TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
September 29, 2006
Five years ago, when the whole world was focused on the tragic events of 9/11, there was a little corner of the world that had something wonderful to celebrate! In Les Cayes, Haiti, a life long dream was becoming a reality! It was in September of 2001 that Pastor Israel and his wife, Leonie, started taking the very first children into the “Children of Israel” Orphanage. After many years of praying for this type of outreach to the poor and orphaned children of Haiti, the doors of the orphanage finally opened!!! The orphanage became home to five little girls. Incidentally, of those five original girls, four remain with us at the orphanage. The original children were Sincia & her sister Mirline, Dina, Chamimine and Tamoumone, who now lives with her new family in Michigan. Oh! How those little girls would touch my heart and change the direction of my life!
Now, five years later, we were holding an anniversary celebration! There are not a lot of things to celebrate in Haiti, so when we have a good reason to have some fun, we take advantage of it. And certainly this anniversary was a good reason!!! Besides, I had been waiting for a special occasion to feast on the wedding goat that was given to Léon and me and this event was the perfect opportunity!
On Friday, September 20, we had our party at the boys’ orphanage. The orphanage staff that included our newly hired helpers and ALL 29 children were present, including our newest boys – Shilain, Kerbin’s, Charly, Modler and baby Moise! We dined on rice & beans, carrot/beet salad, chicken AND GOAT. The children had the rare treat of having soda pop. The newly re-painted bedrooms and dining room of the orphanage were decorated with balloons that the boys had had a blast blowing up before the party! What a wonderful event it was!! Isn’t God good???
Soon, though, we were back to reality. During a recent thunderstorm, the transformer for the electricity for our area was blown out. We had to wait for a replacement from Port-au-Prince. It was 21 days before electricity was restored. A double blessing occurred when our telephone land line was repaired at about the same time, after 5 months of waiting for repairs! Now if we can get the internet working again, we will feel likes kings in a castle. I have found that my prayers have changed just a bit following these events. I am now thanking God for things like light switches that actually work when you flip them on, for ice cubes and cold water and fans that work in the 90 degree weather! Oh how easy it is to forget the simple blessings in life!
I have just returned from a trip to Port-au-Prince, where I had taken two of our boys to begin the paperwork for the LONG adoption process. It was so much fun spending one-on-one time with them. The boys absolutely loved their first airplane ride. The wide eyes and pointing fingers were priceless! They got to see helicopters up close and UN vehicles and larger airplanes! Wow! They also tested their bravery when they went to the lab to have blood drawn. What brave little guys they were with no tears whatsoever! Along the way, Mommy Nora had to be reminded of some cultural differences. I had served the boys peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that were cut up into small squares. The boys just sat there, looking at them. Finally one of them peered up at me and asked me for a spoon. I had forgotten that many Haitians will not eat ANYTHING with their hands! Silly me! I noticed then that the powdered milk that I had stirred up for them had barely been touched. Once again, they reminded me that Mommy Nora had not made the milk sweet. I should have remembered that one ALWAYS adds sugar to milk! Bedtime prayers were also a lesson in learning. First, the boys sang a song that had umpteen verses. Then the boys both stood and placed one hand over their eyes and one of the boys began praying and praying and praying. The prayer must have lasted for 15 minutes. I heard him praying for Mommy Nora and Poppy Léon and for their new sandals and for the water they drank and the food they ate and on and on and on. The boys closed by saying the Lord’s Prayer together. Another lesson learned …. “and a little child shall lead them!”
Sometimes, I have to pinch myself to believe that I have been given such an awesome privilege as that of being a part of the lives of the kids at the orphanage. I guess I had better add that to MY bedtime prayers!!! I surely could not ask God for a better job, because the one He gave me is THE BEST!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time ………….