We have lived in the Mole a little over 3 years now. Yet today it feels like I’m actually a resident….I really am home.
We’ve been on the St. Louis Campus the last few days. While I was in meetings all day long – Jose began packing up our remaining items that we had left behind.
When we first moved to the Mole and were renting a house – I didn’t want to bring everything we owned. Everything we own is in Haiti. We brought it with us on a big boat when we moved here 13 years ago. (This is the reason I hate boats! It was a 3 days trip from Miami to Haiti with 2 dogs and lots of sea-sickness).
When I was in grade school Santa brought me a glass curio that lights up. I collected Cherished Teddies since I was really little. I would put all those little figurines in that cabinet and as our family got bigger – we collected special ones for all the girls.
Everyone knows that I’m a big lover of Christmas. My family has always been the house that is covered in a thousand lights! We would decorate right before Thanksgiving and children would come from all the different subdivisions so they could see the pretty lights and all the cool things we had in our yard. I remember several years where we would go and get 12 trees and we would plant them in our yard just so we could have a Winter Wonderland.
I have carried that love for Christmas to Haiti. We loved having Christmas in Haiti. We decorated the entire campus just like I would my house. Thousands of lights and decorations. Then we would invite all the village children to come and watch movies inside the most beautifully lit campus!
While I know some may think that’s silly – I cannot forget the smiles and the way their eyes twinkled when they would walk inside those campus gates. Haiti is so hard – it’s so difficult just to survive each day. There’s so many children hungry – so many children abused – so many children left at home while parents look for work – so many children who feel all alone. But for one entire month of December (well let’s be honest – in Haiti I started decorating in October) – they were able to come inside our compound, have special treats, watch movies on a big screen and ……. just for a few hours – they got to forget how hard their lives really were.
We loved to do the 10 days of Christmas. We served treats every night but on Christmas Eve we would show the Nativity Story. Then we would cook a huge meal – at least 300 children would come and get spiritually and physically fed. My kids would help pass out the food and sugar cookies and although they were so little – they were so excited to serve those precious Haitian children.
Here’s a Christmas Post from 2009 – http://lifeoffering.org/2009/12/26/christmas-eves-celebration-and-feeding/
Here’s a Thanksgiving Post from 2009 – http://lifeoffering.org/2009/11/27/thanksgiving-in-haiti-2009/
Here’s a Christmas Post from 2008 – http://lifeoffering.org/2008/12/26/malayas-candy-give-away/ and http://lifeoffering.org/2008/12/25/christmas-for-the-street-kids/ and http://lifeoffering.org/2008/12/18/pictures-of-the-courtyard/
So today I watched Jose and my dad (along with several folks from Northside who were with my parents) load up all my special memories on a truck & then eventually a plane (as it was all breakable).
I know it may seem silly but I found myself in tears as I watched Malaya’s tall giraffe on the back of the truck – what she had in her room when she arrived in Haiti at just 2 months old. I saw Gabriel’s little stuffed animals that covered the floor of his toddler room. I watched the 8-foot tall Cinderella cut-out that Mikela & Rosie had in their room peeking her head just above the tubs. . There was our Christmas tree – our Thanksgiving dishes – all the kids’ nursery items, all the things we brought over on that horrible boat ride – all the things that hold such special memories of our time serving in St. Louis.
And although I’ve lived here for awhile now – there was always a piece of me left in St. Louis. And today those pieces are now apart of new memories we are making in the Mole.
I am SO grateful to God that HE has allowed me to serve in Haiti since I was just a little kid. As we cleaned out our depot and pulled out of the gate – my mind drifted to memories of playing with nutritional children when I was just 7 years old, helping nurses deliver babies at 12 years old, sleeping on the roof of the compound and staring at the stars while I had little Naomie (who was just a baby) sleeping beside me in a little box, sitting in the courtyard hanging out with the birthing center nurses and security guards – laughing and joking until the wee hours of the night.
Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me.