, 10.

Saintil

CrazyBeachKids

Fam

And then there were 6 (or 7 if you count the horse on Josh’s shoulder)

Bleeding Hearts.

I believe that God looks at His creation often and is smiling, excited and His eyes are glowing with joy.

But then I wonder what happens to His heart when He sees the way some of His children are treated.

I am overwhelmed with emotion when our hearts break like His, when our hearts and eyes see things the way He sees them.

Sharon and Tachi found an elderly woman laying on the ground outside of the Café a couple of days ago.  Sharon called me and I came right over.  Looking down at her, her eyes were filled with a mix of something I hadn’t seen before….fear and joy.

As I asked her a few questions, I could tell that she might have had a stroke and was very lost and confused.  She couldn’t tell me anything about where she had come from, and the only piece of information I got from her was her name, Katherine.

She had actually been walking naked but someone near our Café had given her a robe to put on, so when we saw her she had on an oversized robe with a huge gash on her leg.  She smiled and told us that she loved us and as I thanked her and told her I loved her too.

 

My mind was overwhelmed…This is God’s child.  Lost.  Alone.  Hurt.

 

The amount of people walking past her broke my heart.  The way people stopped and stared made me so angry that I finally started asking them if they knew this woman, as they all would say no I would then ask them if they are stopping and staring because they want to help us.  Only one of the many passerby’s that I asked the second question to actually stopped and helped.

As the crowd around that was helping asked me what I thought we should do, I prayed for an answer.  For some reason in this situation all I could think about was calling 911.  Calling for someone to come pick up and help this elderly lost woman.

But there is no 911.  There is no Urgent Care Calling.  There is no Silver Alert.

As I waited for Mark to bring the car, Katherine continued saying that she loved us.  I kept thinking, please don’t say that, please don’t love us, we really can’t help you.

The Katherine’s of this country have few options.  They are forgotten.  My mind began doing the usual wandering of how important it is to have a place for these precious children of God that have spent their time here on earth and are in between the stage of earth and heaven.

 

When I put Katherine into the back seat of our car, I saw my precious grandmother.  I closed the door and sat up front, sunglasses on, tears welling up and thinking about her.

My sweet grandmother was an INCREDIBLE woman.  Strong-willed, compassionate, loving. (Hmm, maybe I’ve gotten some of this from her)  She raised a huge family of amazing people and her legacy lives on through this clan in so many ways.  She also had Alzheimer’s and was actually found wandering the neighborhood a few times.

I looked at Katherine and it meant more to me than I could explain.  I had to help my grandmother, but I felt like my hands were tied, my options were non-existent.  As we ended up bringing her to a hospital/clinic in the next city over that took her, for now, I felt defeated.

 

As I laid my head down that night, I could feel my chest tighten.  I kept thinking of how God’s heart must feel.  Every. Day.  EVERYDAY.

Overwhelmed with sadness.

Tears streaming at seeing His children naked, hungry, lost and hurting.

Seeing the Katherine’s wandering the streets with passerby’s stopping and staring but not lifting a finger.

 

I feel like ever since I moved to Haiti my heart has started bleeding and has never stopped.  The pain, sadness and suffering that are experienced every day are unexplainable.  And if it weren’t for PRAYER, an amazing team and the unwavering knowledge that God has SENT me here for HIS purpose and vision…I think I KNOW I would turn into a bleeding mess.

I know that the Battle has been WON….but being in the trenches sometimes it’s easy to forget that.  Because until we get to heaven, our heart breaks for what breaks His heart, and so my heart is bleeding, with His.

 

Please pray with me, for the Katherine’s not just here in Haiti but all over the world.  Pray for our team here that only God could have put together, for their courage, strength and endurance IN CHRIST.  And pray for all the bleeding that happens in our hearts here in Haiti.

“The enemy’s purpose on earth is to kill, steal and destroy. And often times it feels like he is succeeding, like we are fighting a losing battle. But then I remember, the war has already been won…”

Read the rest of this blog on SheLovesMagazine.  Blessed to have the opportunity to share what God is teaching me in Haiti and through   Will Reagan’s awesome song Take Back.

 

[Follow up to God Knows the Ending.]

~~~~~

No one slept all weekend.  Everyone thought, prayed and cried for Sarah.  The Lord had TRULY burdened our hearts for her…this precious child of God that we could NOT stop thinking about.

Phone calls on the weekend were to no avail.  No one was working, Haitian Flag Day was Saturday so I think the whole country shut down.

After our team meeting this morning, I received a phone call from an organization saying that if we had not found a place for Sarah that they would like to take her.  Excited, I decided to try my luck calling the Police Station again.  I had another Inspector from the BPM  (Police for Minors in Haiti) and  wanted to try to reach him.  As someone answered the phone after the first ring my heart dropped…I closed my eyes and let the words flow asking about Sarah, briefly explaining her situation and then paused.

Silence.

Hoping that he would respond and not just say “I don’t know and hang up.”  He spoke slowly, “I think I have heard about her, hold on.”  As I waited for a few dreadful seconds he told me he would call back.  Praying that he actually WOULD call me back, a few minutes later my phone rang, he said that they in fact took her to IBESR (Social Services).  I asked if he had a number to the person he left Sarah with, again he said he’d call me back.  As the phone rang again he gave me the phone number.  After writing it down I asked for the person who I should ask to speak with…as soon as his words hit my ears I could feel my stomach lurch.  I asked him to repeat the name again.  He did.  I said thank you, got off the phone and sank to the ground.

The same IBESR agent who refused to help close Son of God orphanage, who knew me, who disliked me, was the person I needed to call.

Sitting on the ground for a second I composed myself enough to pray.  I could hardly dial the numbers through my tear-filled eyes and my shaking fingers.  I heard a voice answer on the other end.  As I repeated the same story I told the Inspector, the IBESR agent said yes,  stating they knew where Sarah was.  The person paused for a minute suspicious (rightfully so)….I explained again who I was, how I know Sarah, and that we had a place to bring her.

The IBESR agent then told me how Sarah had been brought to the Psychiatric Hospital of Port au Prince.

Baffled and frustrated, I asked what we could do?

Silence.

I explained that we could come today, right now and get Sarah.

Pausing, the voice on the other end sounded a little astounded.  “Today?  You will come get her and bring her there?”

I repeated, “Yes, we can come to IBESR, pick up an agent or whoever needs to come, pick up Sarah and bring her, today.  Right now.”

Again taken aback the voice on the other line stated, “Yes, please come.  I will go with you.”

GO WITH ME?  My mind FREAKED out.

I muddled out the words, “Okay, I will call when we are closer.”  Then thanked the agent and hung up.

Full of fear, terrible memories and shaking I felt like I was going to vomit.

I walked out of our office, and explained the situation to everyone.  Being nearly 10:30am, we needed to gather our stuff and go fast to make it all happen today.  We ran to the car….Josh ambitiously driving, Mark shotgun, Sharon and I hunkering down in the back seat..

Getting to IBESR in record time, we were received surprisingly quick.  As the Agent came forward, my heart lurched in to my chest.  I prayed HARD the IBESR agent would not recognize me.  The agent looked at me and said, “Who did I speak with on the phone?”  As I answered, I was asked to follow the agent into a room.

Walking into this tiny, bare office, I sat in a chair in front of a notebook.  The IBESR agents explained they needed my information and phone number and what I knew about Sarah.  I agreed to write.  Asking for a pen to borrow, I suddenly had 3 different men shoving pens in my face.  Writing down all the information I knew, the Agent continued to question how I knew Sarah, where were we going and even asking why we were doing this at one point.

Shocked, nervous and ready to find Sarah I answered the questions and then we were finished.

We headed out the door for the car, Josh, Mark, Sharon and I along with two IBESR agents.  As the agent I had battled with so many times sat in the front seat I stared cattyccorner at their face.  My heart was still in my throat and I had to keep swallowing hard not to vomit.  I couldn’t believe how many times I had looked at this person and BEGGED them to do something about Son of God Orphanage.   I couldn’t BELIEVE the frustration I felt when I asked this person why nothing had been done to close Son of God orphanage yet and the answer was, “The files are too high, I can’t reach them.”  The months of agonizing frustration, tears and anger were sitting in my FRONT SEAT.  The person who was keeping me from Gabriel was sitting 5 feet from me.

I closed my eyes tightly and prayed, tears welling up in my eyes.  Suddenly the Lord filled me with something so immediate I couldn’t believe it.

Peace.

Forgiveness.

Grace.

I thought of how we are ALL able to be REDEEMED.  Transformed.  Changed.

I breathed out and Josh and I began talking with the two agents.

We headed to the Psychiatric Hospital.

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The Psychiatric Hospital in Port au Prince.

As the Agent got out of the car to ask about Sarah, Sharon and I looked at each other holding our breath.  Coming outside again after a few minutes, No Sarah.  The Agent passed in front of us headed to another office.  Again came out heading back inside.  It felt like ping pong watching the IBESR agent walk back and forth and every time the agent passed my heart tightened.  PRAYING it was not hopeless, we all closed our eyes to beg for freedom.

Finally after what seemed like forever, a bright orange shirt walked swiftly out of the doors and sat on the step.  Without thinking I ran out of the car.  Hugging her, Sharon came out and sat on the steps.  We could NOT believe we were seeing her.  Sarah smiled and recognized us.

The she saw Mark.  She waved at him and she ran into his arms.  Josh followed shortly as she jumped into his arms.

IMG_1276

Mark holding Sarah!

Continuing on into the car.  Sarah rotated between my lap and Sharon’s.  We noticed the marks on her wrist from restraining her.

Sarah

Sarah’s wrists with marks from being tied over the weekend.

Our hearts broke with what happened to her while she was here.

As we headed to Neply, to bring her to My Life Speaks we felt excited, and finally let out a long sigh of relief.   Even if we were right here HOLDING IBESR’s HAND through it all at least we MADE them do their job!  Most of the car ride was spent with the Agent trying to take care of Sarah’s paperwork on the phone and calling the doctor from the Psychiatric Ward.  The agent briefly stated that she was thankful we did something today, because the Psychiatric Hospital said they were not going to let her stay there more than 3 or 4 days.

Not wanting to think of where Sarah would be if she were “released” from the hospital, we watched her sleep peacefully.

After record time from Port au Prince to Gressier, we arrived near Leogane.  Entering in to My Life Speaks Campus I saw Katie who had helped us so much during this whole process.  My heart was filled, relieved and Thankful for the Beauty of the Body of Christ.

Sharon and I stayed a bit with Sarah to make sure she was okay and after a few minutes of paperwork, the two IBESR agents hopped back into the car with Josh driving and Mark accompanying him.

Josh and Mark not only had some amazing conversations with the Agents about life, God and Haiti, but the two workers also expressed how they would love to come to Respire and My Life Speaks again.  They exchanged personal information and vowed to keep in contact.

Redemption.

Forgiveness.

 

Grace.

The one person who was hindering us from closing SOG for so long was the only one willing to help us this time.  Thankful God can do the impossible and change hearts :)

Our hearts are at peace, our minds are at rest and Sarah is safe.

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Sarah when we left her with My Life Speaks.

Thank you for your prayers, thank you for your emails and messages and thank you My Life Speaks for helping us rescue a child and give a child a chance at LIFE and FAMILY!

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