Greetings from Haiti!
How wonderful it feels to be able to say that! Praise the Lord! All of my flights were uneventful. Everything was on time and all of my bags arrived right where they were supposed to. I spent the night between my flights in the Fort Lauderdale airport which was fairly uncomfortable but more convenient than trying to gather all my bags into a taxi for a hotel visit, just to turn around 5 hours later and come back. I had the amazing blessing of flying to Haiti with 2 families who are adopting children from our orphanage! One couple is here to pick up their twin boys who were the very first children I ever worked with at GLA! It is so encouraging for me to see my work in full circle. What a way to get me excited for the work I will be doing here!
As our plane touched the ground a cheer rose from the passengers. Stepping off the plane in Port Au Prince was truly like coming home. In the many times I have gone away and returned to Fergus Falls, I have never felt so much like I was back home as when I stepped onto that pavement. If there weren’t so many people around I probably would have kissed the ground beneath my feet! I settled for reaching down and placing my hands on it. I said a prayer for the country I have been called to and set off on a long hot walk. After arriving in customs, amidst a true Haitian greeting, with a band and some dancing, and making my way quickly through customs I found myself in the baggage claim area. How different it is the second time around. Last time I came to Haiti the activity and confusion were overwhelming. This time it just felt welcoming. I found someone to help me with my bags and set off again! Finally making it out of the airport and into the sun! James was there to pick us up and I was greeted by my first familiar face. Of course this made me so anxious to get to the orphanage and see all my babies again! After a 45 minute drive that felt like it took hours we pulled up to the gate. I was home!
Walking in I was hit by the smell that I just couldn’t get myself to remember. I never thought I would miss the smell of orphanage, but my goodness! Even that was welcome to me on that afternoon! We arrived just in time for lunch. SPAM sandwiches and cold sweet potato casserole was on the menu. Not my favorite meal but after long hours of traveling I found myself thoroughly enjoying the wonder of SPAM.
Finally it was time to go upstairs and see the babies, the very thing that brought me back here! Of course my first stop was to see my "Ella-baby"! I could hardly believe how big she has gotten. She looks like a totally different child. But the face that I fell in love with is still the same. With her big open mouth grins and her beautiful eyes that stole my heart away 6 months ago! Oh how I loved on that baby. I made the rounds to the other nurseries, seeing kids who were still here so grown up and rejoicing for the ones that were sent home in the time I have been away! It seems much has changes and still everything is the same. The people and faces are different but the goal we all work toward remains. There were some sad moments along the way as well. After supper I spent some time on the balcony alone, watching the sun set, rocking and remembering. I remembered a baby that I did not get to greet.
One of the faces I looked forward to seeing the most but had missed by just a few weeks. A little girl who was the light of our balcony! Berlancia brought so much joy during my last trip here! I heard of her passing and I grieved, and when I came back and it was truly real to meI grieved again. I spent a lot of time that night in tears and prayer. I praise God that He took her to a place where she feels no more pain or sickness, a place where she is whole, the way she was meant to be. And in it all I also, selfishly, grieved for myself that I would not hold her again this side of heaven. I will never forget that baby and the life she lived. I know that God will continue to use her life and her story to impact people. AIDS in Haiti is a very serious problem and through the testimony of one little girl many people will have this epidemic brought to their attention. I just hope that they will listen to it that maybe someday, something will be done to change the statistics that are not numbers but faces.
I have so much I feel I want to share with you. But can I describe the smell in the air, the feeling of the rain on my skin, the joy in the pit of my soul? There are no words. I am so content to finally be here! I am still convinced that this is the exact work I was created for. I am at peace! Again I thank all of you for traveling these roads with me. I feel we are at the beginning of an amazing journey!
Some specific prayer requests I have this week… Please pray for a little tiny boy we have here. who is very sick. Just in the 2 days I have been here I have seen him fade. We are all very fearful for this little life. There is nothing to do now but wait and pray! So pray we will. A healing for this baby is what we need! Please also pray for the health of everyone here at GLA. The first week is the window for the travel sickness and the “haitian happiness” that I wish to avoid. Pray I will stay strong and not fall to weakness of my body but that I will be renewed each day for the work I am to do.
I must close now, I have many babies to love and children to hug! I thank you all again and praise God for you in all my prayers!
Right were I need to be and always in His care,