“The world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross behind me,
No turning back, no turning back.”

 

So the question at hand may be why did I go to Haiti on for 6 days? The answer to which is: to defend the orphan. Some may reason that nothing of value can truly happen in 6 days. My arrival won’t make any lasting change happen. Maybe not. Except it did. I’m changed forever beyond those 6 mere days that don’t really hold a candle on the grand scheme of my life. 


I stated in my last post that a song arose on this trip to undo me. I cried over it for days. (See my previous post to read about it.) Haiti is the poorest 3rd world nation in the Western hemisphere. In fact it was only a 2 and a half hour plane ride to get there from Miami International Airport. Its heartbreaking to know and see a place so close by, so beautiful, that is so far removed from the kind of life we know in the USA. 


Yet, despite Haiti’s poverty and shanty town appearance, it’s a bright and cheerful place. The buildings are painted bright colors. The people smile and wave. Neighbors help each other. Community spirit is large and wide despite 98 percent of people not having running water or electricity or any real modern conveniences, like toilet paper.

 

So how did this whole orphan business come about? Two years ago, as the story goes, a simple pastor named Emil(above), put together a kids club at his church for the children in town, Maissade. He discovered that quite a few of them were orphaned from some natural disasters that had ravaged Haiti. Many of the kids had no home, no consistent meals. They were dirty and injured and alone in the wide world.

 

Pastor Emil’s church had a small house on property that was used to house pastors and missionaries that passed through and so he put the 40 orphans in the little house. Pastor Emil didn’t have much, but what he had, he gave. He knew of an orphanage in the town of Gonaieves, some 6 hours away by car and he reached out for help, seeing how he’d gathered 40 kids he needed help to feed and house them. Coreluv, an amazing organization that is about defending the Orphan, came on board to help feed them. Though, pastor Emil didn’t know how much Coreluv would be able to help, he was determined to provide for the kids in his town. Coreluv, unable to take the kids at the time, began providing financially to help care for the 40’s needs.

 

Being an excellent negotiator Pastor Emil was able to get food at a reduced cost and from the extra money he saved, he was able to buy some land and wanted to build an orphanage. My church Westover Hills Assembly of God had just joined Coreluv in their mission and when they heard pastor Emil’s heart and determination they partnered with him to build a home for the 40 at Maissade.

 

What is amazing  is that Pastor Emil had once also decided to follow Jesus and God led him down this path. The path to 40 kid’s hearts. I don’t know his story. I don’t know what made him choose Jesus over Voodoo or atheism or any thing else. But it occurred to me that since that day he decided for Jesus, he could not turn back and that led him down the path of being used by God to provide for 40 orphaned children. And even if the world was against him, he fixed his gaze on the cross before him and went forward toward the goal. He would walk the line, even if he had no money to care for the 40, even if he had little space, even if some may have thought he was crazy. And because of his obedience to God, he was able to save 40 kids. To give them a future and a hope. Hope of Jesus, hope for eternal life.

 

Not only that, but God used the obedience of one man to bring to knowledge the beauty, the lives, the destinies of 40 kids. He brought them into my life. He brought them into the lives of all the other 3 or 4 teams that have gone through Maissade in the last 2 years. These beautiful children with hearts filled to the brim with joy and love, who despite having nothing, least of all parents run around open space giggling, holding out pudgy hands for hugs, and smiling like they own a goldmine. God made them known to us, to me. Someone whose life is so far removed from that little country town in the Caribbean, who would have never know the beauties of that land called Haiti and its people, who never would have laughed driving down unpaved roads as naked kids from villages would run up waving and shouting “Blah…” meaning white or foreigner, jumping up and down as if the Royals had invaded town. God brought me there to intersect with those lives, that land. 

 

That’s what God offers all of us. He offers us each a chance to be His hands and feet in a world whose hearts are starved of love, of hope. He has plans for us. Not just a plan. But plans. That means despite all the opportunities we’ve missed, we’ve been blind to, we’ve been to afraid to step into, God still has a back-up plan to use. He has a back-up for the back-up and so on. He will never give up on calling us to Himself. Never giving up in allowing us o be a part of His work, His mind boggling plan that we only see one small puzzle piece of, but when it comes together is a masterpiece of vast proportions.

Let us decide. Let us be used. Let us follow with Jesus before us and everything else behind us…

 

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History: Haiti pt.2

Remembering The smells of Autumn

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Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, pine, drying berries, cool mornings and evenings, daylight shifting- they all beckon to the call of that familiar homey time of year called Autumn. It signals the beginning of the holiday season, the ending of a year and new beginnings to come. It’s my favorite time of year despite having been grown up in South Florida where seasons don’t abide.

 

It was on such a day like this 16 years ago that everything changed. America was forever altered after we watched two commercial airplanes crash into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. One day changed everything. It shattered our cloud of false security, but it also bred fear across the nation. It fueled hate. I remember that day. I was in 7th grade. Siting in the library watching live coverage of the event for a short while before being sent off to class, head spinning.

People were crying. People were shocked. People didn’t know how to react. I was the latter. It almost seemed like it was some made up tale- planes flying into buildings. A bad end-of-the-world movie scenario. Yet, it’s a truth that remains. An ugly truth engrained in the land of our hearts, carved into the province of New York City. Today lets remember. Lets remember what hates does. What it destroys. How much it costs. Lets remember September 11, 2001.pexels-photo-374710.jpeg

Posted in Creative writing, Faith, Inspiration

Songs: Haiti Pt. 1

If you know me, you’ll know that music speaks to me. Though, I don’t write songs, God always speaks to me through music. Songs have been God’s microphone in my life since I was a little girl and this lyric could not be more true in my life…

you unravel me with a melody,

you surround me with a song,”

                                 -Bethel Music-

 

This short trip to Haiti was no different. God had a song ready to unravel me. I didn’t think I’d find a song to be unraveled by in the 6 measly days I was in Haiti. I was wrong. It was an old song turned new for me, sung by the innocent voices of 40 orphans on the back of a truck. One little girl, dubbed ‘The Singer’ of the clan, started out with these words:“I have decided to follow Jesus.” The other kids picked up the old tune and soon the truck we were crammed on trudging toward the new orphanage location for a day of games was filled with a simple song I also had learned as a child at Sunday school.

 

I have decided to follow Jesus,

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus,

No turning back, no turning back.”

 

It’s a simple hymn with a simple melody and very repetitive words. Its not what we’d consider a hit worship song in the modern world. Yet, the depths of the words in this song and the singers who were belting it out, hit me full force in the depths of my soul and the song rang in my head for the next 4 days of my Haiti trip.

 

40 orphans, the oldest of which is about 15 and the youngest being under 2 years old, were declaring that despite everything, they have chosen, would follow Jesus and from which point there was no turning back. I once made the same choice they did. I decided to follow Jesus when I was about 12 and indeed, despite moments of heartache and fear and seasons of doubt, there is no turning back for me.

 

So, one verse into a song, my heart was sewn into the fabric of a patchwork quilt of 40 different shades. 40 lives of beautiful children through which God showed me that deciding to follow Him is just the beginning of the adventure. It is the mere nadir from which a person begins their journey. Like Pastor Emil, who found the 40 and took them in and through which God is doing a grand work to touch the lives of so many other orphans and people in the village, we also will be used. We have a grand destiny to be a small part of the song God is writing on the pages of our lives. All we have to do is decide.

 

And just like that crammed in on a bumpy truck, the song wove its way into every nook and cranny of my trip, calling out to me as it went the verses of that old hymn as soon you will discover in my next posts.