Blog Post by: Trevis Smith
First day began with a “Haitian wait” at the airport as we awaited our flight to Jeremie. We were there with one other mission team traveling to Jeremie (with another organization) and only one plane available and operational. After several hours, we departed to our final destination. Upon arriving at the orphanage, on cue, the kids began to chose us as if claiming us for their own. The ones who had been before (myself and Jenny Neeley only) were quickly met with the ones in the past who had connected with us prior. I heard my name called from several different directions, seemingly everyone knew who I was and either remembered me from past trips, or heard the first few call my name and then echoed it over and over. It was a moment I will never forget, imagining this is what it would be like as I entered Heaven’s sanctuary, with everyone knowing and calling my name as if they had been anticipating my arrival for years.
After playing for several hours with the kids, most of us had meandered our way out of the sun, down across the now concreted bridge and onto the porch of one of the main dorms. As we sat with “our” children, allowing them to comb our hair, lay in our laps, and just generally receive attention not otherwise reserved for them in their present home, spontaneously one of the older girls started to sing. Softly at first, almost to herself, but with enough emphasis to warrant even the most tight lipped child of the group to understand what was expected of them. One by one, tens by tens, they joined in unison singing a song that while not completely understood by those of us not familiar with the Creole language, echoed an angelic praise to our Lord and Savior. “Merci Jesu” they sang, “Merci Jesu.” As the first song of praise dwindled to an obvious end, the same lovely older girl began to pray, lifting her hands up to the Heavens, all the while seemingly praying over our group with fervent love and passion. At this moment, Peter, one of the young boys I had befriended on my first trip, reached over and laid his hands on me. And while I did not fully understand what he was praying, I did hear Jesus, and my name being spoken with the French/Creole “Merci” intertwined. It was enough to bring the toughest of men to tears, as these children with no earthly parents, living in an orphanage in one of the poorest countries in the entire world, ask their Lord and personal Savior to help you, and to Thank God for you and your team.
As God told Joshua to ask the children of Israel to stack up stones in remembrance of what He has done, so that as future generations ask what the stones are for, they can be reminded of how God allowed them to cross the Jordan river; in that same spirit I asked our team to remember this moment in time, stack our own stones of remembrance, be reminded of what God is doing in these children’s lives, as well as what He is doing in our own lives here this week. So that when we come home and we can share with others about the work that God is doing.