Last week, we went to the beach. It was gorgeous! The children enjoyed playing in the water. Some of them are learning how to swim. I carried the young children in the water. They liked to splash and float on their backs. We even ate a picnic lunch. We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese puffs, cookies, and juice. It was quite tasty. After lunch we played in the water. I applied lots of sunscreen and re-applied often. But, I still got burned. Thankfully I had aloe and have been healing over the past few days.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Each evening I go to all of the children’s rooms and tuck them in. I tell each one that I love them in Creole. I say, “Mwen remen ou.”. Then I give them each a kiss. Last night one little girl said to me, “I love you, Jesus”. It touched my heart. I was reminded how Jesus tells us to be like Him: to love the hurting, to comfort the sick, to accept one another. She is a little girl who needs a lot of comfort. She enjoys climbing into my lap and resting in my arms. She is 8 years old, but very small for her age. She looks as though she is 5 years old.
I made up a song in Creole that uses a familiar American tune. At bedtime, I sing “Bon nwit cheri mwen, Bon nwit cheri mwen, Bon nwit cheri mwen, Ke Bondye Beni Ou”. It translates into “Good night sweatheart, Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight sweetheart, May the Lord bless you.”. Some of the girls ask me to sing it to them each night. One room of girls asks me to sing it over and over. They say, “Encore!”. They now sing with me and asked if I can sing it in English too. Sometimes we change the words and keep the same tune. Last night we danced as we sang. We were smiling and laughing. What a beautiful evening.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
This week has been busy with bringing children to the clinic for lab tests and dental work. No appointment necessary, but you may wait all day in an outdoor waiting room in hopes to see the doctor. Both days we were able to see the medical professionals we needed, but we were there many long hours. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the children waited patiently for their turn. As we waited, I taught them how to play tic-tac-toe and the dot game. I also used a pad of paper to draw pictures of animals for a small english lesson. Thankfully, I had packed a backpack with snacks, water, and a few things to do. The children were brave for their lab tests as their blood was drawn. Seeing the dentist was terrifying for some. It is scary for children to see dentists wearing masks and lights on their head to see inside their mouth. Also, the dentists did not speak Creole, so it was a little tricky finding a translator to help calm their fears. I held a few in my lap as they had dental work done as they cried and fought the hygienist. My heart broke for them. Each time I see these children scared, sad, or hurting my heart wants all of their pain to go away. I love them all so much and don't want to see them hurting. I try to comfort them the best I can. One little girl had 2 rotten teeth pulled. When we returned home, she wanted to curl up in my lap and rest her head on my shoulder. I gave her some tylenol to help with the pain, but she needed to be held. I carried her to a cement wall and sat with her as she screamed. I decided to sing to her. So, I just started making up a song about her. I sang some in Creole and some in English. As soon as I started singing she stopped crying. She calmed down but still clung to me tightly. Each day, I want to learn more about these children. They are so precious.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Last night the children spent many hours preparing for church. They wear their very best clothes to church. The older children helped the younger children iron their clothes. The girls had their hair braided and many of them had colorful barrettes at the ends of their braids. They were so beautiful. One girl wanted to braid my hair too. When the ironing was finished, the children went to bed. This morning, we all dressed our best for church. The feeding center (cafeteria) was filled with people who had come from Titanyen. Many of them may have walked a long ways to church. We all sat like sardines on the benches. Many people held children in their lap. As people worshipped they gave thanks to God for all they have. Many of them have so little. But, I am in awe at how rich their hearts are for the Lord. I pray that my heart has a faith that is as pure as that of a child's. As the songs were sung, people danced, raised their hands, and praised God. Right now it is playtime and the children are playing soccer, singing songs, and playing checkers. They seem to get along well. They are family. I am thankful that they have accepted me as part of their family.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
On July 6th, I woke up ready to be the hands and feet of Christ. I did not know what the day would hold, but I knew that God would use me. It began as a typical day at Grace Village. I tended to the children’s health needs, held them, and sang to them. In the afternoon, I washed dishes using a bucket in the shower. I sat on a little stool and first washed with cold water and dish soap. Then, I used another bucket to rinse the dishes in bleach water. After I washed dishes, I organized my suitcases. I do not have a place to store my belongings, so I use my suitcases for a dresser.
Then, the unexpected happened. Haley, a summer intern was in her room cleaning. I was startled when I heard her yell my name. I ran to her to find streams of blood following her every step. I quickly grabbed a chair and had her sit down. A glass pop bottle broke and she had stepped on it. I did not know what to do, but God gave me strength to be in charge and stay calm. We wrapped her foot tightly in a towel, and kept the children away. We carried her into the bed of a truck and drove to the nearest clinic. She was crying in pain and was terrified. I tried to comfort her. I prayed with her and cried with her. How scary it was to know that she needed to go to an emergency room, yet there was not one nearby. We drove to a clinic and it was closed when we arrived. I held her in my arms and continued to pray. I helped her stay calm with slow, deep breaths. We called another clinic and drove farther away down the dusty, bumpy road. A young man elevated her foot as our bodies jostled in the back of the truck. I anxiously anticipated our arrival at the clinic. I kept praying. Lord, please help us. We arrived at the clinic and were greeted by a dentist and nurse. They took a look at Haley’s foot and needed to do stitches. We entered the exam room. It was a room the size of a bedroom. We laid her on the old, padded exam table. Everything inside the room was stacked in piles on rickety shelves inside Ziploc baggies. She held my hand a screamed as the dentist prepared her for stitches. Novocain was injected into her foot and before surgery began we all prayed together. We sang worship songs as the dentist stitched her foot. God was our strength and provider. We were blessed with a vehicle to get to the clinic, a translator, and a dentist who knew how to do stitches. Today I was reminded that God only gives us what we can handle. This experience deepened my faith.
Days later, Haley is doing well. She is recovering and is staying at the Guesthouse in Port-au-Prince until her foot heals. I have been spending the past few days with her. Today, I returned to Grace Village and was very happy to see the children. Please continue to pray for Haley’s foot to heal. She is such a sweetie and she is like a sister to me. I am thankful she is in Haiti.
Friday, July 6, 2012
What a joy it is to love these children. They bring me so many smiles. Some of them have been teaching me Creole and helping me pronounce the words correctly. Others curl up in my lap and want to be held, to be comforted, to be loved. Others sit with me and we read our Bibles together. I read to them in Creole and they read the same passage to me in English. Yesterday, 2 of the children asked me if I would be their mother. It made me think about the qualities of a mother and I was honored. I have dreamt of being a mother since I was a little girl. Now, I have so many children to love and take care of. The Lord has blessed me. God has brought me here for a purpose and has great plans for me in Haiti. These children have already touched my heart in so many ways.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Yesterday I taught my first english lesson. Marc (translator) and I worked together teaching all of the children. There were over 60 of them. Marc and I would like to divide them into smaller groups in the future. Today we taught them the months of the year. The lesson consisted of repetition and pronouncing the words slowly and then increasing speed. After we learned how to say the words, I taught them the song "Macarena Months". We need to practice more. Maybe today we can review and Marc thought it would be a good idea to teach the seasons. The children are cleaning their rooms and getting ready for breakfast. I will try to write more another time. Love you!
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
What a beautiful day! I arrived at Grace Village today. The children are full of energy and were happy to meet me! I am slowly learning all of their names. I am also learning some Creole. I need to practice a lot. The children have been so welcoming. Today a little boy climbed in my lap and fell asleep. I think he knew that I needed a hug. Today has been challenging emotionally. Tonight I made my bed with the quilt my sister made, and took a cold shower. It was quite refreshing. Now, the children are in their bedrooms and getting ready for a good night's rest. I think I will head to bed soon too. Love you all, Kathy
Hi Family and Friends! I arrived in Haiti around 4:45 pm. The flights went smoothly. Jess and I had a later flight time than the Healing Haiti Team, so we had a nice lunch and relaxed before heading to Port-au-Prince. When we arrived in Port-au-Prince my 2 suitcases were not at the baggage claim. After trying to talk to the Haitian airport workers in broken Creole/English, I left my contact information, and planned on calling the airport tomorrow about my missing suitcases. We ventured on the backroads to the Guesthouse and enjoyed a delicious taco salad dinner. Mmm. To my surprise, my 2 missing suitcases were at the Guesthouse! Yeah! The Healing Haiti Team had picked them up at the airport since the suitcases arrived on the earlier flight. No need to worry, God has everything in control. Thank you for your prayers!