Bonne Annee- Happy New Year! At the stroke of midnight I was surprised to find myself thinking that last year is finally over- I breathed a sigh of relief and did not realize how ready I was for the year to be over. I did not realize how much I would be relieved come 12:00 AM January 1st, 2019. Deep breaths and light tears... don't mind me, I have a lot of feels these days.
With a New Year comes new promise, new hope, refreshed strength. I am clinging to that tightly. Trying to stretch it all out to last for twelve more months. We are barely even to midday on the first when our neighbor comes to ask for work again. We have grown to dearly appreciate this sweet man. His smile warms your heart and he is always ready with a enthusiastic greeting. I stood upstairs in my room yesterday and watched him chase his daughter around outside. She giggled like nobody's business and the love between them was tangible. I know it must have been hard for him to send her back to her mom for school. I know he worries he cannot pay his bills and wants to keep her out of an orphanage which mom thinks is an easy solution to money issues. We are really praying to be able to provide him work to sustain his needs and ability to provide.
This morning is Haitian Independence Day so more than just New Year's its a big deal! Fireworks last night all over and music playing loudly. We struggled so hard to stay awake until midnight. We had a dinner by lantern light followed by a game of Yahtzee and a special ice cream treat! We knew we could sleep in this morning and around 8:30 AM were woken up to a knock on the gate. Our other neighbor came to tell us soup joumou was finished and they were waiting to eat with us. We got ready and headed over to enjoy a traditional New Year's meal with this sweet family. We dreamed for 2019 and job creation together. They are such an incredibly loving family. We were so blessed to be invited and accepted in, to feel like a family and friends. It was a great way to start 2019.
This morning is such a different reality than what we experienced this past Sunday watching a karate championship and soccer tournament finale in Cite Soleil. We spent the day playing with kids who had so much need. They had so much need but so much JOY. It is a really hard thing to process when you see it, I was ok during the day and the time spent investing. After the fact when my exhausted body finally made it to bed- I woke up in the middle of the night unable to sleep. I kept seeing those faces and imagining what its like in their homes. I kept seeing the mommas and dads aching to provide and the kids not fully grasping why. So much difficulty. But again, so much joy. We sang songs and practiced names- the joy was inexpressible. And I think to myself about my own struggles and moments of sadness. Why can't I grab onto to this joy? Why can I not tap into the beauty in the midst of pain? Why are these kids suffering so much?
There is always constant battles with God about why's and why not's. As if knowing the answers gives me control and changes the circumstance. Its all about trusting Him who knows infinitely better than I do. But its still tough. From hunger to feasting on soup jou mou, Haiti is hard to wrap your brain around. I can't always explain it to you but I can sometimes muster up the thoughts and stirrings of my heart. Two nights in a row it has been super heavy. A little overwhelmed at the thought of Jonas and his daughter, of our loves from last year, of Tifamn needing to get to the doctor and Djamina needing her black mushy tooth pulled. Then throw in a hundred new and sweet faces that have need more than I can bare to acknowledge.
Tonight I take comfort in God's ability to leave the 99 for the ONE.
Tonight I find solace in the word that says He is the AMEN.
Tonight I will try again to find peace for my weary soul.
Tonight I will Abide in Love to get my strength for tomorrow.
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw