A Different Christmas Story

Life prepares us for the unexpected moments
December 20, 2016

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Roli (left) and other team members working in the clinic.

Christmas is a time to remember that God is with us. Roli, a member of one of our teams this year, shares her story of experiencing God with her:  

This has been a remarkable year for me. I turned 60 in October and celebrated with two parties.

Another wonderful thing that happened this year is that Jolise turned 25! A quarter of a century with this happy and sweet young woman. I am so very blessed to have such a vibrant and delightful daughter.

But the thing that affected me the most intrinsically was my second trip to Terre Blanche, Haiti. I turned 60 while in Haiti and spent the fifth anniversary of Christopher’s passing serving others in the most basic way, meeting human needs with love and respect in the humblest way possible. How fulfilling and special this trip was! My heart was involved from the very first.

One pivotal incident happened during the clinic. While assisting Dr. Dave, a pediatrician on the team, God put me in the right place at exactly the right time to be a help to a Haitian mother of five. Alian brought in her 15-month-old son for congestion and fever. He was severely hypotonic – lacking the ability to support his head and body well with considerable lack of muscle tone.

As soon as I saw Jean Bernard, I knew. I immediately recognized the need and what it would entail for that family in the future. He was VERY similar to the challenges that had emerged in Jolise’s life. I knew exactly what this mom was feeling and probably thinking too! I had been there before, some twenty years ago.

If he was in the United States, Jean Bernard would face years of occupational, behavioral, physical and speech therapy ahead of him – but what would happen to him in rural Haiti? Access to therapies would be limited and not necessarily provided at the time needed. A road that is so very difficult and challenging lay before this family.

Through an interpreter I was able to share that I was also the mother of a special needs child and that my daughter’s condition was similar to her son’s. Alian immediately wanted to know if her son would be “normal.” I answered that my daughter laughs, plays, plays soccer, runs and most of all is happy. She was crying and I tried to comfort her by physical touch (hugs) and tone of voice.

Jean Bernard was admitted so that he could go to Gonaives the next day for a chest x-ray for suspected pneumonia. In the morning, with Dr. Dave’s permission, I secured an interpreter and went to see them before they left. I asked Alian if she believed in God, and when she replied yes, I was moved to remove my cross and place it around her neck. I told her that when she looked at the cross, to remember that someone in America is praying every day for her son and her!

It was definitely a God moment for both of us. Smiles and tears! If my life had not gone the way it had, exactly – I would not have been able to show Christ’s love in the best way possible to Alian and Jean Bernard.

God was there
and He was with me
He told me what to do
He opened my eyes
and my heart
I am forever changed

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