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Child Development4 min read


Second Chances

We will never know what she was thinking the day she walked to the river with all her boys in tow. Perhaps she was suffering from depression or was mentally unstable. Maybe a life of extreme poverty had proven too much to bear. Whatever the reason, there was no excuse or explanation for what happened next.

One by one, she began to drown her children in the river.

I cannot imagine the screams, the kicking, the water splashing. Just picturing this scene in my head makes me sick to my stomach.

A neighbor saw what the mother was doing and ran to help but was only able to save one child . . . one-year-old Jimmy. She brought him to Danita’s Children where he has found a new life. He is now a healthy, happy little boy with so much life ahead of him.

Jimmy, shortly after he arrived at Danita's Children

This is just one of the many stories of rescue I could share with you. To be honest, I am simply overwhelmed with rescue stories. Each one more tragic than the last—but each one a complete transformation. And each one—represents a second chance.

His hair had turned a strange shade of white. His skin, once dark, had become a pale gray color . . . his body was thin and frail.

At 8 years of age, Alexon weighed only 28 pounds . . . the average weight of a 2 or 3-year-old.  His mother carried him as if he was a toddler. He could not walk or stand. He could not go to school. Severe malnutrition was causing his organs to simply shut down . . . Alexon was dying.

But a second chance was on the way.

The rescue center provided Alexon and his mother with a regimen of high protein food in the form of a product called Medika Mamba (peanut butter medicine). It is a ready-to-eat paste that is so packed with nutritious ingredients, that in just a matter of weeks, dramatic results can be seen.

Today, Alexon is 10-years-old and as I sat next to him, I could not even see a resemblance from before. He looks like a completely different child. The results are staggering and dramatic. A life saved was sitting right beside me—his second chance had come.

Watch Alexon’s Story on Vimeo

I am struck at how relatively easy it is to save a life. Yes, it takes time and money, but it really comes down to one basic thing . . . someone who cares.

Mother Teresa once said, “When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”

And the truth is, every minute counts. There is no time to waste. A child who is suffering from malnutrition is susceptible to so many long-term issues and disabilities that could affect them for the rest of their lives.

If Rose-Mika had found help sooner, her life would be very different. She suffers from brain damage and is partially blind. Although she has been slowly nursed back to health, she will struggle for the remainder of her life. She is a sweet and beautiful girl but a reminder to me of how important it is to interrupt childhood malnutrition at an early age.

Watch Rose-Mika’s Story on Vimeo

And that is what Operation Baby Rescue is all about. 

In my book Awake, I wrote:

The long-term issues of poverty are complex, and there are no simple answers. But the problem of a hungry and thirsty child is a simple one to solve and one that we can change.

Max Lucado says in his book Outlive Your Life, “He (Jesus) values a level playing field. In his society, the Have-a-Lots and the Have-a-Littles are never to be so far apart that they cannot see each other.” Then he goes on to say, “In the game of life, many of us who cross home plate do so because we were born on third base. Others aren’t even on a team.”

Speaking from the world of the Have-a-Lots who cross home plate every day, I think we can agree that the distance between us and the Have-a-Littles in Haiti and around the world is vast . . . too vast. And it is within our power to make a difference.

(Awake: Pgs. 51-52)

It has been exciting to see how our holistic approach to child development is working in Haiti. The rescue program is saving the lives of children who are literally on the brink of death. The new medical center will provide life-saving surgeries and specialized treatment that is currently unavailable.

Medical Clinic in Haiti at Danita's Children

The Child Sponsorship Program here allows these same children to receive an education, food, clothing, and the chance to hear about the love of God. The church on campus provides a place for these children and families to come and worship.

The new water cistern will provide access to clean water for the entire community. And the completed orphan care homes will provide children who have no other place to go, a safe place to call home.

The truth is, there are simply too many stories to tell. But I will never believe that there are too many children to help. As my friend Danita says, “There is always room for one more.”


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