Friday, May 31, 2013

The night before we go home

We arrived in Haiti on Mother’s Day weekend.  Sunday during church they gave a gift to the oldest and youngest mother; very similar to that of American churches.  The rest of the week we worked on building a house for a family, we visited orphanages, fed kids who either don’t have parents, their parents don’t want them or in many cases the parents just can’t provide for them.

Today however was the best of times and the worst of times.  My two boys and I decided to pick a couple of kids from the village and bless them.  By that I mean we bath them, feed them and send them home with a gift bag or love bundle.  We picked Nixon and Jenlie.  Both are exceptional kids, but Jenlie broke my soul.  I took her into the shower and she loved it.  I’m not sure when her last bath was, but she didn’t want to come out of the shower.  Afterwards, she ate a peanut butter sandwich and a plate of rice.  Then she ate half of Nixon’s sandwich and 2 glasses of water.  Then we walked her home.  Kids teased her, because she was clean, had on new clothes and shoes and had a bag of what they assumed was food.  When she entered her home I heard a squeal from her aunt whom she lives with.  I entered behind an interpreter and told her, “we did this because we love her and God loves you both.” It’s not what she said, but how she said it. The best way to describe it is this; imagine if Ed McMann just gave you a check for a million dollars.  She cried, I cried, we all cried.

Flash forward 1 hour and our twins arrive with their mother.  We anticipated seeing our sponsored kids all week, but were told we probably wouldn’t.  Their father died in April and we couldn’t find them.  He was their mode of transportation to and from school.  He would bring them everyday on his motorcycle.  With the help of an interpreter she told me this.  She also said she was their only provider and didn’t know how she could keep them in school.  She has 4 boys to care for.  Fortunately the pastor of the kids’ school was at the mission and they talked about finding a school closer to where they lived or getting her to move back to where they were so the kids could start to walk to school.  I promised to continue to sponsor them if she could find a way to get them to school.  The twins played bouncy ball with my boys, then we gave them a ride home.  30 minutes and 10 miles later, she laid her hand on my shoulder and in her best English said, “thank you April.”  The look in her eyes broke my heart.  I cried.

I share all of this with you so I can say this:  18 years ago I gave birth to the first of two sons.  As a parent, I want what is best for my kids.  I can’t imagine the torment of not knowing how I was going to feed my kids or keep them in school.  It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s that they can’t.  We go home tomorrow.  We go home forever changed; forever grateful.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

To start off another hot but worthwhile day in Haiti. Ritchie delivered a moving devotional to give us all something to think about. After leaving the prayer rock, the men and women all split up for the morning.

While the men slaved away in the scorching heat building a home we were a little more lucky. We traveled to two different schools to update the sponsored children who greeted us with huge hugs and smiling faces. We were so preoccupied with taking photos and weighing and measuring the children that we didn't even notice the heat.

After returning back home, we were met by the guys whose morning had clearly been more tiresome than ours. We made treat bags to give to the kids at the orphanage that we were going to visit. We all loaded into the mission bus and started the journey to the Arcahaie market. Once we arrived we all walked in single file through the streets, admiring the goods that were being sold and making sure to dodge any vehicles that wouldn't move for us. As we walked past the fruits and meats, thousands of flies were there to greet us.

Once we were done exploring the market, we gathered on the bus to make our next trip to the orphanage. When we got off the bus we were greeted by little arms wanting only to be held and played with. I was fortunate enough to meet Nathalie, the little girl I now sponsor. After singing songs and coloring with her for quite some time, it was time to leave. These children now owned our hearts.

When we returned back to the mission almost everyone in the village was there gathered at the soccer field for the championship game. It was the freshman versus the juniors. Although it was a heated battle, the freshman overcame the upperclassmen and won. While the best soccer players in a 10 mile radius battled it out on the field, the children from the village swarmed us. With five kids attached to each one of us, we were all as happy as we could possibly be.

We finished up our night with another delicious meal and multiple games. We can all go to bed satisfied with how well our day was and remembering the faces of the beautiful Haitian children.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Keeps Getting Better!

Today is our fourth day in Haiti and it just keeps getting better. Our team consists of a mixture of Kentucky and Texas and I feel as though God placed us all together for a reason. We each have so many different talents/passions and it's amazing to watch God use our differences to serve this people. He has poured His blessings on us today.

The day started with a devotion at the prayer rock talking about consequences for our actions and how as christians we really need to be mindful of how we treat others and present ourselves.

The men worked on building a house for a Haitian family while the ladies got to witness the widow's mite ministry, which brought tears to my eyes because those women have been through so much yet they remain faithful to God and continue praising Him.

We helped feed six or seven hundred kids at the Barbancourt feeding station then we visited and distributed gifts to two orphanages.

The second orphanage really touched my heart. The orphans ran to welcome us and hugged our legs as we walked in, then they each found a lap to sit in or a hand to hold. As we distributed the gifts it brought tears to my eyes to see their reactions. They acted like you had just given them the world. As I watched them eat their skittles, hang tightly to their new clothes, and play with their new bouncy balls, it made me realize how blessed we are back home. These kids have NOTHING, not even parents, but they are so happy and joyous. We have most of everything but we have a tendency to be grumpy and take it all for granted. I know I certainly do. I complain when my food gets cold while some of them don't know where their next meal is coming from.

It's only be the Grace of God that we don't live in these same conditions. It could be us in a heartbeat, so I've learned to be thankful for all I have and to ALWAYS praise God for His goodness and grace.

Please pray for these precious orphans! Please pray for all of Haiti!

Thank you Lord for your goodness.

Ashli Sexton
Ison, KY