The sounds, smells and sites of Haiti are all too familiar as this is my second mission trip to Haiti, but today I experienced a place I've never been to before and that was "Dare's Special Needs Orphanage." This morning, I was given the opportunity to serve there and it was an experience like none other. When I arrived, I was greeted with many beautiful smiles. My heart became heavy and my eyes started to tear up when I saw many forms of disabilities the children there had. Some were worse than others ... some could talk or walk and some couldn't do either. At first, a sweet woman who works there handed me this adorable little girl who couldn't sit up by herself very well. She had a glowing smile and I massaged her arms for awhile until I gave one of my team members a chance to hold her. Then, suddenly a precious little boy (who was sitting next to me enjoying a snack) got my attention and wanted me to hold him. He just knew how to steel my heart as we exchanged smiles and he gave me a kiss on the cheek. After sitting with him awhile, he started to get antsy as he heard music start to play, so I picked him up and we found many of the children singing and clapping to the worship music playing (thanks to our leader Grace.) He absolutely loved it.
After the singing, I pushed him around in the wheelchair and he had a blast, as I pushed him and saw others being pushed. He would light up with smiles and all the children would laugh and smile at each other and to us like they had no care in the world. It was truly beautiful. It wasn't until the time I had to say my goodbyes that I almost completely lost it in tears. I felt like my heart was ripping out of me as this little boy grabbed me so tightly that he never wanted to let go. He gave me a few kisses on my cheek and then said "I love you, I love you, I love you" in Creole. I said it back to him and then and one of the caretakers walked over to me and gave me the biggest smile and tightest hug as she whispered to me, "Bless you." I quickly gave one more smile and kiss to this little boy and got back up on the tap tap feeling overwhelmed knowing God used me to touch this boy's life in so many ways in such a short period of time, but also just awed by the fact that the boy touched my heart in ways he will never know.
In Haiti, children with disabilities are viewed as a curse, but Dare's is a place of love and hope that gives these children a chance to be loved and cared for, and more importantly they are God's precious children and perfect in His eyes!