New Life in the Deaf Community!
Bonjou!! I write to you all early this morning at the start of another beautiful week in Haiti. The sun is just rising and I am actually in a long sleeve shirt in the pre-dawn chill (a little preparation for my travels to the midwest in 2 weeks!!). I hope this post finds you all loving life and finding fun winter adventures together.
This week in the deaf community we added a new regular class to our educational programs that already include leadership training, 2 Bible studies, sign language for children, English for children and adults, music in Kreyol, English and Sign Language, and our various times of crazy fitness competitions . This week we added a class for new mothers!!
At the end of October, members of a team from 410 Bridge conducted a class for expectant mothers covering a lot of important information for the excited expectant mothers. Ending the class, the women on the team explained that they would like all of the expectant mothers to take time in relaxation and find some small measure of peace. The team proceeded to bring out basins of water, soaps and moisturizer to wash and massage the aching feet of the Haitian women. At that time I stood back with tears in my eyes observing peace in the eyes of the American team members and amazement in the eyes of the Haitian women. How can I describe the scene in words…? In the blistering heat of the afternoon, in a temporary wooden shelter in the deaf community, Haitian and American women gathered together in joy over the new life that was coming to the deaf community. Nobody spoke because no words were necessary – peace permeated the space and the tears in the eyes of all of the women articulated everything that could not be put into words. Overall, a very cool and defining moment in this journey together.
Ok – to the most exciting news from the last month. BABY ANNOUNCEMENTS!!!! In the last month we have welcomed 4 babies into the community – (2 in the last 10 days!!). I have a chance to visit with the new babies and mothers often to check on them and just to soak in the joy of new life and beautiful babies.
Enjoy the pictures of these new babies and please take the time to pray for them today and for the next several months. Johnny was born on October 28th and is a very chill baby who always has his eyes wide open in wonder. Ruth was born on November 7th to two loving and beautiful parents who are looking forward to their new life together in the new community. Another beautiful addition to the community in blue, was born on November 8th and does not have a name yet. Our little joy in the pink was born on November 10th and also does not have a name yet (apparently it is fairly typical to wait a month or two before naming the baby).
Also in the pregnancy class that occurred at the end of last month, the expectant mothers were taught how to make simple hemp bracelets. Each woman made several such bracelets that are now being sold in the US to fund the purchase of necessary baby supplies. Not only are the mothers receiving everything they need for themselves and their new babies, they are receiving everything as the result of their own work and industry!
The class continues each Saturday in the community and is being taught by experienced mothers in the community. The women invited me to sit in last Saturday (since they are hard at work finding me a Haitian wife and want me to be a father asap . . . yikes . . .) and I enjoyed the new class that was started by the community to answer any and all questions from our new and nervous mothers.
Every time I visit these beautiful babies I am struck by the new paths and opportunities that will be available to them. In just a few months they will be moving to a house that they will be able to raise their own children in. In several years I envision them helping their parents in the family garden after returning home from playing with other children in the beautiful foothills of the Haitian mountains. In four years they will start preschool at a very good school and if they choose, remain in school through 12th grade and maybe someday attend University. All of this with the safety concerns that come with life in a Haitian slum far from the front of their minds.
Well, I am off to the community to hang out with everyone there for the rest of the day! Thank you all for your prayers, support and encouragement – as you can see, they mean a lot to everyone here in Haiti, including our new babies and expectant mothers!
To end, a short prayer from my journal on November 26th.
Lord, today we thank and praise You for Your infinite grace and mercy. For the clear reminder that even amidst suffering and pain, you are a God of everlasting hope. For beauty, friendship, fellowship, and new life as reminders of Your love for all of us, we thank You. In this, one of the most broken countries in the world, You remind us that Your joy will always overcome and stamp out the sufferings of this world. I have much to be thankful for this season, but in short, it is all in thanks to the Father who calls me His son and cares infinitely for me. AMEN.
grace and peace,