Healing Haiti Mission Trip | Day 2 | May 29, 2018
Jesus. Peace. Touch. Joy. Affection.
"He only who is reduced to nothing himself, and relies on the mercy of God, is poor in spirit"
After a long day catching the red eye and traveling to Port Au-Prince the day before, most of us rose this morning feeling refreshed after a good nights rest, some breakfast and fresh Haitian brew we call "jet fuel". We began the day with our first team devotional and discussed putting all of our trust in God. I thought it was fitting, being in another country, not speaking the language and not knowing what really lies on the other side of the walls of the our residence at the Healing Haiti Guest House. All I knew was that we were going to be visiting two orphanages and a children's hospital leaving everything else up to God.
The first orphanage we visited was called "Home Sweet Home", an orphanage not far from the guest house in Port Au-Prince. We traveled on the graveled roads and some paved roads in what we call a "Tap Tap", more like "Trap Trap" to me since its like riding in a cage in back of a truck. At Home Sweet Home we were greeted by four tiny orphans around the ages of 2-3 years old. One girl and three boys. As we unloaded a box full of rubber and plastic balls, bottles of bubbles, crayons and coloring books, and chalk, the children just stared at us probably wondering who were were, maybe a little scared, and stood almost frigid against the railing of the gazebo. We tried to break the ice with blowing up the plastic balls and bouncing the rubber balls and passing them around. They eventually warmed up to us and began hitting and throwing the balls back to us not long before seeing a flood of children dressed up in bright yellow uniform tops, running and screaming, with big bright smiles. One little boy just came right up to me, a perfect stranger from Southern California, and gave me a big hug on my leg, looked up at me with his bright eyes and smiled. Wow. Just imagining this place, poverty stricken, a far cry from all the comforts we enjoy in Southern California, he had joy in his eyes just to see me. We left after enjoying some play time with about 20 kids there until recess time was over. "Joy" is the word that came to mind as I left. The joy on all the children's faces I saw as we engaged with them. No words were exchanged. Just something simple as giving them attention and acknowledgement gave them joy as it did me.
The next orphanage we visited was called, "For His Glory". This time I did double duty and picked up the camera and took photos between playing with the kids. This place had a slightly different feel. Some kids had on uniforms and but most did not. Again, we played ball games, colored, held hands, carried and held some of the children craving attention and affection. The pay yard was halfway filled with colorful clothes hanging on the clothes line drying in the warm wind. One little girl took off Bruce's glasses and weren't sure he was going to get them back. They looked better on her face than his anyways. haha...The happiness in that moment really spoke to me.
The last place we went to was the children's hospital called "Mother Theresa". We had to put on Healing Haiti aprons since these were infants we were visiting. We entered a room filled with babies in little cribs. There were about 48 infants laying in cribs and we had just arrived for feeding time. I jumped right in and grabbed a bowl of what looked like porridge and began spoon feeding a little girl who was about one years old if not younger. After I fed her, there were other infants around that I also wanted to attend to. I held and comforted a few infants, even though I wanted to hold all of them. One boy just would not let go of me and cried as I put him down. They just wanted attention, affection, love, comfort, and some laughter. It just reminded me that sometimes all we need is a little care and attention. I felt that God sent me there just for that moment for them. To answer that moment they needed for attention and a little love.
Today was our second day, but our first day in the field. What a blessing it is to be here, to serve in whatever capacity I can. I had no expectations coming here to Haiti, but today was all about seeing joy on the faces of the children, a sense of peace, touch, and showing lots of affection. Thank you for sending us your support and keeping us in your thoughts and prayers! ~Paul K
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
We spent the day loving on kids and it was incredible! We first visited a creche (an orphanage where kids can be adopted in Haiti) called Home Sweet Home. We played ball, blew bubbles, colored, and held the kids. I was really impressed with the care this creche provided. All the kids go to school and are fed. They are building a new building on the property so that they can move from caring for 34 kids to 100 kids and they are also doing job training to help prevent women from needed to give their child up for adoption! It was really inspiring to see these kids and we had a lot of fun.
Next, we visited a second creche, For His Glory. This creche was a bit larger than the first (caring for 60 kids) and here the kids there seemed extra excited to see us! They raised their arms asking to be held and we all spent a lot of time with a kid in our arms (or in many cases several kids in our arms). In some ways holding children seems simple but it was what these kids needed. I broke down in tears leaving this creche as the kids did not want to be put down, but I was comforted seeing their great nannies pick them up, soothe them, and wave good-bye.
Visiting this second creche was especially meaningful for me personally. A while back my husband, Ryan McDowell, and I started the process of adopting a child through Haiti. This missions trip was unrelated to our adoption, and as we prepared for this trip people continuously asked us, "Are you going to go the any of the orphanages you could adopt from?" We always said, "no" as there are over 700 orphanages in Haiti. However, For His Glory is the primary orphanage affiliated with our adoption agency and we had no idea that is where we were going until we arrived! We got to meet the director (Frankie), see the creche we have been sending Christmas gifts to, and see the place where our future child will possibly come from. Moreover, I spent some time this evening with Krista, the Healing Haiti missionary on site here in Haiti, and she said a lot of encouraging things about the creche. This adoption process as been (and will continue to be) messy, unpredictable, and confusing at times, but today, in a very supernatural way, God showed us he hears our prayers, that he will guide us through this process, and he also provided a few answers to our many questions, which we greatly appreciate.
Our last stop today was to a home for the sick and dying children. Here there were about 32 beds with children, some of whom appeared malnourished, some were on IVs, and some of them were getting better. We spent a few hours feeding these children, changing their diapers, giving them water, and holding them. I think for many people on our team this was a very emotional visit, as seeing sick children in a poor country is difficult. While the visit was hard (I welled up in tears as I started feeding my first child) it was also humbling. Many of us felt a great sense of humanity recognizing that we are all love and created by the same God. It was also great to see the care the nuns provided for these children and encouraging to know that many of these children do improve during their stay and they are able to return to their families.
In sum it was a great day! A lot of what I saw today was heartbreaking, but I am confident God is breaking my heart and rebuilding it to be more like his. Tomorrow we are delivering water to Citi Solie which should also be incredible. Stay tuned and keep praying for us!