Okay, I'm already home from Haiti and just now blogging about it. I'm sorry....but in my defense every moment was filled with either ministry or much needed rest, so I'm just now sitting down to give words to my mental processing. Plus, it was absolutely crucial that I pour every last bit of my attention and energy out on the sweet babies that I met, so keeping up with my blog wasn't the first thing on the agenda, ya know?
Their sweet smiles, kisses, hugs, and the overwhelming beauty of their little voices singing praises to our King has transformed me in ways I can't even begin to figure out today. Oh, but one of the sweet, sweet joys of being a daughter of the King is that, though I'm home, I'm going to continue to learn and grow from every moment. I'm going to continue to praise my God for his tender mercies in sparing their little lives from the earthquake and sustaining them daily, though the odds against them are great.
The Church in St. Marc is part of something called the "Haiti Collective." It is an organization that supports 13 churches throughout all of Haiti. These 13 churches are all in impoverished areas, devastated in the wake of the earthquake. They also each provide for 100+ orphans each day. Each church in the Haiti Collective will provide the orphans housing, clothing, and daily meals. The Church in St. Marc, among others, has had to disperse the children among church members because the orphans' housing crumbled in the earthquake.
In this community, you have church members with 2-5 random children sleeping on their floors, possibly switching around daily. Then, during the day they will go to the church for their meals. They spend the rest of their days walking among the trash in their alleyways, seeking fresh water, braiding each others hair, kicking around bottles for soccer, and getting into mischief. There aren't resources for constant supervision, but there is definitely a village mentality among the women to look out for any of them that are just running around.
All of that being said, there are so many orphans in that small community, it is difficult to make sure individuals are being cared for. That's where Iscott comes in...
Daily when the children would leave us after spending all morning singing, dancing, and loving on us; they would go to where they stayed at night and put on a fresh outfit for the evening services. Most of the children left us and came back with a clean, fresh outfit on. While we couldn't follow each one of them (they run through these alleyways like little mice) to check on their living arrangements, when they returned with these outfits on, it was a clear sign that they had a place to sleep at night and store their things.
Iscott would leave with the others, but return in the same outfit day after day. The rest of the children must have rinsed off most days (they smelled normal) while Iscott returned every day with the stench of the garbage around us on his head. I would just hold him and kiss him, a silent battle to show him that I loved him as he was. I wanted him to feel so loved and wanted.
He would hardly say a word, it took two days to see him smile and repeat my name. Oh but what joy filled my heart when he started to open up to us. I saw other boys pick on him for being shy and quiet and I went out of my way to build him up and make him feel so special. My favorite memory of him is when we were taking a group photo with all of the kids. So many of them in such a small space. They were all wiggling around trying to find a spot and sweet little Iscott got lost in the shuffle. He got squashed between these two children and I called out his name and reached for him. He looked at me and smiled and I just jerked him up and held him. It was the sweetest moment of my life since accepting Christ. In that moment he was mine. I wanted to protect him from every ounce of darkness around him in that city.
It would be an understatement to say that I was simply sad when I walked away from Iscott on Sunday. My heart was ripping out of my chest. I have never felt like anything was mine so strongly before. I, for the first time, felt the sting and pain of a mother's worry. "What will he eat tomorrow?" "Where is he sleeping tonight?" "Will Amos and the other older boys pick on him today?" "Will he have fresh water tomorrow?" "Will he be safe?" "Will anyone tell them they love him?"......all of my questions have the same horrifying answer....I don't know. And as I sit here bawling like a lunatic in Spencer's Coffee Shop, in safety, clean and clothed, wishing it were him here instead; I'm reminded that as much as I want safety and provision and love for Iscott... the Lord wants it more. Only He can and will do it. He loves Iscott more than I ever could. He has watched him grow since he was born and will continue the good work He has started in him. He will hear my cries and surround him with love and acceptance. He will make him...in peace both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make him dwell in safety, Psalm 4:8. That is a peace I can dwell in and I'm so thankful that my God has begun to break my heart for what breaks His.
There are so many more things to break down as I work through what I've experienced in such a short amount of time. Today...all I can think about is Iscott so I ask you to pray for him by name. Pray that the Lord would protect him and provide for him. Pray that he would grow strong in the truth of the gospel and be loved by the members of his community. Pray that he feels special and known.