Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Small, Small World

This week I am home in Minnesota for Christmas. As is almost always the case when I come home I've run into a lot of people who I haven't seen in a while. Living in a small town I have gotten pretty used to this. Yesterday's encounter however, beats all I've had. My mom and I decided to go out for a drink after she got off work. No sooner than we were seated at our table than a woman that we used to go to church with came up to us. She knew I had been at GLA and she asked me if I knew a baby named Daphnee who had been at the orphanage last year. Her best friends family had adopted a little girl from God's Littlest Angels last fall. Did I remember her?? Of course I did! How could I forget this sweet face??
I remember very clearly the day she came to us. Just a tiny bundle, 5lbs of sweetness. What I remember most about that day was Daphnee's papa. When he placed her in our arms he cried. It was the first time I had ever seen open emotion from a Haitian parent. Yes, I had seen pain in their eyes and a tremble in their empty arms, but never a tear. This man changed that for me. He loved his little girl so much that his pride meant nothing. He didn't hold back! I held his daughter and as with all of our babies I prayed with all my heart over her. I prayed that she would have the life her Papa imagines when he closes his eyes to sleep at night. I prayed she would find a new Mommy and a new Daddy. Parents who, though could never take his place, would be the family her Papa longed for her. I prayed her parents would teach her where she came from and how to get where she is going. I prayed they would allow her to love the country she was raise up out of and the parents who gave everything they could to give her a chance. I prayed they would raise her up to know and love Jesus above all else.
The prayers that I prayed over Daphnee are not different from the ones I prayed over every baby of GLA that I have held and loved. The dreams her Papa had are the same every parent who places their most precious child in our care has. What is different about Daphnee is that tomorrow I will witness firsthand how God is answering those prayers in her life.
When my friend found out that I did indeed know Daphnee she gave my phone number to her family. Daphnee was brought to us with special needs that enabled her to come to the USA to recieve medical treatment. Since she came on a medical visa she was escorted out of Haiti by the director of GLA, Dixie. Because of this her adoptive parents have never been to GLA. They have not had the blessing of experiencing their daughter's first home like so many adoptive parents have. They have only blank months. This afternoon I spoke on the phone with Daphnee's Mommy. It was a beautiful connection. I was able to tell her a little bit about what Haiti and God's Littlest Angels is like. However, a phone conversation just isn't enough. Knowing we are SO close to each other right now we just had to make plans to meet in person! Tomorrow at 9 am I will see and hold Daphnee again!
When a volunteer or child leaves GLA it is pretty much understood that the chances of ever meeting up again is very slim. Tomorrow I will do something I never though I would. I will hold Daphnee in my arms again. I will sit and talk to her Mama and I will get to know this precious family! I will braid hair again ;)
Tonight I feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve, I don't know how I will possibly sleep. I pray for the hours to fly!
I'll let you all know how it goes!

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Hero

Anna is my hero

I've mentioned before but it just has to be said. My hero is a 20 year old young woman who has done more in her life that most people will ever dream of. She is servant, an amazing friend, a heart willing to follow wherever she is called and a "mama" to those most in need. Anna gives me something to aspire to. Anna gives me hope. Anna has taught me more about love in action than anyone I have ever met. I am so incredibly blessed to know her and barely worthy to call her my friend.

Anna was Mama to Berlancia . She is truly my inspiration. Anna has a love for babies with HIV and AIDS. She has a heart for the little ones with needs that makes the world turn their backs. She gives a face to the person I hope and pray I will be someday.

Anna is strong. She is willing to give her entire heart to whatever child God entrusts her with. She doesn't hold back in fear, just gives them everything she can for whatever time she's given. She is the strongest person I have ever known.

A Mama Found

God put in her arms a baby and asked,
"will you love this little one"
She looked in those eyes and her heart was lost.
In a second His will was done.

For a day or for and hour,
a week, a month, a year,
every second He gave was a treasure
every laugh and every tear.

For such a place and time as this,
her heart has been prepared.
For each and every precious baby,
who ever needed someone who cared.

For kisses given, Comfort shared,
a cheer when new skill abound.
A child who's hurt, a heart to heal
A mama needed found.

I have discovered a hero,
one who inspires me to grow.
I have found a friend who has taught me to love,
more than she'll ever know.

Friday, December 25, 2009

2000 years ago a baby boy was born. I imagine the night went something like this:

A young girl, around 14 years old was with her fiance. Perhaps it was a man she loved, perhaps someone she had only just met. The story leaves some details out. Mary was her name and she was pregnant. Hugely pregnant. She was only a young girl, on her tiny frame her stomach must have been so swollen she could hardly move. She had traveled for days, finally arriving at her destination, feet throbbing and head aching. She must have known the time for her child was near. Her pains coming closer and stronger. She must have been scared. How much worse that could only have gotten when she realized she had no where to go. The moment she was told she would give birth in a barn. Nothing but a dirt floor to lie on. Dirty and cold. No place for a baby, no place for the Savior of the world. She brought forth her child in a place that was barely fit for animals. And yet, when she looked at her precious baby, among the filth, among the confusion of not knowing why she was chosen, among the questions and doubts for the future, one thing was for sure. She loved Him. She must have known deep in her heart He wasn't truly hers, she could never "keep" him. And so she did what she could, she pondered the precious moments with him in her heart, saving them for a day when she would call upon her memories to see her child.

How many babies have I held in my arms born in a similar way? How many of them were brought into a world few can even imagine, in a place most of you would hesitate to banish your family pet. Dirt floors. Unstable walls. Born to mothers who were unsure of the future. Mothers who knew, deep down, the moments wouldn't last long. Full of love, sorrow and pride. Babies brought into a world that hurts. How those mothers must savor each and every second, how they must beg for more time.

I have held babies that were born in mere "barns" and I have watched them grow in the grace of a Savior, who knows their situation first hand. A God who understands.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last Christmas

Last Christmas...

I Gave You My Heart....

It's Still There...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Today I Will Trust

I am learning to trust. I've been learning all my Christian life. Some days I feel like I've got it down. Others I think I'm right back at the beginning. Today it is just less than one month until I am supposed to leave for Haiti again and I am still unable to buy my plane ticket. I try to trust that God is in control, but instead I worry. Last night I didn't sleep, I laid awake and thought about how devastated I was going to be to cancel this trip. The disappointment for the other people who have signed up for this life changing adventure. My empty arms. Talking about finances is such an uncomfortable subject, but the truth cannot be ignored, none of my missions to Haiti have ever been possible without help. The specifics are this, I need $700.00 USD for plane tickets, as of today I have almost $400.00. The rest of the cost will be around $500.00. Once again I rely on others to support my work there. I trust that God has given me this mission for His purpose, but I need to learn to allow Him to make it happen. Today I will strive to trust. I refuse to worry. I will not cry and I will not despair. He did not chose to give me this work not to have it come about. Today, I will trust!

The God Of This City

You're the God of this city

You're the King of these people

You're the Lord of this nation

You are

You're the Light in this darkness

You're the Hope to the hopeless

You're the Peace to the restless

You are
For there is no one like our God
There is no one like our God
For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done
In this city
And greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done here

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Home Again

As another holiday season approaches and another year comes to an end, we look ahead at what will come. I am overjoyed to share with you that in January of 2010 I will once again return to the land of my heart. In just a few short weeks I will hold in my hands, one more time the children I treasure and the hope of the future of Haiti. I count the seconds!
This trip to God’s Littlest Angels will be different than any other for me, because on this trip I will be sharing my love with dear friends. I will be leading a team to serve in Haiti for seven days. Not only am I looking forward to being back with my babies but also, I am incredibly excited to introduce people I love to this passion I have.
January 10th our journey will begin, taking us through Miami and into Petionville, Haiti. I can already feel the air on my skin! We will be welcomed into GLA and each assigned eight babies that will be “ours” for the time that we are there. We will hold, love and encourage them for hours every day. We will also have a chance to help with building and maintenance projects at all of the mission houses, along with the building site for the new orphanage. We will spend time with the older children at The Toddler House giving them the love and attention they so desperately crave. I can picture the scenes so clearly in my mind and I just cannot wait to share sweet moments with friends who have followed my missions over the last few years. They have seen photos and now they will have their own pictures to treasure!
As always I covet your prayers at this time. Throughout my moments in Haiti I have seen the power of prayer in mind-blowing ways. Rice in a bag that the night before was empty. Generators and power when there just shouldn’t be. Powerful protection in times of fear. And even breath in the body of a tiny child, where just moments before life was slipping away. Nothing in missions or in everyday life will be more powerful than prayer and communication with our Mighty Lord. I trust in Him for all our needs and I ask all of you to join me in calling out to him at this time.
Another, very exciting, way you can join me this time around is physically! I have spaces left for both men and women to join our team. Perhaps God is calling you to go? Young or old, it makes no difference you can serve! Generally we will spend our time with small babies in an outdoor playroom furnished with rocking chairs bright toys. In addition there are many opportunities for those with special skills. Construction at the new site is constant and anyone with knowledge in that area would be a wonderful help. GLA is a mission that provides care for medically fragile children and nursing skills are very much appreciated and always put to use. Another beautiful talent the children would love is music. The babies love to dance and sing! Last year a man brought his guitar for a week and spent every afternoon playing for the kids, they loved it! Everyone has something to bring and if you are feeling called to join us on this trip please let me know so I can get more information to you.
I have so much excitement surrounding this next trip, especially in knowing that I am introducing others to my passion. It is my desire to help financially, anyone who wants to join me on this mission. In the last year I have been committed to a savings account dedicated to Haiti because I knew in my heart I could never stay away. God has blessed my financially when it comes to this mission. Never have I lacked for any need. Rarely have I even been denied desires. I also have the desire to help others whom God has called on this trip to make it possible! The Lord has used all of you to provide the means for me to continue in this work. I am so eager to move forward in this journey and to share with all of you every step of the way! All of you, in your willingness to obey his call make this passion possible. I am forever thankful for your faithfulness thus far! To donate checks can be sent directly to me Rhyan Buettner 2947 N 27th Ave #25 Bozeman, MT 59718 or to God’s Littlest Angels 2085 Crystal River Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80915 with Rhyan Buettner in the memo. You can also donate via paypal here on my blog. I thank you in advance for once again helping make my mission possible!

In His Plans,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day

Today is world AIDS day. It is no secret to any who have followed my letters that I have a very special passion for babies with HIV and AIDS. I long for them. God has granted me this passion for a reason and though I am still waiting for His timing I know that passion will be lived out. Today I want to re-post something I wrote a little over a year ago. In a way it is difficult to read. I am no closer today than I was then, to knowing where the passion that God has laid on my heart is leading. But I can also look back over the past year and see the way God is preparing, though I still don't know what for. Berlancia's Espwa is still in my heart!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Promise To Keep
Last week I told you all of a journey I would go on this past Tuesday. I feel like now is the time for me to share with you about that day. Tuesday September 30th was the 2nd birthday of our sweet baby Berlancia who died this past August. To celebrate her life and our memories of her, I went with Melanie, our update coordinator and Susan, our nurse, who was with B the day she died, on a long walk ending at the cemetery where Berlancia and the other babies who have passed away at GLA are buried. This was very much a bittersweet journey for me. My goal in all of it being to celebrate the joy that Berlancia brought in her life, and to celebrate the fact that now she is exactly where she belongs. However the day was also filled with sadness at the life cut short, and the ones she left behind.

For those of you who don't know, Berlancia died of AIDS. She inherited the disease from her birth mother, who perhaps by now has also been claimed by the sickness. Berlancia was just a baby, her virus was not caused by a choice in her lifestyle, like 16,000 other people in Haiti this year, she died. She died because she was born to a mother infected with HIV. What is worse, Berlancia died without a mommy holding her. There were many people who cared about Berlancia, she was blessed for most of her life with caretaker who loved her with all of her heart. She knew her love, but she was not a permanent family for her. She had an amazing family in Vermont who had chosen to welcome her into their home, but before she could spend even a moment in their arms, she was taken. All of those people felt the sadness of losing such a special little girl. She touched each of their lives along with many others. There were GLA employees who knew her since she was a tiny baby. Those who watched her grow. There were volunteers who had worked with her, or who had seen her on the balcony day to day. A baby like Berlancia was impossible not to notice. The lives she touched are countless and still she died in a heartbreaking way. In a place where, although she was loved, could never replace a true home.

There are 190,000 people in Haiti infected with the AIDS virus. 17,000 of them are children. More than 15,000 will die this year. Haiti is only 800 miles away from Florida. Less than 2 hours by plane and yet it is a world away. Babies like Berlancia, who are born to families torn apart by this disease, are dying, while I sit in my home and try not think about it. Well, I can't not think about it anymore. AIDS in Haiti has a face, with big brown almond shaped eyes and a squealing, innocent laugh that is impossible to forget. I will never be the same.

On Tuesday before we left I spent some quiet moments alone, remembering B and preparing my heart for what was to come. I decided that what I would really like to do is to write a letter to Berlancia telling her what her time with me had meant. Since I leaned of Berlanci's death AIDS in Haiti, especially in the babies of this country, has been placed on my heart. I have found myself researching the statistics of the disease and it's impact on the children of Haiti. I have found a passion for this subject that I have felt only once before in my life, in my call to God's Littlest Angels. Over the course of that call I have learned that God's plans are amazing and I have learned to put my trust fully in Him. I have no idea where this new journey will lead me but I am open to whatever that will be. Every child, being healthy or sick deserves to have a family. Weather they will be with them for a short time, or for many years to come, they should be held, they should be rocked to sleep at night in the arms of someone who loves them and they should never have to be alone. A child who has HIV is a child, they are all the same. I have seen the wonder in their eyes at blowing bubbles and birthday candles. I have seen them cry when they fall down. I have seen them laughing and I have seen them lonely. In everything they are just children, like the ones you will tuck into the beds of your home tonight. But so many of them are alone. They are waiting for someone to chose them. To give them a chance at love. The promise I made to Berlanci in the letter I wrote to her was that I would never forget her life and that I would use the memories of her to inspire me to work for babies like her. I don't know yet what my work will be but I know that the life of Berlancia will impact me until the day I die. In Creole the word for hope is espwa. That is what I have, hope for the children of Haiti who are being torn apart by this virus. Hope that they will have a future. Berlancia's hope lies in my heart and will be a reality one day.

There is a song that I came across this week that touched my heat, reminding me mostly of B but fitting for all the children who are suffering from AIDS. It is called Never Be Forgotten.

Never Be Forgotten

I’ll always see your face
The corner of your smile
And all the little things that no one will ever know
Like it was yesterday, won’t ever fade away
Goodbye is just a word that I will never say

You will never be forgotten
A million days could pass us by
But what is time but just a dream
Oh I still feel you here with me
You’re more than just a memory
Oh you will never be forgotten

I can‘t hold your hand
Or look into your eyes
And when I talk to you
It just echoes in my mind
But If hearts are made of dust
And if we fell from the stars
I look up tonight and know just where you are

You will never be forgotten
A million days could pass us by
But what is time but just a dream
Oh I still feel you here with me
You’re more than a memory
You will never be forgotten

And the world just keeps on going
It has no way of knowing
That you’re gone

You will never be forgotten
A million days could pass us by
But what is time but just a dream
Oh I still feel you here with me
You’re more than a memory
Oh you will never be forgotten

Berlancia will never be forgotten and through her I believe many lives will be changed and many will be saved. Please pray for this cause. I believe this is just the beginning of Berlancia's Espwa .

GLA is so blessed to have the facility to care for babies like Berlancia and others who are infected with HIV. The medical supplies and the amazing staff members make it possible to SAVE LIVES in Haiti. In the last few months, as so many others, GLA has struggled...they struggle to pay for the things that are literally the difference between life and death in Haiti. Formula and food for starving babies, diapers and even money to run their generators. I am not in Haiti, but I can see the desperation Dixie is facing. If something does not change soon babies WILL start to die! Already the decision had to be made for GLA not to take in any more babies unless they are critically ill, because the money to care for them just isn't there. Could you imagine being a parent, finally getting up the courage to give your child a better life, only to be told that the one person you were counting on can not care for them either? To me is is unacceptable! I find in myself sacrifices that I need to chose to make...should I drink a latte or should I make sure a child will not die tonight. Should I purchase a new jacket or should I be the difference in a little baby having the meal they need? When I think in these terms the choice is obvious! And so I invite all of you to join me, in understanding, realizing and recognizing that these precious lives are worth more than any temporary treasures of this world. I invite all of you today to chose to make a difference, to donate to God's Littlest Angels. You can donate either through their website of here by clicking the paypal button on the right side of the screen. Today we can save lives in Haiti!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby

Today he is 2...

In the last month I haven't had a lot to write about...
But today...

Today he is 2...

I wonder if he remembers me...

I wonder if he knows that ever minute since I woke up this morning I have thought of him...

Imagined him...

And wondered what he was doing....

I wonder if someone kissed him goodnight...

I wonder if someone made sure he had a birthday treat...

I wonder if he even recognized that today was a very special day

Because today, he is 2....

From now on in my life November 27th will never be just another day. From now on November 27th will always be "his birthday"...

I miss him still...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kerderns Pierre

Kerderns Pierre...

That's right! It seems that what I have always known is going to be true...Haiti will always be in my life, now in the form of a baby brother!

I have written about Kerderns here and introduced you all to his story. Over the past few months he has become even more precious to me. Just days after returning from Haiti I found out that my parents had decided to adopt Kerderns!

The last few months have been a whirlwind... because of KJ's special medical requirements (which we don't really know the extent of yet) we have been working on getting a medical visa for him. If this works out we will be able to bring him home to Minnesota to get medical care while his adoption is being processed. We are finally getting somewhere and are working on securing a doctor for his care right now. Hopefully as soon as that is finished GLA will be able to apply for a medical visa for him!

It goes without saying that The Buettners are incredibly excited. We are all so looking forward to adding this special boy to our family! We have no guarantee of any timeline but we are just praying right now that all the paperwork and official information we need will be processed quickly so that we can get him here to start whatever medical care he will need.

Also, starting today I am opening my paypal account for donations to help with the cost of this adoption. The costs are already adding up, Visa, Medical Care, Airline Tickets... all of it is quick to multiply but we know that God has handpicked this boy for our family and so we trust that everything that we need will be provided.
We are so blessed to have so many supportive friends and family members who will travel this incredible journey with us!
Keeping you posted as we know!