I’m writing this post in the evening, a bit raw and ragged, but perhaps not for reasons you might expect.
I shared the story of my childhood in the van this evening, and as I experienced the reactions of others, I realized again just how big Jesus is and just how thankful I am for Him.
“I needed a hero,” i told my new friends. “But I didn’t have one.”
But I met one today.
Pastor Gaetan and his wife sheltered 14 orphans at Yahve Shamma orphanage when Haiti’s earthquake shook the ground. He lost his brother, and more than a dozen people in his congregation that day. He felt his home was unsafe in the aftermath, so he and the children slept in tents. Soon 16 more children came to sleep there.
Pastor Gaetan slept under the stars with no canopy on a hospital cot.
When it rained, he remained outside on that cot. Why? His response: “A good shepherd takes care of his sheep.”
I lost it.
To see a man sacrifice so much for the sake of others, to put himself in harm’s way, to brave the elements for the sake of 30 orphaned children showed me Jesus again.
When we arrived at his place, the children catapulted into our arms. “I am Samantha,” my new friend told me, hugging me, grasping my hand, putting her head to my chest. Her friend Jeannette sandwiched hugged me from the other side. They were friends, and I was the recipient of their group hug.
Standing in a circle, one of our team said, “This is James 1:27,” and I lost it again.
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
I stood on holy ground, in the very place the good shepherd watched over his flocked in silent, faithful vigil. The very place where terra firma became unsteady ground, rocking the lives of all those left behind.
I spent some time taking photos. This quote on the school’s blackboard rooted me:
L’Eternal est mon guardien.
The Eternal God is my guardian.
Reflecting back, I understand that I may not have had an earthly guardian to rescue me from heartache, but God had always guarded me, looked out for me, cared for me. He wooed me in the most winsome way. He became the Daddy who would never leave, the One who cherished me for me, not for what I could provide or prove.
After sharing some of the raw parts of my story, I sat back stunned again that I’m okay. That I survived, healed and thrived in the aftershock of childhood. It’s all Jesus, folks.
Some may say that there’s no hope for Haiti. I say no. Why? Because Jesus is there. And He who is the foundation of this world is the guardian of those people even when the ground quakes. He takes broken stories and makes compelling novels out of them. He uses the darkness to make the light shine all the brighter.
When Jesus stooped to come to this earth, I now picture Him next to a tent, rain wetting his face, a soaked cot, and sleeping children under tents. He stands guard because a good shepherd takes care of his sheep.
He did that for me. He did that for the children of Haiti. And dare to believe He loves you just that much.
It’s a risk to sponsor a child because it’s hard to know if one will truly be helped. Be assured that I’ve spent time at this amazing place, have seen the joy of Jesus on these kids. When Chris from Help One Now spoke to us today, he had to stop, wiping tears from his face. “When we first came here,” he said, “the children had blank stares on their faces. They were afraid of us. And they were malnourished and shocked.” He composed himself again, “So to see them run to us today …” More tears. This is real, folks. Change has happened. Won’t you be a part of the redemptive story? When I get home, I’m going to see if we can pull off a garage sale. I may not have tons of money to give, but I sure have extra stuff I could sell. It’s a practical step our family can take to help out. For more information, click the link below.