My head and my heart are so full right now. Pardon me if this post is a bit all over the place, but I really need to express what is going on right now.
I know Haiti is hard. My last four months here helped me learn that, but now I feel as if I am in a place that I can't even begin to explain. But I want to try. I know that when I make it through this, God is going to get so much glory.
Things in Haiti started off perfectly. I got back to school and started to teach. I came in feeling way more confident than I did last semester. The kids were more attentive, and really seemed excited about starting the semester. I found out that I wouldn't get to move to campus for at least a week, but I was excited about that opportunity and I began preparing myself for when I was to move in.
Things were going just how I liked them. Easy. But easy is not how God has intended me to live. God likes to throw wrenches in my path. Wrench #1: Melissa Hope. Wrench #2: a full-time teaching job.
I guess I was delusional, but I thought that God would make this time around 10x easier. But I know that with hard times, God is going to get more glory that what I can even imagine. I am praising Him for putting me here and for giving me the opportunity to serve so many kids.
So that's where I come to now. This is going to be an emotional week because today is the 1 year anniversary of the January 12th earthquake. Many of my students lost parents, loved ones, and all their belongings. We had a memorial service at school yesterday where many students were weeping over lost friends, neighbors, and family members. I can't imagine what these kids have seen and heard. I remember hearing on the news about the country that stole my heart. Living here has given me a new perspective on a lot of things, including loss. My heart is so heavy for the Haitian people.
My heart is heavy for my family. My great uncle, Doyle, passed away on Sunday morning. If you have known me for any amount of time, you know that death is no friend of mine. I can't even explain how much death I have encountered in my life, and it has made any death encounter so much harder for me. I really miss uncle Doyle. I remember so much about him from when I was younger. The main thing I keep remembering is what he said to me over Christmas break. I begged and begged my parents for us to find just a few minutes to go see him. He had congestive heart failure and has been sick for a long time, so I wanted to take every chance I got to see him and tell him I love him. I didn't expect what he said to me. He looked at me and said that he had his wife read him my blog and he was proud of me and loved hearing about what I was doing. He said he knew God was working in the lives of many. What a great encouragement! I never would have thought that he would've read my blog. My heart was so full and I was so excited that I he said those things to me.
The day after I got back in Haiti, I received word that he wasn't doing too well. A few days after that my mom prepared me by saying that this may be it. Hospice had moved into his house and they weren't expecting him to live much longer. I prayed and prayed and prayed, but my prayers were different than most times. I was praying for God's will. I didn't pray that he would be spared, I didn't pray that he would live a much longer life. I simply prayed that whatever would bring God the most glory would be done. As much as I wanted him to live, I knew that God was in the center of it and that if he left, he would be in Heaven with our father.
As much as I prayed that, when Sunday morning came around and I found out he passed, my heart was broken. I wanted to be with family. I wanted to hug my aunts and uncles and especially my grandmother. I wept, I cried, I called my mom, but after all my tears were drained, I simply had to say, It is well with my soul. There has been something comforting about being here while this is happening. I feel like God is truly in my presence and I am trusting him to get me through these difficult times.
The Haitian government is in a state of turmoil. The election process is one that I cannot even understand. There is so much hear-say in Haiti that it is hard to tell what is real and what is not. There have been a lot of reports saying things are about to get bad again, but I really have no clue. All I know is that God is in control. My heart is heavy for the Haitian government.
Imagine this: a small, 2 year old boy. Head misshapen from being beat into a wall. Scars all over his body from being hit with different objects. Memories of scrubbing the bathroom floor since he was able to crawl. A fearful face at all times. You've just imagined Junior. Junior is now 4 years old. He has been in an orphanage since he was 3 after being severely beaten my his aunt and other family members. No one knows where the scars came from, or the extent of his abuse. The orphanage he was staying at was an all boys orphanage, and he was the youngest there. There were many older boys staying at the orphanage, and no one really knows how he was treated there. This orphanage is going through a process of trying to get some of the older boys out, and it is possible that the entire operation might be shut down. A lady close to the orphanage and very close to Junior asked us if we would take him in so that he would not be sent back to his aunt. So Saturday evening, we went and picked him up. He speaks absolutely no English and tends to have a hitting problem. This is where google translate is saving my life. He was terrified when he got back to our house. The best place for him to be was in my room on the futon so he could stretch out but still be near someone. After he went to bed I started studying Creole phrases that might come in handy with a four year old. My Creole is now so much better than it was even one week ago. I am starting to communicate better with him and we are doing much better. It's amazing to watch him sleep so peacefully and play so much. It makes me wonder what is going through his brain. He went from being abused to being treated like a prince. I'm so blessed to be a part of this and watch him grow. I'm not a fan of getting up 4 times through the night to take him to the bathroom, but I wouldn't trade it for anything right now. It almost makes me cry when he comes up to me and says "I love you, Kristina." That's the only English phrase he knows and I love hearing it.