After Chilanchi and her “sisters” finished their rice and beans, I helped her lug a heavy pail of water down the hill, my right hand and her left grasping the handle. She sidestepped so she could throw her right arm in front of me in case I lost my footing.
Later that night she fell asleep with her head in my lap while we watched The Chronicles of Narnia (in French.) Two hundred-plus of us sat on the concrete floor or wooden bleachers in the dark cafeteria. An armed guard paused briefly at the doorway. Surely I was seeming things, because I’d never seen that before. I caught my breath as I wondered if I was seeing a good guy or a bad guy–or maybe I was just imagining things. My heart ached to think about these kids and their mamas as they slept through the night–of how vulnerable they were and knowing there were undoubtedly things I couldn’t know and safety measures taken behind the scenes. And besides, I’m pretty sure God surrounds that village with an angel army.
Our team had arranged to treat the kids to a chicken dinner following the last day’s activities. But the girls were late to arrive because they were busy primping. Fan Fan pulled me out to the swings where I pushed him while we waited. Then he started to sing, “Your love is deep. Your love is high. Your love is long. Your love is wide… ” I joined in while tears trailed down my cheeks.
Later the children gathered around tables and opened their styrofoam boxes of chicken and rice. Some of the boys had to be stopped from actually eating the bones. There was cake and pop, and many of the girls posed for photos with their new “poupees.” (One of last year’s team members, Margaret, had these dolls sponsored and created for each girl after 12-year-old SophiaPierre had asked for one to love. Read Margaret’s story here, here, and here.)
And then there was the boy pulling his makeshift toy…
These are just snapshots of memories from last year’s trip. I wrote more about it here in “How to Fix the Brokenness.”
Last June the UN brought 15-year-old Bayya to the orphan village after they’d found her wandering the streets of Jeremie. Her mother had died, and she’d been looking for distant relatives for weeks. The other girls welcomed her with cheers and hugs. The team that was there then collected some clothes for her. Her new “sisters” told her, “See, they take care of us here. They love us, and they will love you just as much.”
“We love,” John wrote, “because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
And I think, they love because we first loved them.
My heart aches for Haiti and these kids. To go back and tell them again how much they are loved.
I’m hoping to carry Christmas there again this December and am having another Vi Bella Jewelry party to raise funds.
Here’s how it works.
1. Visit the Vi Bella’s website and read their story.
2. Shop for the items you love or want to gift and add them to your cart.
3. At checkout, insert Ambassador ID 1065 and Party #256 in the appropriate places.
The last step is very important because that gives me credit. Vi Bella will donate 30% of your purchase to my Haiti fund. It’s a way you can help create a beautiful life for at-risk women artisans and their families as well as help me carry Christmas to orphans.
This party will END ON OCTOBER 1. If for some reason, I am unable to raise the needed funds by next month and need to give up my place on the team, all money will go to the orphans and their mamas–to help provide gifts and their chicken dinners.
If you prefer, you can also donate directly to the sponsoring church. E-mail me for details.
And above all, would you pray for these kids and for the team? The trip will take place December 6 – December 13.
Thanks so much. I love you all big.
In the stillness,