American Sign Language and grief rolling in like the tide


The church roof across the street from the KONBIT house.

We live across the street from a Haitian church, on a busy street, in the heart of Lafferonnay. Noise is our constant companion. Huge diesel trucks rumbling by our gate, moto’s dragging rebar, car and moto music blaring louder then softer as they pass, church music and prayers, people talking or yelling, knocks at the gate, and some days wailing, weeping, to the back drop of a brass band. Yesterday was one of those days. The grief sweeping over the wall and into our school room like waves, taking my heart out to sea. Levi and I were trying to take a quiz on his vocabulary for his American Sign Language course. 80 terms, as I compared his motions to those from his teacher on the computer screen. “OK, Levi, sign ‘noon’ for me please.” Suddenly screams of grief, terror, guttural wails filling every space of our minds as they flowed out of the church 15 feet from our school room. Levi signs, “noon” nearly perfectly. “OK, great job, Levi.”  Funerals at the church across the street are not unusual. Yesterday though, just before the funeral for a friend’s mom began, we learned that our friend’s baby, Anderson, had passed away. The baby who was born too tiny and beat the odds, died because of an unrelated infection 18 months later. I held that sweet boy many times and marveled at his life. Thanked God he had survived. We have school to do. Little Anderson’s face, and those of his parents, filling my mind, then the wailing begins nearby. Yes, I think, me too. “Levi, sign the days of the week.” He does it and really nails them but we can barely breath because the grief is so thick. We trucked on. Subject after subject, laundry up, laundry down, when finally at 8:30 last night I had time to stop. Grief came for me and I had to sit with her for awhile. There has been death, after death these last weeks. I want to tell you that these deaths could not have been prevented but it’s just not true. While we will never know definitively, I am confident that lack of education, superstition i.e. Voodoo, incompetent medical care, and poverty took these lives. 

Goodnight Jeff…

Goodnight Anderson…

Goodnight Dani…

Goodnight Franzky…

Goodnight Kokot…

Goodnight Piti Andrè Rose…

There are many more whose stories I don’t know. Whose hands I have not held. We will not forget what took you or stop fighting to see better opportunities for LIFE provided to your friends and family. Life begins with Jesus and we will continue to point to the source of true HOPE. 

Can I ask you to look at and support a ministry that is near and dear to our hearts? Haiti Health Ministries is at the frontline, ripping people from the grips of death one person at a time. They are one of the few places we can go and that we can send people. Twice in the last 2 weeks we have paid to have the very ill seen at local hospitals. Both times care had to be taken over by HHM so that diagnosis could be made and those people truly helped.

They need donations and they need medical volunteers to help with patient load. Are you a nurse, doctor, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, or other medical professional? Could you donate time? A month? 3 months? a year? Maybe you have a heart for missions and would love to serve longterm. Time spent at HHM would be wisely stewarded to see the most impact in the community.

Psalm 18:6 “But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears”

Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”

Pray for us in this season. Pray for the broken and discouraged Haitian families and friends. Pray for our friend, Parker, who organized so much and fought so hard to save Anderson’s life. Pray for Anderson’s parents who adored their little boy. Pray for everyone at My Life Speaks as they grieve losing precious Franzky. Pray for Dani’s husband and 2 small children. Pray for Andre Rose who misses her son and Ti Andre who is missing his mama. Finally, Pray for HHM, the Directors Jim and Sandy Wilkins, and their American and Haitian staff. Pray that God would continue to provide strength and resource as they serve so beautifully. Pray that they would have opportunities daily to share the love and hope found in Jesus as they fight for peoples lives. 

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