Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Break My Heart For What Breaks Yours

Break our Hearts For What Breaks Yours

Day two of Healing Haiti

Today was full of love and heartache all in one.  This morning our team broke up between two different locations. Ten of us went to a home for sick and dying children, while the other 5-team members went to a home for children with disabilities.

I went to visit the home for sick and dying children. When we walked up to the gates of the house. The sight was heart wrenching before we even entered. First there were three mothers holding their infants whom were skin and bones.  9-month-old babies looked like 3-week-old babies. After walking through the entryway, we were directed to a room with infants. I had no idea what to expect. But to my dismay there were wall-to-wall cribs, walking into the room, I had to fight back tears. I thought how do I chose what baby to pick up, when half of them are crying just wanting to be held. I thought to myself God loves all of these children. So I too should love them all, and give them all the same attention. I took a minute gazing around the room at all 30 infants. When my gaze struck a crying baby girl, in a pastel pink dress and a diaper. I walked over to her crib and looked down at her with a smile. Before I even pick up this sweet baby girl, she smiled at me. I hadn’t even held her, try to make her laugh or tickle her to get to her smile. It was her pure joy knowing that someone was going to pick her up. Before I held her in my I began crying. Amazed by God’s creation, and feeling his love so strongly. This teeny tiny little girl who couldn’t hold up her own head, but had a permanent smile on her face, stole a piece of my heart in an instant. As I held her I saw true joy, which to me was amazing because a child who is sick & dying, let alone an orphan infant, smiles. Upon realizing that’s all they’ve ever known, I got it. I understood why they got so excited to see strangers, they knew they would be held and nurtured. One little boy was 3 years old, but couldn’t walk. Not because he had any sort of disability, but because no one had practiced with him. This same child I tried to get to play on the playgroup and push him on the swing. But he began to cry, reach for my neck, and pulled me close. I would rub his back and get him settled, then try to tickle him. But I soon found out all he wanted me to do was hold him tightly. When you think about infants in the states you think of most infants having stranger anxiety, in that they don’t want other people to hold them other then their parents. These children embrace the love and cuddles that strangers give. For they crave a loving embrace.
Before leaving I saw a little girl maybe 4yrs old, with downs syndrome. This beautiful girl captured my whole heart, and is one I won’t ever forget about. I swooped her up in my arms, and spun her in a circle. What happened next was the most amazing belly laugh, a whole body laugh. I sang songs like the wheels on the bus, itsy bitsy and I’m a little teapot. As a full time nanny & dance teacher back home singing these songs are part of my daily routine. But never have I gotten this reaction, lots ands lots of laughter. Either my singing was that bad, or I was just that funny, more likely the first. I then slowed it down and sang Jesus loves me. But this time instead of big belly laughs, this beautiful little girl grabbed my face, and stared into my eyes without a blink. It was so evident that God was with the two of us in that moment. It was a moment I felt she was impacting my life, more than I was impacting her life.  God is so good!!

I know this experience is one I know my team and I won’t ever forget.

John 14:18NIV
I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you

Day One – Travel and Settling in Day!

With a 3:30am airport arrival, getting organized with donation suitcases and team t-shirts, one 2-hour layover in Miami and 16 eager and tired people ready to serve, we have made it to Haiti!

Stepping off the airplane in Haiti, there were dozens of Haitian men offering to assist us with getting our luggage out to the Tap Tap (Haitian taxi, our transportation). We loaded the vehicle with our luggage, piled in and drove off on the rocky road to the Guest House. After dropping off our bags, we went across the street and found some neighborhood boys to show us around town.
Dickenson, who is an 18 year old in the community, gathered our team and some other local boys to walk us through the neighborhood. During this walk, we had the opportunity to talk with him and the other boys and learn about their lives. Dickenson has worked extremely hard to put himself through school and learn English. When a few of the team members encouraged him in his amazing English skills, he said “Really?! Now you are making me timid!” J He has been working so hard that he now has his own Etsy business! Some of the other boys are in school learning English, French and Spanish, all while living away from their families. In their spare time, they play soccer in the field next to our guest house. We all look forward to playing with them one of these days this week!
Also while on our walk, a little black goat decided to join our pack, walking with us the whole time! Along the streets, we saw a lot of men, women and children selling multiple goods. Each of the children were more than excited to grab one of our hands and walk along with us! The adults stood with somber faces but as soon as one of us would say “bonswa” or “bonjou”, their face would light up with the biggest smile and they would reply with an equal greeting.
After our walk, the team came back to the guest house and were greeted by Elisa, one of the directors, who went over the in’s and out’s of the property and the week. We then all came inside and had an amazing family style Haitian Spaghetti meal!
At the end of the night, we were able to sit as a team and describe the day in just one word. Here are the words each member used: grateful, shocking, emotional, peace, joyful, connection, filled, calming, pumped, excited, reunion, humbling, comfortable, and contrast. When we went around and said this word, we described our reasons for choosing those specific words for today. This experience was very enlightening because it gave us the opportunity to get to know each other better and to see where each person’s heart is at through this journey together.
Until tomorrow,

Rachael and Taylor