Have you ever wondered if what you do makes a difference? I have many friends who have given to the ministry here in Haiti over the past nine years. Some have come and given of their time and heart and talents. Others have not been able to visit, but have given of their resources to help people they have never even met. I want to give a few stories today of differences that are being made in Haitians' lives as a result of these generous people, even years after their gifts were given.
The first story is of Ronise and Berlinda. In 2007, I was blessed to have several wonderful people intern with me on the mountain in Seguin. These people stayed with me through thick and thin. They laughed with me and cried alongside me during all the ups and downs of life on the mountain. One day, they met some orphans with me. Ronise and Berlinda are two little girls who used to live in a place called Kapotye. Their father was gone, their mother was dead, and they were left to fend for themselves in their home until a neighbor found them and took them in. The neighbor found us, many months later, and with tears in her eyes told us of how she was no longer able to take care of the orphans but loved them and wanted to see them put in a safe place with good food and education. I made some calls, and we found a place for the sisters in the HOPE center for girls (through CSI ministries in Croix des Bouquets). My intern friends helped me transport the lonely, hungry, frightened girls to the orphanage. Here are pictures from that trip.
My interns have long since left Haiti, but their help with Ronise and Berlinda has had lasting effects. The girls are thriving in their new home. Tim and Toby Banks run the HOPE Center for girls and Ronise and Berlinda have fit in really well there. I was able to visit Tim and Toby a few weeks ago, and got to see how the sisters were adjusting. When we arrived, Ronise was at a ballet lesson in Port au Prince. Apparently, she shows signs of becoming quite a dancer. She also can put more calories away in one sitting than a grown man. She has been known to eat all the food on her plate, plus the leftovers on everyone else's plates. Berlinda has thick dark hair now, compared to the sparse orange hair she had when we met her in 2007. She is called the "little policewoman" by her house parents, because she loves to remember the infractions of all her sisters and playmates and then recite them in detail to her caregivers. Here are some photos of the girls now:
The second story I'd like to tell is the story of a truck. Not the green truck that I drove into a raging river just weeks after purchase in October of 2005, but a white Ford Ranger which replaced the flooded truck and has served me and the people of Haiti well since 2006. After Hurricane Rita and I destroyed the green truck, my church in South Florida (Community Christian Church) along with two of my friends from PA school were willing to believe in me again and donate large sums of money for me to purchase a new truck. The little white Ford Ranger was baptized in blood within one month of purchase, as I was transporting a hemorrhaging woman to the hospital (with the help of a couple dedicated interns). The woman lived, and so did several other sick and injured patients who were able to get to the hospital with the help of the little white truck. It forded the river well for a couple years, and then when I got married and moved to Christianville, it became a family vehicle, transporting my husband and daughter and I to Port and back for supplies, eye clinic medicines, and trips to see friends. But the little white truck hasn't given up it's days as a life-saver. Just last month, we had a seriously ill patient at the clinic. I was busy seeing other patients, Jim and Sandy were busy in Port au Prince with a team, and the vehicles usually used to transport sick patients to the hospital were occupied. So I called my gracious husband and asked if he would be willing to take the patient to General Hospital in Port au Prince with our truck. He did, and the white truck once again sped happily down the road with its cargo of sick people inside.
This blog is dedicated to all of my supporters, both those who have come to visit me and lend a hand and a heart to the work in Haiti, and to those who have given of their resources so the ministry can continue saving and touching lives. THANK YOU, and GOD BLESS YOU! What you give to the Lord and to Haiti will not return void.