Saturday, January 23, 2010

Broken Houses, Broken Homes and Broken Hearts...

The damage is easy to see. Everywhere you look there are broken houses. What is harder to see is the broken homes.

Late last night we found an older man with severe injury to his hand. He had lost one finger and two others were severely crushed along with a deep cut in the palm of his hand. His bandages were makeshift and old. Dried blood covered the rag. When we told him we wanted to take him to a Doctor, he followed us to our truck. He must have thought the Doctor was at the truck. When we asked him to climb on to go to the clinic he told us he didn't want to go. He said he was waiting for his wife to come back and if he left, she might not find him. We asked how long she had been gone. He told us he hadn't seen her since the earthquake. It was heartbreaking... he still had hope... and he was willing to suffer to keep it alive. We begged him to go, promised him we would bring him back... the neighbors at the refugee camp said they would tell her where he was when she comes... after a while, he climbed on board. It is heartbreaking to think he may never see her again.

I asked God tonight, how many times can my heart break... cause it's breaking all the time.

I've been staying at Troy and Tara Livesay's house. A missionary family from Minnesota. They have been not only gracious to let me stay but have also taken in other children from other missionaries that have returned to the US. Two little boys have been staying in my room. The youngest Amis, about 5 years old wakes up every morning around 3AM and climbs into bed with me. It is so precious and at the same time heartbreaking to know that this little child of God has no one other than me to hold and comfort him in the middle of the night.
Tara told me today that the boys were flying to the US. One was going to his adoptive family in Houston Texas, the other to a family in Dallas. When I got back from my days work, the boys were all dressed in their very best to meet their new families. They were so excited. I was so excited for them. It was hard to watch them go.

Later in the evening after dinner, the truck returned from the airport where 27 children were flying to meet their new parents. In the front seat of the truck was Ronel, the 6-7 year old that was staying in my room. I asked why he was still here and Tara told me it was because they needed one more paper for him. The other children got to go. She said she hoped they could get the needed paperwork tomorrow. I would never wish for you to see the disappointment on Ronel's face because it would crush your heart... it did mine. It was dark and the power was off. He went into our room, laid down on the bed, pulled the sheets up and sobbed. It was so sad. Tara came in and talked to him in Kreole... I'm not sure what she said but I know she was trying to comfort him. After a time she got up and left as I sat across the room. I could not leave him by himself. I went over and motioned for him to move over and I laid down next to him. The tears were pouring out of him. He was still in his new clothes as he fell asleep. Here is a picture of him as he slept.
As you read this this evening, or tomorrow morning, please keep Ronel in your prayers. Pray that God will provide the necessary documentation that will allow him to go home to his new family... pray that God will grant him peace and comfort until that happens. Heavenly Father, we need you now. My heart is breaking. You are our hope.

Ronel loved to play with my digital camera. Here are a few of his pictures he took.


  1. I think that sometimes our hearts need to break- because when they break, they open wider than we knew they could.

    I pray for Ronel and for his adoptive family- I'm sure this is heartbreaking for them as well. And I thank God for bringing you and the Livesays into Ronel's life- so that he already knows love and compassion.

  2. Yes I will keep praying for all of you. I keep reading each of your posts and as heart breaking it is to read some of them, I cannot help but rejoice in the fact that people like you are there for them in the midst of such pain and sadness. May the arms of strength be wrapped around you and give you the resiliency to keep having your heart broken. And may these arms carry you in your time of need. Bless you for being an angel to all these people. Thank you. Lori

  3. Oh Jeff, Dear Man...
    Please know that I think about you, and the people of Haiti who you love so dearly, all the time... I told Alyn the other day that I was worried about your breaking heart, I can hear it breaking over and over as I look at your pictures and read your words. I think that you, and all the people working there, are not only the eyes and the hands of God, but the heart of God, too, "broken open" as you say, to make ever more room for all the pain and suffering to find refuge and hope. I know Alyn's heart is breaking, too, and that her heart is with you and with Haiti, as she is working so hard at this end to "hold down the fort" and get so much done from this end...
    I can't tell you how your presence there, not just now but all the time up to now, and all that you and Alyn have done there, has shifted people's understanding and compassion for Haiti. Over and over, as I talk to friends and relatives, they express that knowing someone - or knowing someone who knows someone - who is working in Haiti to make a difference has changed how they take in all that is happening there now. One more way that you and Alyn are agents of change and hope there... it has always been so clear from your stories and experiences that the work is done one person at a time, from one heart to another.
    You and Alyn have the biggest hearts of anyone I've ever met, and I think a heart is like a hologram in that when it breaks, each piece carries the imprint of the whole heart's love and compassion, thus multiplying its effects as the pieces go flying out into the broken world...
    Blessings to you and Alyn and all the people of your beloved Haiti.
    - D'Arcy

  4. I'm still praying for you- every day, every day!

    I'm lifting Ronel and all the children of Haiti up.

    I'm praying for healing, comfort, understanding, and even that there are moments of joy that can be taken in and cherished.

  5. I think it is so amazing, the work you are doing. My heart breaks again every time I see another report or read another story about the desperate need there. If I could, I would be down there helping, too. I hope to go in a few months and help with the rebuilding efforts.

  6. Thank you for posting this. I am Ronel's mom. I am waiting for Ernest to bring him home. They are still camped out at the Embassy. My heart is breaking for my little boy to be home with me. I did not know he went in the truck with them. I can't imagine how hard that was on his nine year old heart. It was hard enough for me.

  7. Thanks for posting this. I'm Amos' mom and we are so thrilled to know that you were loving on him while we could not. Thank you.
    We are fervently praying for Ronel each day to be able to join his family. Trusting God all along the way. Thank you for serving Haiti.

  8. i have been floowoing the family who will soon get to call Ronel 'family' and i don't know them any better than I know you . . . but somehow I found this story and HAVE to see what happend from here. I, myself, have been moved to adopt from Haiti and pray alongside the millions who want the very best for these children of God. Thanks for the work you are doing.

    Kristen, Suwanee GA

  9. Looks like Ronel loves the camera like his momma Debra. Praying for him!

  10. Thanks for this too. I am Ronel's moms friend. We are and have been praying for him! Give him a big hug from us and encourage the socks off of him! H

  11. Praying for Ronel! I know Debra and Ernest can't wait for him to be home where he belongs!

  12. this post wrecked me. thank you for sharing - i'm fairly certain ronel will be on my heart & mind until he is safely reunited with debra & family. praying.

  13. I am Ronel's adopted sister. That night I was anxios, and I could hardly wait for my mom and dad to pick me up. (Me and my brother Colton, were at our friends house while mom and dad held a concert). When they finally picked us up, I said "What's the news? Do we get to bring him home?" and momma said, "They won't let him out." I was more angry than anything, but daddy said to be happy for the people who did get to bring there children home. I am praying that God and Jesus will let Ronel come home with daddy. And i hope it is soon.

  14. My name is Jessie Litterell. I am Gabriel's mom. We are one of the 5 families who's children did not make it out of Haiti before the rules started changing---making it more difficult. We do need to praise God for his mercies and for delivering those 16 children out of Haiti on January 22, 2010. We also need to not be forgotten...spread the word. Why stop with these last 5 children from Maranatha Children's Home? That is what gets me---MCH is a licenced Creche! They have been in Haiti for over 17 years---they have an excellent reputation. They do not trafick kids!!!!! They have always played by the rules---I understand that sometimes rules change, and security tightens up---but why not finish what you started Embassy? Let 16 out and keep 5 behind? Gabriel is only 6 months old, so he didn't go to bed that night in tears....but I sure did! My heart is so soft for little Ronel. I will be praying fervently for him---and for all of the children "left behind".

  15. Thank goodness for good people such as your self and others. I know for a fact that God takes care of his kids though people like you. He counts on us to help his kingdom move on this earth happy. And it's great to know that he depends on our hearts to help other hearts! Thank You!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.