About this blog: Discussing religion, spirituality and values. About the writers: Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. Janet Marshall is the religion editor for The Free Lance-Star.
Loaves and Fishes and Haiti
Tomorrow, we will run a story about local efforts to help Haiti. Working on the story, I interviewed Lora Bradford, a Stafford resident with family in the Caribbean country. Bradford collected supplies for Haitians. Almost two years ago, she went on a mission trip to Haiti, working with children with special needs (that’s her above, with an orphan named Den-Den).
Bradford shared with me a piece she wrote for her church, to share the mission trip experience with them. It was so moving I decided to share it with you:
Give Me Your Lunch
The magnitude of people that are hungry, living in poverty, sick and in great need was overwhelming to see. What could my money do, what could I possibly give to such a land in need. I wondered what I could possibly do for Haiti. But, God reminded me of the lad whom unselfishly gave his lunch to Jesus to feed the multitudes of people. He continued to whisper in my ear, "Lora, give me your lunch?" The disciples forgetting about all the other miracles they had witnessed standing beside Jesus, continued to ask the same questions we ask today. How will this help, this is not enough money to do anything for all of these people. God wants you to give your lunch to Haiti. I gave my skills and talents to Him as I touched each and every child in the Heavens Waiting room where the children who were differently abled resided in Northwest Haiti Christians Missions. Today I am reminded of Cherlonda’s beautiful voice as she sang, "Jesus loves me," Den-Den’s attempt to say my name, Belle’s high five everytime you passed by her, Marie Julie’s beautiful smile that can be seen in her eyes, sweet Walden who always had a smile on his face, Steven’s excitement to be up on his feet walking down the hall, Bernard’s joy to have someone that understood his language, Lovejennie’s singing to herself, John’s pleasure to see me watch him attempt to write my name, Tamera’s ability to quickly learn something new, Jimson who pulled up to stand as soon as he felt someone near him, Lounide, Job, Gee-Gee, McKenzie, Rosalie, and Rachel. Every name and every face will never be forgotten. As I was giving my all to each child, God was filling me up with more of Him. My daily prayer this year has been, God, I need more of You. He gave me so much more of Him, He showed me His love through each and every child. Here I thought, I was the one that was helping them, when God was using them to help me, grow me, teach me and stretch me. God wanted me to be available, open and willing to serve Him. His only request was for my "lunch", and as a result I received exceedingly and abundantly more of Him. If you are wondering what you can do for Haiti, God urges me to tell you to simply give Him your "lunch".
Heaven’s Waiting room is an orphange for children whom they did not think were going to make it due to health, mental, physical disabilities. There has been children that have died there and others as you see continue to reside there with Haitan workers providing them with love and tender care. There were 15 children that resided there ranging from the ages of 7-8 months -approximately 18. Some children were found, as one was being abused prior to being found and brought there to live and others were brought by family members that did not know how to continue to take care of them. Many of the children there appeared to have CP, had hearing and/or vision impairments, diagnosed with Autism, and others as typically seen in an orphanges had sensory challenges due to lack of not being touched, stimulated and attended to, as an infant needs and continues to need as they grow and develop. When I arrived, I continued to pray and tell God I was open to serve Him as He desired. God desired to have me use the skills/talent and passion he placed in me. Courtney the person in charge of Heaven’s Waiting room announced her need of someone to help with the children and was so thankful when I immediately went up to her and informed her of my desire to help her with the children. She was so excited after hearing I was a early childhood special educator, she started to ramble and ramble saying what she needed and talked about each and every child and her concerns. She continued to say how she wanted to develop a program for each child and desired to know what each child needed individually to help them have better lives, function, and to show others that they too are capable of learning and being a part of the community. I then started my mission with each and every child eventually adding 2 other children to my list that she was concerned about. I assessed each child’s development, gave my suggestions/recommendations for each child, created a wish list of supplies/toys and a suggested routine. Once returning home, mailed out specific information about the suggestions that I had written out for her and gave her helpful articles and handouts. I gave my lunch to Him and He in turn gave me more of Him. I needed more of Him and I was overwhelmed and continue to be in awe of how much more of Him I received in Haiti. I was at the table with Jesus. Revelation 3:20 reads, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." He supped with me, I supped with Him. Every leg, hand, arm I massaged, every body I hugged, every cheek I kissed, every mouth I fed, I felt Him holding me, touching me, kissing me, hugging me filling me up and giving me more and more of Him. He showed His face in every smile, every look, every attempted word and I heard His sweet, sweet voice as he used Cherlonda to sing to me bringing me to tears. I was at the table with Jesus, I was in the presence of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. I needed so much more of Him and He was there in Haiti with opened arms, ready to receive me and give me all of Him.
Also, Bradford reported that the orphanage she helped is in desperate need. Tons of aid is pouring into Haiti, but most of it is going to earthquake recovery efforts. And ministries that already struggled are finding themselves very desperate. To help the orphanage, visit Miriam Center.