Christmas miracles

I think it has been over 3 months since I have last written. That's intense.
But that doesn't mean I haven't had anything worth saying.. actually it's the opposite.
By the way I have not been able to talk for the last two days so I guess that's a sign saying I should write instead of trying to talk when nothing comes out.

I spent a good 9 days in the States this month. It was a quick but very effective trip. Might I add that it was freezing cold? I actually experienced a 100 degree temperature difference in one day. Yep, that's how cold it was. 
I met some amazing people and businesses while on my trip. It's always overwhelming for me to meet people who are interested in this story.. a story that takes place several thousand miles away. It's overwhelming when they are touched by people the people we are helping (or trying to help) that they don't even known and that likely they will never know on a personal level. One thing comes to mind… the body of Christ.

People kept saying to me, "you are his hands and feet" but over and over I kept thinking, "no, you are his hands and feet." You are making it possible for this ministry to exist and for us to serve people in Haiti even though you have no idea where we live or who we are serving. When you break it down that way… how awesome. How beautiful is the "body of Christ." Jesus said we must become disciples and extend our reach to all ends of the world. In order to extend love to all ends of the world we need people in every corner, people like the people I met in Wisconsin and Minnesota. 

My first-ever visit to a "real" Christmas tree farm.

I got back to Haiti last Tuesday afternoon. Boy, was I excited. While I was gone I caught a mean Minnesotean cold (which I wasn't too excited about). So I took the rest of Tuesday off out of consideration for the staff members and the moms. It just wouldn't have been good to show up to the land after traveling a day and a half. I can be a bit grouchy and gross (not having showered in a while). During this half-day off Amy and I took the opportunity to decorate a Christmas tree and make our apartment seem like we are in the Holiday spirit. We finally made the decision, just the day before, that it would be beneficial to the organization and us if we didn't leave for the holidays. We have too much going on with the moms, some possible surgeries, end of the year stuff, and just preparing for the New Year.

Don't worry about us. We have a list of Christmas movies that need to be watched before the 25th. I promise we won't skimp on any of the holiday festivities. We already kicked the movie-marathon off last night with The Christmas Story! We plan to be pretty traditional and I decided that we each get not one stocking, but two. We will have our own cookie decorating party with some of our friends here and we will have an awesome Staff party at the land. Oh, and this past weekend we met a couple "new friends" that all happen to be staying over the Holiday season as well. Be jealous... well don't be jealous but you can pretend you're jealous. 

Wednesday was the day. It was the day to see how Dadou (Haitian Director) did while I was gone. Dadou took over all my responsibilities which include finances, employment oversight, checking to see if mom/babies have everything they need, looking after all sustainable projects, and taking care of anything and everything that pops up.

He did well. He did really well. It's amazing to see how much Dadou has grown in 2 years time.
So good to know.. I can leave.

Amy was overwhelmed however with the amount of stuff she had on her plate the last week and a half. We had a decent amount of sick kids and two pregnant mommas to worry about on top of that. Our community health worker and Amy worked extra long hours. I think it's a perfect time to say how thankful I am for Amy and how our organization would be nothing if we didn't have her. I guess you can say we are a real team.

Amy and I decided on Thursday she would take the day off. A day off she very much deserved. It was one of those times where if she didn't have a day off she might crack. We do that every once a while but we are working on getting to the point of resting before the cracking begins.

Thursday was a unique day. A day I have never experienced before. I received a call early in the morning saying that one of the moms was in labor, and was asked what should we do. We have been thinking about this for awhile and had plans A, B, and C. Plan A was to have her give birth at the hospital where she has regular appointments (45 minutes away). Plan B was to have her give birth at the closest hospital and Plan C was to have the village birthing attendant deliver her baby at the land. We didn't have our truck (it was in shop) which was going to make Plan A and B difficult and we knew that the birth was going to happen extremely fast (this was her 8th delivery). We also knew that it was the mom's preference to give birth right there in her room with a traditional midwife assisting. She had had all of her other children at home. So I had them call the local birth attendant and let them know that I was heading out the door. Luckily I have my motorcycle so it took me only 10 mins to get to the land.

When I got to the facility, all the moms pointed to the room and made it clear that I should get in there fast! It was clear the baby was coming very very soon. Kerline (community health worker) and I ran all over the place finding blankets, bedding, gloves, alcohol, and anything else the birth attendant needed. 

It was happening fast. One of the other moms was holding and massaging the pregnant mom. She was telling her things like how to breathe and shooting up a couple prayers. I have never heard a prayer come out of this mom's mouth before nor did I ever expect this mom to be the one in the room helping with the delivery. It was part of what made the whole experience so remarkable.

Since I've never seen a baby born before you'll have to excuse me while I share my thoughts and emotions. Pretty much as soon as I arrived, I was told "it was happening." I grabbed the moms hand and continued to pray. It all happened so fast. I saw a head, and a whole lot of other stuff come out. I was maybe grossed out for 10 seconds but as soon as the rest of the body started to make it's way out I became overwhelmed with many emotions and all the grossness wasn't gross anymore.  I begin yelling wow, wow, wow. And "Merci Jezi." The baby was out.
I also remember saying, "this is AWESOME." I don't think I cried. But it's possible. 
It was all done in a matter of 5 mins.. All there was left to do was to examine the baby and cut the umbilical cord. I with leave out the rest of the details. But you can imagine that the birthing process looks a lot different here. 

The mom was tired. I heard cheering coming from the outside of the room. I heard Staff members yell "thank you Jezi." Everyone's first thought was to thank God. That too, made the experience beautiful.

Then all the moms went to work..  like they were on the same team and everyone knew what to do. One mom started to wash all the dirty sheets and clothes. Another mom started to mop and clean where the pregnancy took place. Another mom brought in water for the mom to drink. We wanted to send this mom to the hospital quick so everyone pitched in to help this mom and baby get prepared for the hospital. It was very beautiful. This picture of all the moms supporting each other was exactly what we envisioned when we dreamed up this place two years ago. It might be working out even better than we hoped for. Of course we weren't planning to have a mom give birth at our place, it's definitely not in our mission statement, but it was good to know that in this mom's moment of need each one of the other women cared for her and each other like they were on the same team, like they were sisters. It was clear that day that we were one big family/community. The rest of the day the moms watched her 2 year old daughter Jiselle, who is still on a 'round the clock feeding schedule.
Acts 2 anyone?

We care for each other no matter what condition a mom has or how little her baby is or even how difficult/rough her life is… no one is judged. We are all the same. That day I was feeling a overwhelmed amount of thankfulness. A thankfulness for life. A thankfulness for God giving us a vision and us being able to be a part of this very "awesome" story.