Fania and me on my 2nd trip to Haiti May 2017
Corn row braids Do you know what makes my heart skip a beat? Knowing that God delights in sharing these every-day-life joy-filled moments with us. He enjoys answering the fleeting thoughts of our hearts. No, these aren’t hell-shaking or life-altering prayers. They are pockets of time that tickle your soul and bring a smile to your Heavenly Father’s face. These are sweet moments of bonding with an omnipotent Creator. Ponder that. While some prayers are barely a whispered thought, others are desperate cries flung again and again towards heaven.
Louisa and her grandson Jerry I met Louisa and her two-year-old grandson, Jerry, during my first trip to Haiti in November 2016. A Christian woman living in the shadow of her Voodoo witch doctor husband, Louisa was doing her best to raise Jerry in the way of the Lord despite the brokenness of their surroundings. After returning home to the States, I frequently prayed for Louisa and Jerry. My heart hurt for them as I asked God to, somehow in some way, intervene in their situation. In July of 2017, I moved to Haiti. Seeing Louisa and Jerry nearly every day only increased my appreciation for who they are as individuals. One day, I went to visit their home. Glancing around, I noticed that the colored flags which mark the house of a witch doctor were no longer flying above the yard. The blackened Voodoo alter with its ceremonious human skulls was nowhere to be seen. And the dark symbols of fear were wiped, as much as possible, from the doors and shutters, where they had been painted. The witch doctor had deserted his wife and family for another woman in another town.
Greeting me like an old friend as I stepped through the gate, Louisa invited me into her home. Shock and dread made my chest tighten the further in I was led. Dried mud had crumbled away to reveal interlocking sticks which were the basic form of the structure…for the most part. Tarps and blankets covered the areas that had no walls to speak of. It was dark and smelled musty as though their few belongings had been soaked in rain water and not allowed to properly dry. What was once a mud and stick house was no longer fit to shelter my family’s chickens I had cared for as a teen. Reemerging into the sunlight, I looked into Louisa’s eyes as dread tightened its grip on me. Did she think I could wave my hand and fix all of this? How could I tell this dear woman that I couldn’t help her? In that moment came divinely inspired understanding and I took Louisa’s hand. Then, addressing her unspoken plea and my own feelings of powerlessness, I promised to pray that God would provide a new house for her and Jerry.
Over the next six months, Louisa would share her heartbreak and fear with us at Many Hands for Haiti. Our hearts broke with hers as we watched this precious lady raise her grandson alone in frightful conditions. Because the house and the land belonged to the estranged husband, there was little we could do except pray. I clearly remember one specific prayer I prayed after another visit with Louisa. “God, I know this situation seems impossible but nothing is impossible for You. Lord, will You please provide a safe house for Louisa and Jerry?” Easter Sunday 2018, two co-workers and I were giddy with excitement as we went to share the good news with Louisa. “Jesus is risen!” we proclaimed, “And because He lives…” We never had a chance to finish our sentence – Louisa just knew. She started dancing and we laughed with delight. God had provided a way for Louisa to have a new house and own the land on which it would be built!
I still stand in awe of how God worked in Louisa’s situation. Today, Louisa and Jerry along with Louisa’s daughter and second grandchild are living together in a safe concrete block house with a tin roof and sturdy doors and windows. God is good! Whether prayers are battle cries against the despair around us, desperate pleas for help or a passing thought – Jesus hears them all. And I am so grateful for His loving kindness with which He tends to us. Child of God, you are not alone.
Louisa’s youngest grandson