One Child at a Time
I have a lot to share with you today and am having a little trouble navigating it all in my mind. Where to begin? What to share? What to hold near and ponder? I'm trusting the Lord will guide me and you will find something of worth somewhere in it all.
First of all, let me begin with telling you it was really an incredible week at MOHI.
We had a great meeting (via Messenger Video chat) with Dr. Evens (at MOHI in Haiti), Dr. Carmen (NC), Lisa (country director from Bless Back Worldwide in NC), Benjamin (clinic administrator in Haiti), Lex (Haiti), and me (MA). I love the respect that our friends at Bless Back show to our staff in Haiti. They truly listen and honor us all. I am so grateful for the partnership we have with them! During these unprecedented times, meetings like this encourage us all to keep giving of ourselves and being the best that we can, with God's guidance and the knowledge He has given to us.
Our 9th grade students went to national exams this week. Where once our students were embarrassed to tell people they went to our school (remember, our first year of school was in a giant, palm-thatched hut in the mud!), now they hold their heads up high, display great confidence, and are happy to be seen in their school uniform. It's so awesome to watch these children grow and search for their God-given callings in life.
All of our students had a full week, with daily hot meals - and peanut butter to take home with them!
Our high school seniors will begin their national exams in the morning. Would you join us in praying for them, that the Lord would bring things to their remembrance as needed and give them peace?
Pastor Lex shared a very encouraging message this morning - Whatever God gives you, He will also show you how to manage. We have to apply the Word of God, His instructions, and wisdom in every area of our blessed lives.
Speaking of blessings... How wonderful to See Wadson and Mirlaine bring their baby girl to be presented this morning. Such a beautiful family, desiring to follow Jesus first and foremost.
I received a bunch of photos this week of my husband with students. As I looked through them, sighing and giggling, I noticed the real smile on his face in each picture. I began to think about how happy he is when he's with children - our students, our grandchildren, our nieces and nephews, our friend's kids - he just absolutely loves children.
So often he sees through the eyes of his own childhood and has empathy for whatever circumstances a child may be maneuvering through.
I remember years ago when we were traveling to the city of Cayes one day. We were helping another organization to construct a medical clinic just outside the city. We came upon a mom washing clothes in a stream. Her two sons were naked, playing in the water. One of them had an obvious hernia. We stopped to talk with her and try to determine how we could help the child. We were able to find a doctor that would operate on him, another that would treat some other medical conditions, and an organization to support the single mom to get her on her feet and enable her to care for her children.
There was another season when we friended the UN Peacekeepers from Sri Lanka, who were serving in our area. One day the Colonel in charge told Lex about an orphanage that had requested help from him. He was distraught about the plight of these children and the conditions that they were living in. Lex went with him and was just as moved. (Very) long story, short: we took in 32 children for three years, while another organization prepared a nearby campus for them. Today most of these children are still in school at MOHI. Many are gainfully employed. All of them speak English. They are preachers and artists, soccer players and scholars. They are full of hope for the future and prepared to take on the world. (This picture is from about 12 years ago...)
There was another little boy (3 years old maybe?) whom we loved who lived in that orphanage, too. He was a cutie, but always so sad. We never once saw him smile until he (and 50 other children from the same town) were reunited with their families. The day after he left the orphanage we visited him and he had the biggest, most sincere smile you ever want to see. This family ended up moving to our area to be a part of Mission of Hope in Grand-Goave. Most of you who have been to Haiti know that little boy, who is now a young man. His name is Kendy.
Yesterday morning, Kendy's dad and MOHI's in-country director, Jephte, rescued a baby girl (newborn). I was so disturbed by the story Jephte accounted to me, but also so very proud of him and his wife, Madona. Here's what he shared with me:
It was Saturday. Jephte and Madona were still in bed when they heard a group of people walking buy and talking animatedly about a baby in the toilet. (We call this a Creole toilet - you might call it an outhouse. It's a deep hole in the ground that is covered with a cube of concrete and a small hole in the middle.) Jephte knows how Haitians like to tell stories and he didn't know if it was true, something from the past or just - a story.
A few minutes after that another group walked by having a similar conversation. Jephte and Madona began to wonder about it. Shortly after that a third group walked by having the same conversation. Madona said to Jephte, "Do you think we should get dressed and go find out what's going on?" Jephte, in a good man-with-a-day-to-sleep-in fashion said, "Nah. Someone will deal with it." Madona persisted and Jephte agreed.
While there were many people and lots of talking on the scene, no one had actually done anything to extract the baby from the ditch. Understand, she was laying in basin of raw sewage. I suppose it's not an appealing option to have to go in there.
Jephte found an area where they could break into the back of the ditch without further endangering the baby (a concrete chunk landing on her could potentially do a LOT of damage). He ran to his house for a ladder and then Kendy's dad and he went down. Kendy's dad picked up the child and handed her to Jephte, who went up with her.
Jephte and Madona immediately brought the child to the hospital, where they cleaned her up and put ointment in her eyes.
She was then transferred her to a better equipped hospital, about 30 minutes away. They did several tests on her, which all showed good results. There was concern that the sewage would make her sick, so she is on an IV and 2 antibiotics. She's still on oxygen and will be in the hospital for several more days of observation. At this point, however, she appears to be in good health.
Legalities will be worked on this week, when authorities are back in their offices. In the meantime, Jephte has been staying outside the hospital, only allowed to visit the baby every three hours. He says she's continuing to do well.
My emotions have been all over the place. I was angry that a young girl/woman could do such a thing to a baby. Then I wondered what was going on in her life that brought her to this choice. I'm not in her position and can't possibly relate to what she's dealing with. Needless to say, I'm praying for that mother. Just like me, she needs to know the love and forgiveness that can only be found in Jesus.
I am so proud of Jephte and Madona for going all out for this little girl. All of us at MOHI are willing to pull together to care for her. Will you join us? Please pray for her: spirit, soul, and body. She's had a rough start to life. I pray she will know the love of God and accept it fully as she grows. There are hospital bills to be paid. If you would like to help with those costs, please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure that your donation goes toward those bills and caring for the baby. Let's support Jephte and Madona in prayer, as well. Not only are they choosing to care for this little one, they will have many legal hoops to jump through. Thank you!