Traveling to another country has its challenges; vaccines, packing for a different climate, and uncertainty about the culture. But, for a mother, nothing is more challenging than leaving behind her children in the care of others. No one knows children quite like their mother. She knows their likes, fears, secrets, and instinctively cares for them. Leaving them behind, she must ultimately trust them to God who loves them even more deeply than she does.
I left our four children in the care of wonderful people for eight days so that I could serve the beautiful people of Haiti. The team that fed 90 children rice and beans for three straight days as a part of our Vacation Bible School. For those three days, those mamas in Haiti didn't worry about empty tummies. And not one child complained, "We had this for lunch yesterday."
I wish the story could end here. Full tummies, happy mammas, smiling children. That would be happy story, wouldn't it? But, it wouldn't be the whole story. You see, we eased the minds and hearts of 90 mamas. But, there were dozens of children who were outside the church looking in while rice and beans were served to their friends. There simply wasn't enough food for all the mouths. We watched as children scooped spoonfuls of food and passed it through openings in the concrete walls of the church to their friends outside. Others used leftover bags from craft time to store some of their portion for later, or maybe to share with their family.
Mesidor Angella Sebastien was a mother we never met, but we know her daughter. On the first day of Bible school, we met a seven or eight years old girl who had badly swollen eyes. She stood out in the mass of children with big smiles. With the help of the pastor and a $10 donation from the team she was treated at the OMS clinic. Before the week was out, her eyes were as shiny as the next giggling child (photo below). Mesidor Angelia Sebastien wrote a note of appreciation. "Thank you for the money we received. God sent people in the church and let them help us while we were in need. May the rain of blessing spread in the field of their life greatly so they will be able to bring more fruits for the church." I am humbled by her words. We gave so little and received so much more in return.
Traveling back to the United States, with new eyes, I asked the Lord to show me, a mother, some opportunities to serve here. Three days later I was standing in a Christian bookstore with my daughter when I overheard a conversation near the checkout. While I didn't catch all the details, I knew the woman was a person in need of hope. So, my daughter and I walked over to her. I hugged her, asked her name, prayed with her that God would meet her needs, and thanked Him for His love and attention to the details of her life.
I'm no one extraordinary. Just a mother trying to serve Christ when given the opportunity. Will my daughter remember the events of that day? I don't know. But, this is one mom with plans to live out more and more a life of service to God's people. She won't forget that.