TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
January 17, 2008
Joy can so quickly be changed into sadness. I was joyful when I learned that one of the babies that had been brought to the states for surgery was well enough to return to his family in Haiti. Even though I was in the states at the time when he returned, I knew that I would be able to share in his family’s joy when I returned to Haiti and was able to visit them and see their recovering son!
Upon my return, I made plans to visit the family with my translator. It was then that the sad realities began to be revealed to me. The mother and father had been fighting bitterly. The mother (who is pregnant with another child) had kicked the father out of the house. The mother had rented a home where she lived with the baby and her two other children from a previous relationship. She refused to let the father see the baby that he adored so much. When I arrived, I was told that the mother did not want the baby. The baby’s environment was dirty. He was not being exercised as required following his surgery. He was not being properly fed. The father would have taken the baby in a heartbeat, but he had no home and no one to care for the baby.
The father arrived at the home to greet me. He remained outside with tears streaming down his face. The mother did not want him to enter the house. I explained to the mother the importance of the baby receiving love from both the mother AND the father. I swooped the baby up in my arms and brought him to his father who wept over him and cradled him in his arms.
Eventually the family gathered on the porch of the home and I talked with them about the miracle of their child’s survival. I talked about him being a gift from God and that it was their responsibilities as parents to take care of the child that God had blessed them with. I prayed with the family and left the home with a heavy heart.
Over a period of several days, I talked with the parents about the future of the baby. It was decided that the baby would be removed from the home and placed in temporary care until an orphanage could be found for him or until he could return to the states for follow-up therapy, which will only be possible if he can be granted another medical visa. The mother consistently stated that she did not want the child. The father continued to express his love, but was adamant about his inability to care for him.
During these conversations, the father said something very profound, especially if you have an understanding of Haitian culture. The father stated that he is a father to his son, but more importantly his son has been a father to him. He said this because it is because of his son that the father now has an identity. Prior to his son’s need for treatment in the states, the father had no birth certificate and no identification card. He had to get those documents in order for his son to obtain a passport. Many peasants here are people with no identity. This son gave his father “papers” to show that “he is somebody!” Culturally speaking, this was a HUGE gift from a son to his father. The father stated that he will never forget what his son did for him!
Isn’t it ironic, that as Christians, Jesus in essence did the same thing for us! Because of His love for us, He made US SOMEBODY! He gives us our identity! The sad difference is that this father cannot continue to care for his son, unlike God who is able to continually supply all of our needs. I pray that one day, this father and mother will know in their hearts that God not only cares for their son, but that He also intimately cares for them!
NOTE: Check out new photos in the “House of the Lambs of God” Orphanage Kids Album!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time ………….