Tag Archive: Family


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)

Meet Respire Haiti

The video below is a GREAT insight into the Respire Haiti team and it shows you the incredible things God is doing here in Gressier!

We are SO blessed to be a part of HIS plan for this community.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/62695548″>Meet Respire Haiti</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user17311688″>Respire Haiti</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

“For FROM Him and THROUGH Him and TO Him are ALL things.  To HIM be glory forever.  Amen.”  Romans 11:36

A New Normal

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.

Our God is Healer.

Half asleep and trying to remember if the girls had everything they needed for school, I walked Micha and Jessica down the stairs.  As I bent down to kiss them bye, my eyes were drawn to someone sitting outside on my step.

I walked over and saw a small, young woman holding a tiny, lethargic child.  As I asked her what was wrong with him, she explained that she had been to the hospital with him almost a month ago because he was having diarrhea and throwing up.  She said they gave him medicine for both of these things, but the medicine was finished and nothing changed.

As I looked at this child whose eyes could barely open and who at nearly 2 years old didn’t even have the strength to hold his head up, I knew we had to act soon.  I felt his head.  No fever.  Felt his belly.  BURNING up.  Probably a parasite.  Looked at his fingernail bed and in his eyes, they were almost white.  Severe anemia.  SO skinny except for his belly and full head of red/orangish hair.  Severe Malnutrition.

I called our friend who is a doctor in Port au Prince and told him what was happening and the child’s symptoms.  He was able to get us an appointment immediately with a doctor only about an hour away. (Praise God!).

For the next week his mother Darlene brought him by our house at 8:00 am sharp so I could check on his medicine, make sure he was eating and just get to know them.  Religiously, she brought him early every day.  We talked about where she was from and how she ended up in Gressier.

As the story began to unfold even more we found out more about her living situation and her plan.  She was planning on bringing Jezilo to an orphanage after he was feeling better, because she wanted to find a job.  After finding out this plan and that she was sleeping under a kitchen table in a house that they were about to get kicked out of, I asked her and her precious baby boy to come live with us.  And asked her to come work with us.

 

Jezilo (or Baby J, as he’s been nicknamed) and his mom Darlene have lived with us for almost 2 months now.  It has been such a joy to see her be mentored by Tachi (our amazing Haitian superwoman who lives with us and also has a 2 year old).  Tachi has taught her so much and modeled so much of how to love, care for and be gentle with her baby.

I never cease to be in awe of God’s timing, his omnipotence, his path.  To see another story of healing right in front of my eyes brings so much joy to my heart.  Jezilo is the most precious, joyful but gentle child that loves dancing, singing and smiling.

It is Amazing to see God as healer.  And Even more amazing for my girls to see the healing power of God.  They still talk about when they would try to play with him and he would cry and scream.  They remember seeing him in pain, confused and mad.  But they understood what was happening.  About a week into meeting Jezilo, Jessica tried to touch his face, as Jezilo pulled away angrily, she gently looked at him and said,  “It’s okay, when Jesus heals you, you will want to play with me.”

 Now, this little boy loves playing (or is tortured sometimes) with Micha and Jessica.  He LOVES dressing up and is a beautiful and changed child.  A Healed Child.

In Exodus 15:26 God proclaims…“for I am the Lord, your healer.”   

Jehovah Rapha.  Literally meaning, the Lord who makes bitter things sweet.  Healer God.

 

Jezilo is a running, laughing and joyful example of who Jehovah Rapha is.  God the Healer.  OUR Healer.

 

 

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