Thursday, May 28, 2009

He Still Does

Did you know that the God we serve still raises the dead?

I do.

I know because I've seen it...

Meet Jonathon



Three weeks ago, for several minutes, Jonathon was dead.

Baby Jonathon was brought to us by a desperate mother who had wandered the streets near our home for hours begging people she met along the way to help her! Jonathon's twin brother had died that morning and after he passed away his mother set out to do whatever she could to save her remaining child. Finally someone with a vehicle saw her and drove her to our gates. On admission Jonathon weighed 2lbs 15 oz and was so severely hypothermic, that his temperature would not even register on a thermometer. Within the gates of God’s Littlest Angels, a true miracle was granted. As word spread of our special baby, believers all around the world cried out and God saw fit to save the life of our sweet baby Jonathon.

The night staff here had been stimulating Jonathon all night just to get him to breathe. He was in very critical condition and almost everyone was sure that he would not live through the next day. As morning aproached an urgent prayer request was sent out as the nurses upstairs were resuscitating him. He was not breathing at all on his own. His heart rate was irregular. He was at the point where Dixie truly did not think he would live. None of us did!
Jonathon’s birth mother, who lives in our area, was contacted and we asked her to please come and talk to us. She did not want to come because she thought he had already died. We told her that he was still alive but she was convinced that we were tricking her, trying to get her to come claim his body. After speaking to our social worker several times she did come and saw him and told Dixie that surely he was as good as dead. She said that his color was dark, he wasn't moving, and he wasn't breathing! By this time, the nurses had been breathing for him for over 2 hours!

During this whole time Dixie was back and forth to her office where she had been emailing with a nurse practitioner in the States who was an adoptive mother of one of our children. She was giving suggestions about what to do but we did not have everything we needed. Many of the medications she suggested, we just did not have. Things are so different here in Haiti. To think that lives are lost every day because we can't always get the drugs that are so desperately needed is heartbreaking.

Dixie had told Susan, our nurse from Scotland and Mme Bernard our head Haitian nurse to stop resuscitation when they felt like it wasn't doing any good. During this time everyone here was praying. Several of us had gathered in a circle and were crying out to God for Jonathon's life, we knew that if Jonathon were to live, it would surely be a miracle! Dixie have even told his mother before left that only God could save Jonathon and she needed to pray for a miracle! However, in his mother’s mind, he was gone. God was not going to bring him back.

Did you know that God answers, even the most far fetched prayers, if we truly believe? Did you know that sometimes, He answers them even when we don't? To be honest with you, I did not believe that God would save Jonathon that Tueseday morning. In my prayer I did not ask for healing, I asked him to please take Jonathon quickly and to relieve him of his pain. But that was not His will that day! As we prayed outside and Dixie sat in her office praying and searching for what to do next, God put into her head the name of one more drug, Aminophyllin! We did not have Caffeine or Theophyllin, but we did have a drug in the Theophyllin family and what could it hurt to try this?

Dixie went upstairs and began preparing the dosage and getting the medicine ready when Mme Bernard came and told her they had stopped CPR on him. She finished getting the medication drawn up and went into the NICU where Susan was holding him. Since the medication was already prepared Dixie wanted to at least try it before giving up! Just after Dixie announced this plan Jonathon made a noise that was hauntingly familiar to too many in that room, it was a gasp, of air leaving his lungs, after which he stopped breathing. Dixie injected the medicine and told the staff that if he did not respond, then they would let him go.

Three minutes later, he took a breath and then another! His heart rate went up and he started moving his arms and legs. A few minutes after that he opened his eyes!!!



Today, Jonathon is ALIVE and Stable! He has graduated from the incubator to an open crib and he is nursing all of his feeds! Jonathon weighs almost 4lbs! His mother had to be forced to come back and when she found out He was alive she was ecstatic! She could not believe it. Dixie told Jonathon’s mother that families in France, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, and the USA were praying for a miracle for Jonathon and God heard those prayers and gave us a Miracle! Already, Jonathon’s life has been a testimony to those around him. God used this tiny child to show himself to his people. God proved to me, even in my unbelief, that He holds in his hands every breath of these ones that I love. What a blessed assurance He has given me at such a time that I need it the most!

Reassured and Amazed,
Rhyan

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In 30 Days

I have tried so hard not to let the numbers crawl into my head. Not to let myself focus on how little time I have, and to live in the moment as much as possible. Some days are harder than others. Today is one hard day. Today I have 30 more days. 30 days to love, hold and soak in these sweet babies. 30 days to feel the feeling rushing through my soul, that I am exactly where I need, and where I want to be. I have 30 more days to give them every little bit of me, before I have to once again, put all my trust in Him, not to let me down. I have to trust Him to know that if He chooses to take me away from the only place I ever want to be, it will be for good reason. To have enough confidence in Him to know He will reveal to me the thing He must surely have planned to erase my gut wrenching pain. Again, some times it is easier than others.

Of course I know that there has to be something…but I can’t even begin to imagine what that could be. What comes about 30 days from now will surely be the biggest test of my faith so far. Once I let God’s calling take me over, coming to Haiti was a choice that just felt right. Leaving last year to come here was scary, I will admit, but it was scary is such a good way. I knew with confidence that I was going to a place where God chose for me. I was going to the place I was created for. To come here wasn’t a challenge. The real challenge comes one month from today, the real challenge comes in leaving the place where I feel more alive than ever before. The real challenge comes in trusting that my Jesus, who hates to see me in this pain, will carry me through it. The closer it gets to June 10th the more I am forced to face again and again, that His plans are not my plans. I came here on September 18th with a return ticket dated June 10th that I never intended to use. I came here ready to stay forever. Though I hadn’t shared it with most people, my plans did not include a return from Haiti. I was fully ready to let God keep me here as long as He chose. But again and in His mysterious ways, God did not let me making up my mind change His. In some ways it still doesn’t make sense to me. Why, when I am so willing, would He still want to take me away? I have no idea, but one thing I am sure of is this, in trusting Him, I have gotten the greatest blessing imaginable. How can I doubt that following His will again will leave me in the same place?
I think many of you will wonder, if I am in so much anguish over leaving, how I could still believe that it is God’s will. To me it is a simple answer. God told me that it was time. There was no burning bush or talking donkey, but through my quiet time with Him, God revealed to me that His plan was for me to get on that plane on June 10th. I prayed so fervently that God would chose to let me stay and that He would give me a peace about it and that just hasn’t happened. As confused and upset as I am about leaving, there is a peace behind it that only comes from One. No matter how much I argue with that feeling, no matter how I wish it away, I know Who sent it. And I have to decide to either let Him be God, or not. I chose to let Him be. As confusing as it is, He has yet to let me down and I must face this next challenge, confident in that fact.

For the next 30 days I need to choose to let Him be in charge. To not focus on my grief but live every day with the expectation that God has something incredible for me to learn. To know that every single day here was orchestrated by Him and that I have an opportunity, every moment He lets me have, to do great things. I have 30 more days to let God teach me, through a place that has captured me entirely, the lessons He knows I will need. I know that no matter how much I try to give in my time here, God didn’t need me in Haiti to do this work, rather, He needed me here to reach me. I have experienced and learned things here that I could never have learned in the comforts of home. Lessons that I just have to believe are worth the pain. I am begging all of you to please continue to pray, as I know you have before, for me. My biggest request is that the peace that I feel would be more overwhelming than the pain. That no matter how dark the moment the light of God’s love would be bigger. Most of all pray that in these last 30 days I would learn so much about my Jesus, that daily I step back in amazement and His will, which I fully believe in, would be as clear as day. I pray for undeniable God moments to fill up my hours and days so that I can think of nothing else. I pray that even in only 30 days I would do exactly the things He tells me with no question. I pray that I would live like never before in this next month. I pray that I will be filled to overflowing with the joy of my Lord. So many years ago He chose me, and He’s never has to do it again. I on the other hand have had to choose, time and again to give it up. Today, I choose again, to let Him be. Today I choose to live wherever He puts me with the passion that Haiti has brought out. Today I will choose to trust Him enough.

Learning lessons,
Rhyan


Somewhere In The Middle Casting Crowns

Somewhere
between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be Somewhere in the middle,
You'll find me

Somewhere between the wrong and the
right Somewhere between the darkness and the light Somewhere between who I was
and who You're making me
Somewhere in the middle,
You'll find
me
Just how close can I get, Lord,
to my surrender without
losing all control
Fearless warriors in a picket fence,
reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow
end
and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to
the differences,
the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade
our dreams for His
or are we caught in the middle

Are we
caught in the middle
Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans Somewhere between the safety of the boat
and the crashing waves
Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door Somewhere between contented peace and
always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You'll find me
Just how close can I get, Lord,
to my surrender without losing all
control

Lord, I feel You in this place

and I know You're by my side

Loving me even on these nights

when I'm caught in the middle

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Homesick

So much has happened in the last few weeks, it’s hard for to know where to begin. My role here at GLA has taken quite a change. Our update coordinator, Melanie came down with Hep A and had to return to the states for medical care. Of course that left us in quite a pinch, needing someone to help take over some of her tasks while she is gone. Dixie and I worked together to figure out a plan and for the remainder of my time here I will be working in the office here at GLA. Taking photos of the kids and helping Dixie write updates to their parents every month. One of the other duties that I have started helping Dixie with has to do with when a child is brought in to GLA. When a parent comes in with a baby I take photos of them and bring the baby upstairs into the nursery. This lets me really see the side of this mission that deals with the Haitian parents

Last week we had 7 babies brought to us, 5 of them in the very same day! We had a baby boom in November where we admitted 6 babies in a 2 week time. That felt like a lot, this week was incredible. Of all the children who came to us, Thursday held a special one for me. Baby "M-Bee" is 10 months old. When I went out to take her admission picture she buried her face in her mothers neck and screamed in terror. I doubt this sweet girl had ever seen a white person before and she was scared! She was crying and clinging to her mother. Many would say that she was too young to know what has happening to her, I saw the look on her face. She knew. When it came time to take her to the nursery she started screaming even harder she cried so hard that I couldn’t even take her upstairs, we had to call for a nanny to come and get her because she was so scared of me. As she walked away her cries carried through the house, and in her cries I heard her little voice speak…she cried “mama, mama” over and over again. Turning to back to M's mother I saw her, with arms dangling at her side and her hands were shaking, they were trembling against the overwhelming urge to snatch her baby back and run home. They were quivering, fighting to do what she knew she had to. I saw a pain in her eyes that I pray I will never witness again. The look on the face of a mother who had just lost her child. The helplessness of a woman who, because of circumstances beyond her control, could not do the one thing she was created to do. Watching her leave I felt yet another part of my heart give over to this country. At a point where I did not realize I had anything left to give, and still my heart can break.

I could not get this sweet little baby out of my head and so I went up to the nursery to see how she was doing, before I even opened the door her cries met me. When I entered I found her, huddled in the corner of a crib, sobbing hysterically. I picked her up and just rocked her for several minuets. I held her while she cried for “tete” in Creole tete means breast. M had been exclusively breastfed for her entire life and to her, tete represented her Mama. Her mother, who had given her life for 10 whole months, with no warning was ripped away. This sweet baby was grieving the loss of the most important person in her life, she cried, then I cried too. I cried for this little girl who lost her entire world, and I cried for a mother with empty arms. We sat together for a long time, crying and rocking and I prayed for this little life. I prayed that the family that God was building for her would remember that as much as they would love her, someone loved her before. And I prayed that they would allow her that love. I pray that they would encourage her to remember where she came from and what God brought her out of. Like all of these babies, I prayed that she would learn to love Him above all else and that she would let him lead her life for all of her days. I prayed that she would understand that He had a purpose for saving her from Haiti and she would strive to fulfill that purpose no matter the cost.

M has been here for 4 days now. At every meal time she still cries for “tete” but the times in between tears are getting longer and longer. She doesn’t cry all day, but she doesn’t smile either. She is broken but like every child here does, she will heal. One day she will smile, and laugh and someday soon she will be happy here. She will probably soon forget the face of her mother. Her grief will be short lived. But there is a woman out there tonight who will not soon get over her loss. There is a mother without her baby. There is a woman who, for her entire life will close her eyes and see the face of her child. There is a mother who will go through her days knowing there is someone out there who shares her eyes, and someone who she will never forget. For her whole life she will know she is living somewhere, and I can’t begin to imagine how much that must hurt. And yet, as hard as it must have been to come to terms with her choice, she knew that without it, she would have watched her baby die. To give her life, though it meant life where she would have to give her up, was still something she chose to do. I may sound like a broken record, but it can’t be said enough how much I admire the selfless love I am seeing. How many people get the chance to see this love in their lives? How many others will see it just once? Here I am, having seen it countless times. I wonder what it is I will face in my life where I will need to fall back on the things I have learned here.

In the last week I have taken 4 children out of the arms of their parents and walked away. I have gone with the most important part of them held in my hands. I have delivered these little ones into the hold of a nurse who will take care of them until the next part of the plan for their lives is carried out. I have had moments with each child that literally changes its entire future and I do not take those moments for granted. I know that God must be training me for something that I don’t understand but like M sometimes all I can see is my grief. I see the moments slipping through my fingers and I know that much too soon I will have to leave the babies that I love. Nothing scares me more than that thought, but I take comfort in knowing that this is just a part of the big picture. That even though I can’t see it now, God is using this season to train me for even greater things. I have no idea what that will be but I wouldn’t trade this lesson for anything in the world. The way that M cries for her mother shows me how homesick she is. She misses her arms, her face, her love. She is homesick for all she knew. I sometimes find myself in that same place. Sometimes I am so homesick for the way I know my life should be that I am veiled by grief. Some moments I have no choice but to cry for God like M cries for her mama. Though I know through His promises that He is always here, sometimes He feels so far away. I am so homesick for the times when I can feel his arms. I am homesick when I know that this Christian walk goes up and down and there are moments when I can remember how it feels on the top of the mountain, but have no idea how to climb back up there. Sometimes I get so frustrated, realizing how much like these babies I am in the eyes of God. I can look at them and see how far they will go, while all they can see is their grief. God looks at me and sees where I will go, while all I see is June 10th looming ahead.

For the next 6 weeks M and I will lean on each other. I will do my best to calm her fears, while God uses her to calm mine. I will pray for her and turn the words around and use them for myself. Once again God will show me, though a helpless baby, the person He wants me to be. And as I treasure the last 6 weeks that I have, I beg of you all to pray too. Please pray for me as I learn to let go, and as I seek his face. Even more than that, please pray for the little ones that I will leave behind. Please pray, as I do, that they will grow into amazing children of God and that He would use them for incredible things. Pray that I would trust him with their lives as much as I am trusting him with mine. Over the next week or so I will be writing a separate post about several children here. These will be children I have become especially close to, babies who I want you all to know. I hope that through those posts you will be able to find even more specific ways to love and pray for the children of Haiti.

Holding her while He holds me,
Rhyan