Saturday, May 30, 2015

I Have A Neighbor

This morning I was inspired to share with you about one of our neighbors. It's not his story since we don't know the depth of it, but it's more about what we see. I wanted to use the word "know" but again I don't know.

Let me introduce you to "S" He is somewhere between the age of 22-30, he'll give you a different number every time you ask him. He lives down our quiet little street in a house compound but his house is a wooden structure that was build by an organization. The house he use to live in was crumbled in the earthquake. He was the caretaker of the yard and he just hasn't left since then even though the owners no longer reside there. He speaks terrible English and refuses to speak Creole to us.

I remember when we first moved to Haiti, he would come over and try to make conversation with us in which we couldn't understand but he tried and that was all that matter. Then one day he yelled at one of my boys for not listening to their dad and I remember clear as day thinking how much I dislike this man for thinking he could speak to my child in that way.

As time went on we had our ups and our downs with him. One day we could be the best of friends, the next day he was being kicked out of our yard. Here in Haiti it's hard. Privacy doesn't exist. So here we are, a Canadian family wanting to just have family time and then there is S just wanting to have interaction with someone. There were days he would show up at 6am and be banging on our gate, for what reason? To make sure we were alive. These days we get till 8am before he comes over. You see S has no family around and for him to visit them he has to take a taptap but S doesn't have a job so he can't pay for the ride.

This leads me into our next struggle with S. S has no job. With no job he has no money to buy food. After time he would start asking us food and sometimes we would help him and sometimes we wouldn't. For us it is very frustrating because everyday we leave the gate we see him just sit outside his house and do nothing but just sit. For us we saw laziness. Why would we want to help someone if they don't want to help themselves? But here's the thing, is it laziness or is it that he has lost all hope of having a future where he doesn't have to live like he does now?

We hired him a few times to do odd things for us, one of them being our yard cleaner. We don't have a big yard but we have a yard that gets dirty fast and it drives me crazy. The first time he did it, you could him shine. He was so proud of his work and he made sure to show you around the whole outside to make sure it was okay. He even went as far as to yell as he was cleaning for me to keep looking outside just to make sure he was doing a good job.

This leaves me in confusion. We have a neighbor who is clearly hard-working and will do just about anything to help our family, even go buy me bananas in another town over. But why then isn't he out there showing others just hard working he can be?

Maybe one day I'll know his story and understand why, what I do know though is that I Have A Neighbor... I have a protector... and I have a friend and maybe right now that's all I need to know about him.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Head Held High!

Part of my job as a missionary is to learn and experiment and to make mistakes which then leads me back to learning.  For those of you who are on my social media may wonder at times if I know what I'm doing and the reality is I don't most days.

Life in Haiti is the never the same. Like for the past few days all I felt I was seeing and hearing was pain and suffering.  It sometimes makes you wonder if anything will change. Then you have days like today where you see a breakthrough and know God is at work.

Today I saw a mom in our community walk with so much pride that I couldn't help but take a minute and smile. As some may know we provide meals for our tutoring kids and other kids in the community twice a week. Our goal is to move this up to 4 times a week but with that comes extra work. Up until last week we have been cooking the food from our house and driving it over. This was taking up time from our staff members when they could be better using it in other ways. We also knew that employment in our community is very low. We have been praying and looking for a mom in our community who we could employ to help us with meals.  We all agreed that Mrs.Charles would be a good choice. Mrs.Charles is a mom of 5 boys, 2 who are in our sponsorship program.  She has a husband who is involved in the kids life and they both love the Lord. There kids are polite, well behaved and work hard in school. We felt from the first time meeting her that this family could really help change their community.

For the past two weeks Mrs.Charles has cooked our kids meals and has worked so hard to provide a good meal for them. Today before leaving for the day I saw a mom walk with her head held high almost knowing that today was the day she had value and instead of taking a hand out she got provide for her family.

For many people,  they want to see change and see it now. But for me I know that change may take months or even years. If we want to help these families we have to start thinking long term. Yes,  sometimes a short term solution may work for that moment and yes at times they are absolutely needed. But after that, we need to start thinking how we can help so when we are gone that we haven't left them where they started.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.  - Philippians 4:8

Last night I really just wanted to take some time and vent. I wanted to share about the pain and suffering I've been seeing and hearing these last few days. I wanted to just be mad and share it with you in hopes that maybe someone out there would feel anger too. But I had no power last night so I kept it to myself and said I'll do it tomorrow.  And I was about to do it again until I read the verse above and it completely changed my attitude towards what I've been feeling.

Yes, I'll share those moments with you, but I hope to share them in a way that doesn't come across negative but in a way that I and you can thank God for.

On Tuesdays I tutor our younger kids in our sponsorship program. Our tutor class is right in the community where our kids live and as I stood in the class waiting for our students I could hear screaming and my only thought was "Someone is not a happy camper." As norm for our younger kids we need to get them so off I went on a walk until I came to an abrupt stop from witnessing a child being disciplined.  My heart dropped as I realized where the screaming came from. Instantly my North American mind set kicked in and all I could do was walk away before I made a wrong choice. You see in Haiti,  physical discipline is completely normal. Yes,  I could have stopped it. But the thing is I wouldn't have just stopped it, I probably would have made it worse. I can't just show up and start telling these parents what is right and wrong. This was a teaching moment for me. I cannot educate these parents on other ways to discipline until I educate myself first on why they feel they need to do it that way. I am not going to accept it but I will not be that person who walks in and thinks I know all because I come from a different land. I took this as a teaching moment.

Tuesday is also a day for some of our older kids to get tutored. One of boys couldn't concentrate and was complaining of a headache until he just couldn't handle it anymore and tears flowed down his face. This was so unusual for him I thought.  I rubbed his back,  gave him some water and excused him from class.  He just sat outside and it hit me. He's hungry! We asked what he ate that day... nothing. It was already 3pm. What about Monday. ..nothing. Last meal he ate was on Sunday. Here I have a 11 year old who hasn't ate in two days. What was I to do? Obviously, get him food. I just happened to have uncooked rice in my truck.  So we filled a bowl and set him off home. I'm so thankful that these children are so honest with us. I'm thankful that in those moments God already has a plan set in place for when these times arrive.

Wednesday comes and off we go to our community.  We are visiting one of the families when these two little girls show up. Their hair is so yellow and hard and broken. We meet Leina Jules and her sister.We see the malnutrition.  We know that they need help. Mom and Dad are together and have three little girls but no jobs to provide for their family. Leina Jules should be in school, but she's not. We agreed that our organization would not take on any other sponsor children unless absolutely necessary. She is now a part of our program. We can't always help every need but we are so thankful that with the help of people like you, we can send these kids to school, feed them and help lift burdens from families.

Next we have one of our teenage sponsored girls with sores all over legs.  It painful just looking at them. I could just sit and be upset and sad that she has to deal with that while I lay in a bed right now. Yes it upsets me but I also am thankful that I can look for help from other people here in Haiti and hopefully get rid of the sores and have her legs healed.  Remember God is our healer, he can do this with or without me.  I'm okay with either.

And last and the most painful one for me where I'm still left confused and honestly still trying to find something praiseworthy of it. Our boys Ricarduo and Richard. We received a call saying Mom has been in the hospital for the last few days and they are not sure whether she is going to live. The hospital has made her leave because she has no money and now she is laying in a church right now waiting to see if her time has come while her boys stay at home with their auntie and have no food to eat. Ricarduo who still needs to gain weight has no food to eat. My emotions are so involved that it scares me to become more involved. The pain of seeing them come and go is too hard to bear, but to know they are hungry is so much more. Is it wrong of me that I didn't rush to be the "rescuer"? I'm asking God why? What? When? Who? Where? I hear nothing.  I need to know that the choices I make in this situation is the one God is telling me to make for myself, for our family, for those boys.

Yes, God is always praiseworthy. And I know in the end I'll understand. So even though I don't understand right now, I'll understand that God is good all the time.

Be in prayer for all these children and so many.