A few days ago a young girl about my age knocked on my gate and began to explain to me how she couldn’t take care of her child anymore…she’s tried, she has two other children and this child is a year old and she said she just can’t do it anymore.
As she continued to tell me all the difficulties in her life and all of the problems that she has…my heart was beating so loud and fast I felt like I could almost hear it beating out of my chest…
I knew what was coming, it has happened before (and has happened here to other people I know) and has crushed me…she took a breath, looked up into my eyes and said, “I thought you could take him because you can do a better job.”
As I took a second to gather my words and thoughts, I looked at her and began to encourage…All while she had been talking I was pleading with God to give me the words to speak TRUTH into her life. To speak CONFIDENCE into her parenting ability. And most certainly, to speak OPPORTUNITY as we work together for the next step.
Marissia’s face lit up as I offered her a job carrying sand on the mountain to help build our school…as she went on to say she didn’t have anyone to take care of her baby…we decided she could take her baby with her to the mountain and we would work on a solution…
The next day as I was standing on the scaffolding painting the school (Yes, sometimes I work too!)…I heard beautiful singing from behind the building…as I peaked through the bars, tears filled my eyes as I told my friend Kat to look out of the window and see that one of the ladies was singing while carrying a 5 gallon bucket of dirt on her head…it was the young girl who was just hired, as she walked and worked, she sang, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah to the King of Kings.”
To say that having someone GIVE you their child here in Haiti is unusual is not at all accurate…it has happened to me SO many times I could have a FULL house by now…it is the most heart-wrenching experience I’ve ever had and EVERY TIME brings me to my KNEES at the end of the day. EVERY TIME I BEG God to keep these families together. Protected. Provided for. And then, I am reminded WHY I am here in Gressier doing what I am doing.
Through Respire Haiti we are able to provide education for children at an extremely low cost (or free if needed)…we are able to ENCOURAGE these parents that they CAN keep their children AND put them in school. We feed our children at school and feed hundreds of children every weekend. And now, we are beginning to explore even more opportunities for jobs beyond our current group of nearly 200 people employed through our Feeding Programs, our School, our construction work amongst other things.
Women like Marissia make me FIGHT HARDER. They make me WORK LONGER. They bring me to my KNEES begging God to show me the steps to take to help these women provide for their families.
SO SO SO many women here in Haiti DO NOT want to give up their children. They DESIRE to be parents, mothers to their children. But they do not have the opportunity. God has inundated my heart with the desire to not only fight for vulnerable children. To fight for the Restaveks who have been sold or given away. To fight for the “orphans” here who actually DO have parents. But God also has my heart bleeding for their families too. Their mothers, their fathers, their sisters and brothers.
As I BEG God again tonight to open more opportunities for myself and Respire Haiti to SERVE these women, to encourage them, to give them opportunity…He gently reminds me that not only does He have these women and their children in the palm of his hand…but He has my girls, myself, Respire Haiti in his hand. We are merely tools for Him to use. Blessed, Chosen Tools. God does not NEED us (Acts 17:24) but we are BLESSED to be a part of His beauty. The beauty I’ve seen when a mother realizes that she CAN keep her child with her.
The BEAUTY of HIS PLAN.
The BEAUTY of OPPORTUNITY.
Please pray for Marissia and her children as she has worked with us for this whole week and will hopefully continue to be a part of Respire Haiti’s School Building and provide for her family…