TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
November 20, 2013
A N D T H E N T H E R E W E R E N I N E
Even in the midst of the twists and turns of life, I marvel when God allows me to understand why someone was placed in my life or me in theirs! It is especially intriguing when the plan that He has laid out does not become evident until years after He has set His plan in motion. It is then that I can look back and have a “goose bump” kind of ah-ha moment!
In a previous communiqué (Communiqué 106), I spoke of my hopes and dreams for a dear family who had recently fallen on even more desperate times than the already difficult life of poor Haitian families. I spoke of parents of five children. We had been able to offer the father a much-needed job as a schoolteacher. As things would turn out, the father would be unable to take the job because the position was in a community far from his home and he knew of no one who could offer him a place to sleep and a place to eat for the meager amount that he would be able to pay. He had to decline the job and continue to pray that somewhere, somehow God would provide for him and his family.
When I was called back to the states for the funeral of my father, this family remained on my mind. I was so excited when one of my “communiqué readers” wrote to me and asked if she could help send one of this family’s children to school. She even offered to speak with coworkers and friends to see if she could find others to help. How heartwarming to look forward to returning to Haiti with this good news for the family! Even with this good news, the family’s situation would not vanish from my thoughts. Their plight continued to play heavy on my heart. I talked to Léon about whether or not approaching this family about taking one or two of their sons into our orphanage would be an appropriate thing to do. One does not just go around asking for someone else’s children. In fact, rarely does something like that occur. More often that not, orphanages typically get more requests to take in children than can possibly be admitted. As God’s timing would have it, however, Grace Orphanage was recently blessed with funding to take in a couple of more kids. Is it possible that God had prepared these exact openings for these particular children? Léon said that when we returned to Haiti he would gently approach the father to see if he was receptive to the idea.
Upon our return to Haiti, we placed a call to the father and asked him to come by to speak to us. We wanted to be sure that there was no way that the teaching position would work out. We asked about the welfare of the mother and learned that she had returned home, but in a weakened condition and with no funds to seek additional medical tests. We asked about the children. Gently, Léon broached the subject about the orphanage. The father looked up and solemnly said, “This is exactly what we have been praying for!” He said that he would return the next day with his wife, once he had had the chance to talk with her about this possibility.
The next day came and went. Heavy, heavy rains had come to our area and it was impossible for the parents to travel to our home in the storm. The second day also came and went. The storm had lingered. Finally on the third day, the clouds rolled back and the parents arrived at our home.
The thin and frail mother embraced me with these words, “Manmi Nora! Manmi Nora!” The father stood beside her as we offered them chairs to sit down in my office. Léon addressed them and asked for a confirmation if indeed it was their desire to give their children to us. The mother asked to speak first. She kept her hands in her lap, but her smiling face was tilted upwards as she looked directly at me. She spoke to me saying, “Many years ago, God sent you to us! Even though you did not know us, you were willing to save our child. Even then, God knew of this day – the day when you would be able to help us again. He knew that our children would become your children. You were our son’s Manmi Nora then and you are our son’s Manmi Nora now. This was all God’s plan!” How does one not hear such words and just know what an awesome God we have? My eyes welled with tears and my inner soul wanted to burst. How could a mother bear to do such a loving act without the strong arms of Jesus embracing her heart?
I asked if they had talked to the children about coming to the orphanage. They replied that they had and the children had asked if they could come this very day! The parents explained that first they needed to talk to us and then after some pre-entry medical testing they would leave the family to enter the orphanage.
I then turned our discussion to the education of the children. They were thrilled to learn that part of the orphanage program included going to school, a school that had a feeding program. They were very both surprised and pleased! I then talked about their two remaining school age children. Four of their children had been sent home from school because they had no money to pay the fee. I was able to tell them that we would be able to send at least one of their children to school. Their hearts were bursting with gratitude!
Soon after, they stood up. As two mothers with hearts for the same children, I tightly embraced the mother. We have a bond that was formed so many years ago. We have a bond that will last far into the future. The bond is the love of two special children born to two special parents.
After the parents left, I felt the need to speak with a local doctor regarding the mother’s condition. It had been recommended that the mother see this doctor for further testing, but with no money to do so, the mother had not gone. The doctor graciously offered to see the mother for no fee, but any tests or medications would have to be paid for. I made the arrangements for this doctor to do the medical tests on the two brothers and made arrangements for the mother also to be seen.
While I was out in the city running errands on the day of their appointment, I stopped at the doctor’s office to see what I could learn. The two boys were standing in the doorway of the clinic and greeted me with a huge smile and a hug. Knowing that the medical tests for them were complete, they eagerly asked if they would be leaving with me for the orphanage. I explained that I would take them home with me while their mama finished her tests, but that their parents would come to get them and take them back home until a date has been set for their departure to the orphanage. But at that very moment, a sensation filled my body. It was like God was saying, “These are your children now Nora! These precious little boys are now yours! I have planned for this and the time has come! I am entrusting them to you!”
Kerly (almost 7) and Stanley (almost 10)
The doctor had just finished examining the mother and motioned for me to come to talk to him. He stated that the mother was very ill and that she needed some medication immediately and some tests. He stated that she should not have any more children, as a pregnancy would surely kill her. I was so thankful that someone had left money for me to help an adult in need (as funds for Caribbean Children’s Foundation can only be used for children). With a mere $64, I was able to pay for her lab tests, 2 weeks of medication and an x-ray. However, my mind immediately contemplated as to how this family would ever be able to pay for her prescription medications in the future. The need for lifetime medication will surely be impossible for this family.
This family has suffered so much – loss of a job, loss of good health for the mother, near starvation, children sent home from school due to lack of funds and the turning of two of their children over to an orphanage. Some of the situation has been addressed, but the fragile future for this family remains. Sadly, scenarios for many other poor families in Haiti are very similar to this one. Where does one continue to find hope?
I am so grateful for both those of you who have offered to help and those who will offer to help this family! Because of you … this particular family knows that someone cares and that God has not forgotten them!
I am also very grateful that for years this family has placed their hope in Jesus! When the burdens of this life have passed away, they will be standing at the gates of Heaven with their Lord and Savior! They will be in a place where there is no more hunger, no more sickness and no more sorrow!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time, God willing …………