The Face of a Statistic

October 11

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Tonight my heart is broken. Another loss. Loss at the end of incredible suffering, and another mother in Haiti who is feeling the intense pain of burying her son far too early, due to a simple and treatable sickness.

On Thursday I was holding him.

I prayed over him and treated him for parasites. Again. I claimed his little destiny for Christ and I discussed the importance of clean water with his mom.  I gave her diapers and made a note that it was about time to buy more rice and beans and oil for her family.

On Friday he was gone.

Just like that… into peace and joy sometime around 2AM.

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When I see the huge statistic numbers of children who are vulnerable and dying around this world my heart is overwhelmingly burdened for the suffering that plagues just Haiti even. How many sleep on dirt, have never known security, and how many will not see their fifth birthday due to things like dirty drinking water.

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However, today, my heart is so incredibly broken for the single life that made up a piece of those statistics. Loss looks totally different when it has a name and a face and a life. When a destiny is cut short… by something so preventable.

DC Medical Center

In these moments my words hold no justice as to how grateful I am for all that Danita’s Children is doing to ensure that less and less mothers are made to fight a seemingly hopeless battle with malnutrition – and so many other basic sicknesses that plague Haiti… for Danita for saying ‘yes’ and for taking on so much pressure and sacrifice to bring Christ, medical care, and dignity to the sick and broken.

A lighthouse is an understatement to all that the DC Medical Center is in Haiti.

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… & To my sweet boy, Daubins:

If I had known that this day would have been our last together I would have held you so much longer. I would have hugged you so much tighter. I would have laughed more and taken 172,000 pictures (even if they all looked just like this one). These last weeks were a tough fight but I would have absolutely exhausted every avenue at my disposal to attempt and change this outcome. I am confident that God knows the number of our days, and I am grateful for those that I had with you.

Your smile brought me so much joy and I am so sorry and so angry that your life ended due to malnutrition. Your life was not in vain, sweet boy, and I will keep you in my heart always.

Learn more about the DC Medical Center & help alleviate suffering in Haiti!

Your Parent’s Were Lying All Along…

They were lying…

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… because either Santa’s workshop was too full and he needed overflow space, or The North Pole isn’t in some land far, far away, inside of a snowflake somewhere – it’s in North East Haiti at Danita’s Children.

And me, just call me your average, everyday elf… or something like that.

… the season is here, folks! RELAX AND BE MERRY – and don’t forget the reason for the season!

Merry Christmas,

Hope

Music = Ear Candy for the Blind.

Can you imagine being blind? How about being blind in Haiti? How about being blind, having three children – two of them who are blind, and depending on your four year-old daughter to lead anywhere you need to go? Yep. True story. Now tell me how hard your life was today?

Two of the kids came into school on the first day, one is bind and the other is four and the dependent of the family. She has never just been a kid a day in her life, always making stuff happen and keeping her family out of harms way. That first day her mom, Julie, who is blind also, was late coming to pick them up, and little four year-old, 3 feet tall, Nouvley said behind her (in Creole) as she is running toward the property gate, without a drop of fear in her voice, “Mom’s not coming, Juvensky, you sit here and I’ll go call a taxi.”

About 45 seconds later to be seen walking back with her face in her hands and our security guard leading her toward us. It was her first day of Kindergarten so she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed to just make stuff happen like she days every other day. Structure is a foreign concept in Haiti. My kind of girl though – find problems and fix them – no questions asked. One of our missionaries said that whenever she took the two children to the road to get a taxi (motorcycle) and take them home that she marched right up to the street and yelled for a taxi to “come and stop right here!” Then she proceeded to to tell the driver that her brother needed to sit in the middle because he can’t see and then she would sit behind him because she is little and Mami Heather would sit in back to keep them safe.

Watching Juvensky makes me smile. His spirit is so sensitive. To watch his heightened senses, when he sees a shadow, hears the slightest sound, or begins to inch his way on his hands and knees to cautiously approach a toy that has rolled away, in case of harm close by. I told him my name one time and anytime he heard me after that he would find my voice and say, “Mami Hope”. I wonder what I look like in his mind. Am I Haitian? Do he even know what Haitian looks like?

One day I watched him feel around everything that he came into contact with to reveals it’s identity – the storybook with plastic lady bugs on it, when he felt my wrists and looked alarmed at what could possibly be surrounding them (bracelets) and when he found a large pilates ball that he could push in front of him to ensure his navigation. I pulled out my phone and turned on my favorite playlist. It was as if the entire world stopped around him. He recognized music immediately due to his heightened senses. He didn’t know the words or the tune, but he had connected with something. It was touch and go for a minute because he sees with his hands and that isn’t exactly good for a touch screen phone 🙂 – it was going on and off and every which way. I smiled watching him light up and was reminded of not only what people don’t have in Haiti, but how people who already have a disability make due in a world with no resources. I don’t know if he has ever even been able to hold a speaker up to his ear before.

 

Today I pulled out the big guns. My laptop. I turned on Kari Jobe. Her album cover is so bright and on the laptop he can put his eyes real close to the screen and see the bright shadows and listen to her voice. His smile is priceless, as if I made the world was alright for him again by providing something as simple as music.

Kari, if for some reason you ever read this please know that your music is changing lives. Literally. I let Jvensky’s mom (who is also blind) listen to your album via my cell phone and she was just overjoyed to have worship in her heart. Thank You – your album is amazing.

One is Enough.

I’m sitting on the floor watching little Alexson sleep. With each inhale I can count every rib in his chest. As I rub my hand up and down his back I can feel the bones in his shoulders protruding out. He has lived with us for a few weeks and looks better than he has probably his whole life. He is almost eight years old and weighs 28 pounds. When he came was so pale that Haitians questioned if he was American.

 

Watching him I am amazed at the children who God have brought through these gates.

Some have a bright hope for a future today because of Danita’s dream.

And others don’t make it.

Some were here for a few months. Some a few days.

It’s unrealistic to say that poverty in Haiti is changeable in a short period of time, or without an unchanging God.

Some people ask, “What’s the point?” 

It’s offensive to hear, actually.

I’m not trying to say that we are solving the problem.

But I can tell you the point.

The point is that no child, or human for that matter, deserves to eat out of a trashcan. No child deserves to be left dying alone. The point is that we may not be able to love every child in Haiti, but we can love the ones who are put in front of us.

Even if it was just one – that’s enough.

Hundreds of kids who would never have had the love elsewhere. Never have had the opportunity elsewhere.

Whether for a day or a month or forever, God put them in our path so that they would be in loving arms. Instead of a street or a trash can He has honored us with the opportunity of loving His children, no matter the circumstances or length of their stay on earth.

Even if they come to us and then die hours later, God saw them valuable enough to die loved and comforted and in the arms of His children.

Just Saying.

The Love Of Christ and Decisions and Such.

I am adjusting to life in Haiti, but still in that grace window where if I’m going to cop out it needs to be now. Trust me, I have asked myself a couple times if we wanna run away yet; and when I say we, I mean myself and my subconscious. We have had quite the discussions these past few weeks, to say the least.

I don’t question myself due to life in Haiti being hard, but because I left a life that I loved. In light of heartache and home ache and border crossings and super energized kids on Christmas vacation, I was having “a moment”. God always seems to always meet me at my “moments” just to reassure my heart, and prolly a little bit to give me a reason to not pout.

Nevertheless, this morning was a great discussion and reflection on Christs’ compelling love and how that love will in turn cause us to react as a result. I knew that the decision to come here was right, but that doesn’t mean that it would be easy. I wasn’t expecting easy, but I also wasn’t expecting such heartache. Such perfect timing of God meeting me at “my moment” to remind me why I made the decision in the first place.

The reflection is here.