TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY to the PEOPLE of HAITI March 6, 2014
A N D T H E N T H E R E W E R E T E N
Meet our newest arrival Jeffté (pronounced Jif-tay)! Not unlike a birth announcement, Jeffté joins our Grace Oprhanage family weighing in at 34 pounds and being 42” in height. In six days, he will turn five years old. What a precious little guy he is!
We interviewed his mother and father a few days ago and learned that Jeffté is their youngest child. He has five siblings and two half-siblings. When asked why they brought him to the orphanage they said because they cannot give him the things that they would like to be able to provide for him, things like food and an education. Just the basics! The things that any parent would want for their children! Now they are making the ultimate sacrifice to give him to someone else so that he can have what every human being should be able to have.
On the day that Jeffté came for his departure for the island of Île-à-Vache, his mother came with him. As we talked with the mother, Jeffté sat mesmerized by the ceiling fan in our livingroom, an item unknown to a child who had lived in a house with no electricity. Knowing that they probably had nothing to eat on this day, we gave mother and son coffee to drink and bread to eat. I could not help think that this would be the last meal the two of them would share together for a very, very long time. As always, when we take in a new child I wonder what is going on in the minds of the family and the child. What words did they share at the point the child left the family home for the last time? Did the family have a sleepless night the night before the separation? What will their first night apart be like? Did the family explain to the child what would be happening? What questions (if any) did the child venture to ask? Have tears been shed or has a brave front been presented? All these questions and more!
Before the mother’s departure from our home, I asked Léon to pray for the family and their son during this transition time. Surprisingly, instead, the mother stood up and began singing a praise song. She finished with a long and passionate prayer about courage and strength and nights of good sleep. She turned to each of us in the room and individually said to each of us “God bless you!” Wow! No tears were shed in the son’s presence and the mother stood tall and left our house, exiting through our front gate!
After the mother’s departure, I took Jeffté outside with a small bottle of bubbles. I could tell by his reaction that he had never seen bubbles before. His mouth curved into a quick and beautiful smile. When I let him take a turn at blowing the bubbles, the smile could not contain itself. I encouraged him to pop as many bubbles as he could. That’s when the little boy in him came out. He chased the bubbles around our porch with joyful glee. Soon, a new activity was in order and so I searched for crayons and a coloring book that would meet a little boy’s approval. I found one with cars and airplanes. Of course it was a big hit! It appeared that Jeffté must have colored in his kindergarten class because he grasped the crayons like a pro and made work of splaying color on the pages of the coloring book.
It seems all boys everywhere love cars & airplanes!
In my search for a coloring book, I had also looked for a child-sized life jacket. Later in the day, Jeffté would be taking his first-ever boat ride to the orphanage. What adventures lie ahead for this little guy!
Please remember Jeffté and his birth family in your prayers! Remember too all the other children in the world who face hunger and/or separation from their families for one reason or another! Jeffté is one of the blessed ones! He will live in a loving Christian home where he will receive the basic necessities of life. He will continue learning about the Jesus that his family had started to teach him about. So many other children are not as fortunate. They remain in homes were there is never enough food to eat or are forced into a life on the streets to fend for themselves.
We count it a blessing to help just a few! Your prayers and financial support help make this possible! As Jeffté’s mama said … “God bless you!”
Nora Léon Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time, God willing …………