Sophonie scratches words on peach-colored concrete with a sliver of yellow chalk.
She points to them and then to herself. “God. Me. Father. Mother.”
I pull her close and nod. “Yes. God. He’s your father and your mother.”
And He’s enough.
Jeffrey’s fifteen, he says. He speaks English. I ask how long he’s been here at the orphanage. “Two years,” he answers. He carries a Creole-English dictionary.
He and Sophonie speak to each other. “She doesn’t understand you,” he says.
“I know,” I sigh. “We teach each other.”
I want to know his story. But I’m afraid to ask. Afraid to dredge up memories. Afraid I’ll cry. Afraid he might.
I point to a young boy who sits on the bench. A tear pools in the corner of his right eye and trails. He holds his cheek. I bend down, cup his face. “What’s wrong?”
I look up at Jeffrey. They exchange words in Creole. His tooth aches.
I open my mouth, and point to him. I peek in to see what looks like a big cavity in a back molar.
“Rele? What’s your name?”
I don’t understand his words.
“Fafa,” repeats Jeffrey. “F-a-n-f-a-n.”
The “n” is silent.
“Ask him how old he is.”
Fanfan shrugs and shakes his head. Either he won’t tell or he doesn’t know.
“Wait. Stay. Rete.” I go in search of some children’s acetaminophen. I bring back two tablets and tell him to chew. What else can I do?
For a few moments, he stretches out, belly down, on the ledge. I worry that he’ll fall. And then he’s gone.
We sit on the church steps. Ivelor has found a dirty wipe and tears it into small strips to share. I smile big and raise a finger. “One minute.”
I reach into my bag and pull out a packet of Wet Ones®. They’re so excited. They wipe their faces, hands, legs, feet.
It’s one small thing in this one small moment.
“Sing. Sandy. Sing.”
So I sing “Jesus Loves Me.” And “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” And “Amazing Grace.” And “Silent Night.” And whatever else comes to mind.
As they catch the tune of a song they know, they respond in Creole. They’re an angel choir, and their voices flow down this Haitian hill, over the chickens, past the infirmary, and out to sea.
Later I ask Sophonie where Fanfan is.
She presses her hands together, lays her cheek against them. “Sleep. Fanfan sleep.”
For a few moments he rests, free from pain. But is it enough?
“Sandy, I love you so much.”
“I love you, too, Sophonie. So much.”
This we understand.
My heart aches. But to be present it this moment, it is enough.
And God’s her father and her mother and her everything.
It is enough.
He is enough.
In the stillness,
This post was one of my first “Haiti dispatches” and originally appeared at BibleDude three years ago following my first trip to the orphanage in Jeremie. I’ll return for the fourth time on December 4 (the day of our 44th wedding anniversary) and be there the 5th-12th.
I posted this on Facebook the other day:
It’s been such a busy year for our family–both the good and the bad–that it took me until past the last day to commit to returning to Haiti this year. In fact, I’m leaving home in FOUR WEEKS from today. Yikes.
It’s not the most convenient time for us, especially now, but then it’s not particularly convenient to be an orphan in Haiti. In fact, it’s been an especially hard and transitional year for the kids in Jeremie. Carrying Christmas to them and going to love on them this year may be more important than any other year.
So I go.
It costs me about $2000 since I must get myself to Nashville [in order to join the team from Longhollow Baptist Church.]
A FB friend just messaged me about fundraising. I’ve dragged my feet on this–I quite frankly hate doing it–but if you’d like to help, there’s a way you can AND get a tax deduction as well. Just message me.
I’ve also partnered again with ViBella Jewelry to help fund my trip. I’d love it if you’d join my Facebook party here and order directly through Ambassador Jennifer Davis’ page. Be sure to enter Party #758 at checkout. 30% of all sales will go to help me carry Christmas to Jeremie–to help me hug those kids again and let them know how much they matter. Another portion will help kids at a Haitian orphanage Jennifer sponsors, and the rest goes to help support the artisans who create these beautiful products.
And guys, what a cool way to take care of your Christmas shopping.
Either way… I’d be so grateful if you’d pray for the team and for the families we’ll leave behind when we go.