About two weeks ago I was holding a tiny guy at one of our partner’s villages. The team was laughing at me, because it had already become known that I’m not a ‘baby person,’ yet kept getting handed babies. This particular time, I’d been standing in a group of five Americans, and I was the one passed the baby. However, these few precious moments I cherished, because I knew I was holding someone special.
He’d had a rough start to life, more normal in Haiti than many would hope. He and his twin were abandoned, malnourished and admitted to the hospital soon after being left at the Pastor’s village. His twin didn’t make it out of the hospital, but he was a fighter. Many had fallen in love with this fella. What a heartbreaker, ladies! Many were inspired by his story, but then looked into his gorgeous eyes and were hooked. This small fella had defied the odds, with many people fighting for him, and when he came home from the hospital, a God victory was proclaimed for this little one.
As I held him, I noticed his hair was growing in better, he had more movement in his limbs when he had been very lethargic for several weeks, had finally started ‘talking’ and the mamas said he was eating a lot.
He was about seven months old when he passed away last Sunday.
They noticed he had started breathing very hard in church, and grabbed Pastor Kesnel after service was over. They tried taking him to two different hospitals who refused to see him. TWO! The first was full and the second had no doctors on duty, only nurses, so there was no one to diagnose him. Then at the third while they were filling out paperwork…he stopped breathing.
I want to believe that all kids given life have a chance, but in Haiti the odds are consistently stacked against them. It is a hard life for adults here…imagine new, fragile life and the infant mortality rate being high is not surprising. Knowledge of hygiene for newborns is minimal, and places for education on infant care are few. Yet this fella had a Pastor fighting for him, a home to be cared for in and an organization ready to pay any medical bills…yet he still lost his fight to live.
My heart is heavy, and I am deeply saddened. I was just holding this tiny, featherweight bundle, in what right now feels like yesterday, and this tiny one had a name.
His name was Watson.
It shouldn’t, but something changes when the oppressed have a name and a face. This I have known for over a decade, but never before have I known one to lose their life way too early. This reality of pain and loss is painful for all involved, but very much the norm in Haiti. They know every aspect of pain and loss in this country. However, thankfully, God has protected the Pastor’s kids that Global Orphan Project supports in astounding ways. Death is not a norm for the villages we partner with here.
Yet it invaded our lives this week.
But the One we serve knows.
God knows Watson’s name. God knows his struggle. God knows his circumstance. God holds him tighter than anyone. God still claims victory over this little life, and that is what we celebrate through Watson’s short life.
I believe that God’s heart is for these. Those that have no voice. Those who cannot defend themselves. Those who are told they are not worth the time. Those who are invisible to the world. Those whose unfortunate circumstance brings death so much sooner than we would like.
Stop doing wrong; learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. [Isaiah 1:16-17]
The fight for life in Haiti continues, it will never end until God’s Kingdom is restored. But we continue to fight here, as well as many others all around the world.
I am honored to be walking alongside inspiring Kingdom fighters like Pastor and Madame Kesnel, and all of their staff and kids, who are feeling this loss so deeply right now. I am blessed to be a part of an organization of people who care about them, love them and pour into the relationship we have with them.
And I am thankful for the small person who pierced my ‘baby bubble,’ etched his name on my heart, and will continue to push me to fight for the kids who have no one to champion them or give them a voice.
God proclaims victory, but we have the responsibility to believe it and force the fight forward.