Went to this orphanage today. This is the first day of a feeding partnership. 43 kids live in this house that is partially finished. The orphanage has had very little western help - it is on the road to the city dump. The husband and wife that started the orphanage have beautiful hearts and are raising these children to love one another and The Lord. The kids sang for us....my heart overflowed at the sound of their sweet voices singing about how God is always with them.
I got to see where the kids sleep. Broken down cots with a little foam - not enough to keep the springs from poking through. And my eyes were full thinking of the little girl who left this dolly on her bed.
More sad to think of how many kids sleep here at night.
Photo with our new friends - and OTB staff.
Then returned to the kitchen - today was a cleaning day. I took the opportunity to remind our staff that I generally have a different idea of clean than they do by cleaning alongside them all afternoon. It started a little slow...but we made it work. By the end everyone was having a great time working so hard and accomplishing a great task together. For a minute I had trouble discerning whether I was cleaning or in some kind of water fight :)
After it was all finished - Francoise decided she thought the floor was clean enough to take a nap - I told her I would say it was clean enough to eat off of :))
We ended the day visiting about this week. We have had some trouble with the guys in the neighborhood again. One in particular - is Noel's disciple - Gilbert. Seems he made a mistake yesterday and demanded the OTB staff give him food since he is a friend of ours. Noel has seen more than 15 young men come to pray and ask Jesus to be Lord of their lives in the last few weeks. He and our friend Spencer meet with them twice a week by the kitchen at the tables our friends built a few weeks ago.
We don't serve anyone food directly from the kitchen - we are not a restaurant - OTB produces lots of food and delivers it to other places where it is served/consumed. Feeding behind the hospital just outside of Cite Soleil creates a mob. We have learned that it is not safe to do this - we refer people to area ministries where our food is served and many of them are able to eat however we still get asked and harassed about providing food on a daily basis. The guys that come to the Bible study have made a commitment to not harass or threaten our OTB staff.
Some of the guys getting their first Bibles last week.
Noel and Gilbert studying together.
Yesterday - Gilbert crossed the line. He was hungry. He knows what he needs to do to make things right. In fact - he shared himself what the Bible says about what to do if you have wronged someone.
Our staff is having a hard time letting this go. They want him to pay / they think we are being used - and worse yet they are very concerned we may be betrayed by our new friend and brother in Christ.
I listened to the accusations as they piled up - the speculations and questioning about whether or not he is even really a believer...and then gently reminded them about this week of remembering Jesus.
I reminded them about how much I respect, admire, and love my husband and that he calls Gilbert his disciple and I stand with him.
I wondered out loud about how Jesus must have felt when he was betrayed. I wondered how many times he ditched his disciples because they made a mistake or looked a little rough around the edges. As they talked about the tattoo of a gun Gilbert has on his stomach - I wondered why they hadn't noticed the praying hands on his arm with the words - Lord have Mercy. I wondered which one I should judge him by. Then I decided I would stick with Jesus. I told my precious coworkers how sorry I was that one of our friends spoke harshly with them and asked them to give him another chance because we believe he is worth it. I reminded them that when Noel and I decided to move to Haiti and come to work everyday in a place where this week they told us we should go home a little earlier because the gang turf wars were starting and gunshots would be fired soon - that we already laid our lives down. This is serious business. We have considered the cost and we believe in the power of the gospel to radically change lives. And if one betrays us - well that would be sharing in the suffering of Jesus and He is worth it. And He says Gilbert is worth it too.
Sign me up!
And as I looked around the room - my eyes fixed on Schnaider. Even now I am overwhelmed at what The Lord says about him and how much He loves him. And I thought back a few months about how Schnaider was the loudest guy outside of the kitchen - constantly talking about needing food and a job and that we needed to give him both. In January - Noel and I met with him and told him how we knew he was a great leader and had a lot of influence and that could be used for good - or not. We asked him to give us a couple months to figure out some things in the kitchen. We asked him to refrain from harassing our staff daily - and we reminded him that God knows his need for a job. Schnaider respected what we had asked and started helping with small tasks without asking for payment simply because he could. The Lord gave us the opportunity to give him a full time job for food delivery and kitchen assistant in March. He has done an excellent job and everyone loves having him on the OTB team. It was good to remember what happens when you give second chances and see the best in someone - even calling that forth. I expressed how proud Noel and I are of Schnaider. It was a Holy moment. And a little later I saw Schnaider outside. His heart is tender and I believe he is feeling the love of his Heavenly Father. All this is new to him too - he made the decision to walk with Jesus yesterday. Good job Schnaider - Bon Travay!
So tonight I am reflecting on the feelings of the day and so thankful to live, learn and love here. I believe - in the power of the Gospel. I believe in the lost being found and the blind seeing. That amazing grace saved a wretch like ME. That God sent His one and only Son to pay the price for our sin so we can be in right relationship with Him for eternity never gets old. It's as real to me today as it has ever been.
I wanted The Lord to do a work in me the Easter season. I wanted it to be much more than a church service.
Thank you Lord for this day to see You active in drawing people to You - and causing us to take an inventory of what we believe and how we live it out.Thank you for making us disciples and giving us directions on how to multiply Your Kingdom in Haiti as it is in Heaven. Let Heaven Come!
Awaiting the day where we are at the table with You, King Jesus!