Endless Need. Endless God.

Sometimes I am afraid to walk out of my gate in the morning, I never know who or what awaits me.  Sometimes I am afraid to walk a different path to my school or to our feeding program, because I never know who I will see or what I will discover.  It’s the common saying here in Haiti, “Beyond Mountains, there are mountains.” The need here in Gressier and in Haiti is endless.

Just a few days ago I visited a new area of Gressier where there are 300 children who do not go to school…a few days before that I visited a school where 85 children attend, it crumbled in the earthquake and so they have school outside under a hot tent and someone had just recently stolen their chalkboard.  I could go on and on.  Endless Need.

With all of this in front of me, it is easy to get overwhelmed.  To know that there is SO much need and I will never reach the bottom…it’s easy to get discouraged…but then at this exact moment God reminds me of who HE is.  HE is a God of endless love.  Endless Power.  Endless Strength.  Endless EVERYTHING!  Whatever I think I need, HE already has for me.

With all of this need and all of this chaos I struggle sometimes with the idea that as a young, single girl in my 20’s, how capable am I?  Really, how much can I help?  But then God gives me the answer.

“I am the vine, you the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

My role here in Haiti is not to try and meet the needs in and of myself.  What God wants for me is to follow Him completely.  For only in HIM am I capable.  For only in HIM am I able to meet the needs here in Haiti.

Lord, I pray that you remind me of this every time I have the slightest worry or hear the slightest doubt of others.  Please build me up in YOUR strength, and in YOUR adequacy.  Even though there are always Mountains beyond the Mountains in Haiti, thank you for being an Endless God to meet this Endless need.

Beauty from Ashes

1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

4They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

Isaiah 61:1-4

Many times, the most difficult thing for me to do in Haiti is to see the “silver lining”.  To find the good in some situation.  To see the beauty in the chaotic world of Haiti.

Sometimes, the questions of WHY does this happen? and HOW are there so many hurting children? are so gut wrenching I feel like I can’t breathe.

It’s these times that the ONLY thing to do is look to God and KNOW, not understand, not feel, but just KNOW God is God and He is in control.

That’s the only way to SEE the Beauty that comes from the ashes.  The ashes, that in Haiti, are messy, and painful, difficult and confusing.

The ashes of knowing that there are one million…ONE MILLION orphans in Haiti…but the beauty to know that I see God changing that statistic one child at a time in Gressier, Haiti.

The ashes of knowing that 50% of the children are NOT in school in Gressier…but to see the beauty that 97 more children ARE in school because of what God is doing through Respire Haiti.

To know that these 97 kids have never had the chance to wear uniforms before…but to have 6 wonderful ladies and 1 wonderful man working on sewing the uniforms as I type this.

To know that MANY of the children in Gressier who are not in school are Restaveks, domestic servants, who do chores all day long…but to know that at least they get away for a few hours on Saturdays to eat and play and learn about Jesus and how LOVED they are.

To know that SO many people in Gressier are hungry to learn English and have never had the opportunity to before…until now, when more than 300 people show up every week to my English class to learn English.

To look out of my kids school every morning and see this reminder of the devastation…

But then to go behind the church and see the progress of building a Depot and Office for the school….and the beauty of seeing a community coming together and seeing many men and women from Gressier working…

Seeing the Beauty.  From the Ashes.  In the Ashes.

To take the brokenhearted, the defeated, the hurting, the hungry…and remove their ashes and replace it with Beauty.

The ashes here in Haiti are frustrating, complicated and sad.  But God is here….God is in the Ashes and God is definitely in the Beauty.

I am reminded of just how temporary the ashes are, and how temporary (even though very real) the pain is here on earth….the picture below was written on the board at school for the 4th graders…in English it says…“The Eternal is Our Refuge.”

Lord, thank you for Your beauty.  I know I do not understand why things are the way they are…why there are so many hurting and orphaned children here…why there are so many hungry children…I know I will never have the answers to all of my questions.  But the one answer I do have is You.  That You are Faithful.  God I know that You are our refuge, You are our rock.  Please continue to help me see the beauty rising up from these ashes…Help me to continue to love these children and encourage these children and adults.  Help me to show these people, It’s never too late to be loved.  Lord, please show me how to let the beauty rise from these ashes in Haiti.

Written March 23

The Angel Gabriel

Here in Haiti there are many people that touch my life…there are many people who God uses to refine me, challenge me and grow me…2 year old Gabriel that I wrote about in my previous post is definitely one of those people…

This is the only picture I took of him, mostly because my hands were full carrying him or caring for him all the time, and even here it’s a lopsided picture because he’s in the midst of a nervous, uncomfortable crying fit.

Comforting precious Gabriel was so challenging…trying to love a child that has never been loved…or has been loved for a few days by different people but then left, was so difficult.  My heart was so pained by seeing how he comforted himself by laying prostrate on the floor, and how confused he was by a soft touch.  I prayed to feel his pain and his fear…(and so thankful for much of the time no one but my amazing friend Bek was around)…because from then on when Gabriel cried out of fear and pain (he was so sick)…I was crying right next to him.

The day I returned him to the orphanage seemed like an eternity…before making the decision to bring him back, I made my very patient and loving friend Tex pull the car over 3 separate times…not because I didn’t know what to do…but because I was struggling with what I knew I had to do (to be safe and legal in this country)…and between what my heart so badly wanted to do…as I dropped Gabriel back off at the orphanage still sick, I turned around and crumbled before I even made it in the car.

As my friend Tex dropped me off in Gressier…I walked from my school to my house thankful I had my sunglasses on because tears were streaming down my face…as I continued to walk there was an elderly lady in front of me who I had never seen before, she turned around, politely said “Bonjou” and continued walking in front of me…I mumbled Bonjou back and walked slow enough that I wouldn’t have to walk near her because I did not want to have any conversation with her (or anyone) at all…as we both walked I was so consumed with my anger, tears and sadness that I didn’t notice her soothing singing for a few minutes…after a bit I heard her voice but was crying so loudly I couldn’t hear her words….as I gasped for air, there was a pause in my breath and I heard her say, “Jesus.”…(in English)…no one in Gressier speaks English, and it’s even less likely that an elderly lady would speak English…so my ears perked up to her song…she continued in a mix of Creole and English…”Jezi, Jezi, Mwen renmen ou (I love you)…Jesus, I adore you…Jezi, Jezi.”

As she kept walking, my heavy heart seemed to lighten and my tears stopped flowing…I listened to her beautiful, soothing voice…and was puzzled by her English, but comforted by her singing…before I knew it I had stopped crying and was walking yet resting for the first time in days…after a few more minutes she veered up a path to a house, turned around and in another strange mix of English and Creole…told me Thank You and said Good Bye…Confused by her “Thank You.” I thanked her for singing, and she just smiled and walked up the path.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2

As I continued walking to my house, I thanked God for sending this dear lady to comfort me and began to ask God why He sent Gabriel…why did I make that split second decision to take a second look in the orphanage and see him sitting alone on the step?why did I then feel God prompting me to take him home to care for him for a few days?…I began racking my brain about Gabriel in the bible and was so blessed by what I found…

Gabriel was an angel and messenger from God…his name means, strong man of God…hero of God…and God is my strength and courage…reading that alone put my heart at peace and I began praying for my precious Gabriel to KNOW the truth of HIS name

As I continued to look for Gabriel in the bible, I ran across Luke and read the words that Gabriel spoke when he was delivering messages from God….

He so boldly and strongly states in Luke twice…“Do not be afraid…” first to Zechariah (telling him about the future birth of John the Baptist) and second to Mary (telling her about the future birth of Jesus)…the angel Gabriel was sent to deliver a message but knew he would be met by fear and concern, so he prefaced his encounters by asking them both not to be afraid…when he was talking to Zechariah he says, “I am Gabriel.  I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news…”

Gabriel’s message to Zechariah and Mary was “unbelievable” to them…Zechariah and his wife were “advanced in years”…and Mary was a virgin…

However, Zechariah and Mary’s faith in the message of God sent through the Angel Gabriel is a beautiful picture of faith and trust.

Gabriel’s words of wisdom and encouraging message from God is beautiful…The last sentence that the angel Gabriel says in Luke is what I have been holding on to for these last couple of days and is something that is now powerfully engrained in my mind, with Mary’s hesitation with what he just told her, he looks at her and states, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”


Please KNOW that you are not forgotten, please KNOW that you are being prayed for, thought about and loved even at this moment.  Please FEEL the angels surrounding and protecting you…

Lord, watch over this dear baby as I know you already are…comfort him with your Spirit and your Love…help him to know that He is never alone, that you are with him wherever he goes…

Jesus, give me peace about what is happening now…give me patience for what is to come…give me strength for trying to understand why everything has happened this way and please help me to remember that YOU already know what is next for both of us.

God, let me grow through your lessons…strengthen my faith in your goodness…and help me to continue to be inspired by your Word…help me to Love Gabriel best, even from afar…

For Nothing is Impossible with You.


Broken Again.

I can’t even begin to explain the pain that has happened here in Haiti over the last few weeks…I have cried…wept…more in the last few weeks then I feel like in my entire life.

It started with a 10 year old in my school sponsorship program…when she went home one day from school, she told her caretaker (grandmothers sisters friend) about me…the next thing that happened is frustrating and I don’t and just won’t understand. The caretaker then told the child to pack her stuff and come live with me. I arrived at my school the next morning and the little girl came up to me and kept speaking quickly in Creole, smiling and saying, “She told me to come live with you.” I didn’t understand what she was saying, so I asked her to talk about it after class.

After class she explained how she was told to come and live with me. I was in shock and broken that she was just “sent” to me as if it was nothing. She had a small bag packed with all of her belongings. As we walked to her house so I could talk with her caregiver, she was beaming with excitement even though I was trying to let her down slowly saying that she couldn’t stay with me. The next few moments were do difficult…I had to explain that I was not able to care for this little girl now…for so many reasons…first, because God did not give me a peace about it…second, I don’t know the language well enough to take a child who has been through so much (she’s been abandoned by her mother, neglected by her father etc)…and I don’t have running water or electricity, so it’s just not conducive to a child living with me.

As I watched this 10 year olds hope and joy dissipate, I felt sick to my stomach, mad and hurt all at the same time. How could someone just tell this child to go away…how did her parents abandon her in the beginning…I was Broken, again.

A few days ago, I sat with a beautiful 12 year old girl in the “hospital” for two straight days…and took care of her for more than a week…why? Because she is an orphan. She has no one here on earth to be her voice. To be her help. She was in her room in an orphanage for three days before anyone even realized she was sick. Can you just start there with me…thinking about a little girl who is in her room in pain. Scared and hurting…not eating, not drinking..,for three days. Alone. Then she moved to a “hospital”…let me try to describe her room…it’s a tiny room with four beds (four children total) and a small aisle down the middle for passing…across the room from her is (or really 2 feet away) we have a father with his little 2 year old child, the mother died in the earthquake and the love this father has for this child is beautiful…and we have another mother with her one year old who had down syndrome…and then we have a 7 year old who’s parents are with her every moment…and then there was Rosemine…no mother with her, no father with her.

I stayed with her as long as I could (she was in a different city then I live, and I don’t have a car here…)…I don’t think I can describe the pain of leaving her in the hospital knowing that she had no one to take care of her…leaving a 12 year old to fend for herself. Even though I was able to continue checking in on her ever day…I just couldn’t help but think, if I was in the hospital it would be hard to MAKE my mother leave my side.

Broken. Again.

Then there was Gabriel. Two year old Gabriel. A team came from Colorado to work in an orphanage in Carrefour (that in my opinion is the worst orphanage I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world) and they brought the kids to Gressier for one day…as they loaded the bus, I decided to take one more look through the place to see if we were missing anyone…and then I saw Gabriel. Sitting without a diaper and without pants completely by himself, obviously not feeling good…I will never forget that moment in my mind…I picked him up, put a diaper on him and brought him with us. Who knew that that 3 second decision would end up wrecking me so much…by the end of the day he was worse, not better. I couldn’t imagine sending him back to the orphanage like that, so I asked if I could take care of him for a few days and the orphanage said yes. When we got back to the guesthouse we were staying at in Port au Prince, as God would have it, there happened to be an American doctor who had just arrived at the guesthouse so she came and looked at Gabriel. Bronchitis, scabies, fungal infections…this two year old was fighting hard. She gave him some medication to take for 7 days, I decided since I knew the orphanage probably wouldn’t be able to or remember to give him medication on time, that I’d call and ask if I could watch him for 7 days to make sure he would be better…the orphanage said no problem.

That was three days ago…and yesterday I had to make the hardest decision in my life. I realized after spending a few days with him, that if I kept him for all 7 days, it would do more harm to him than good…with his attachment issues and with having to return to this scum of an orphanage at the end of the week, it would be too hard for him. I knew he didnt have any paperwork, so it would be super difficult to try and figure out something else for him (bringing him to another place, or where his parents were/are etc). As I headed back to Gressier, I had two choices…one- return him to the orphanage, or two- keep him. For good.

I had NO idea which to choose…I couldn’t fathom bringing him back to a place filled with scabies, no food, no care, no love. But the more rational I became, the more I realized that without paperwork and without a feasible way to take him legally…I had no choice.

Returning him to the orphanage BROKE my heart. Literally shattered it it to Pieces I couldn’t breathe…in fact, I feel like I still can’t. Feeling the pain of an orphan is SO horrible…returning an orphan to a horrible orphanage crushed me. Knowing I couldn’t keep him was even worse…

Broken. Everytime I think I have been broken as much as possible, God breaks me more. I can easily say, yesterday was the hardest day of my life…returning a child to a place where I knew he would not have his needs met is the WORST feeling ever…Ive had to remind myself every second over the last day that He is a child of God…that God knows every hair on his head…he is NOT forgotten…he is LOVED…

Jesus, I don’t understand. I don’t understand the suffering of helpless children. I don’t understand how or why there are so many children who will go to bed tonight without someone telling them goodnight. I am so broken when I look into the eyes of a child I’m holding, knowing that they might not have been held in days…

This struggle is too big. This fight is too difficult. These situations are too painful. But GOD, you are bigger. Please continue to give me strength to be YOUR HANDS AND FEET. Even when I don’t understand, even when I’m angry, with a righteous anger, please help me love. Love better, love more, LOVE deeper.

***Prayer is powerful. Please join me in prayer for this orphanage in Carrefour, there are over 75 orphans and only 3 workers. The conditions are terrible. They are all sick, hungry and lonely and they are in DESPERATE need for something to change. Please pray, pray, pray for something BIG to happen soon on these childrens behalf.**

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