I had a great week with visitors from Canada this week. Friends of the van der Marks (Ken and Debbie Gibbons and Heather Fretz) arrived last Friday and I got to host Heather at my house. Fortunately, I put the finishing touches on my spare room a few weeks earlier, so it was nice to have a roommate for the past few days! And it couldn't have worked out better with my new kitten - Heather is a vet! She was able to give me some great tips on how to keep Hanna happy and healthy. A few of you have inquired about her progress since my last post, and I am pleased to inform you that Hanna is becoming quite at home, and we've had some good bonding so far.
She greets me at the door and cuddles on my lap, and the best part - She trapped and killed a mouse! On Monday morning I woke up to find a dead mouse on my bathroom floor. It's still unknown if Hanna simply found it or caught it, but I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt! ;) If this keeps up, I think I will become a 'cat-person' after all! The only thing she hasn't killed is a scorpion that was in my apartment for a few days....
Heather mentioned to me that early one morning she saw a small scorpion in the bathroom. She wasn't able to kill it, so we were both hoping that it had kindly exited the house as it had entered. However, on Wednesday night I saw it again in the kitchen, and promptly snapped a picture before swatting it repeatedly with my trusty fly swatter. Apparently the smaller the scorpion, the more poisionous it is, so I'm hoping that this creature doesn't have any friends!
Now to expand on the title of today's blog... Today I just got back from a riverwalk/orphanage visit with the college team that is here for the beginning of December. We drove by bus down a side street out of Cabaret until we ran out of road, and then hiked for about an hour through the jungle until we reached a clearing, where we gathered the local children to sing songs, tell bible stories, play games and pass out candy. During the trek, we accumulated many tag along children - barefoot wanderers. Most of them were wearing only oversized t-shirts and walked on the path of dirt - but sometimes sharp plants and rocks - with us with no shoes. I couldn't really take any pictures, since both of my hands were pre-occupied holding onto theirs. But as we ventured deeper into the barren land of Haiti, I began to think about the lives of these dear children. Most of them weren't much older than 6, and yet they latched onto us without any signs of needing a parent. As we followed Amy, who leads the teams on outreach trips, I thought about how desperate these children must be, to follow a group of strangers, not knowing where they are going, and to show no concern in returning back to their homes. My heart broke for the little ones that we had to leave when we got back to the bus - I can only hope that they had a family or home to return to. I guess it's still just a shock for me to understand this culture and this generation of children. In Canada, you wouldn't think about letting a child wander off, or fend for themselves, and yet no matter where I go outside the mission, I always see children alone and unattended. Children in Haiti have to grow up fast. Much faster than children back home.
As I held the hands of the children walking in stride with me, a familiar verse came into my head. It's a verse I've claimed many times, but today I prayed it for the children around me. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says that He knows the plans He has for us, plans for good and not for disaster. Plans to bring hope and a future. For the children I met today, I struggle to see the hope and the future. I am blinded by what I see. The poverty, the malnutrition, the disease. And yet what God sees is a child that He created, with a specific purpose. I questioned Him about why these children have to live in such desperation, and what they have to look forward to in life, but I can only hope that the songs we sang together so joyfully, and the love we shared about Jesus to them in that small clearing will always stay with them.
As got back on the bus and drove away from the children this afternoon, I did my best to surrender my concern for them into the hands of God. As the song sings 'He knows my name', and no matter what impossible circumstance lies ahead, I believe that the Lord knows each of their names, their needs and He loves them, just as He loves each one of us. It's hard not to be able to simply fix the problem.... It's so much bigger than me. But thank the Lord that He is so much bigger than the problem, and as I trust Him and surrender, may I be used to play a part in restoration and hope.