Connecting people who have much and need little... to those who have little and need so much.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Au Revoir Jenika Mon Amour (Goodbye Jenika My Love)
My name is Shawn Smith,
I have written the first sentence to this blog several times and then deleted it. I promise you that if you read this you will not regret it. Today was a day of days. I pray that God uses it and equips me in his calling and fills your heart moving it to action like he has mine. I will also apologize in advance for the grammar because my awesome wife is asleep and cannot proof read and correct it. I will explain the title at the end but first I will tell you about the 1st half of the day.
Experiencing God in Haiti feels like when you jump into a pool in the deep end. God is all around you and in everything you do, every person you meet and every moment including your dreams. The first half of today we went to Grace Village which is a magnificent place on the side of a Mountain that is funded and ran by Healing Haiti(amazing organization!!) We did a skit about respect with over 50 kids and spend time playing with them and doing a crafts project, playing soccer and basketball and playing. This place really reminds me of Camelot. This place is the light that shines into the darkness and is doing amazing things!
On our way back to the guest house we stopped at the mass gravesite that 3-400 thousand people were buried at after the earthquake and one of our leaders and translators lost his father and most of his school in the quake. He happened to go outside to get water when the quake happened and he fell over. When he could get up he started to run towards his school and the 3 levels collapsed killing almost everyone in his school right in front of his eyes. At the same time his father was working in a bank and the bank collapsed killing his father. There was just a deep sorrow in his voice from all of this loss. He is normally a very jovial person but I could tell all day he was struggling and was in his head and then it was clear when we went to the site that this was why his day was tough because he had to go to this site weekly to show our teams the site. But I could tell he wanted to because his pain and loss were powerful tools of change in the hearts of our team.
When we got back it was about 215 pm and we had the choice of going to either the Home for the Sick and Dying Babies or staying back to rest since we were all very mentally,emotionally, and physically depleted. Four of us and two translators decided to get dropped off at the Home for Sick and Dying Babies which was now our 3rd time here and definitely one if not the most life changing things of this entire trip. I will come back to this at the end. When our time was up we walked back to the guest house which was awesome! Just about a 20 minute walk but it was so great to just walk through the streets of Haiti and see so many nice people and say hello and have a nice day in French or Creole. We can still see Earthquake damage and there art still tent cities all around and I mean ALL AROUND. Crazy thing is everyone else is telling us how the tent cities have shrunk but there is still so many!
The night wrapped up with a great dinner and team time. We have such a passionate team and I am so thankful to God for all of them. Our host and the Haitian workers have been amazing and they are truly gifted with great hearts.
Now to explain the title of this blog. I will apologize in advance that I will not be able to fully explain somethings here because it would just take me a book to help you make it make sense. Stephanie and I have opted to go to the Home for Sick and Dying Babies 3 times on this trip. Every time we go God breaks our hearts more. There were 3 baby girls that I particularly connected with but one in particular I am sure has changed my life forever….
The first day we came here I tried to hold as many babies as I could to spread the love around to as many of them as possible. There is just rows and rows and 4 large rooms of babies that are mostly very ill. There was one girl who was just curled up the first day in the fetal position and did not want to be held. You could tell she was running a bad fever and was miserable. I tried to connect with her but she would not respond.
On Friday we went there again and I tried to hold again as many babies as I could that were ones that seemed to not be getting held. After holding several and connecting with a few from the last time we were there that I just feel in love with I came to the girl, who was still running a fever or very ill. I again tried to connect with here but she just seemed so sad and miserable. I tried to see if she would raise her hands to be picked up and she barely could lift her arm. She was 5 and fit easily in a babies crib. She was obviously very sick, uncomfortable and sad. I brought her out into the court yard where Jeff was playing guitar and just sat with her in my lap. Her head lay in my chest. I could tell she was finding some kind of peace in my arms and was going in and our of being asleep while we listed to the music.
As she sat with me I began to study her and I noticed that his girl had be abused heavily physically for sure but you could tell psychologically, emotionally and verbally she had been abused just by her demeanor. I held her the rest of the time and just went in and out of weeping. I noticed someone had carved into her temple a X that was now a scar. And that she had many scars all over. This girl was so beautiful and I felt a pain in my heart that I had never felt before. I held her as long as I could and when I left I told her good by and I loved her in French but she did not respond. She just went back into the fetal position in her crib. I wept all the way back to the guest house, tears flowing from beneath my sunglasses. When I got back to the guest house I went to wash my face and I wept int he bathroom for awhile. I could not hold myself together. I went into my room and wept further crying out to God because my soul screamed out in pain for this girl. I was beginning to find something in my heart I didn’t know specifically was there. A calling to help children of abuse and the broken people of this world. God was stirring something in me that was making me go crazy on the inside like never before.
Now to explain the title of this blog. When we went there today I was on a mission. I wanted to find as much out about this girl as possible, I knew she was changing my life. I went in and found her out immediately. I found our her name which is Jenika. I found out she still had a fever. They were just cleaning her. Once she was clean I asked for her and she immediately recognized me. I saw a look that I had not seen from her and that was one of a little bit of peace in her spirit. I picked her up and said Bonjour Jenika Mon Amour, (hello Jenika my love) she hugged me and again cuddled up to my chest. We went back out to the court yard and sat down. She was again finding peace in my arms. Her scars again reminding me the terrible pain that must of been inflicted upon such a beautiful child….
Unfortunately she was so sick that the nurses came over and took her from me to an middle room between rooms that you could see out into the courtyard from where they began to get her ready to be put in an IV for her fever. I think she was severally dehydrated and could not hold down food. She screamed in fear like nothing I had every heard. I held her hand but it did not help. She was trembling in fear. They took a long time until they actually tried to stick her and the 1st attempt in the hand missed the vein. My heart and soul were being broken down into rubble. What ever was left was being shattered on the inside of me. I tried to hold some of the other babies and helped comfort many of them but all the meanwhile I had to listen to the screams of my dear sweet and beautiful Jenika. I was falling in love with this child as if she were my own. If I was able to I would take her home to america now without a second thought. I could tell now my wife Stephanie could see why my heart was broken and I could see hers breaking as well. We just kept coming back to her to comfort her, holding her hands and rubbing her feet and back.
Finally the nurse got the iv into her arm and then left again with her just taped up. But we had to go. I was shaking and my eyers were filled with tears just welling up inside of them. God was moving me in a more powerful way then I have ever experienced. We had to go…
I knelt down beside her and looked her in the eyes. I gave her a big hug then whispered into her ear “Au Revoir Jenika Mon Amour” Goodbye Jenika My Love, I looked into her eyes both of us crying and she said