Tag Archive: Respire Haiti


Heartache and Hope.

There are days when I float around from problem to solution, from Bellevue Mountain to my house and all around in between…going in constant motion trusting, talking, listening, working, solving, planning, playing and everything in between…the days here are busy, long and beautiful…but then sometimes there are days that stop me right in my tracks…these are the moments where even the busyness and chaos of Haiti comes to a complete halt…these days STUN me and God uses them to reel me into a child’s life and situation so closely and deeply.

With over 350 children in Respire Haiti Christian School we desire to know the living situations, past and present of each child.  This is a slow but steady process that is both extremely beneficial but many times extremely emotionally taxing…

Often days after school I am invited to a child’s home to come and meet their parent or caregiver, it is encouraging and a moment to both learn about the family and to speak truth over the child and the family.

One afternoon, one of our 6th grade girls asked me to come to her home.  Her beautiful smile and outgoing personality are truly one of a kind.  At 16 years old, she had an extremely striking grace and presence about her.  She just started our school in October and her disposition is so pleasant.

We discussed me coming to visit and I asked who she lived with, as she proceeded to tell me that her mother and father had both passed away, my heart dropped hoping that she was not in an even more troubling situation…as she went on to explain that she lived with her Godmother who she said was a gentle and loving lady, a sigh of relief came as I felt somewhat comfortable with her living situation.

As we set out to walk to her house, we made the usual pass through small trails, ravines and peoples backyards…then we arrived.  She invited us in…I stepped in to her plywood house and just as I entered my heart stopped.  An elderly man lay on a small pallet on the ground, skin and bones, hardly breathing.  Trying to keep from showing surprise or panic, I calmly asked who he was.  As she looked lovingly in his direction she said it was her grandfather who is sick, he won’t eat, he can’t walk…my mind raced as to how I could help, how could I fix it, how could he get better.   As I saw him struggling to breathe I looked over at my friend Rita who was with me, as I begged her with my eyes and quietly voiced my desire to help…Rita swallowed hard, looked down at him and looked back up at me.  She said so gently, “I don’t think there’s anything we can do, he’s dying.”

Even with her words, my mind continued to race, I couldn’t believe that this joyful little girl came home every day after school to her grandfather slowly dying in their one room house.  As I asked her questions about him, she openly shared his story with tears in her eyes and tenderness in her voice.

Leaving there without a way to help this man was so incredibly difficult, but yet there was Peace as to why I was brought here…

As this precious little girl walked us out of her home, she grabbed my arm and pulled me back…she looked up at me with fear and sadness in her eyes saying that she couldn’t pay the fee to take the national exam (since we follow the national curriculum students have to pay for each national test they take)…I smiled and said that she needs not to worry, Respire Haiti takes care of the fee.  Her beautiful smile lit up and she hugged me tightly, thanking me over and over again….I thought of how, without God and HIS perfect plan, I never would have met this precious girl, I stood in awe for a moment with this girl, thinking of how ONLY God knows the specific needs of EACH of His people…ONLY God so omnipotent, leads us to EXACTLY where we need to be.

I pulled her away slowly and said, Don’t thank me, God is the one who brought me here, He has you in His hands and is making all of this happen.  She smiled again and said she knew that and said, “Mesi Bondye.”

I KNOW the situations of each of my students at my school are challenging.  I KNOW that even after seeing their situations with my own eyes that I can hardly relate.  But, what I also KNOW is that God has given me a voice to fight for them.  To SHARE THEIR STORY and to ask YOU to Share their stories as well.

As we continue building Respire Haiti Christian School I am CONSTANTLY reminded that we are NOT just building some buildings.  We are building a FUTURE.  We are building OPPORTUNITY.  We are building…HE is building… HOPE for these children.

 

Sponsoring a child at Respire Haiti Christian School is sponsoring a child who has most likely lost at least one parent if not both…and who is living in a difficult situation…and who has NEVER been given this opportunity before.  We desire to continue to support, love and encourage children like this 16 year old girl through college.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please click here!

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!

Walking in his shoes…

The needs of this country are hard to see everyday.  Death is hard to see.  Hunger is hard when it knocks at your gate every day.  Poverty is hard when they are your physical neighbors.

But for me, the hardest part of every day is seeing children at home, washing dishes or clothes, cooking, cleaning or just doing nothing in the middle of the day when they should be in school.

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Walking to the mountain again, mid morning, I met him along the way.  Barefoot, in an oversized t-shirt, smiling big and telling me Good Morning, there was little John.  As he followed behind me keeping his distance, I stopped on the top of Bellevue Mountain and turned around.  I asked how he was and as he looked at the ground and kicked a piece of rebar he said, “Pa pi Mal.”  Meaning, not too bad.

I’d never seen him before so I asked his name and then introduced myself, before I could even finish, “My name…” He looked up at me and said, “I know you, You’re Megan!” and smiled, his deep brown eyes still looking at the ground.

As I saw his bare feet, torn t-shirt and skinny figure, I knew the answer, but I asked him anyway, “Are you in school?”

For the first time in our conversation, he lifted his eyes from the ground and said loudly, “No.”  I went on to ask him some more questions about his schooling and family.

Trying to hide my heartbreak for an 11-year-old boy living with “family” members who can’t afford to put him in school.   I could tell that he didn’t have a voice, that he didn’t have someone telling him to brush his teeth or go to bed or telling him I Love You.

As we talked a bit longer, I began praying vigorously for the next step.  It seems easy right?  But, Respire Haiti Christian School is FILLED to capacity.  We have over 360 children now.  We have already started talking with our builder about adding classrooms, we’ve talked with the teachers about hiring assistants and splitting some classes.  We know that we cannot just keep stuffing children into our school, just as important as them BEING in school is them having the ability to successfully LEARN in our school.

The truth is that it is so extremely difficult to walk to my school being built on Bellevue Mountain, not because it’s strenuous or far away, but because without a doubt, every single time, I meet more children who are not in school.  My heart breaks and feels heavy, my mind starts jumping through hoops counting up the number enrolled in each class in my head and it is so hard.

I could see John’s eyes pleading with me, and I could feel the Lord just saying Yes, so I looked at him and said that I would come to his house and speak with his caregivers so he could come to our school.  He lit up and immediately and I just heard Christ’s words pouring into my heart….

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

I could see John’s appeal in his eyes.  I could hear his appeal in His voice.

I know God is bigger than squishy classrooms, that He knows how many children He is enrolling in our school.  That HE is and will continue to work out the details and everything else…He reminds me of this constantly…

Yesterday as I was picking up Michaelle and Jessica from school I ran into one of my neighbors who was picking up his children, all three of them.  As we all walked home together he began pouring his heart out saying that he had his children in another school before the earthquake, but as he lost his house, his job and as the prices for the other school rose to an outrageous amount last year he had to take them out.  He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Without you, without this school, my children would be at home not learning, I thank God for you every day.  Please know, that WE are with You.”  He then wiped his eyes and said, “God Bless You.”

I looked at him and all I could murmur back was, “God Bless you too.”

Standing outside of the gate to my house I was in shock.  My mind was racing, not about how nice that was, or how he said some sweet things.  My mind was racing about how BIG our God isHow BIG He is to know that He would get me to Gressier.  How BIG that He set up every step, every skill, every connection…all the way to get me to this point of building a school.

God is moving, and He is moving fast and His vision is BIG.  We have just been offered by the city of Gressier to buy, Yes, BUY, the top of Bellevue Mountain.  If we buy this, that means we will have almost 4 acres total of land on this beautiful mountain, and this will be a wonderful amount of space to expand Respire Haiti Christian School to fulfill the vision God has for it.

What’s amazing, is that the whole top of the mountain is being sold to us for 50% of the price because the city loves what Respire Haiti is doing and wants us to continue to build in this community.  For $45,000 we will buy just over another acre of land.  Other individuals and organizations have inquired about it, but the magistrates and judges have given us the first choice in hopes that we will buy it for these children. Even though this is a scary endeavor, buying more land, God is moving all of our hearts towards, YES and TRUST ME with this!

If you would like to support us in this purchase, please visit, Respire Haiti

Thank you for journeying with us through this as we are constantly reminded, All things are possible for him who believes.

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