Day 11 – Wednesday, February 29th
Relentless Scripture: Romans 15:13
Relentless Focus: Keeping Hope Alive – Haiti’s Home of Hope
Relentless Example: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing…” This has been a very, very, good day for me. Not because I found a day that was missing for four years (Feb 29th), or that it’s the day that I’ve committed to fasting while here in Haiti (which by the way is the best way to find your appetite for God); good, simply because… God showed himself today as – The God of Hope!
You see, I’ve been emotionally struggling here for the past week with all the things that I’ve seen and heard in Haiti that are against Hope. I’ve appreciated all your prayers, words of encouragement and scriptures that have been sent on my behalf… believe me, they’re working. There’s one particular scripture that God, in a sense, has been providing me a breakthrough [meaning - moving me out of that Haiti domain of darkness (hopelessness and oppression) and transferring me into the kingdom of His beloved Son (hope and power)]–Romans 15:13.
It just so happened that my sister-in-law Betsy sent me this verse last week for encouragement, along with my wife Jill’s prayers during my emotional breakdowns. I’m learning that sometimes God allows you to breakdown before He allows you to breakthrough. Even as I’m writing this, I’m crying like one of those little severely malnourished babies I saw today. Tears, not just out of the pain they were experiencing, but also, tears out of the Joy and Peace that comes from Hope, which can be only experienced by the power of God’s Spirit. Well today, God graced me with a breakthrough with His Spirit of power.
This morning I had the rare and unique privilege of witnessing along with some participating, a ministry that’s all about “Keeping Hope Alive.” Pastor François dropped me off to a missionary team that he partners with often here in Haiti called – Haiti’s Home of Hope. This husband and wife missionary team, Bill and Jennifer Campbell, are from Kansas City, Missouri.. To hear more about them and their ministry, you can go to their website titled: www.haitihomeofhope.org
What I and others witnessed today was the God of Hope in action at a feeding center where every Wednesday, Jennifer and her team (a local pastor, two soon-to-be adopted Haitian daughters, and a young college grad Wisconsin Intern) ministers to 20 plus newborns/young infants and their caretakers through physical examinations, distribution of milk, formula and nutritional supplements, distribution of food and clothing, information for care transformation, and even packages of seeds to plant gardens for food. This particular Wednesday was designed for babies whose mothers have died or are too sick to nurse their child. The following Wednesday is designed for food distribution for children two years or older who are severely malnourished in which they provide beans, rice, and fish.
As Pastor dropped me off at their compound, there was a long line of women, men, children, and widows at the gate waiting and hoping for admittance to the program as well as those already admitted inside. The widows are there every week hoping for some food that might be left over from the clinic.
Jennifer said that the funding and commitment level at this time only allow for approximately 20 participants for the babies, and 50 for the two and older group. Depending on the severity of the kids’/moms’ health issues, some will come on, some will stay on, and some will go off. Making those tough calls can be hard, but walking in the humility of God’s wisdom she’s able to find the right balance of being just and loving mercy.
Jennifer wore a shirt today with words on the back that said, “Protect and Love the Fatherless”. She personally said that the leading cause of death for women in Haiti is childbirth. She also mentioned that most women walk an average of 5-7 miles one way to get there with their children.
Today, I met a woman who walked over 10 miles. She and her baby were on the rebound from Cholera and were progressing well. Other conditions of the babies and/or care givers in addition to malnutrition were AIDS, cleft palate, hydrocephalus, mental illness, TB, breast infections … to name a few.
Each child is weighed, and examined with some pictures taken as she keeps good records of their visits and outcomes. At times, she has had to give the caregiver(s) strong counsel that she will take their child off the program if she suspects that not enough progress is being made (due to selling the food or using it for other purposes other than the child). After her strong counsel, she says the children usually start to make good progress.
I got to hold and pray for a couple of these little ones as Jennifer was managing the work space. She showed me some of the signs of mal-nutrition such as: hanging skin (even under the armpits), thinning reddish hair, pale skin tone, swollen cheeks/bellies and eye lids (not pink).
Hearing her before and after stories of these children was a true testimony of God’s hope and miracle- working power of His Spirit. Some of them are part of the Orphanage that they run. Others are living healthy lives. Although others may have died, they didn’t die without getting a real touch of Christ’s Love for them, through the work of this ministry. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
I learned a lot today about who God is and what God has done for me. He is a God of Hope and what He did for me was to fill me up completely with His Joy and Peace in believing, that I may abound in hope by the power of His Holy Spirit. Although I still will have Breakdowns (the fellowship of His sufferings) He moves me in His timing to Breakthroughs (the power of His resurrection).
This was a good day also of prayer and fasting … the Lord always reminds me that as I change my diet to His food, so changes my life. It’s hard to get away from the saying, “You are what you eat” whether you are feeding your body or your spirit. God is Good. God is Great. Now that’s a leap day in the right direction. Thanks for your continual prayers.
Tangible Need: Jennifer said she is in need of a real examination table for the kids.
Pray for Loving Haiti: Child birth is the #1 killer of women in Haiti; Nutritional education and training.
Pray for Me: Thank God for this Breakthrough!!!