Friday, June 20, 2014

I Have Been Entrusted With Much

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked-Luke 12:48


One day a mommy held her little baby boy, kissed him, put him to her breast and named him Renaud.

I have no idea what happened between that day and today…

… all I know is that today, he is 4 months old. He is abandoned and he is dying. Today I held him in my arms and I prayed for the sweet relief to come soon. For hours in this hospital, on a small side street in Port Au Prince I held this life in my hands. He was precious and suffering and loved and human. He was there and tomorrow, or the next day, he won’t be.

A few weeks ago I got a treasured message from an old friend. There were many beautiful and personal things that happened in that conversation but the one that really jumped out at me was when he talked about this verse from Luke. He turned it in a way that has played through my mind over and over again.

What if “much” in my world wasn’t money, which it seems to always be when I find these words quoted… What is my “much” are the opportunities that I come across each day?


Today was not the fist time I held a dying child. It won’t be the last. Today wasn’t the first time I have faced injustice in the eyes of a little girl, of a homeless man or a crippled grandmother. Tomorrow I will wake up and fight it again.


Every single night I go to sleep with a prayer on my lips to be used in some way. Sometimes I wake up willing to take on the world and sometimes my selfishness gets in the way. There is no shortage of opportunity in this land and, unfortunately, there is also no shortage, it seems, to my humanness. Every moment of every day is met by a violent clash of opportunity and options. I am rarely sure of any decision I make and even more rarely able to rest in it once it has been made. When I tell someone I can’t help I often struggle for days or even weeks afterwards, wondering if I made the right choice. I pour every bit of energy I have into a little starving boy just to get on the back of a motorcycle an head up a mountain to where 2 other littles wait for their mama to come home. They need me to be there, to hear them, to find the energy to delight in them and yet, on so many days it’s all I can do to make sure everyone’s teeth are clean and prayers are said before I fall into bed, my own prayers falling somewhere between my heart and my lips, hoping with all hope that I’m not screwing these 2 lives up.


Today, so very much has been entrusted to me. I have had so many opportunities to lean on Him as I live in the midst of this broken beauty. I pray I have met the expectations of the“much” all the while knowing that I have fallen so very short. I know how incredibly blessed I am to face the things I do each day. I KNOW what it means to be trusted with the chance to share life and death and everything in between with these beautiful people. That doesn’t mean I am always good at it. I am struggling so very much with the balance of being given and having much expected of me. I pray for strength through tears of exhaustion and I cry over the phone to my best friend, who moved 15 miles (6 hours!!) away about how hard it is to not have her next door. I throw myself these pity parties and in the end I find myself back where this whole journey started, kneeling in the dirt at the feet of the One who created this beautiful, totally screwed up plan, empty hands open, begging him to find something in me that He can use, something beautiful, something worthy. I plead with him to give me one more chance and to fill my heart with the strength I will need to make that chance count. I pray that much will be entrusted to me and that I will faithfully give that much more, through the strength and grace  that only comes from Him.

I wonder what my life would be if I looked at those those knocks on my gate that come at the *inconvenient* times as opportunities instead of annoyances…

…I wonder if I even know how to start being so wrapped up in God that I finally start to lose myself.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Drawn Out Of The Water


Sometimes working in Haiti feels like I’m in the middle of the ocean, swimming towards a shore I cannot see. I pick a direction that feels right and hope that it is. Then a wave comes along and I feel like I can’t go on anymore, until the rest of quiet water renews my strength and I set out once again, towards this invisible finish line that I know must be out there somewhere. I help one just to turn around and find 3 more in the same situation. It is draining and sometimes it is really hard to keep going.

One of the situations in this country that overwhelms me the most is the desperate need of quality care for the disabled and mentally ill. Obviously, ideal quality care comes from biological families but in a community where providing for a neuro-typical child is difficult at best, parenting a special needs child is almost impossible. Orphanages in Haiti are overrun with children who have been abandoned due to their disabilities.

A few miles from my home I visit them. I walk up countless steps and down long, dark hallways to the third floor of a building into a back room where 5 of the forgotten live. They are in various states of contortion and pain, left on a bare piece of foam, lying in their own vomit and feces, covered in flies. They are God’s precious children, in some of the most deplorable conditions you could imagine.

It was there in that room, at the end of the hallway on the 3rd floor of a green building that I first saw him…

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He was easily the smallest child there and his skeletal frame drew my interest. I held him and I knew that his situation was serious but I had no idea just how much so. The baby in my arms weighed significantly less than my 5 month old son and when one of the nannies told me that he was 5 YEARS old I almost dropped to my knees in disbelief. Instantly, my eyes filled with tears and I choked back the urge to cry. Standing in a room full of injustice, crying does nothing, crying is not action. These children did not need my tears, they needed me to do something! They needed commitment, that when I walked away that day I would not forget the things I had seen and the eyes that had stared into mine.


And is became so. They haunted me as I went about my day, while I ate my lunch and when I tucked my own babies into their warm, clean beds that night. The unfairness that plagues this world was more alive than ever once I learned their names. Once I held their hands. Once I saw their pain.

One hand I held, one little boy in pain, one name I learned that day became so etched on my heart that I almost couldn’t think of anything else. It became an obsession. I knew that I would never be able to just sit back while he remained there. I began to question a few people about him and learned a bit more about his story. I pushed a little further and to my surprise, without even putting up much of a fight, I was given permission to try to help this little boy named Moses.

I picked him up on a Tuesday morning and held this fragile child in my arms on the back of a motorcycle, speeding home as quickly as I could. Every second felt like an eternity until I could truly take a look at him. I undressed and bathed his tiny frame and dressed him a newborn sized diaper and inside I screamed, “HE IS 5 YEAR OLD”. I weighed him on an infant scaled and stared at the numbers in disbelief, unable to understand what I was seeing 4.36kg (9lb 6oz) and inside I screamed, “HE IS 5 YEARS OLD”. I believe that Moses has cerebral palsy. He aspirates anything he tries to take by mouth, his health situation is very serious. I put down a feeding tube and watched as calorie filled formula slowly drained into his shrunken belly. I did the best that I knew how but in the end Moses was beyond the help that I alone could provide. On Wednesday night Moses was transferred to  Project Medishare Hospital in Port Au Prince. He will receive lifesaving care in the best hospital I could find for him and I pray and trust that he will be well, one day. I will follow his progress and support him in any way that I can while that happens.


I still feel like I might drown before I reach that unseen shore but I swim on. Tonight it is with renewed strength because I saw God reach down and draw out of the waves a little boy named Moses and I know that hope is not abandoned yet.

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Moses’ care will be ongoing and probably costly. I cannot begin to anticipate how much it will all add up to but finances will not stop me from providing everything that this country has to offer for my precious boy. If you would be willing to donate towards Moses’ medical care you can do so by making a donation below. Thank you, for valuing this life and fighting for him with me.