When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. -Galatians 6:10a (NCV)

Monday, January 30, 2012

She's home SWEET home!

Remember this girl?

It's Mita, the slave child who was here in Port au Prince. She just happened to be from the village I was working in outside of Jacmel and once her parents heard about how she was being treated, they found her and she is home!

I went to their house out in the village on Saturday. Mita was helping with house chores, but so was everyone in the family and Mita was working with a good attitude and cheerfulness.

She gave David and I big hugs and said she was so happy to be home. She said she never wanted to step foot in Port au Prince again.

David and I are writing an information session for parents who live out in the villages on slave children. Most of these parents send their children to live with other parents in Port au Prince thinking they will be sent to school and fed and treated right, but this rarely is the case. We feel that if the parents out in the villages were educated about the restavek system, they won't send their kids into the hands of slavery.

Mita's parents are willing to speak at the information session to tell their story to other Haitians and hopefully keep other children in that area from suffering as a slave children.

I think their smiles in the pictures says it all! I am still smiling.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A few pictures

Two of the board members for Invest Hope came down in December. My brother and Mark Fraizer.  My brother even stayed for Christmas!

Here are some pics. We had such a good time and Christmas was 100 times better with someone from the family here! And of course it was awesome for Odessa to meet her uncle J! They had only talked on Skype before.

 Mark and JW experiencing Haiti's public transportation

 Tap- Tapping it in Haiti

Christmas family picture with Mom and Dad on Skype. 
What did missionaries do before Skype???

I think he's got the uncle thing down pat ;)

Here's a link to a short video JW made of the trip.

Monday, January 16, 2012

First time for everything

Last week, I experienced another "first" here in Haiti. Someone stole money from my house. Ironically, the money wasn't mine, it was the mission's I work for.

I do not have an "open door" policy at my house.

For this very reason.

I know who did it but have no proof.

The weird thing is I am not mad.

I am sad.

Sad that someone who worked for us did not come and ask for help (if they took the money for an emergency).

Sad that someone I joked with and tried to help out by giving a job turned around and stole.

I felt like because I responsible for the mission's money, that I needed to repay it. This came at a bad time. But when does theft come at a good time...right? I am in the middle of paying Odessa's adoption lawyer (who is working very hard for us!) and gathering the last of the documents required by the Haitian government.

But I knew the right thing was to repay it...so I did.

I had a conversation with God. It went like this:

Lord-you know I am sad right now. Disappointed in the thief, sad about dipping into my finances to right someone elses's wrong. How is this fair? I know you see and will make it right, if not in this life then in the next. Give me a positive attitude, erase the grudge and help me smile through all the rice and beans were are going to be eating the rest of the month!

Now to the God part.
Are you ready? (insert some ridiculous girly squealing)

The next day. Literally: The. Next. Day. I got an email from the board who is keeping track of my mission finances and bank accounts in the states. They thought they made a mistake in my reimbursements for the past 7 months. They wanted me to check my records to double check their math.

Fat Chance was my first thought.

But I checked and sure enough we had all overlooked non-taxable reimbursements I was supposed to be receiving each month for the past 7 months!

It nearly tripled the amount that was stolen.

Here's my theory-I think God sat back and watched what I do about the mission's stolen money. I knew the right thing was to repay it even though it was not the easiest choice. I could have easily shrugged off the responsibility and used the excuse of "it's not my fault".

I think God provided for after I made my decision to repay the money.

My God provided-not only the money to repay what was taken, but double the amount extra!

You might think that is a coincidence. But I know better.

I serve a God who listens to my prayers.

They will call to me, and I will answer them.
I will be with them in trouble;
I will rescue them and honor them.
Psalms 91:15 NCV

He cares about what is going on in my life.

He wants to hear about them.

He is waiting to hear from you also. Tell Him what's going on. Put your trust in Him. And don't be surprised when He gives you more than you ask for and takes care of you like the child of His you are.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Through God's eyes

Mita (pronounced Meeta) is a slave child I met in May. The slave of a cousin of my boyfriend. The slave of a cousin who lives next door to him.

In short...here is her story. Mita is the 2nd oldest in a family of 5 children. Her parents live out in a small village and are struggling to provide for their kids. In January 2011, another lady who lives in the same village connected Mita's parents with a lady here in Port au Prince who told her parents that she wanted to take Mita in as her child-provide for her and send her to school.

That did not happen.

When I moved to Port au Prince in May, Odessa and I loved with David's family for 6 weeks. They have a very small house and a lot of people living in it. I quickly found out that the unfinished roof was the only place to get away. One evening when I was on the rooftop hideout, I saw a little girl (about 8 or 9 yrs old) next door doing laundry by hand. She was sitting on a step, looking down and washing away. Her hair was a mess and her clothes were about 2 sizes too small. It's very common in Haiti for girls this age to be doing laundry so I didn't think much about it.

A few days later David introduced me to his cousin who has a little boy so we went over so Odessa could play. This was the first time I met Mita. She was cooking. I said Hi, she looked up and said Hi and went back to work. I was introduced to the other kids but not her. I asked about her and was told she was the lady's niece. We stayed a while and as we were leaving I saw Mita was washing the dishes. She never left her work for the hour or so we were there.

That evening back at David's house, I asked about her. David said and I quote, "Pa mete tet ou la." Which translates basically to, "Don't go there."

Those of you who know me can probably guess what I did the first chance I got. I waited until I saw the lady leave her house and I went over. With a hairbrush and hair cream and barrettes. Mita let me in. She was doing laundry. I told her I needed to practice doing black hair and since Odessa doesn't sit still, I was going to do hers. She smiled and went and got 2 chairs. We were quite the entertainment to people passing by. When David got out of school I was still there and he came and took pictures.

In that hour or so time period, I learned a lot about Mita's birth family. And that she missed them so much.

I learned she hadn't been out of the small house (no more than 500 sq ft) once in the 5 months since she came.

I learned that when she giggled, my heart melted. I mean melted. As in tears welling up in my eyes with a long deep breath in and forgetting to let it out.

I wanted to take her that minute and run. I almost did. I went back to David's house and prayed and thought and prayed and thought. I thought about putting up a request here on my blog for money to go to a hotel with her. I thought about calling another missionary to ask for a ride for us to go find her family. I thought about taking her down to the US Embassy to ask for humanitarian parole so she could go to the states.

I saw her everyday and started asking questions to the lady who had her. Like, "Why isn't Mita in school? I see your kids are in school." She said Mita doesn't have a birth certificate so she couldn't enroll her. I explained to her that birth certificates are about $7 US and I would be happy to help her get Mita one if that would help her be able to go to school. She said she would do it.

In September, I asked about the birth certificate again as school was starting in October. She said she sent money to Mita's mother to go get it but "Li te maje kob la." (translated-she ate the money.) Yep that's what hungry people who can not feed their children do!

Then I learned a piece of information that could help me help Mita. Mita is from the village I worked in for 3 years! Her family still lives there. So I told the lady that when I went back to that village at the end of the month I would ask where her family lives and go with mom to get a birth certificate, knowing this would put pressure on her.

Then amazingly enough, Mita started school before I went back to the village. (I guess I applied just enough pressure)  She was put in a free mission school that doesn't require a birth certificate (which also means it is not licensed), nevertheless, she was put in school. Ofourse she still had chores to do before school and after school-like ALL the chores in the household, but she was in school.

David and I got permission a few times to take her out with us when we would go do something with Odessa and David' younger sister. We went out to Pizza once and Mita came. We had Domino's pizza in a real restaurant with air conditioning. I think Mita ate 7 pieces. Literally. I was afraid she was going to throw up in the car on the way home.

Over the months I could tell my constant questioning of what was going on with Mita was getting on the nerves of people in David' family. And David too.

Now insert our first (real) fight ever.

One evening we were talking about something and out of the blue, I brought Mita up. He just looked and me and I said, "What?" He said, "Some things you don't want to get involved in."

Then I said...blah blah blah and he countered with blah blah blah.

Eventually I said, "I am going to do this. I am going to help her. I don't know how. But I will. If I make your family mad or your cousin mad, then they'll be mad. But this is the right thing to do. I CAN NOT turn my head. I WILL NOT turn my head. This is wrong. Jesus never would have treated a child this way and I don't believe he would have turned his head. If you don't want to be a part of it then tell me now and I'll do it myself."

"They are not beating her and she is eating better than she was in the village with her family." That was his reply.

Not many of you reading this have met David. And he doesn't speak English so even if you have met him you probably don't know how kind and sweet and encouraging he is. He is honest and sincere and can make anybody laugh and feel comfortable.

Why didn't he see what was going on with this child? Why didn't he understand?

But I am looking at it through American eyes while he is with Haitian eyes.

So giving it my last shot I asked him if he could see the difference between Odessa and Mita. In their attitudes, facial expressions, reactions, non-verbal gestures. I asked him if he was going to raise his children like his cousin was raising Mita? I asked him why his cousin treats her own children way different than Mita.

I asked him what he would say if when he stood before God, God asked him why he turned his head?

He said we were stirring up problems. Yep. We sure did.

He said his family would be mad. Yep. They are.

He said we can't change the whole system here in Haiti. But we started.

This is getting way too long...sorry! The rest is the Reader's Digest version.

We went to the village and found Mita's family last month. She looks exactly like them! My voice shook as I talked with her mother as I knew I was at the point of no return.  Her mother misses her and was promised they would bring Mita back every couple months to see her. But she hadn't seen her since January-11.5 months! I talked to mom about getting her birth certificate-as that is how she could go get Mita if she wanted to or how I could help her find another place for her. She said she would do it. We explained to mom that we wanted to bring Mita with us to visit but that the lady keeping her wouldn't let us.

Well David's cousin did take her to Jacmel to see her mom for New Years. The good news is Mita didn't come back. She is with her family.

The bad news is David's family is not happy with us. Guess we stirred too much. The good news is David is not upset about it. We went over to his house last Monday together to talk to his mom. We sat quietly as she gave us what for with finger pointing and everything. Saying how you don't get in the business of other people's families. How the extended family is upset because David's cousin told them we told Mita's mother lies to get to not let Mita go back, about how told Mita to tell her mother she was being abused.

(None of these things are true, but sound very much like things someone who is mad would say. )

When David's mom (who I respect very much) was done "talking" to us, David told her that he doesn't regret what he did. He said if the family can't see why we tried to help Mita then they should look into how God feels about the situation.

Then he old his mom, "If one day when I am standing before God, and He asks me what I did to help Mita I can say I did more than just turn my head."

Even though he said it very respectfully, I thought she might smack him in the mouth. She just looked at us. I was beaming! I couldn't help it. I could tell by the way he said it he was starting to look at the situation through God's eyes.

Although I did not want to get smacked in the mouth either, or have my boyfriend's family (the rest had gathered round for the "discussion") mad at me (let's face it-I am already an outsider in their Haitian family), I decided I needed to let them know who their son was dating (if they hadn't already figured it out). I told them  it never was my intention to make anyone mad. But that there are things I can't keep my mouth shut about. That I believe there are things that God wants me to speak up about and make known and try to make right.

 I still don't know how I feel about the situation. I don't regret my actions. I can't help but cringe when thinking how I stirred up trouble with David's family.

But I also can't help but smile when I think of reunions and freedom.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

“Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.”
― Francis Chan, Crazy Love 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Evenson update

You ready for a drastic before and after? No this isn't Extreme Makeover (but if anyone wants to call them for me maybe they'll consider doing an Extreme Makeover Home Edition Haiti!).

Remember this pic?

And here is Evenson after surgery removing the tumor that was in his abdomen.

Praise the Lord!

We were literally setting up hospice care here in Haiti for Evenson as he was suffering so much and we were unsuccessful in finding care for him.

But the Lord is always on time-he opened a door for Evenson in LA-actually several doors. It fell together so perfectly that there is no way any of us here at Angel Missions can take credit for this. Obviously someone much higher than us had a hand in this.

Evenson is still getting chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He is not out of the woods yet. But we have proof that our God is a great God and we know He can bring Evenson the rest of the way through.

Angel Missions Haiti is looking for care for several other children. Please visit the website. Pray for these children and talk to people in the profession. You never know when the Lord might use you to be the link in finding them life saving or life changing care!

More after photos of Evenson!

Evenson and host father

Evenson and host mother in hospital for Christmas-playing with nativity set in window

Monday, January 2, 2012

Romans 12:12

"Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times."

One my favorite people in the world needs prayer for tomorrow.

Pray she is patient.

Pray she is reminded she has hope!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

An attitude as big as her name!

Meet Cleessamanda. Big name. Big attitude. But so cute! Her profile has been on the Angel Mission website for a couple months with no success. She came into the office with her parents. They told us her story.

She is a 2 year old who was born with her intestines on the outside of her stomach in an enclosed sac. This condition is called Omphalocele. Click here for more info on Omphalocele. It is a miracle in itself that she she has not only lived but thrived in Haiti with this birth defect.  My theory is her strong willed attitude has something to do with it!

She had surgery in Haiti a few days after she was born to place the sac under her skin. Since that surgery Cleessamanda has grown and is developmentally on path with other 2 year olds. You can see by her photo though that she needs more surgery to correct the large hernia she still has.  Her parents have taken her to quite a few hospitals here in Haiti and been told at each they can not help her.

Calling on my medical friends again. If any of you know of a pediatric surgeon willing to help Cleessamanda, free of charge please ask them to email me at ginnyandrews@hotmail.com.