My daily rhythm changes with the tide of incoming teams from the States. Team in country? I am occupied and my day revolves around them.
And I love it.
I love their enthusiasm. I respect their perspective of what Haiti looks like to them. I am genuinely anxious for God to move in them while they are here. And I am always expectant of the relationships God will create and continue throughout a weekend a team is in country with us.
But the best part? I get to take them to the villages of the Pastors we support.
That’s right, ladies and gents, I get to play with kids.
May 26 started off with a gathering of prayerful people before breakfast, a lazy journey to load the bus and off to visit Paula Coles, which is one of our GO Exchange partners. Paula is a courageous, stubborn, delightful woman who has such great vision for what Haiti could be in the world through art, accessories and clothing. All with recycled materials she makes these incredible bags, pillows, wallets, computer cases, iPad holders…so much! Clearly, it’s a good stop. Today I told her, “If I walked in here and there just ‘happened’ to be a blue/lime green/black accessory bag in here I think I would say to you, ‘Paula I need to make a purchase.’” Her response? Perfectly timed, by the way, “Then there will probably be one in here the next time you come.”
Next stop: Leogane. And hang on to your hats, because Leogane is always a doozy. And when I say doozy…the Holy Spirit is going to be moving.
Pastor Claude’s kids are wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. Well, I am a bit biased because I’ve got a buddy at Leogane who I am always excited to see, and who is always looking for me when the bus shows up. Oh, that Chales. Stealing my heart. It’s really not fair. But completely fitting in the context of the Kingdom I serve.
And that day was no different.
I was sitting on one of the pavilion levels, and he immediately saw me and sat next to me taking my hand and scooting to where his entire right side touched my left side. Someone brought a speaker and the next thing I know, ‘Happy’ is blasting throughout the pavilion. Kid are dancing, Americans are boogying and Pastor Claude is bouncing his shoulders with kids on his lap.
All I could think was that this song is so appropriate for this exact moment that I don’t want it to end.
Coloring was involved. After Chales had finished coloring his mouse, I needed to check with Pastor on a few things so I was standing talk when I realized my left side had turned into an excellent place to write on the coloring sheet.
As I look down I realize he is writing his name out, ‘Chales Herode.’
Then next came, ‘to Stephanie.’ Then ‘global,’ referring to Global Orphan Project. Quickly followed by Claude’s village name and Leogane. At which point it was handed to me with the biggest grin. So proud of himself. And I was so proud of him. It wasn’t perfect writing, but it was perfect to me. (Side note: Said picture is currently residing on my ‘Wall of Awesome’ in my room at Jumecourt.)
I always let Chales lead me. After all, I’m an in the moment gal. He’s not done me wrong yet! Yet…
He is leading, and I’m following and he sees Pastor reading out of a picture Creole Bible. There are a lot of kids crowded around the Pastor, so he sees an older girl looking at another one, and starts watching her read the pages and say what the stories are about.
But he won’t let go of my hand. So here I am awkwardly standing behind him, trying desperately not to be in the way of the Bible viewing and he won’t let go of my hand, then tightens his grip.
While the speakers start playing…
Amazing love, how can it be?
That you my King would die for me.
Amazing love, I know it’s true,
And it’s my joy to honor you in all I do.
When was the last time you felt the presence of God in such a tangible way that it took your breath away?
Honestly, that question is for you…because down here I’ve lost track in the best way possible.
It is hard to describe the supernatural spark that happens when you find God’s amazing love legitimately flowing through you to love a child you barely know and are not related by blood ties.
It truly is amazing love.
Love that is unconditional, and flows freely from our Savior.
I didn’t make a connection with Chales. Or Johnny. Or Takyra. Or Alyosha and Kostya in Russia. Nothing I could ever do on my own could create that feeling. It is unexplainable.
Five days later I found myself at Leogane again, and showed Chales a photo of his picture hanging on my wall in my room at Jumecourt. You would have thought a celebrity had walked into the compound. His face lit up like a Christmas tree, his smile was the BIGGEST I have EVER seen it, and his countenance…friends, he knew he was known and loved and our friendship isn’t just about me showing up to hold him for a couple of hours. It was absolutely a moment that God was not only in…but supernaturally creating. It was beautiful.
God made those Kingdom connections and he nurtures those connections in order to further his Kingdom on earth.
The good thing is…I am only on week eleven and there is plenty more time for God to nurture some amazing love down here and it truly is my joy to honor God in all that I do.