Sometimes when things happen here in Haiti it takes weeks or months to get things out of my head and heart and onto paper….sometimes they aren’t even able to come out of my head into cohesive sentences at all….but then sometimes things happen and God prompts me to start writing immediately… this is something that just happened yesterday and is so fresh that there is no happy ending, no solution…yet. But God is faithful, and He is working.
My girls were eating dinner outside on our front balcony and I was continuing to clean upstairs and talk with Kyle and Rita….I heard a faint scream and stopped what I was doing and walked to the back porch. As I heard it again I ran downstairs and into the back yard thinking that maybe it was from the road. The third time I heard it, I ran outside of the gate and turned the corner…as I did I saw a young girl running and then hiding behind some rocks.
My heart knew already what was going on and immediately I began to pray.
I walked up to a young girl shaking violently she was crying so hard….her whole body was covered in blood, dirt and whelps…as I took a deep breath I began to ask her what happened….she could hardly answer so as I tried to soothe her…I didn’t even know where to touch her without her writhing in pain.
She took a breath and spit out some words about her father beating her. My mind began to race…surely this wasn’t her ACTUAL father…trying to figure out who she lived with and where she lived took a little time because she was so afraid…but I finally convinced her to come to my house to clean her wounds.
As we entered the gate I called Rita (who was a CHAMP) and we began to clean the wounds. I didn’t want to anger the father more by having the child at my house, so I knew that I needed to immediately go find her house and talk to him. Just as I was leaving the gate, Josh and Jessica got home so they were able to help Rita with the child’s wounds.
I walked over to the young girls house with Tachi (our Haitian superwoman)….we found the child’s mother who didn’t even know what had just happened…we spoke to her for a few minutes trying to figure out what was going on…as she continued to say she wasn’t there, we decided to head back to the house to check on her again.
Seeing a 9 year old girl shaking with fear and in complete pain is something I don’t wish upon anyone. As Tachi bathed her I went to tuck in my girls….talking briefly to them about what just happened, Micha immediately asked to pray and said that she remembers when she used to be beaten and she knew that God did not want that. As I tried to hold back the tears from falling, she continued to pray so preciously for this sweet girl who is only one year old than her.
Right as Micha and Jess went to bed the young girl’s cousin and brother showed up. A few minutes later the girl’s father knocked on the gate. So here we had the brother, the cousin and now the father. A few minutes later the mother arrived. The whole family sitting on my porch.
BOTH of their children go to a good school…my heart just BROKE seeing a FAMILY in Haiti….mother, father, two children….TRYING to make it work. As I asked what happened…all three of them began to talk about how she doesn’t listen, she won’t do her homework, she doesn’t respect her books, she doesn’t respect anyone or anything. Her father went on to say that he had given all of his money for her education.
In their minds they had EXHAUSTED ALL resources. In their minds they had tried EVERYTHING to try and teach their child. I began trying to ask God WHAT he wanted me to do in this situation.
I am by NO MEANS saying that it is OKAY to beat a child. I DO NOT agree with what this father did nor the punishment he chose.
But my heart BREAKS for this father. It breaks because I could see in his eyes that he was trying….that he WANTED his children to learn….that He was trying the best way he KNEW how…..
As we talked more and more God began to open my eyes more and more to the IGNORANCE here in Haiti….even more to the cultural confusion with beating and abuse….to how Haiti believes this is an ACCEPTABLE form of discipline. And that it might actually “teach children something.”
He told me how HIS father had done that to him. The mother said that HER father had beaten her. My mind swirled thinking of this Generational abuse. My mind swirled hearing him say he thought the last time he did this was in 2009. I just couldn’t understand this logic and in the meantime there was a crying, beaten and frightened 9 year old child in our bathroom.
Want to know what the consequence for beating the crap out of a disobedient daughter is here in Haiti? Nothing.
The father stayed for an hour after everyone left. He began talking about his family life…how his wife’s family didn’t go to school….how his mother in law is one of 9 children and only 2 even learned how to read….and my heart continued to be OPEN to what he was saying….
I HATED the fact that he beat his daughter to “Teach her to do her homework, start listening and take care of her books and not rip them”….but I tried to HEAR his heart, knowing that the answer that God was pointing me to was RELATIONSHIP with this family, to walk alongside them, to help them.
God kept bringing me back to what Respire Haiti revolves around. EDUCATION. FREEDOM. Teaching people the Gospel and TRUTH.
I am FIGHTING for these children…and trusting Christ to use me to help educate and teach them….and I will do this until the day Christ comes back.
My heart breaks for the difficulties here. My heart breaks for the confusion here. My heart BREAKS for the children of Haiti. And now it is breaking for the parents.
Pray with us as we continue to fight for these children, teach our community and break the cycle of confusion and bondage.