Since December 14th, when 16 children boarded the BEM bus and traveled to Chantal to begin a new and free life, I have seen their faces in my dreams each and every night. To see joy in their eyes when we met in person fills my soul with such abounding happiness. The first pictures that Pastor Jean sent to me showed children beaten down, thin, in ragged clothing and with very little hope in their eyes.
These children either lived as a ‘restavec’ child, a slave child, or were in dire situations in their lives where they were prime candidates to move into that state, as their birth families could no longer care for them. The youngest is 3 and the oldest is 16. And today, as our bus traveled from Les Cayes to Chantal, deep into the western section of the southern peninsula of Haiti, as we view the mountains rising in utter grandeur and the crops that cover the ground, we pulled up to a small home that I have seen in pictures. And there those same children were – clean, faces shining, dressed in new clothes that were sent down in December for them, and welcoming our team. God is so good, and for each and every one of these children there is hope and love in the air. Our team spent the day with them reveling in a holiday party, eating a holiday dinner and getting many hugs and kisses.
As the sun set, we left the small unlit wooden slatted church where we spent the day and went to deliver the 6 duffel bags of sheets, towels, backpacks, shoes, clothes and Christmas presents to the first Restavec Freedom Home. Run by Pastor Lafume and his wife, this home sits on a small piece of land, with iron built bunk beds in every room. The Pastor and his wife sleep in a closet. I am aware of my responsibility to them, and my promise to build them a home that will give them room. The house is clean and neat, although so very cramped. School is being held a short walk away in the church – most of these children have never, ever been to school. Asking them, one at a time, what their favorite food is the common answer is rice – and I think of course, the basic food that they never could get enough of in their former lives. And their favorite color, for many, was red and white which is the color of the BEM uniform, something that they never could wear before. I feel so very privileged to be loved by them, and to serve them. And want to thank all of my dear friends for the support you have given to these children. They realize that they are some of the lucky few who now are part of the BEM family. God is so very good.