Tag Archive: Slavery

My stomach is still churning as I just put down my phone.  As I am nearing 3.5 years of living in Haiti, there are some things that will never get easier…never be less raw and heartbreaking….


As I answered the phone, I heard a familiar voice on the other line start asking questions about registering for school.  As he began talking I realized that he was calling on someone else’s behalf.  I began by asking my first question I always start with, “Has the child ever been to school?” ….Yes, I heard the other side of the phone peep out hesitantly.  Then I asked what grade the child was and how old…as he struggled to ask the questions, he explained that he was actually not sure if the child had been to school ever and was in fact calling because someone else asked him  to see if there was space in our school.

He began explaining the situation and my heart skipped a beat as I heard him say, “Well he is borrowing this child.”

Borrowing this child?  I so badly wanted to go on a rant about how awful what he said just was, but then again I remembered he was calling for someone else, and regardless I still needed the information about the child.

My heartbeat sped up as I mulled this over in my head.  Call it whatever you want, keeping a child for a while…being “given” a child…borrowing a child.

Whatever you call it, It’s still slavery.

Whatever you call it, It’s still servitude.

Whatever you call it, this sweet girl is still a restavek.

As I pushed down all of my righteous anger and frustration.  I answered back as composed as I could, Yes we have space.

I asked him to send me the child’s name, age and where she lives. He agreed to do so quickly.

I hung up the phone and slunk to the ground.

This never get’s easier. Fighting for children, ALL children…borrowed or not….to go to school is exhausting.  Fighting for Haitians to realize that a child NOT going to school and fetching water all day, doing laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning…is child Slavery, Domestic Servitude.

But Praise GOD that He has given us all of the courage, strength and persistence we need for this.  Praise GOD that He began Respire Haiti Christian School and that because of His vision for Gressier and Bellevue Mountain that HUNDREDS of children like this are being educated but most importantly learning that they are WORTH being fed, loved and cared for.

Please keep praying for us as we continue organizing things for the upcoming school year.

“… slavery to society, slavery to this world and slavery even to ourselves is not the identity of freedom Christ has given us.”

Blessed to have the rest of this blog over here with She Loves Magazine again.


One by One.


Walking up near the Kindergarten, a young boy stood looking at the ground under the tree.  There were a few other adults waiting for the Kindergarteners to finish school.  As I got closer, I could almost FEEL his embarrassment and nervousness.

I approached him and bent down a bit asking his name.  No Response.  I looked at him, hands in his pocket, eyes GLUED to the ground.  I asked for his name again, a mumble of something came out.  I had seen this scenario way too many times…I gently touched his chin to make his eyes meet mine, I looked at him intently and asked, “Are you in school?”No Response.  I knew what that meant.

Before I could even probe him further another man walked up and stood next to him.  I looked at the man and asked if he knew this child.  As he said yes, the story began to unfold.  This child was coming to pick up another child that was in school…so common, so upsetting, so frustrating and typical of a child in a Restavec situation.  I asked the older man why this child who lives with him wasn’t in school…he looked at me and quickly said, “I don’t have any money.”  

As one of our Directors of Respire Haiti Christian School and a former Restavek walked up, he looked at my face, heard my tone of voice and within seconds knew what was happening.  As loving and calm as possible we began discussing the importance of ALL children going to school, the way that our Father LOVES us and how we are ALL Children of God.

The older mans eyes fell to the ground…

Even though our school is FULL, I could not stand the thought of this child coming to pick up another child from school EVERY DAY for the next year.  We looked at each other exchanging some silent words…and the Spirit spoke to both of us together like He often does…we looked at each other and both said, He HAS to be enrolled in school.

We told the young boy and the man who he lives with that his first day of school would be the next day (Monday)…the little boy released a small smirk and it was the first snippet of emotion I saw…my heart was filled and I breathed deep knowing the Lord had just orchestrated this….


Jean Louis, 13 years old, NEVER been to school.  When Monday arrived, he was there bright and early.  As I grabbed his hand to walk him to class, his hand was limp and his eyes stayed on the ground.  I prayed silently as we walked…LORD SHOW him who you are.  REVEAL yourself to him.  Give him courage, strength and confidence IN YOU.  Help him to find his identity in YOU and NOT as a Restavek.

As we walked down to his classroom, I told him how he would LOVE our school.  That we would make sure he had a uniform, books and he would get to eat breakfast every day.  A small smile came out…

Jean Louis being introduced to his teacher by  the directress of the school.

That afternoon his “caregiver” came to pick up the Kindergartner and asked where Jean Louis was…classes were over so I asked him to walk with me to his class.  There we saw Jean Louis sitting with 4 other children and their teacher Monsieur Gabriel….going over the alphabet…as Jean Louis sat in the front row smiling and talking…my heart fluttered.  A SMILE 🙂  His life, his freedom…is beginning.

I looked over at the older man and said gently, “This is important.  School is important.  He needs to learn how to read, write and most importantly to KNOW that His Father in heaven loves him.”  The older man looked in the classroom and looked back at me…his eyes, not leaving the classroom, glistened as he said, “Yes, I know.  Thank you.”   I looked back up at the man and said quietly, “Don’t thank me, the Lord has done this and I’m just blessed to be a part of it.”  He smiled a gentle smile of understanding.


It is a CONSTANT testing of patience and resting in HIS Spirit to not just LOSE it and go crazy YELLING when this happens. (Yes I DO get worked up when there is such injustice right in front of me) Especially this situation, I felt like it was almost a slap in the face that someone had the nerve to send a Restavek to pick up another child at our school.  I can ONLY imagine the emotional abuse that happens when a child who is NOT in school and is forced to go pick up a child who IS in school.  It is ONLY by the grace of God that I am able to have some composure and PEACE that HE is fighting for these children, that He is USING Respire Haiti and the community of Gressier to fight for these Restaveks.  That One by One He is forever changing the lives of these children.

Please pray with us and join us in our fight!

“If one member suffers, all suffer together…” 1 Corinthians 12:26

It’s Just a Business. Part 2.

After writing It’s Just a Business, there was an amazing amount of good responses, people emailed, messaged and asked myself and others genuine and probing questions that were good.  There was also some confusion taken from what I said, so I feel it necessary to clarify…(most importantly because “God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14: 33)

As I said in my other blog, MOST of the Haitian orphanages are run like businesses, not all.  This statement of saying “MOST” orphanages is not made on my opinion, my beliefs nor is it made from just a guess.  I am not the one who has “identified” the 50+ orphanages that are going to be closed in Haiti, international organizations and the Haitian government are the ones who have done this.

Articles like this… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-morgan/forprofit-orphanages-keep_b_838206.html are an excellent resource to help clarify and point to facts regarding what I said in my blog.  This article will help you see why this is such a real problem in Haiti and also show you sadly, how so many orphanages are being run like businesses.

I also never said or discouraged giving to orphanages, I merely encouraged to be aware of where your funding is going and how it is being used.  Because of this, I would also like to give examples of good and encouraging places…please check out God’s Littlest Angels website or Awaken Haiti’s website for examples of well run and well accounted for homes for children.  These organizations are fighting for what is good and are fighting for these children…

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?” 1 Peter 3:15

Also, I would encourage you to check out organizations like Haiti ServeHeartline and Apparent Project, which are supporting, encouraging and helping families to stay together through education and artisan business.


I believe that God probes us in our hearts to question and voice problems we see, know and are faced with.  God has grown my heart, wisdom and understanding on this subject of orphans and orphanages more than I ever thought was possible.  He has given me an unending passion to be a voice for the fatherless and constantly guides me, teaches me, reminds me and encourages me through it all…

The Gospel and Jesus’ call for us to lay down our lives for others and Fight for justice is the voice that I must listen to.  Matthew 10:27 is what the Lord puts on my heart and in my mind constantly…

“…for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”  Matthew 10:27

I pray that one measly blog written by little me does not confuse or infuriate you…I pray instead that God reveals HIS TRUTH regarding how we are ALL called to fight for orphans and be their voice and support- however that looks.


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