Mighty to Save
Of all the things I can say about Haiti, nothing comes close to the heart of the children. Their eyes gleamed of INNOCENCE, HOPE, and PURE JOY.I would say that most of our time was spent with children, whether it was at the work site or the orphanage. The labor work of the trip was spent building a school/church. You can see that right now they are studying each day under a tent....a loud (open classrooms side by side), distracting (from the workers), dirty, hot tent. I think back to my years of teaching and wonder what my professors would say about the ability to retain information in this type of setting. When the children would have a break during school, we would get the opportunity to play with them. I have mentioned that language is, obviously, a barrier, but it is amazing how quickly those walls are taken down in things as simple as a smile, a high five, a fist bump, a hug. They loved our presence among them and pulled us immediately into hand slap games, jump rope, soccer, and more.
I really enjoyed going to the orphanages as well. The main one we went to was only minutes away from our "home." Sister Mona ran it very well. The kids seemed very happy, almost like a family, and while I feel like they loved having us there to play, I never felt like one of them was ready to go home with us! =) I tend to be more naturally drawn to younger children because it is usually anything goes, easy to please. With older children, the language barrier and shyness made it a little bit more of an effort to connect, or so I believed. I quickly realized that this was a "me" problem and that the older ones wanted just as much attention and love as the little children. So this is where I rediscovered my jump roping skilz....which, admittedly, are nothing to write home about! When my "Around the World" skilz failed me in basketball, jump roping was the next best thing....and a good way for me to laugh, smile, and have fun with some of the older girls at the orphanage.
The last orphanage that we went to on our way to the airport really tugged at my heartstrings. The conditions were not the same. The children's clothes were dirty, there were not enough beds for all of them, some don't even have mattresses, they only get two meals a day. Yet, we pull up in our bus and they are singing to us, "Today is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it." HUMBLED. We couldn't get off the bus fast enough to those children. They were grabbing us left and right, hugging us, holding our hands....and it continued that way until the moment we left. Love!
If I have learned anything on this trip it is about love. Love knows NO COLOR. Love knows NO LANGUAGE. Love knows NO LIMITS. For so long I have lived in the bubble of thinking I don't have much to give or ways to help others....when all they really needed....was to be loved. They didn't care what they were wearing, if they had socks, even underwear, or a bed to sleep on. They didn't care that their jump ropes were falling apart, that their basketball goal had no net, or that their checkerboard pieces were bottle caps. The only thing these children wanted was to be "wanted." They are the living, breathing, tangible proof that God really is MIGHTY TO SAVE!!! He is saving....every day in Haiti He is saving....in the INNOCENCE, HOPE, and PURE JOY of the children!!!