As our visit to Haiti winds down, we begin to pack up our three suitcases in preparation for our pair of two hour flights on Tuesday, and I can’t help but flip through my hundreds of pictures from the last few weeks and read through my pages of digital journals, pouring over so many wonderful memories.
If you were to ask me what we did for the last five weeks, I would launch into an all-inclusive account of the major goals that we set out to accomplish; such as the week with Jesus in Haiti, assessing Haiti as a start up site for Back2Back, the multiple meetings we had with B2B directors, the ministry opportunities that we had and the research we were able to do in preparation for moving here.
But as I sit on the front porch of the orphanage here in Port au Prince, looking out underneath the shade of this beautiful Mango tree, I hear the laughter and screams of the girls downstairs playing. I scan through the mental pictures and memories in my mind that we have experienced the past five weeks. And what really stands out, are the kids. The lives of the beautiful children who have touched our hearts in our time here and solidified God’s call and vision for us here in Haiti.
While the goals of the trip were important and our meetings, research and other activities were necessary as we lay the groundwork for the vision that God has given us, these things were only the busywork of our trip. The real reason we were here, was the kids, the people. This is the ministry. This is the Kingdom work. The rest is just the necessities that allow the Kingdom work to take place. Let me tell you about a few of these precious children who we got to know a little better over the past few weeks.
If you happened to follow our blog from our trip to Haiti 10 months ago in the aftermath of the Earthquake, then you met Rose (short for Roselanda).
She has gone from a 9 month old baby with a spiking fever that could barely move and eat, to a rambunctious and smiley, beautiful little girl!
The difference between Rose then and now is because of Jared & Jalayne’s consistent care and support of her, her Mom and her sisters. This is the kind of real impact we can have on the precious children that need help here in Haiti. Speaking of sisters…you all remember this little butterball right?
She was about a year and a half old in May of last year. She was just learning how to walk and still could not do it on her own. She was underweight, underdeveloped and needed a lot of help doing everything.
She is now full of life! She still struggles a bit with her balance but is a spirited and active bundle of joy!
These are just a few examples of the kids whom God has used to meld our hearts into His vision for what Back2Back can do here in Haiti.
Finally, we had a bit of a party here the other night. With Ciara, Jared and Jalayne’s oldest girl, on spring break, she wanted to have a sleep over! So Wednesday, the girls came over and we played outside in the afternoon.
Then we ordered in pizza from the U.N. (They have one of the better restaurants in Port Au Prince, believe it or not 😉 ) and set the girls all up with mattresses covering the floor in front of the T.V in Jared & Jalayne’s room. We turned on Tinkerbell and watched them have a blast all night long while completely ignoring the movie.
There was jumping, throwing, tickling, screaming, and it was all tied together with hours of giggly laughter and fun. It was so neat to see these girls be that, just girls, having fun. In a place where most children don’t get to experience a childhood, the Lord is providing an opportunity through Jared and Jalayne to bless these girls with just that!
On the subject of girls, Jared and Jalayne also had another princess come to live at the orphanage yesterday! Meet Dalindia! (Hint: She is sitting on Jalayne’s lap. Genese is on Jared’s.)
She is 18 months old and lived in a tent city with her Mom. When her Grandfather found out that Dalindea’s mom was leaving her at the tent all by herself, as a baby, for days, He stepped in and took her in. However, he already had several children of his own living in his small home with his wife and they could not afford to take care of her. So through connections with Jared and Jalayne’s staff, they began working with the Grandfather a few weeks ago and after all of the tests had been done and papers signed, Samuel brought her home today where she will start her new life! She will fit in great! After only a couple of hours, she was playing and smiling, and laughing with the other girls!
It has been a pleasure for us to see Jared & Jalayne doing their ministry first hand, and now we can’t wait to see how God uses us in the future to do the same for the orphan child here in Haiti.