October 8, 2013
Within a three week period I have now experienced two Haitian funeral of children within our special needs orphanage, the Miriam Center. It saddens my heart to have to deal with loss, especially grieving the death of a child.
We were all sitting at lunch on Saturday just talking and laughing when Stephanie came upstairs with a perplexed look on her face and said she had some news. At first we all thought, oh no, what have the kids done or broken now. Then slowly tears because to stream down her face. I knew immediately we had lost another child. She told us that Derson had just passed. However, there wasn’t as much sadness this time I think because we had spent the past week praying for Derson and his health. There was still sadness, yet there was also a comfort knowing that he had finally gone to dance with Jesus and was no longer suffering.
Derson is one of the boys you’ve probably seen me request prayer for over the past few months. During my time in Haiti this summer he was very sick and the interns would stay with him around the clock as he was on a breathing machine and having a difficult time. He got worse after I left this summer and then seemed to be doing alright.
Around the time I came back to Haiti this fall, he was sick again and having a hard time breathing. Two days before Rachel passed, Derson had completely stopped breathing which we couldn’t explain as he was revived and back in the nurses’ station for a little over a week. The fact that he was still alive was quite a miracle. God knew what would come and prepared our hearts. The same mama/nurse that takes care of Rachel, also takes care of Derson. I think it would have been devastating if two of the children passed within the same week. It would have been difficult also because Stephanie was not back from furlough and I can’t imagine being home while two of the kids you care for pass.
I believe God allowed us all some time to grieve the loss of Rachel (especially because it was sudden) before the Lord allowed Derson to pass. I know he is in heaven so happy and dancing and singing and eating at the Lord’s table. Derson had stopped eating awhile ago, it was a struggle to get him to eat or drink anything which was a surprise to why he was still going “strong”. I believe Derson is quite the little miracle without a doubt. When he arrived at the mission almost two years ago from another orphanage, they didn’t expect him to live longer than two months. Two years later Derson proved he’s a fighter and I think he also proved what love can do. Derson was loved on and poured into… his health was restored to better than when he arrived because he was cared after by those within the Miriam Center.
As a sat in the funeral yesterday, I couldn’t help but have a heavy heart. I saw Derson just about every day during my visit to the Miriam Center. I think what weighed on my heart the most though was watching the mamas grieve. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to have children of your own, but also to care for the children of the Miriam Center so much that they become your own. I believe the children of the Miriam Center are truly angels and gifts from God because they allow you to learn about yourself and about them. In Haiti, children with special needs are rejected. But here at the mission, they are loved and they are seen as any other child… they deserve love and they receive it. I can’t imagine what it most be like for the mamas as they begin caring for one of the children who has been rejected. Some part of their hearts and their culture I’m sure rejected these babies and kids. But God does something to your heart, he opens it and allows it go grown and he teaches you to love in the most unconditional way. Not all of the children in the MC- especially in the “lower-functioning” like Derson and Rachel can communicate their love back to you- yet God still allows you to learn and grow.
I know for me, my first time in the MC it was so difficult. I didn’t know how to love or even hold some of the children. But God did something to my heart. He broke it. He allowed me sense and feel the rejection these kids face, then he allowed for my heart to be filled with love as I made connection with child after child. He allowed His love for me to overflow upon these children in ways that I could never had expected.
Until I become a mom and get to pour out more love than I could have ever imagined for my children, I can’t help but know one of the reason God brought me back to Haiti is to love on these children… to show him the love that I feel and sense from God when I feel rejected and alone.
“But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” –Psalm 3:3
He whispers: “My child, when your shoulders are drooping, and your heart heavy, look to me. Life is filled with ordinary days, but I can make them extraordinary if you let Me. I care about your concerns. I will not only life your eyes toward heaven, so you can get a glimpse of My glory, but I will also lift the burden of your heart. Trust Me. You lift my heart far about the cares of the world and away from the enemies of fear, depression rejection and discouragement- with pride and satisfaction you can see a sneak peak of the permanent heavenly place I have for you.”
I thank you Lord for visions of hope and for always giving me fresh perspective. Thank you for your love and for allowing my heart to break and be filled with love.