So Thankful Replay…Day 17

Today we spent the morning in clinic and the afternoon decorating the house for Christmas.

By “we” you probably think I mean Jose & me. And in a lot of ways that’s true. But the “we” I’m referring to is Momma Gigi & I. WE do pretty much everything together.

Yesterday we took our family Christmas Card pictures and she was right there with us getting the kids dressed & clapping her hands – yelling at them to smile! 🙂

When we moved to the Mole there was no doubt I was bringing Momma Gigi with me. Not because she worked for me but because we’ve always worked well together. There are few decisions I make that Momma Gigi doesn’t impact in one way or another. She has incredible wisdom. Even though I understand this culture pretty well – she’s always teaching me new things. She’s always showing me better ways to confront, hold people accountable, and lead our staff/village in new ways of thinking.

She has seen me at my best and at my worst. She has held my hand when I’ve cried, fallen to her knees with me when I’ve wept, & brought me a cold rag when I’ve been sick.

She’s prayed for me when I was too stubborn to pray for myself. When I’m angry at God or the world – she offers words of wisdom and texts me scriptures all through the night. She’s taken care of the kids & filled in for me when I wasn’t able to.

When Jose is away, she stays with me at the house. I don’t ask her to – she just doesn’t want me to be alone. Whether it’s throwing a party for the kids, decorating for an event, deciding which Bible study to teach the women’s group, figuring out how to run the clinic, deciding the best way to lead a movement here – – she’s always apart of the process.

When the hurricane passed through here last month everyone was cold and wet. The charcoal was too wet to cook with. When I came up with the idea to make peanut butter sandwiches & hot chocolate – Momma Gigi came right on over even though it was dark outside. No matter what ministry idea we have – she’s always available to help us out.

We’ve nicknamed Momma Gigi – “Momma”. All of us call her that. The kids and I LOVE IT when we are in the states and everyone sees all of us together… and we all call her momma. If you could see the looks of people trying to figure out Jose/Me/Momma Gigi and all of these kids – it’s quite humorous.

Two years ago Momma Gigi got really sick. We thought she was having a heart attack. I’ve never seen her like this before. We took her to the hospital and the whole town showed up. They knew when they heard the military truck pull into the hospital something serious was going on. It was dark out. Yet the place was crowded with people. Everyone was worried about her – praying that she would be okay. They stayed all night long too. That’s the first time I’ve seen them do that.

For the first time I thought something might really happen to her. It was in that moment I realized how much I loved my sister in Christ and how I can’t imagine doing life without her.

So today I’m thankful for this beautiful & Godly woman! She makes my life and my children’s lives so much better. She also makes the ministry we do here better! So grateful to God for giving me Gigi & her wonderful mother!

SO Thankful…Day 17

God has blessed me with so many people in my life! Whether they’re Haitian or American – God has used many friends to reach me, encourage me, and set examples for me.

One of my closest friends is Momma Gigi. She is Gigi’s biological mom. When Gigi moved in with us at 2 years old – I hired her mother to take care of her while I worked. What better person to love a special child – then the mother who carried her for 9 months! So for 9 years now – Momma Gigi has been a constant force in my life.

Haiti is hard on its own people. If you are different then you get made fun of quite a bit. Not just by children – but by adults just the same. Momma Gigi told me about the horrible things people would say about her because she had special-needs twins. They would tell her that it was her sin that caused it. They would ask her if she still believed in her “God”. They would tell her that her children were broken. That she was broken. They would point and stare and laugh.

I can’t imagine giving birth to mentally/physically challenged children in Haiti. Knowing that Haiti doesn’t have the therapy or any resources to help – that has to be so hard on families. Then on top of that – for your neighbors and “friends” to act as if you were cursed and say the ugliest things right to your face.

I asked Momma Gigi how she dealt with all of that. Did she question God?

She told me who is she to question God? He makes the decisions and has His reasons. She doesn’t always understands but God gives her strength every day. He whispers in her ear how special she is because of Gigi and Tamera.  These babies led her to Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. To our family.  They gave her a job which allowed her to provide for her family. They were a special gift (not a curse as her neighbors say) and she was lucky to be their mother.

***

Last week before we headed to the states the girls and I went by Momma Gigi’s house to visit with her kids. Momma Gigi lives with her 3 children, Elirose and her 3 children, and Mme Selony and her 2 children.

I saw all the children sitting on the porch outside. Almost every time we visit I see the littlest kid (Rose Naika) eating a bowl of rice -making a mess. So I teased her and said that I was so shocked to see how clean she was! Did she already have her bath after eating today? She buried her little head and one of the other kids said, “We didn’t eat today. We didn’t eat yesterday either”.

What? The children began to explain that over the last week the entire house was out of food. They were eating a few spoonfuls of rice each day but they ran out yesterday. THESE ARE THE CHILDREN OF MY EMPLOYEES!!  Their moms work for us and make a salary – and even at that  – it’s not enough to feed their children.

I went to Momma Gigi and asked her why didn’t she tell me? How come I had no clue that their children weren’t eating? She told me there are others around her who suffer more than she does. She has a roof over her head. She has clothes. Her children are in school. So even if they can’t eat every day – God has already blessed them so much. She told me that she knows that God will help her. She said that she didn’t want to burden the mission or my family. That God would somehow provide.

I listened to her talk about her faith in God. Who HE is to her. Here is a mother who struggles every single day. Who feeds her children just spoonfuls of rice. And SHE is telling me how GREAT her God is! How faithful her God is! How benevolent her God is!

You will find Momma Gigi at nearly every church function. She sings in the choir. She leads the Bible Studies. She attends the 4am church services. Even when she travels to the states – you can see her at 4am reading her Bible. You can hear her singing softly- How Great Thou Art!

Momma Gigi has been through SO MUCH in her life. Yet her faith has never wavered. I’ve never met anyone like her. She truly inspires me every day.

So today I am thankful for Momma Gigi.

For showing me what genuine faith in God really looks like.

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