Tag Archive: God


Put on your own shoes :)

As I left the café mid morning one day and crossed the street, I had about 5 seconds to think to myself…”Well this is unusual…walking up the mountain by myself.” (I normally have one of my four kids with me or other children/people that are headed in the same direction walking with me).

 

Turning the corner to head up the mountain I was stopped in my tracks. I almost had to do a double take to make sure I was seeing what I thought. I glanced over again and saw a tiny child on her hands and knees. The lady hovering over her was dressed beautifully, and completely ignoring the fact that there was even a child beneath her. The child hurriedly put the shoe on the ladies foot. As the older woman yelled something down at her, she took her dress swiftly and wiped off the ladies’ shoes. As if the lady hadn’t even noticed what the child just did, she turned around and hopped on the motorcycle that had been waiting on her without saying one word to the child. The child picked up the set of flip-flops by her side and placed them in a bag. She began walking up the mountain, head down, watching her feet kick up the dust.

 

As I trailed after her for a minute my [righteous] anger began firing up, I could feel my face getting red and tears filling my eyes under my sunglasses. What in the world did I just see? Could that lady NOT have put on her own shoes? Can she not carry her own flip-flops? Did she REALLY just MAKE that little girl kneel down in the dirt in FRONT of Everyone?

 

I wanted to yell out to everyone who “pretended” not to see… “Are you okay with this?”… “Did you NOT see what just happened!?!”

 

After a few minutes of these thoughts, I composed myself and then called out to her. She didn’t stop. I gently called again…her pace slowed as she worriedly looked behind her. I reached out to grab her hand. Her sweet eyes opened wide. I introduced myself and I asked for her name…nearly inaudibly she spoke. I asked her again and her voice lowered even more, her eyes sticking to the ground. I asked her how old she was and she stumbled over her words making it obvious that she was not aware of her age. As I asked her where she lived she pointed to the top of the mountain.

 

I walked with her for a few minutes holding her hand.

 

Her demeanor began to relax and she answered my questions a little more comfortably. As I asked about her family, she then explained that she had been in the area for a few months. Both of her parents live in a city about 8 hours from Gressier. She was taken from them in January and yet wasn’t put in school anywhere here.

 

The mix of anger and sadness at this injustice boiled in me. I squeezed her hand and explained where our school was…her eyes widened again as she responded that she knew exactly where we were located. I asked her if she could come meet me later in the afternoon so we could talk more. Her face, giddy with excitement, lit up and she nodded yes.

 

As 1:00pm rolled around I anxiously waited for her to no avail. Finally, as I went on with my afternoon somewhat defeated, I nearly jumped out of my shoes when I walked out of the gate at 3:30pm and saw her. I knew that she would be perfect for our Jump Start program. (It is a class in the afternoon that specifically caters to children who are a little bit older but are on a 1-3rd grade level. The classes are smaller so that the children can get more individual attention.) Even though the year is almost over, I wanted to make sure we could keep track of this young girl and try and figure out more about her parents and her situation.

 

The day after we enrolled her, I passed by the classroom and my heart sunk. I didn’t see her. I was heartbroken and walked in the room to begin to ask the teacher. Then suddenly someone pointed and said, “There she is!” I couldn’t believe it. Even though the class only had 14 children, I didn’t even recognize her. Her smile was huge…she looked like a new little girl in her uniform, glowing confidently sitting amongst the other students.

 

The injustice of restavek children never gets easier. The way that some individuals can so easily disregard, disrespect and abuse children absolutely breaks my heart. And I know it breaks God’s heart.

 

HE has and always will orchestrate the children that should be (and are) in our school. I never walk up the mountain at that time. I never would have seen this interaction and this sweet child if HE hadn’t orchestrated it all.

 

The injustice may never get easier, BUT GOD is directing everything that is happening on Bellevue Mountain and I am just blessed to be a part of it all.

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.

 

 

Answered Prayer…

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8

When I wrote my last blog I told you about an opportunity Respire Haiti has for purchasing more land to help us build a better school for Respire Haiti and the community of Gressier.

The total cost of the land is $55,000…and here is some AMAZING news…we have been offered a matching grant for at least half of the total cost…meaning if we raise $27,500…they will donate $27,500.  Also meaning if you donate $50…that turns into $100…or if you donate $100…that turns into $200.

Boldly asking for money is one of the most difficult and humbling things that I have had to do since starting Respire Haiti….so here I am humbly saying…Every dollar counts and we are SO blessed by amazing supporters, encouragers and prayer warriors.  But we need you now…So we are asking…we are seeking….and we are knocking (Matthew 7:7)…if you can give, please give.  If you can’t give…please share this and pray for us!

Thanks so much!

Respire Haiti Christian School (1st-6th grade in left building; Kindergarten in right building)

There is no way I can even begin to put into words what God has done in my life in 2011…but I will try with few words, and many pictures 🙂

After starting Respire Haiti in November 2010 and meeting Michaelle in December of 2010, God guided my path to Bellevue Mountain in Gressier.  Moving to Gressier, Haiti on January 9, 2011 I had no idea what I would be doing…

The only tree on Bellevue Mountain

Over the past 8 months, Respire Haiti has purchased over 3 acres of land to build a school, library, pavilion, medical clinic and more…

Our recently acquired land, the top of Bellevue Mountain.

Respire Haiti Christian School started in a one room church in January 2011 with 97 children…with no uniforms, books, school supplies or even desks…

Students in March 2011

Ricardo using a chair as a desk, March 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we have over 350 students…with uniforms, books, school supplies, breakfast every morning and more!  For the first half of the year we continued to meet in the one room church, outside of the church and in another nearby location.  Respire Haiti Christian School will start 1st-6th grade in a new building on Wednesday January 4th, 2012!

Students in October 2011

We have seen children transformed by the opportunity to go to school…

Vanessa when I first met her in March of 2011

Vanessa now enrolled in Kindergarten at our school.

Taken out of situations of Restavek and other working environments…

Florencia during a school day last spring before she was enrolled in Respire Haiti Christian School.

And put into environments of learning…

2nd year Kindergarten painting with Water Color

 

 

 

We have seen how quickly things can happen in Haiti when it is GOD’s Plan…

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

 

Hallway of first finished 6 classroom building, opening on Wednesday January 4, 2012 for 1st-6th grade.

 

Our first Community Activity was in January of 2011 with just over 70 children…

Now we have two community activities (feeding programs) every Saturday which feeds more than 700 children…

La Colline Feeding

 

We’ve also seen God’s hand move in amazing ways, through the closer of Son of God orphanage after 11 months of fighting for the freedom of these trafficked, abused and neglected orphans…

Son of God Orphanage

And though the fight for justice is not yet over for these children from Son of God Orphanage, the majority of them have been taken out of a situation where they were being abused, starved and neglected.  Praying that God continues to do BIG things in 2012 for these children and the justice they deserve.

 

 

 

And lastly, I have gone from not even thinking about being a MOM to being the Mommy to two beautiful girls who have changed my life forever.

Michaelle (8), Megan, and Jessica (4.5)

THANK YOU to everyone who has prayed, donated and believed in the vision that God has given me for Bellevue Mountain and the children of Gressier, Haiti.

A special thank you to our American builder, Kyle Fishburn, without him we might still be meeting outside under a tree 😉 and to Bernard Joseph, our Haitian backbone/superman that helps us get things done fast and right!

Kyle (aka Kyle the Builder, KTB) pointing out his ideas for the ceiling of the school, and probably teaching me some building techniques and construction lingo as well!

Happy New Year to All and please continue to follow our next endeavor of our 4 classroom Kindergarten as well as our two-story Library and Computer Lab!

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