Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Forgotten Children

I love them. Forgotten by most but never by me. My life is forever changed, in 3 short days.




Rose Berline


They changed my life.

Amy, her team and I were blessed with a wonderful visit with the staff and children of Foyer Des Petits Demuins and we are more convinced than ever that this the work we are called to do. We know their names and we’ve seen where they live. In Creole there is a proverb that says “you must sleep with Jon to know if he snores” Meaning, if you truly want to know someone you need to live where they live. We did and now we know. Now I cannot touch a light switch without remembering the shouts of joy that echoed when we arrived home with a new generator that provided power to their home for the first time since the earthquake. Now I cannot eat a meal without wondering when they last did. I cannot erase the real life I witnessed and shared. I wouldn’t want to if I could. I’ve found a place that fills my soul and now I am committed to giving them every bit of my heart and passion.

I have been guilty in the past of making my own plans, of diving headfirst into something that I need to take slowly. I pray that I won’t make that mistake here. I pray I will be wise and that God will be fast ;) There is no doubt in my mind that Leogane, Haiti and this home are where I belong.

101_9393 101_9398 101_9404 101_9417 100_9483  101_9406

“Now that I have seen, I am responsible. Faith without deeds is dead. Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go”

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

100_9467Last week I visited the Palace in Haiti. It was the first time I had seen it and it was every bit as horrific as I expected. The broken dreams and lives that are held in this fractured shell are on full display. They are lined up along the street and in every inch of the park across the road. They are under moldy bed sheets and tattered tarps. There are no orderly lines of matching tents here, no crews cleaning up garbage or endless lines of outhouses. There is nothing clean or orderly here. For thousands of people I counted less than 50 toilets.Tent City-85

I saw nothing beautiful, until I saw his face.


Just a little boy, 11 years old who begged me for a drink. Behind him on the cement sat his baby sister and when I passed him a bottle of water he held it to her lips while she took her fill. They finished it in a few gulps and then he lifted her and walked away. I saw beauty among the ruins.100_9473  Tent City-133100_9475     100_9468 100_9469  100_9471

Thursday, June 24, 2010

No Words

For the first days of being catapulted back into this this life I am filled with thoughts, remembering those I have fallen in love with this time. I am filled with memories but not too many words. I spend hours on end reliving their faces in the photos on my computer, sometimes it feels like it’s all I have left.

Oh how I miss it already!

Mikerline-18 Djloubnski-4 Jerry-Gwo-11 Merujy-28 Wildanise-27 Nadegé-32 Nadegé-1 Giovani-5 Beni-8 Dina -43

Wildanise-26  Mikerline-15

There are some days, like today when I can do is stare at the photos…

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Day The World Went Wrong

A few weeks ago at church in the home of some fellow missionaries our guest speaker asked us to raise our hands if we remembered where we were when the earthquake hit. Every hand around me shot in the air and to my surprise my eyes immediately filled with tears. Sometimes it hits me in moments so unexpected, and I am back to January 12th when all of it was real and raw.

It was 4:53pm, I had just lived  the best day of my life. After spending the hour before supper with Chancelet I entered the nursery for a few minuets of catching up with the nannies, I remember vividly that Chantal and I were joking about my hair color, Patrick came up to me crying and wanting to be held but I still had Chancelet in my arms so I didn’t pick him up. Angry with me he turned and bit me just above my knee, reacting as I would at any time this happened I scolded him and put him into the nearest crib for a time out. He burst into tears. At that exact second the ground fell from beneath my feet.

40 seconds seems like such a short amount of time for the many thoughts and memories that overwhelm my mind. I remember the rumbling before the shaking began, I remember noticing that it seemed particularly loud with almost perfect clarity, a millisecond before I felt the roll. I remember the screaming around me and the terror in everyone’s eyes. I remember praying out loud, in creole. I remember waiting what seemed like forever for the house to tip over and being confused when it didn’t happen. I remember pushing people into doorways before I even consciously realizing what was happening. I remember the panic as everyone rushed for the stairs and the crying of the babies around me. I remember the weight of Chancelet in my right arm and sweeping down to pick someone up on my way out the door, but I don’t remember who I carried. I remember hearing John yell “it’s an earthquake, it’s an earthquake” and at that second knowing that he was right. I remember the eerie silence when the shaking stopped and the sheer terror when it started again. I remember the events of those 40 seconds with more clarity than any other event in my life.

I remember standing outside the gate as massive crowds of people came running down the road, but I don’t remember how I got there. I remember being terrified to go back into the house to help carry babies outside, something I still fight the guilt of to this very day. I remember grabbing babies as they were passed out the door and placing them in groups on blankets in the driveway.  I remember looking around a realizing that all of the sudden it was dark, but I don’t remember the sun going down. I remember the lighthearted phone conversation I had with my mom, at 5:08, where I told her about the earthquake that we just had that “felt really big” I remember moving on to tell her what we had for lunch that day, and how it felt to be back. I remember hanging up the phone and turning to the TV as CNN interrupted the story they were airing to bring the news of “a devastating earthquake in Haiti” I remember, at that very second, knowing for the first time that this was very bad.

I remember the look on Jocelyne’s face as she frantically dialed over and over again, trying to reach anyone who could tell her where her children were. I remember gathering in a circle while Claude prayed. I remember rounding up blankets and towels from every room in the house to cover up cold babies. I remember huddling in a rocking chair, on a plastic crib mattress and finally the cement ground, drifting in and out of sleep. I remember the feeling of the world rocking every few minuets and trying to figure out if we were actually moving or if it was all in my head. I remember the voices of the nannies raised in song and learning more about faith from them, in the words they sang, than any lecture or sermon I have ever sat through. I remember the goosebumps raised on my arms as they declared “it is well with my soul”. I remember finally moving to my bed as the sun came up and falling asleep. I remember waking up a few hours later, nauseous from all of the swaying and moving. I remember the moment I realized that I wasn’t going to wake up from the nightmare of the day before. I remember the fear and pain so thick in the air I could almost see it. I remember those hours as a lifetime apart from anything I had ever known. I remember that 40 seconds as the very moments that changed and shaped my world. I remember being turned from what I once was, to what I will one day be.

I remember the reaction from the world and the words that people said to me. I remember being told I was brave when I felt anything but. I remember being held as a “hero” for staying when truly it was a decision based purely on selfishness. I remember the hours and days melting into each other as moments passed so quickly it made me frantic. I remember waking up on February 12th in pure terror because I had no idea where the past month of my life had gone. I remember it in March, April, May and June too. I remember, in moments where I least expect, everything I thought I had forgotten. I remember the feel of the air on my skin and the swimming thoughts in my head. I remember the faces that passed in front of me and the lives they meant. I remember the pain, the horror and the calm. I remember what I thought I had forgotten. I remember when I least expect, the rush of feelings that takes over my life.

Yes, I remember where I was when that earthquake hit.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Christyn Joy

On Friday evening as we drove from Port Au Prince to Leogane I sat in the back of the pickup truck with Jeanel, the director of Foyer Des Petits Demuins. As we rode he told me of a little girl who had been abandoned at his home. “Ti Fi” (little girl) had no name and in order to make a birth certificate for her they needed one. Would I like to chose a name for this little one?

All my days in Haiti I have dreamed about having this honor. I had the names chosen. A boy would be called Alix and a girl, Keziah. That is why it came as such a surprise when the name came out of my mouth. “Christyn Joy”, I replied. The words shocked me! You see, Christyn Joy is a very special little girl to me. Christyn Joy was a princess. One month to the very day that God gave me Christyn Joy, He had welcomed another into His home. His Christyn was chosen by an incredible family to be their princess Chrissy. My Christyn is a princess too, a Haitian queen. Today she is in an orphanage, hungry and alone Today she waits for someone to chose her.

101_9462 - Copy

Within moments of arriving home the nannies gathered around and asked me what “ti fi’s” new name would be. When I announced it an excited chatter filled the room. Christynjoy, Christynjoy, they said over and over again.Yes, they decided. Christyn Joy was a very good name. As their excitement dwindled I felt it very important to explain a bit of my choice. I told them that in English, “joy” means “kontan” happy. over this their chatters became even more excited. Joy, Kontan, Happy, it was the perfect name for this precious little one. Perhaps a name of joy would bring just that to this little girl, who so desperately needs it.

 101_9460 - Copy

I was given the honor of naming sweet Christyn Joy, but someone much greater holds the honor of her life in His hands. May she grow to love, obey and find JOY in Him. 101_9459 - Copy

Sweet Chrstyn Joy, carry it well…

101_9463 - Copy 101_9464 - Copy

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I will Rise

I will rise to the call that has been set before me. Tomorrow morning I will rise to the new challenge that is in my path, I can’t wait to see where it will lead!

Sometimes I feel like this Haiti that I know and live in is not that different from the North America that I left. We have satellite TV, power all the time, even semi reliable hot showers. It’s a bubble, in the middle of Haiti but apart from her. Tomorrow I will go to the heart of this country. A place where they say, on January 12th “the world split open and ate their people”. A place where bodies still lie buried in a never ending sea of rubble. A place where children sleep in the streets and drink clorox to ease the ache in their empty bellies. A place where pain runs so deep that it’s woven into their history. I will be allowed to join this world. I will be entrusted to share their pain and witness their brokenness. I will also be honored with their laughter, love and beauty.

I know this path will not be an easy one, I know it will be full of broken dreams, broken lives and broken hearts. But I also know that from brokenness comes beauty and out of this dust a hope exists.

I know because I’ve seen it. In the heart of a little baby…

Beni-18  Beni-16Beni-17

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fearfully And Wonderfully Made

It’s amazing to realize just how much we humans think of ourselves, and how little we think of our God.

Woodson came to us last Thursday morning. His mother carried his tiny little body as she walked and pleaded with people along the way to help her, finally someone pointed her in our direction. Upon reaching our gates Woodson was immediately whisked from her arms and rushed to our NICU. He weighed 2lbs 9oz. He was 10 days old. As he was taken away I saw the tears begin to well up in his mother’s eyes. They were tears of relief, of exhaustion and of fear. She had finally reached a place that she knew could help her, but her baby was still very, very sick.

10 days before Woodson arrived at GLA he was born at home, without the assistance of a doctor or any medical attendance. He was born alive and for 10 days his body fought. His little heart beat and his lungs worked to breath in and out. He lived and on that 10th day Woodson’s mother knew that he needed more help than she could give. She left in search of someone she could trust, when she arrived at our gates she found it. 101_9379

When he arrived Woodson was hypothermic but breathing. As our staff began to warm him his breathing became more labored. His body was in trouble. It takes a lot more work to keep a warm body alive than a cool one. Woodson was facing a battle. Thankfully our nurses knew just what to do and the proper machinery was available. Woodson was hooked up to a pressurized breathing machine that is brand new to GLA. Most hospitals in Haiti do not even have access to this and yet, here at GLA we received one just a few weeks ago. Just in time.


Woodson was stabilized and placed in one of our incubators where he remains tonight. The nannies tell me he is “dezoid”(naughty) they say it with a little smile in their eyes. “he pulls at his feeding tube and tries to take it out, he cries when we change his diaper or mess with him in ways that he does not like, he tries to bat our hands away when we adjust things on his body.” Yes, maybe this could be considered “deziod” but it is also a blessing, a miracle that this little tiny baby has the strength to fight, not only for his life but for things he doesn’t like. Woodson is a fighter and I have to believe that that fight will pull him through.

Why is it that when you are sitting in an airport and a famous person walks by we get giddy with excitement. When the President of the United States is coming to town people will line the streets and parade him in. Why are these people receiving a glory that should be given only to the One who truly deserves it? Why are we more excited about people than the God who created them.


Pictures can never show a true story. It is impossible for you to see just how tiny Woodson really is but I noticed in this photo the safety pins on the side of his head, his tiny hands are smaller than those little pins and yet, you can look very closely you can see a tiny fingernail on the end of each of those impossibly small fingers. If you examine his little face you can see the soft feather of eyelashes resting on his cheek. Perfectly and wonderfully made. Show me a being on this earth that could ever create and sustain anything as miraculous.

It's amazes me just how much we unjustly take credit for. How often we make doctors or scientists or political figures our celebrity. How often we give credit for something that was never ours to claim. Yes, I know that God has given us science and medicine for a reason and that do great things for our world. If you go to the doctor and he tells you that you have cancer and that you need chemotherapy to treat it you don’t go home and wait for God to “heal” you. You use the medicine that God has equipped man with to treat your disease. The problem that I see is that once that cancer is gone the glory goes to the doctor, the hospital, the medicine. The real truth is that the only one who will ever breath, and take away life is our God.

Psalms 139:13 – “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mothers womb.”

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You


Opening up has always been the hardest thing


Until you came…


And I just can't take my eyes off you


I just can't take my eyes off you


I'm falling fast, but the truth is I'm not scared at all


You broke my wall…


And I just can’t take my eyes off you.


These photos of Peterson are over a week old. Tonight he is doing amazing! He is off of the NG tube, although he still doesn’t like to suck he will drink if milk is slowly dribbled into his mouth. He smiles and laughs every day and today he was able to leave the nursery for the first time. I brought him downstairs and his big eyes got even bigger taking everything in. Peterson is  happy! He is active and playing and he’s even beginning to show a bit of a double chin. Oh how I love this little patat!

Stay tuned tomorrow for new photos of my little love bug!