Thursday, September 22, 2011

Starving for Jesus

Lost in my own world, running errands in a Port-au-Prince market, I suddenly wake up to poverty smacking me in the face. She is a beautiful young girl who appears to be about fourteen and looks very lost. Sensing her panic and urgency I approach her to see if she is ok. Upon asking what she is looking for, I am shocked to learn she is shopping for supplies for her four-year-old daughter. I later learn she is twenty-three, but nothing about her hints at her age. Her body is painfully skinny. I wonder how she stays alive with such a skeletal frame. The dark circles around her eyes reveal wounds of a troubled life and sadness seems to pour from her eyes. Years of poverty have taken its toll on this woman. As she speaks to me, I soon learn the four-year-old is not the only daughter she is concerned about. She also has another daughter who is only eight months old. This is when the real story begins to unfold. Her youngest daughter has terrible diarrhea. She is quite ill and the woman is unsure if her daughter will survive. They have no money to buy diapers or see a doctor. As she is wandering about in a state of sheer desperation, we know the Lord brought this woman to us. After talking a few more minutes, I tell her to come to Lifeline and we will help her. I can only pray she will come quickly.

The next day, after having walked more than an hour to the mission, I am thrilled to see her arrive. Unable to afford even the cheapest means of transportation, a tap-tap, blisters bulged on her feet from her walk towards hope. We joyfully provide her with medicine for her child, toys, formula, diapers, and other goodies. After blessing her with much needed supplies, we seek more information to insure the safety of her children and her. Asking questions about what kind of water she gives her two little girls, we learn she gives them any water she can find – even if it risks giving her children Cholera. She tells us she has no money for clean water, nor does she have money to buy charcoal to boil dirty water. She is a single mother with no income. After pressing her for more information, she shamefully admits she sometimes resorts to having sex for money. She does not like to do it, and only does it when she feels she has no other choice; but when her children are starving, she feels she has no other choice. Seeing the shame and sadness permeate throughout entire body, we know her story is true. It is a story told by many in this poverty stricken country.

Brought to tears from this woman’s sad story, we know we can offer her hope. We tell her she never has to resort to selling her body again. We explain to her that all she needs to do is trust in the saving power of Jesus and He will provide. Seeing the slightest hint of a sparkle in her dark lifeless eyes, we share the Gospel and invite her to continue to seek help from us and from the Lord. After providing her with money to get home by tap-tap and to buy food and for her and her girls, we ask her to bring her family back to Lifeline the next day. Promising to supply her with enough rice and beans to feed her family, the young woman leaves extremely grateful and ready for a new life. As we continue to pray for Jesus to enter her heart, our only desire is to see Christ work in her life and bring salvation to the Haitian people – one poverty-stricken life at a time.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

James 1:27

“Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:17)
After reading this scripture, I sat back and thought about the true meaning God seeks to convey through this message. “Look after the widows and the orphans…” In my experience, it seems people are much more eager to help orphans and often forget about the widows. Here at Lifeline, we go above and beyond to help orphans. While we love them dearly and enjoy taking care of the children of Haiti, we decided it was time to apply every aspect of this verse and really seek after the Lord’s will.
No longer wanting the widows to fall through the cracks of love, Lifeline sought to take care of the widows of Haiti by providing baskets of love for each of the wonderful widows of the village. Knowing that few things make a woman feel as good as a make over and a good meal, these lovely and appreciative women were provided with a new dress, laundry soap, bath soap, shampoo, nail clippers, lotion, wet wipes, beans, and spaghetti. Such a simple gift brought tears of joy and appreciation on grateful faces I will never forget. For the first time in maybe days, weeks, or even months, they were receiving the gift of cleanliness and a moment of complete satisfaction. As we watched them dig through their new treasures, however, we realized there was much more to give. Some of the women were in need of medical attention and not able to walk to the clinic. We happily drove them to see the doctor and get their ailments taken care of and then drove them back home to their new treasures.

At the end of the day, we felt blessed to have been able to provide these women with much needed love and care. Not only that, we were humbled by the spirit these women carried. Despite their poverty, they were smiling, happy and grateful for the Lord’s blessings. Their attitudes and appreciation were so inspiring and uplifting it was as though they were the ones blessing us with the gift. After such a fulfilling experience, we are excited for many opportunities in the future to bless and be blessed by the wonderful women of Haiti.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Delivering benches & making a difference

We started out our morning up at the prayer rock, the pastor gave communion and it was very touching. After the prayer rock we came back and got started on our day building benches for Barbencourt school, a few of us took a little break and went to see a baby that was just one day old. He was such a tiny little thing.  We got back from the seeing the baby and had lunch.   Then went and delivered the benches we had made to Barbencourt.  On our way home we stopped at a nearby orphanage and handed out a few little things to the kids.  There was one little boy who was very malnourished and they just can’t seem to get him healthy.  It definitely opened a few eyes as to how lucky we are back in the states to have hospitals and doctors right at our hands for situations like that.  Once we got back from delivering the benches we had some down time and then ate supper and had more relaxing time to end our last night.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Amazing and Rewarding Time in Haiti

This is day four for our small group from Ohio. It has been an amazing and rewarding time for us so far. Today we awoke very early to go to a small village on top of the mountain. It was about a 2 hour hike and it took us approximately about an hour and a half to climb it. It was a tough hike but very worth the while. The view was absolutely amazing and the people are precious.
We started out by handing out some backpacks for the kids to use when school resumes. The kids then sang some songs to us and we made a feeble attempt to sing to them. Then we acted out a David and Goliath skit for them. We followed this with a rousing game of duck duck goose. The kids absolutely loved this. It was a fun time had by all. It was very rewarding for us to laugh so hard and to see them have so much fun. They are rich is spirit and we are blessed to share time with them.
On our way back out of the village we visited a very sick woman who is battling an infection that is trying to take over her whole body. She cannot walk or talk and eats very little. We laid hands on her and prayed over her for God’s healing hand and comforting touch to be upon her. Her husband will be coming down to Lifeline tomorrow to get some bandages for a wound she has on her leg and for some food and water supplies.
It is not unusual to experience such a stark contrast in experiences and a wide range of emotions here in Haiti. Sometimes it is hard to process it all. But one thing is for sure, the people here are always a blessing and leave you feeling closer to God.