Monday, March 14, 2011

Moments of Love

I want to give you some glimpses into my daily life in the orphanage.

~I have become the resident nurse.  :)  There have been a couple more serious things where I really wish I knew something more about first aid (will definitely be taking a refresher course on that when I get home!) but mostly it's just the minor cuts associated with being a kid who spends his days playing outside.  At any point when I'm in my room I could have a little tap on my door, to open it up and find a little one standing there with a bleeding knee or something of the sort.  More often than not, it ends up becoming a crowd of five to ten kids, all crying out for bandaids, neosporin, vitamins, and basically just love and attention.  I've been trying to teach them about patience and waiting their turn, but it doesn't seem to be helping much.  While I'm doctoring one up, the other nine are usually crowding around and yelling out all at the same time, "Melissa, Melissa, malad la, malad la" (I'm hurt here) and I'm slathering on Neosporin in every direction.  It's always a good patience tester.  And it's always a good reminder of how much they need individual attention and love, living in a place with so many kids.

My favorite is when just one comes to the door and I can sit them down, fix them up, give them a kiss, ask about their day, and just have a little moment with them.  That's what it's really about anyways.  Little cuts like that can go without bandaids.  In fact, before I came, I'm sure they pretty much did and survived just fine.  But it's about the love that is being communicated through that bandaid.  And that, I think, is what keeps them coming to my door day after day.  Sometimes I'm busy or task-focused and I miss it.  But I don't want to.  Lord~ enlarge my heart and help me to see that every moment of every day is really about this- about showing Your love through whatever and to whomever You put in front of me.  After all, the greatest of all the commandments is this:  you shall love. 

~The older kids in the orphanage have a really good band- trombones, trumpets, drums, saxophones and clarinets- the whole nine yards.  They get invited to play at various events all around town and recently had an invitation to a very important event with the ambassador from the United States to Haiti.  They spent several nights practicing on the patio to get ready for it, while the younger kids and I spent several nights dancing in the hallway listening to them.  Holding hands and running in circles, jumping, conga lines, back and forth, around and around, picking up one kid after another, singing, sweating, shouting, clapping every time they finished a song, just loving it.  It made me laugh so hard and filled me with such joy.  The Bible talks about dancing before the Lord.  Adults really should do it a lot more often.  :) 

~With that many kids in a place, it feels like there is almost constantly one crying.  Another thing that has become my favorite when I hear one crying for longer than the normal few little tears from squabbles or tumbles, is searching them out, swooping them up, and comforting them.  And I think of the Comforter, who does this with us.  It's a beautiful thing to be reminded of this so often and to share it with these precious little children of His who need tangible arms to express their Daddy's heart to them in their young age. 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

~One of the littlest guys, Michel, who is about 3, has taken a huge liking to me.  He refers to me as his wife, girlfriend, or sister, depending on the day.  Sometimes at night I'll come out of my room and find him sitting outside my door just waiting for me.  Sometimes it's early, so I'll set him on my lap and tickle him and play with him.  Sometimes it's late and I'll take him to the rocking chair on the patio and rock him to sleep.  I will cry when I leave this kid in April.

Psalm 131

 LORD, my heart is not haughty,
         Nor my eyes lofty.
         Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
         Nor with things too profound for me.
 Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
         Like a weaned child with his mother;
         Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
 O Israel, hope in the LORD
         From this time forth and forever.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Needing a touch from the Great Physician

I just got done crying.

In the past month, Natilia has become increasingly dear to my heart to the point where she's now deep down in there.  I've been visiting every few days to check in on her at home, often with a friend to pray for her together, and weekly buying food and medicine.  We've gone back to the hospital 2 more times- 12 days after the first visit, and then again today, which was only 9 days after the second visit- and both times 3 1/2 more gallons of thick yellow water drained out of her stomach. 

Despite this, she is constantly so smiley and just indescribably precious.  I'm 4 months in on learning Creole, so we can communicate, but it's still on a somewhat simple level and I don't understand everything she says.  Yet communication is 93% nonverbal anyways, so even without the ability to talk on a deep level, I feel like we've become really good friends and I've come to quickly and deeply love her and her children. 

It has brought deep joy to my heart to be able to minister to her.  I see how beloved she is to God, and to be able to take care of one of His helpless children is a great great privilege.  Always, always, there are moments writing themselves on my heart out here, like snapshots I will never forget.  One was walking out of the hospital after the first drain- she was so weak and tired I thought she might faint.  And one was walking out after the second drain- I walked ahead to call a taxi, and as I looked back I saw her walking strong and smiling with her arm linked in her daughter's.  Twelve days of eating so much better and the medicine had made a huge difference in her strength.

God is stirring in her poor neighborhood.  One woman keeps saying that Natilia will die.  Others are saying that God must love her very much if He sent someone to help her.  Today as I sat outside her house waiting for her to get ready before we went to the hospital, the usual crowd of kids gathered and a couple adults, and we ended up reading from my little Creole New Testament the story of Jesus' birth.  As Sara and I left the other day, about 8 of the kids walked us to our house, play-fighting over who got to hold our hands the whole way- we were quite a spectacle in the street, the crowd of us.  Natilia is literally aglow in His love right now and it radiates.

The tears came tonight after I finally decided to take a few moments to do some research on what the doctor suspects is her problem- cirrhosis of the liver.  (Turns out it is caused from things other than just alcoholism.)  After I read about it, I am almost 100% sure he is right.  It seems she has cirrhosis which is causing ascites- the accumulation of fluid (usually yellow) in the abdominal cavity.  Although her stomach filling up with that much water that quickly should've been a pretty obvious clue, I didn't realize until I researched it tonight how bad this disease is and how serious her case is.  I see that either God will do a miracle and heal her for all the neighborhood and hospital to see, or she will probably go to be with Jesus sooner than later, and I think I will take care of her kids.

I don't know what God's plan is.  His will and ways are always perfect, and we can just rest in trusting in Him.  Yet still, my heart grieved tonight at the thought of her dying soon.  Please pray for her. 

Near the end of the draining with her son
who I now refer to as Doctor Carlos.  :)

Also, the hospital ministry has begun, mostly with the babies in the pediatric ward and in the women's ward with Natilia so far.  Meeting and talking with the patients or their families, laying hands and praying for them, bringing formula or juice or sharing my almonds with everyone in the women's ward today.  :)  I love that God has opened this door, and one of the most staggering things is that it is directly ministering to Him- "I was sick and you visited Me..."  (Matt. 25:36). 

This one, Patricia, has completely stolen my heart.

In the babies room in the pediatric ward.

Psalm 30:2~ O LORD my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.