This last month has been extremely difficult in Haiti. It has been difficult in our living here with fuel shortages, lock downs, and increased unrest. But it is also harder on our hearts as we watch an already suffering people- suffer more and in increased ways. It is hard knowing that there is nothing you can do to stop what goes on out there and you cannot protect the ones you love. We can cushion them a little- we have given our neighbors water, bought extra supplies from our local boutique to keep her business stable, and given a few people some of those extra supplies. But other than that all we can do is pray.
And we assume the condition of our hearts God so desires from us. Completely dependent on Him and His abilities instead of our own. All I can do is trust. There is no other option except fear.
I succumbed to fear last week at the mention and rumors of a coup d'ètat. I succumbed to darkness and what ifs, sadness and grief, anger and frustration with the Lord who "holds all things together". How can this statement be so when I see everything falling apart?
And here is how God, the Holder of All Things, responded ever so gracefully to my fears, anger, and questioning:
Yesterday, our laundry lady showed up much later than usual. She walked from her house to ours through the mud because there were not many motos out. She woke up waiting to see what the day would bring before she headed out leaving her four children with her older mom. Jesula is sassy and at times an absolute pain in the butt, if I am being honest. But then sometimes we have such great heart to hearts. We often joke around and tease each other. And every time she leaves my house I think how Jesula must be God's favorite kid.
She had this job for about two years before we arrived- paid a sustainable wage to provide for her family. Then we come along and I cannot tell you how many socks have come to die terrible deaths in our laundry loads-stretched into rags. Not to mention the various clothing items that have had bleach water from the one tub splashed on them and ruined. Many underwear and boxer pairs stretched and damaged with holes. Plus any fitted jeans or jeggings are stretched beyond recognition.
It is amazing to me that we have kept her but I see the four faces she is responsible for, I see her elderly mother Rosemene working hard too providing for this family and so we keep this sustainable wage. A wage sustaining an entire family each week.
Empowering one momma.
And just when I have decided to take the weight of the country and the woes of all her people to heart and crush my spirit, well this one momma comes to us late on her work day but something is different.
She is pinning the clothes to the line, effortlessly chatting away while completing the task at hand. She is happier than I have seen her in a long time, full of hope despite what goes on outside these walls. She is also skinnier as her second job has been shut down the last month with the inability for vendors to go out selling. But she is happier. Her weight loss tells me she is making a huge sacrifice to make sure what she does have goes to those four precious ones depending on her. Can you imagine, choosing not to feed yourself to ensure your kids are eating? I have been making bigger breakfasts for my friend just hoping she gets one good meal a week. It is still so hard on my heart.
But still, what is the difference this day?
And thats when she tells me- she has been saving little supplies for herself. She has a plan.
She has a small chalkboard, one piece of chalk, and a book from her little one's school.
Jesula wants to learn to read and write.
And thats where it hits me. I have to turn around and find a dish to scrub while we talk because the tears are coming. I am beyond excited for my sassy friend and the empowerment she has felt in the last four years. We recently talked about reading and writing and I told her how much I enjoy them and she was fascinated by it. I encouraged her she can enjoy them too, its not too late. She shrugged me off but I knew the desire was there. After I collected myself yesterday morning I gave her a giant hug and the joy on her face as she told me the news will never leave my thoughts.
Her ability to dream better for herself during this time has me melted right into the hands of the Father.
A simple dream in the middle of chaos.
The joy and pride in telling me this plan and excited for me to share it with Alex is a reminder of why we want a literacy program at the community center.
There it is friend- God leaving the NINETY-NINE for the one. His little lamb who has wandered off. His little lamb who has yet to accept Him and His goodness but here He is caring for her and her needs.
This little lamb who gives up her food for her family to eat and yet she dreams not of more food but of learning to read and write.
It's simply profound.
And I am reminded of how God holds all things together- its that all things are held together through Him.
Not by my understanding of His holding, not by my efforts to hold them myself, not by the world around me.
Through this abiding in love do I see the beauty of my SAVIOR abiding in this world, leaving the multitudes for the ONE. And reminding me it was never my burden to take them all on, but to just start with the ONE. Love the ONE. Empower and encourage the ONE. Pray for the ONE.
It is the only way to change this world- begin with the ONE.
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw