Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Missionaries Have Come.

More from my Haitian Journal.
The day my heart broke...
The prayer over breakfast began with these words... 'Bless everything we touch...' And so, Day 3 of VBS started. Once we arrived, I noticed that the Mama's who were usually there, were not. Greg told us we would be visiting a home before we started the morning. Each day that we have done VBS, women have cooked lunch for the children. The Mama's invited us to come to their home to see the preparation. I'm so excited. To go in a home. To see a kitchen. Wonder what that is like. They don't have electricity...
So we walk.
Our trek starts inbetween two broken down cars and a huge pile of garbage. We pass by a chicken scampering up the garbage hill and a goat trudging along. We turn right at the end of the garbage pile and head down the street avoiding puddles of who-knows-what. I am trying my best to keep up with the team. But there is SO much to take in. I wonder if we are safe. It FEELS safe. I am watching around me. Watching for puddles. I see a girl at the tiny corner store. I can't believe how small the store is. And behind that is a huge house. On the corner. Oh my gosh. It's beautiful. I wonder who lives there. I wish I could get answers to all my questions. I have SO many.
All around are people doing their normal Wednesday morning routines. A woman, squatting while she washes her clothes in a huge bowl, stares and washes as we walk by. Men working on a car look up. Children playing, stop, I wonder if they've seen white people before. Lots of the children wave and smile, then run inside to tell the rest of their family that 8 gringos are waltzing down their muddy, stony street. We meet a very, very old woman on our journey. She's hanging on the metal gate outside her home. We speak to her and she responds smiling in Creole. Neither has a clue what the other has said. But whatever she said was sweet. Positive. I can feel it. I don't think she has a tooth in her head.
The road goes on in front of me.
So I walk.
Laughing children stop playing in the abandoned school bus, on the corner, long enough for me to talk with them, hug them and take a few pictures. Each one is simply GORGEOUS. They are thrilled when I give them each a silly band or two. I pass a girl leaning up against a dirty wall. She's beautiful. Maybe 12 or 13. I ask her, in English, if I can take her picture. She nods and stands there. I lift my camera, snap her picture and lower it. She's breathtakingly pretty. She doesn't move. She nods again. I smile, and say goodbye. She smiles. Still leaning against the wall. She watches us walk off.
'You have made known to me that path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.' Psalm 16:11 I look at my camera. The picture takes my breath away.
We arrive.
We enter the home of the woman cooking for VBS.
At the door stands a young woman.
She gently and soo sweetly welcomes each of us.
I lingered on the walk over, taking photos and talking to the kids. So, I am the last to enter. . .
She leans in and gently kisses me on the cheek and welcomes me inside the tiny home.
I quickly try to take it all in. The smells. The furniture.
The floor. The walls. The size of the rooms.
But, I'm full.
Like my camera's CF card.
I've seen SO much.
I am trying so hard to retain what I am seeing.
But. I've. Seen. SO. Much.
I notice that it is VERY sparse. Cement floors. Dimly lit. Maybe there is electricity? Or maybe that was just natural light coming through the windows?
And then.
I hear a voice coming from the back of the house.
And what the voice says changes me. Forever.
'The missionaries have come.'
She's talking about me.
About us.
'Jesus said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.' Mark 16:15-16
Am I a missionary?

THIS week.

I am.

I think to myself, Father, let me always be a missionary.

The smell of cooking food beckons us out. We go through the back door. The women have a huge pot cooking rice and beans over an open flame on the 'patio' behind the house. It smells good, but it's strong. It's no less than 150 degrees. They are moving white hot burning wood with their bare hands.
The smells are intense.
Spicy food.
Burning wood.
I turn in time to hear one of the girls from our team saying something.
She's saying she's sick.
I look at her.
She's GREEN.
I know she's about to vomit.
I pray that she makes it outside ....not on the floor...
She makes it outside.
I am right behind her.
She pukes her guts up by the entry to the house.
There happens to be a bench outside the front door.
I almost wonder if some angels delivered it for this occasion.
I haven't seen another bench since arriving in Haiti.
I think I want to come back and see if it's still here later...although I'm not sure I could find this house again.
I'm glad I still have on my large heart name tag for VBS. It doubles really well as a fan.

The Haitian Mamas stand in the doorway and look tenderly at my friend. One brings a small tubbie of cool water. I drip it on the back of her neck. Her eyes are glazed over and she is sitting very still. Quiet.
I fan her.
The rest of the group walks back.
She's still.
Sweet girl.
I fan.
20 minutes pass.
She says she feels ok to walk back. But when she links her arm through mine, her arm is heavy. She squeezes into me.
Sweet girl still feels ookie. I wrap my arm around her and we journey back.
The kids are all there when we return. They tug at me.
They call my name.
'Jhen KNEE!'
They hold my hands, elbow, leg, skirt.
This is what the crowds did to Jesus when he came.

'When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,
because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' " But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." Mark 5:27-34

I smell them. They are so stinky. And I kiss, hug, love, touch and rub them anyway. They think Victoria is a ham, but so do we. She dances with them and gives them a million fist bumps. She and I talk to the kids. We tell them of the one who has rescued us from our sins. The one who is King of Kings. Lord of Lords. They listen with their ears, eyes, faces. I always cry when I talk to them. I pray with the group. I pray a sentence. The translator translates. The children repeat. They seem to like that. We tell them Jesus loves each and every one of them. I say, 'I came because I want to tell you about my Jesus.' They stare. I say, 'He died to save you from your sins.' Being translated is a double edged sword. On one hand it gives you a break after each sentence to consider the next. But on the other hand, your mind is exploding trying to convert regular speech into speech translatable for children...
'Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.' Ephesians 6:10 I've come up with a system for giving out silly bands. I grab ahold of the hand of the child who is waiting patiently. I hold his hand. With my other hand, I shimmy a silly band off of my wrist, down my hand and onto the wrist of the waiting child. It's really the only fair way. There are just so many hands waiting...
Weeks later. When I think of Haiti. These are some of the faces that flood my memory...
Giving out crayons, crafts, but especially WATERS insights a riot. And the kids are SNEAKY. They take full advantage of the group dynamic. So they get a water, sulk over behind a friend and thrust their arm back through the crowd to get another. All of which is sooo sad because it's 700 degrees. Why not just give them 2 waters? We always have just enough for everyone to have one. It's just the way things are here. Which is yet another way my life has changed. You get ONE.
That's so contrary to life in America. If you spill something, drop something or break something, you get another. No worries.
I think back to my time working at Disney World. They told us WHENEVER you see someone drop food or spill ice cream, stop what you are doing and help them get a replacement. I remember the parents and kids faces when I did get them a 'new' ice cream. PURE DELIGHT.
I have a massive appreciation for being thrifty. Conscientious.
In Haiti, we have learned to work in teams. 2 people per team when handing things out. It has to remain orderly. One person 'marks' the child, one person hands out the item. So today, Kally had an idea. I think it was more for the children then us. She took a sharpie and marked the inside of their ear. I guess so that they couldn't easily wipe it off. The kids sat quietly waiting for their turn. Some turned down the 'markay' and forfeited receiving a water...some closed their eyes tight assuming the 'mark' would hurt. Others bravely smiled and happily received the water.
'And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory.' Ephesians 1:13-14
...I too am marked with a seal... A mark!
And it's from the LORD. And it tells him and others that I am GOD'S POSSESSION. Mark my ear Lord!
Oh how He loves us.

'Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.'
Psalm 84:10

I spent the afternoon at the construction site.
And found out, I really love to hammer nails.
I'm terrible at it.
Back at the ranch...
Blowing off steam with my girls...
Tonight, we laugh and dance, and laugh somemore...and it feels so good.

(Greg, I may have to put the video of you dancing on here.) :)

Today, I met a new friend.
More than any other person this week, this young man touched me to my core.
His name is Wilgens.
I don't have the words to explain how special he is. And how his story breaks my heart. He's in his late 20's/early 30's. He came to the work site today as a translator. Immediately I hear his story of suffering... pain. He is dressed so nicely. A pair of dress pants and a long-sleeved shirt. He introduces himself to me and within the first minute he spills his guts.
It starts when I ask if he has children.
He does.
He goes on to tell me what happened to his family 4 days prior.
With pain in his eyes he tells me about his twin girls, 6 years old.
Werthdeen and Werthbeen.
He looks off past me.
'Saturday, my two 6 year old girls were raped....'
Tears spring to my eyes...
4 days ago.
That's the day we arrived in Haiti.
I think of my three precious girls.
I think I will never be the same again.
So much has happened.
I feel like I have heard too much.
But he's only getting started.
I want to hug him, but he's just spilling...
his guts...
at my feet...
'I know who did it.
He's 17.
I went to his house...
and got him.'
I listen.
'I want to kill him. But my God is bigger. People are watching me.
... to see what I'll do.'
His eyes are so sad. But he walks with the Lord.
'I took the boy to the police...'
'I have to act like Jesus...'
'The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.' Proverbs 18:10
First of all. I feel so unworthy/humbled to have this information shared with me. He's an open book with me. Second. I am overwhelmed with his heart. Already he is using this horrific event in his life to glorify his savior.
'The light of the righteous shines brightly'... Proverbs 13:9 I don't know WHAT to do. So I ask him if we can pray...
'For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.' 1 Peter 3:12 And then. I walk off and sob.
More to come...


PrincessandthePea said...

Jennie, I am so moved by everything you are writing. Thank you for sharing. I anxiously look daily to see if there is more.

jord,ali,hal,kam and grae too! said...

I have said it many times before...you have a remarkable gift for putting into words your feelings and thoughts...I'm moved, shaken, sad and yet wanting to read more.

Abby said...

Jennie, I love reading everything you write it is amazing and I feel like I am there with you. Have you considered ever writing a book? It may sound crazy but you have a knack for it and you could take the money you earn and put it towards all the causes you feel so strongly about. Just a thought:)

Mandy B. said...

Jennie...God writes beautiful stories in our lives, doesn't He?

Even through horrific pain and tragedy in our lives. He turns our valleys into mountain tops. Our sorrow into rejoicing.

Joy does truly come in the morning.

How does He do that?

Only God.

Thanks for writing. I am reminded of my own experiences in Venezuela...oh, the faces are forever burned into my soul.

I love you. I love your honesty and sincerity.