Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Hope is Built

This is a picture of our friend Jesula and her family that I took on my second trip to Haiti, in 2008. She is standing in front of her house with her children. I think I felt a connection to her because we are both mothers of five children.

I learned that Jesula and Jamalyn became good friends during the time that David and Jamalyn lived in Haiti. Each time they take a group to Haiti, they are welcomed to Jesula's home and served delicious Haitian pate. Jesula's house is right across the road from the guest house. At least it was.

This was Jesula's house in the late afternoon of January 12, 2010.  Jesula's house and the guest house were just two of the buildings destroyed by the earthquake that hit Haiti that day.

The family lived temporarily in a tent following the earthquake until they could build a shelter. They are now living up the road a bit in a small tin structure, where they hope to build a new home. Still, Jesula welcomed Jamalyn's group of ten for pate when they were there last month.

Jennifer was able to go back that evening to take some pictures of the family. This is Jesula and her younger daughter, Diane.

This is Jesula's husband Boss with their youngest. Boss was seriously injured in the earthquake at the school, where he was working that day. One of the men with him was killed when the school collapsed.

This is the whole family. Well, minus one son who was off somewhere, and plus the three little ones in front. I think they are nieces.

This is their oldest daughter, Joanne. Jamalyn's mom and I were prayer partners while the group was gone last month, and one of her text messages said that maybe Jon would "decide to be a missionary to Fondwa because he fell in love with Jesula's tall beautiful daughter... tee hee." She is beautiful.

She liked posing for Jennifer. We will get these photos printed for her and send them down on the next trip.

Jesula and Boss even posed for Jennifer. Boss was never around during my visits to Haiti. I'm not sure I have ever met him, as he was always away working. It seems like he has spent more time at home since the earthquake, and has been working right there in Fondwa to help rebuild their community. Jamalyn heard him call Jesula "his wife" for the first time. God works in mysterious ways.

This is Jon and their son Dadou. Our family has the opportunity to sponsor some of the students at the school in Fondwa. This sponsorship helps provide teachers' salaries, classroom supplies, textbooks and a school nutrition program that provides food, milk, vitamins and deworming medication. Sponsorship opportunities are available through Family Health Ministries.

Jonathan sponsors Dadou, and they enjoyed the chance to meet and spend some time together. Jon took him a soccer ball, and it was fun for him to see Dadou light up when he gave him the ball. Jon also gave him the air pump for the ball, and after kicking it around a bit, Dadou took the pin and deflated the ball. Jon asked Jamalyn what he was doing, and when Jamalyn asked him, Dadou said "so it won't roll down the mountain." Smart kid.

Jesula and Boss hope to build a new house soon. Here, you can see the plan for the house, with several rooms. To the left, you can see the house where they are currently living. Straight ahead in the picture, is the edge of the mountain. You can see why Dadou was worried about his ball!

This is another angle of their current home, and the floor plan of the home they hope to build.

When I think of Jesula and her family, of our friends in Fondwa, and all of Haiti, my heart is broken for them.  On my trips to Haiti, we often spent time in the evening reflecting on the day, and sharing our experiences.  I could never get my words past the tears in my eyes and the tightness of my throat.  Even by the last day of my third trip, I had to walk up to the gazebo to have my day to cry in Haiti.  And yet, despite unthinkable hardship, there is joy.  There is joy in the Haiti that brings tears to my eyes. 

This morning, I read a reflection by David Williamson from his Fuel 2 Go blog on the St. Luke's website.  The Family Fuel definition of joy is  "finding a way to be happy, even when things don't go your way."  To say that things haven't gone their way in Haiti would be more than an understatement.  And yet, there is joy.

As Christmas approaches, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what brings joy.  I am inspired by the beautiful words of Ann Voskamp who shares how her young family has chosen to focus on the joy of Jesus instead of presents.

When our family gathers this Christmas, there will be a few presents,  some pretty decorations, and way too much food to eat.  But the joy will come in the welcome home hugs, the laughter of siblings, the energy and excitement of children, the wisdom of age, and the time shared together.  It will also come with the opportunity to give hope to a family in Haiti to help build a house.

And there is joy.

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; 
in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message 
with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.  
1 Thessalonians 1:6

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, 
whatever you did for one of the least of these 
brothers of mine, you did for me.'  
Matthew 25:40

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Beautiful post Susan! Thanks for sharing.