in Latin America - 5 min read
Haiti: Room for One More
The below is from guest blogger Michele-Lyn Ault. She is a wife of 15 years and mama to four, including the daughter she had at 16. She has traveled as a World Help blogger to Guatemala and Haiti and hopes to bring encouragement and stir passion to pursue God through writing on her blog, A Life Surrendered. Her heart breaks for what God’s beats for, and desires to share with the world — His redeeming love.
The picture frames lining the wall were the first things I saw when I walked through the Orlando office doors of Danita’s Children. I was there visiting Julie whom I met on a trip to Haiti in spring of 2013.
My husband and I joined a team on a trip with World Help to meet one of their national partners, and to dedicate a medical center on the campus of Danita’’s Children in Ouanaminthe, Haiti — one that World Help committed to help Danita finish. We saw the clean-water systems, toured orphan homes, and experienced baby rescue firsthand. There, I discovered the partner’s stateside headquarters, where Julie worked, was just a city apart from my Florida home.
Months after the trip, I stood in the office staring at several frames that lined the office wall. Each frame had room for multiple images, about eight rows of five pictures in each row. Most spaces were filled with faces of orphaned children that had been rescued. The empty spots weren’t blank. Instead, in big, bold letters held these words: “Room for one more.”
And the thought of what that meant took my breath away. In one short moment, I was back in Haiti, my mind flooded with details of the heartbreakingly beautiful stories I heard, and hope in the life-filled-eyes of rescued children I saw, the ones room was made for.
My own eyes quickly glanced around the office, as Julie continued giving me a personal tour. I noticed evidence of World Help all over the office, and thought aloud, “You do a lot with World Help.”
And her reply: “Yes, they are one of our biggest partners, especially in child sponsorship.”
And at this, I remembered the pictures I brought of my own sponsored children who live at Danita’s Children — the ones my husband and I committed to sponsor through World Help’s Child Sponsorship Program. I took them out of my bag and spread them out on her desk. She pointed to several and said, “These were part of the thirteen.” I knew exactly what she meant. My mind quickly recounted the story I heard in Haiti of the thirteen. I met these children.￼
In the middle of the night a van came full of children who were all hungry, all naked, all scared. The children were rescued from another orphanage that was raided by UN officials. It was discovered the children were used for business, being exploited, forced to beg on the streets for provisions. Yet the most basic necessities of life were being withheld from them, leaving them near starvation.
The children were brought to the orphanage in the middle of the night. Out of the van, they filed out; scared, skinny little boys, looking more like holocaust victims. And Danita, knowing there wasn’t room, still said, “There’s always room for one more.” And this time, it wasn’t just one more, but thirteen more.
They took the boys in, bathed them, fed them, and provided them a place to sleep. The children put rice in their pockets because they didn’t know when or if they would eat again. When they were tired, they would curl up on the ground and try to sleep, because sleeping on the ground was all they knew. They didn’t know how their life was already beginning to change.
Where would they be today if they didn’t come to the orphanage a year ago? That, we never have to know. These children are orphaned no more. Today, they are provided for, receiving shelter, clothes, meals, medical attention as needed, an education, and most importantly, they know the love of Christ.￼
Out of the five of my sponsored children, four of them were on the van that pivotal night. I jotted the notes on their cards. Julie didn’t know I was holding back tears, welling up in my aching soul, wishing I could do more, yet overwhelmingly grateful for the work World Help is doing and for their partnership with Danita’s Children, and thankful I get to be a small part of it.
World Help has made it easier for me to do so, as child sponsorship is part of “(their) efforts on long-term solutions that will help raise Haiti’s people from the ashes of despair . . .”
Sometimes I forget. Life gets in the way. Time passes. I get wrapped up in my first world problems and I forget there are people all around the globe, hungry, thirsty, sick, abandoned, lost and dying, without Christ, without hope. And there are also people all around the globe dedicating their lives to rescue them, bringing them hope, and seeing their lives transformed — following Christ’s mandate. By sponsoring children through World Help, we get to be a small part of life transformations also.￼
I’m a busy, American stay-at-home mom. In our family of six, the cares of our small world threaten to crowd us in, keeping us oblivious to the needs around the rest of the world. Our sponsored children remind us there is a world in need much bigger than ours.
And in our own way, we’ve had to make room in our lives — room for one more.