Dan, the President of Faith Mission International and one of our team members, had been made aware of a specific orphanage in Port-Au-Prince. We spent the morning visiting with them and learning about their predicament.
The man who ran the orphanage was a pastor, and he had accumulated 30 children before the earthquake in 2010. The earthquake destroyed their facilities, so they were living out of tents and buildings provided by US AID. The tents slept 6 to 7 children each, and they had one main building for eating, schooling, worshiping… everything.
The irony of all of this was their location. A wealthy relative was allowing the pastor to keep the orphans on his property… in the back yard. The house was large, even for American standards. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had 10 bedrooms. The man lives in the US so the house is usually unoccupied. Unfortunately, this man has now decided that he no longer wants the orphans on his property and has told them they must leave ASAP. This pastor doesn’t know what to do; they have no where to go.
Righteous anger fills me when I think about the large, empty house that could be sheltering children who have lost so much, but instead they are asked to leave the back yard.
We brought the kids sandwiches and juice, as we didn’t know how much they had and wanted to bless them. We sang songs for them like “This is the Day” and “Hallelujah/Praise Ye the Lord.” They also sang for us, but I can’t tell you the names of those songs! We then took some instruments and passed them out and played with them. They followed directions for loud and soft, but were having so much fun they really didn’t want to play slowly!
It was great to be able to be a part of building trust between the American mission teams and the Haitian people. Music is so powerful!
We went back to Gift of God orphanage after lunch and Jonas had brought his guitar! I was able to play and sing “Lean on Me” and the children sang along as they have been learning this song. We also sang “This Little Light of Mine” and simply did worship with drums and shakers. Eventually, we put the instruments away and one sweet little girl just had so much music in her so continued to drum on the bench. I don’t think 5 year olds have rhythm like this in America…
Later that evening, I was told the story of Smith and Katia, the couple who housed us and run the orphanage. They were young when they met, fell in love, and got married. Katia was the only Christian in her family, so she was shunned. She never felt loved until God gave her Smith.
Smith and Katia have one son, who goes to school in Tampa, FL. Katia shared with me that she has had 6 miscarriages, but then she said “But God gave me 50 babies!” referring to the orphans. What an amazing woman.
Smith and Katia were kidnapped and held for ransom at one point. Their abductors believed they had connections to American money. When Smith and Katia were thrown into their holding cell, Katia’s heart stopped. They pulled her back out and took her to the hospital. Smith didn’t know if she was dead or alive. Assuming he was going to die, Smith spent his time witnessing to his captors; one of whom accepted Christ, and the other whom was killed shortly after. Meanwhile, Katia is at the hospital, and a friend that happened to be a nurse working their smuggled her out and helped her escape. Somehow Smith’s family paid the ransom for his freedom, and the two were reunited.
Stuff like this only happens in movies, right? How can two people I know that love the Lord and serve him daily deal with this? How blessed are we that we don’t often experience horrors like this.