A Picture Forever Etched in My Mind

Our van rushed through the crowded streets of Port au Prince. We were trying to get to our destination of Mother Teresa’s Children’s Hospital by 3:00. We had been told that if we didn’t arrive by 3:00 we would not be able to get inside. A new driver and a wrong turn pushed us past our desired arrival time and now  we were pulling in front of the building, our arrival time 15 minutes late. Maya our guide got out of the van and knocked at the door I held my breath while at the same time saying a silent prayer, ‘Father, if this is your will today, please get us in,” that instant Maya began waving for us to come inside,  prayer answered.
Our group climbed out of the van and headed through the door.

We had been told we were going to be helping with the malnourished babies today and that our job would be changing their diapers and feeding them. I was excited about this because I love babies and in my mind I envisioned us cuddling a cute little baby as it happily drank a bottle. What I didn’t know yet was that it was not going to be anything at all like I thought it would be and nothing could have ever prepared me for the helpless feeling that was waiting for me on the other side of the door.

We entered the room and the first thing I noticed was the white metal baby beds that were lined up head to foot in rows, and each one had a baby about the size of a newborn in it. In the first bed we were met by a cute little smiling faced baby boy. His little smiling face just warmed my heart and took a bit of the edge off my shock at what I was seeing beyond him in the other beds.

To me this hospital looked out of date and not at all like any hospital I had ever been in in my life.  There had to be over 60 babies here and though I never actually counted babies, there were two full rooms of babies each with at least 25 or 30 babies per room. There room was all white with nothing in it that showed that this room was for children, other than there were baby beds. The baby beds were very small and they seemed really unsafe.  They had metal bars and there were no bumper pads to block the the baby’s heads from being bumped. I also noticed that the babies who were able stand were much taller than the sides of the beds, and the first thing that went through my head was how easy it would be for one of these little ones to fall out head first onto the concrete floor below.  Another thing I noticed was that the babies didn’t have blankets though I am not really sure a blanket was needed because there wasn’t any air conditioning or even a fan to stir the hot muggy air.

There was one nurse in the room and she was busy mixing cereal and filling baby bottles with milk. We were given the task of changing each baby’s diaper and then to feed them. We spread out and began going down the rows almost in an assembly line fashion. I began checking diapers and eventually reached a bed with a baby boy sitting in it. He lifted his arms up to me, I reached in and picked him up, his tiny little body seemed  to mold to me as he pressed in close seeming to almost melt into my arms.  I was unprepared for the panicky feeling that washed over me as I suddenly felt shocked at how feather light and tiny he felt in my arms. I was frozen in disbelief as I stood there holding him in my arms, unable to let him go, and I also got the feeling that he did not want to let go of me either. Another silent prayer went up, “God, he’s so tiny, so precious, and so sick, please do something!’ Only a few minutes ago I was looking forward to coming here and now I felt sick to my stomach wondering how could this be possible that a child could be so small and so sick?! And right now this somehow made me I feel really small too.

Holding back the tears that wanted to spring forth, I held on to that precious boy as long as I could but I also knew there were other babies waiting to be changed and fed too.  I finally peeled him off my body, laid him down and began to change his diaper. I gently took his tiny cloth diaper off and once again I was in shock at what I was seeing. his tiny legs were like fragile sticks,  his tummy looked somehow bloated and to big for his body that was nothing but skin stretched over a tiny skeleton. I was smacked in the face by the fact that this baby was one of those children I have seen on the television commercials, the ones who are starving.  I wanted to close me eyes to what was before me right now, oh how I did not want to see this!!

So many times I have I prayed for God to open my eyes and let me see what he sees and now he had my eyes fully open wide and all I wanted to do was shut them tightly back up again.  I wanted to go back and live in my happy bubble of a life where all babies were cute and cuddly and full of life. My mind kept saying this can’t be true, you must be dreaming, but unfortunately this was not a dream, this was the harsh reality right here in front of me and it hurt my heart. Tears wanted to come but I would not let them out and I finished changing his diaper and fed him a bottle.  I sent prayer after prayer up for him and as I fed him he fell asleep in my arms.

 Just as I lay him down in his bed the nurse handed me a tiny little baby girl. To my surprise she felt even tinier than the boy had been and she just lay in my arms listless and gazing off at nothing. The nurse then handed me a bowl of cereal that resembled thick gloppy white paste and motioned for me to feed the cereal to her. As soon as I realized she wanted me to spoon feed a listless baby I was once again uncomfortable. This baby looked as if she was barely able to keep her eyes open, much less eat from a spoon. What if she were to choke?

I had no choice but to do what I was told so I did it even thought my motherly instincts were telling me this was not possible and also not safe for the baby.  I was worried she would choke as I put the first spoonful of food in her mouth…. I fearfully watched as she began slowly sucking the cereal off the spoon and to my surprise she was able to swallow it!

For the next 10 minutes I fed her tiny spoonfuls of cereal. When she seemed to be finished I told the nurse she was done eating. The nurse lifted up the baby’s shirt, felt her tummy and pointed at the bowl motioning for me to feed her more. More?!? I am a mother I know when a baby is full and this baby sure seemed to me to be full! I was not the one in charge here today so reluctantly I gave her another spoonful of cereal.  She held it in her mouth for a long time and I kept thinking to myself that at any second she would spit it out or start to choke, but instead she eventually swallowed it down. This went on for another 10 minutes or so and I began to realize with each spoonful she was beginning to become more aware of her surroundings and she was starting to eat a little faster.  Eventually she finished the whole bowl of cereal and I lay her down to change her diaper. While I was changing her she began playing with a small pink stuffed animal that was tied to the rail of her bed and she even began to smile.  While I was changing her diaper I noticed that she had a cloth bracelet on her leg with her age written on it and it said she was 8 months old!! How could this be possible? I knew she cold not weigh more than 8 pounds because she was the size of a newborn! I thought I knew what poverty was before today, but now here I was once again still having my eyes opened even further, WAY much further than I ever wanted them to be open and once again my heart was hurting.

When I finished changing her diaper I started to move away from her and on to the next baby, but just as I started to walk away she raised her arms stretching them up to me, I reached down and touched her precious little face and said goodbye because I knew I had to move on.  As I started to walk away I looked over and  her hands were still up and now she stuck her bottom lip out and began to cry. That was the end of me, I could not take it, the next thing I knew I had scooped her up and I held her in my arms rocking her telling her it was going to be okay.

As I rocked her she kept looking me right in the eyes, and in turn I could not tear my eyes off hers. Her little brown eyes were mesmerizing and I wondered what she was thinking about just as she reached out her tiny hand and placed it on my mouth. Once again my heart was melted to mush. There was no way I could put that precious girl down now, so I found a stool and sat down on it and just held her until she finally went to sleep as she continued to look right into my eyes.

I am not sure how but somehow fell in love with that little girl as I sat there holding her.  After she fell asleep and I lay her down in her bed to move on to the next baby I realized that each baby in here needed someone to love on them.  I felt an overwhelming feeling of love for each one of them. that day and there were so many babies and so few of us. My heart was tearing into shreds and at the same time the feeling love was almost overwhelming as I gazed around the room and realized that all of the ladies who were here  today were all loving up on these small little babies. At one point I caught eyes with another of the ladies in our group and I could tell by the look on her face she was also feeling the same heartbreak I was feeling and I also knew she loved them too.  I am pretty sure her eyes spoke for the way the whole group was feeling inside.

We had been told that these babies were malnourished.  I don’t know a thing about malnutrition but as our time went on that day I realized that many of the babies had fevers, runny noses, and diarrhea. I am not sure if that is part of being malnourished or if they were also sick with something else too. Either way these were the sickest children I had ever seen in my life.

As I was sitting there in that room I remembered that I had read on Compassion International’s website that 9 million Children never make it to their fifth birthday. I wondered how many of the babies in that hospital room would not make it to their fifth birthday. After I came home I looked up the facts on Haiti and found out that 76 out of every 1000 children in Haiti do not live to see their fifth birthday. It breaks my heart knowing that a lot of the babies in that room may become one of the children in those statistics.

As I left the hospital that day I felt heartbroken and I will admit I was a little upset with God that he didn’t just snap his fingers and fix these babies but then later that evening God reminded me of my last visit to Haiti. On that visit I had visited one of Compassion International’s Child Survival Programs (CSP). Mothers can come to the CSP and while there they are taught how to take care of themselves during pregnancy and they are also taught how to take care of their babies after they are born. At the CSP the moms learn about proper nutrition, and are given a safe place for their children to learn and grow. Their children also receive medical care and immunizations. Most of all at the CSP the mom’s and children learn about Jesus and they have the opportunity receive the hope that only He can give them.
You can watch the video below to find out more about the CSP

That day we were not allowed to bring cameras or take pictures in the hospital, but even though we were not allowed to do that, a picture will be forever etched in my mind of what I saw that day.

If you would like to sponsor a child in Haiti or  do something to help you can click this link – Haiti and get more information.

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day,

Terri

Help Me Find It…Soon Please!

The words to a song have been running through my head today and I can’t seem get them out.  I realized earlier that maybe they are there because the words are kinda like words to a prayer… a prayer I have been praying all day.

The last couple of weeks have been full of a lot of emotions that have been all over the place for me. I have had emotions in so many different directions, they have been happy, sad, fun, hard and quite a bit confusing at times. First off I was on a mission trip to Haiti, that was a good trip, though heartbreaking at times it was also a blessing and I saw God working so much there. But also while I was in Haiti I came to the realization that God is leading me toward a place that seems way out of my comfort zone and to be honest quite scary to me.

The second thing that happened is I have two best friends, one I have been friends with for over 25 years and one I have been friends with since I was a little girl, one friend moved away the week before I went to Haiti, the other friend passed away while I was in Haiti. It is odd losing both your best friends within 2 weeks time. The one friend can still call me but she is in an area right now that I have to wait for her to call, because her phone signal isn’t very good.  Though we can talk on the phone its still not like the everyday chats we always had, calling each other up every single morning and also several times a day just to tell each other silly things that were going on.

The third thing that happened is my husband got a new job while I was in Haiti so now he has been working in the evenings since I got back and it feels really strange to me to have so much alone time. I just got used to him being home all the time and now he is gone.

As I mentioned a few paragraphs back, while I was in Haiti I came to the realization that God is leading me toward a place that seems way out of my comfort zone and scary to me. With no one to mull things over with it has been hard. I keep trying to talk to God about it but he has been silent these past few days. Though I will admit I am a bit of a loner and I usually do like my space I have to say it has been a little more quiet than I would like it to be around here.

I keep telling myself that there is a reason for all of this and I am sure there is.  I know that God has a plan in place and sooner or later he will show me what I am supposed to do.  He has never failed me in the past, but the waiting for him to reveal what it is He wants me to do is sometimes really hard for me.  I am not to good at waiting and anyone who knows me knows that patience is not one of my specialties.

I am not really sure what this blog post is about today other than I feel pretty down about my friends and my life seems to be pretty confusing to me right now.  Also I wanted to share this song that has been stuck in my head today, thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy it.

I will trust in You
You’ve never failed before
I will trust in You

If there’s a road I should walk
Help me find it
If I need to be still
Give me peace for the moment
Whatever Your will
Whatever Your will
Can you help me find it
Can you help me find it

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5

Even Though I didn’t Understand, I Think I still Understood

DSCN1458

Today I went to church.  I usually go to church every Sunday but this Sunday church was different. The reason church was different today was because today I attended a little church in Babaco, Haiti and the service was in Kreyol.  During the sermon portion of the service an interpreter helped, but during the songs I couldn’t understand a word but for some reason it felt to me as if I still could understand.  And most of all I could still feel the worship in the words.  I have thought about this a lot today and I still can’t explain why, but I felt as if I I knew the words even though I really didn’t.  DSCN1245 After the service I felt really blessed by what I had experienced, I got the feeling that the others who came with me did not experience the same thing as I did, I could be wrong maybe they did and just they just didn’t say anything or maybe they didn’t and maybe I am just weird or something.

Sometimes the God stuff still confuses me but the more I experience Him the more I realize it doesn’t matter if I understand the whys.  All that really matters is that to me it felt so right and so good and I am really glad I got to experience it.

Today was a really good day.

DSCN1462

Journal entry April 13, 2015

Beautiful Little People Who Will Make You Smile

Here are some of the beautiful little people I met last week while on a mission trip in Haiti.  These children live in a little village called Babaco on the edge of a dried up river bed.  We were told that after a hurricane the river just went away.  We actually drove down the middle of the river bed to get to their church/school. The smiling faces and laughter of these children brought so much joy to my heart and I know that these pictures will make you smile too :)

DSCN1501 DSCN1374 DSCN1582 DSCN1493 DSCN1536 DSCN1491 DSCN1581 DSCN1397 DSCN1540 DSCN1592DSCN1561

 

He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10:14

Have a wonderful day!

I Wonder if They Have Disco Dancing in Heaven

I have this friend who is dying.  A year ago she went to the doctor for her yearly physical and found out that she was healthy.  A month later she had pneumonia and after a few tests she found out she had stage 4 lung cancer. From the moment she found out she was sick she took the diagnosis on full force and she refused to let the doctor tell her when she would die. She decided that she would fight the cancer with all she has and fight she HAS, she has been fighting with everything she’s got for almost a year now.

She has spent most of this past year in and out of the hospital and most of the time she has been very very sick.  I have seen her take her chemo therapy bravely never once complaining and she always seems to me to be determined to not to let the cancer control her. I admire her so much because she is not just trying to live another day, but she also seems determined to live each day as a good day. No matter what setback she has she posts inspirational messages publicly praising God and thanking Him for each day, she seems to be always taking notice of the good things and always collecting each and every one of her blessings, determined not to miss a single one of them.

Lisa has been my friend since I was a young girl. She was my best friend during the disco era. We were teenagers then and we knew the words to every song on the radio and spent a lot of time singing and dancing together.  We knew all the moves to every dance and we must have watched Saturday Night Fever a hundred times to get all the dance moves down pat.

We lost touch for a lot of years after we both got married, but about 6 years ago we met back up again on Facebook.  Even though we both had changed and had lived totally different lives we still jumped right back into our friendship and to me it feels as if nothing has changed in our friendship when we get together. We are still comfortable together, can’t stop talking and still have this sisterly bond that will always tie us together, I love her so much..  Now days as adults we have always joked about how we will be old ladies one day and still be dancing.  We occasionally post goofy dance videos on each other’s Facebook time lines.

Today as I sat with Lisa I realized that she is so sick that most likely she won’t be dancing on this earth anymore. It’s so hard for me to think about that and it makes me feel so sad as I write it here, it just seems so unfair that she has to leave so soon. I am not ready for her to leave and just can’t imagine life without her in it, we were supposed to be dancing old ladies one day.  She has kids and grand kids and a husband and I feel like she is supposed to be here with them longer too…at least that’s what my brain says, but what I see with my eyes tells me differently.

I am not sure why some people get more time than others or what the reason is for all of this but it’s so hard to see her body fail her, and to have watched her health deteriorate so quickly over this past year. In only one years time her body has given out and it just seems somehow so unfair.

It is hard for her to talk because she gasps to breathe as she speaks, at one point today she whispered, “I don’t get all of this” then she just shrugged her shoulders as a look of sadness and defeat crossed her face and she turned her eyes upward as if asking God for an answer.  I was at a loss of words, I because I don’t know the answer either and I agree… I also ‘don’t get all of this only God knows the reason for all of this.  The one thing that I do know is that one day my friend will dance again and I have a feeling it’s going to be real soon that she will be dancing in Heaven.  Her body may be wasting away here on earth but her new body is waiting for her in heaven.  I know her new body will be strong and full of life and ready for a lot of dancing.  I have a feeling when she meets Jesus she will forget all about how sick she is right now, and she will forget about having to leave anyone behind. I also have a feeling that once she meets him she will most likely ‘get all of this.’

I leave for Haiti in 2 days, it was hard to say goodbye to Lisa today, I felt as if it was probably the last time we may see each other until Heaven.  I worry she may go to Heaven while I am gone and I won’t know until I get home.  As I left her today she told me to come see her as soon as I get home and I promised her that  I will.  The selfish side of me wants her to still be here when I get back home but I also want her to be well and pain free.. I also I know that if she leaves before I return that today was not the last time I will see my friend, I know that one day I will see her again in Heaven and who knows maybe we will do a few of our old dance moves as we celebrate. I wonder if they have disco dancing in Heaven…. I sure hope so.

17550_1109262711577_1241751_n

Me and Lisa 8th grade…Don’t you dare laugh at our goofy outfits :)

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

image

It is Finished

i am thristy

 1Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robeand went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha).14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  John 19:1-30 (NIV)

Last night at church we had a service in remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus, at the part when Jesus said, “it is finished” all of the lights went out and a deafening silence filled the room, the feeling that shot through my body was sorrow and anguish, and although I have heard this story many, many times there was this feeling of shock and how could this have happened?! If I felt that way today and I know the rest of the story, I can’t even begin to imagine how it must have felt for those who lived in that time and who were witness to this happening right before their very eyes….

 

Haiti Revisited Day 2

I will be returning to Haiti in 9 days and  I have decided that I will be sharing my blog posts from when my husband and I went to Haiti in 2013 with Compassion International.

Today’s post is from our second day in Haiti 2013

It’s title is Hope is Here 

Yesterday I woke up in my nice warm bed in the United states, today I woke up in Haiti. I came to this place not really knowing what God had planned for me in this Country but did I think I he was sending me here to to be of some sort of help.
I also had an idea in my head as to what I thought life here would be like. When I arrived here yesterday I saw things were as I thought they would be but I could never have prepared myself for how it would really look and how it would make me feel. I saw so many people living what appeared to me to be a harder life than I could have ever imagined could be possible. I could not get the the looks on the faces of people we passed out of my mind, the look that seemed to say “please help me”.  I so desperately wanted to help but there were hundreds of people lining the streets and I could not help them.  I went to bed last night with my heart feeling as if it had been ripped out of my chest wondering how can this be happening and do these people have hope?

Today was a different sort of day. Finish the story by clicking here,

You can also follow along on our trip by following my new blog Hearts 4 Haiti

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day!

T

 

 

 

 

Heading to Haiti Again

Hi All! Whew it seems like time has been flying lately! My life has been crazy busy and with so much going on I seem to have forgotten all about my blog.  I realized today that I have not posted anything for a long,  loooooong time!  As I mentioned in an earlier post I will be heading for Haiti on a mission trip with my church in April and that trip is just 10 days away! Wow am I excited and also a little bit nervous!

Sunday our Team was commissioned during church.

IMG_1931

Our Haiti Team – Cathy, Judy, Steven, Tiffany, Angie, Michael, Monica, Jason, Ellie, Terri, Linnie, Rachael

IMG_1929 IMG_1928 and after church we had a team meeting.  We have a lot of cool things planned for the people in Haiti and things seem to be coming together really well.  The commissioning service was really great and very moving for me, there is just something very emotional about being on your knees at the alter with your church family all standing around you with their hands on you praying. The feeling of God’s power in the room and also a feeling of peace all at the same time is just too hard to explain .  After the commissioning service was over there all the sudden was a sense of finality and  a wow we are really going to do this feeling! Not that I ever doubted we would do it, but it just seemed so far away and it was like suddenly this just got really really real!

Haiti… wow, I can’t believe God is calling me back there again.  A long time ago a friend said something to me about going to Haiti and I replied, ” you don’t want to go there,  its dangerous there!”  Looking back I laugh at that because never ever in my wildest dreams did I ever envision myself going to Haiti, or even on a mission trip for that matter,  but now here I am getting ready for my second visit there!

A minute ago I was thinking about how it’s really cool the places that God will take you if you let Him.  He will take you out of your comfort zone and yet when you get out of your comfort zone that is when you realize that you are where you belonged all along.

In celebration of my return to Haiti for the rest of this week  I have decided that I am going to share my blog posts from when I went to Haiti in 2013 with Compassion International.  Today I will start with our first day in Haiti, that day I was shocked by what I saw and honestly I have to say that day rocked my faith a bit and I really was unsure if I would be able to make it through the rest of the trip.  That day we got off of our airplane and drove through Port au Prince, where the people lined the street,  the rubble from the earthquake was still there. To me the whole city seemed chaotic and hopeless.  That night I was sad and posted a short blog post of mostly pictures but what I did not know was that the next day God had big plans for our group and he had much more in store for me to see.  The next day I would learn that hope was alive and well in Haiti and that He was right there in the midst of the mess.

So here is my first in the Haiti series ~ The Eyes

As I travel through this place so far from the life that I live, I see a way of life so different than I could have ever imagined existed -> read the rest here.

Thank you so much for reading today and God Bless.

T

Gifts We Found Along the Way

My husband and I went for a walk today, here are a few things we saw along the way.

20150321_150618 20150321_150630 20150321_150635 20150321_150637 20150321_150643 20150321_151546 20150321_145211 20150321_144940(0)-1 20150321_144256(0) 20150321_145252Where did these guys come from?????

20150321_144334

Isn’t God amazing???