I have delighted in getting to know The Hendrick family in the past year since all of the disasters in Haiti. They are a missionary family that packed up their 4 kiddos and moved to Haiti last year. They work with an organization called Heartline. They minister to women, specifically pregnant mothers and moms with new babies. Their ministry ranges from prenatal care, nutrition classes, newborn care, and nursing classes. They have trained midwives and a doctor, and Heather is actually training to become a midwife there. I have LOVED getting to see this ministry grow, and see their family fall in love with Haiti amidst the trials and challenges. Ministry and missions is NEVER easy. But the Lord never said that taking up our cross would be painless. She does a great job of being real through her blogging, and finding hope through the hurt.
I started reading their blog just out of curiosity, and an interest in seeing a missionary family who has adopted and taken their family out on the mission field. However, as the months went by, I slowly grew to love these women with radiant smiles and huge bellies. My heart began to go out to the young girls who were hardly out of high school yet were already mothers. I grew to love the tiny babies with twig-like arms and legs, malnourished and sickly. My compassion grew for the women who tried so hard to give their babies LIFE, but whose children died out of their lack of knowledge in caring for them.
The hendricks posted last week about their need for a postpartum unit so Heartline can monitor the babies' health. Many mothers in Haiti bring their babies back weeks later, having fed their tiny newborns beans, rice, and 7up. These precious moms simply don't know. A day or two in a postpartum unit could be the difference between life and death for a mom or baby who needs extra attention.
The past year has brought an expansion of my vision. In some ways, the Lord has only increased my burden for the orphan and adoption. In other ways, He has opened my eyes to other needs as well. I saw this first happen when I translated for my dad at the medical clinic in Guatemala. It was while I was there that I first felt the Lord calling me to do Spanish, and using that to do medical translation and maybe nutrition classes. Then, I read about how Heather was training to become a midwife and I thought, "Hmm...well I don't think I'd ever do that. But maybe I could teach Lamaze classes." Then, last week, I had a very vivid dream after reading Heather's post "If They Could Only Stay." about the plight of many newborns in Haiti. It was one of those where I wake up and feel like the Lord wants me to pray because He has just put something on my heart. Ever since, I have just had this huge burden for these women. Not necessarily women in Haiti. Or maybe it is. I'm not really sure at this point. But my heart was so heavy and during some quiet time with the Lord this poem flowed.
I really honestly don't know what the Lord is doing. But He is definitely impressing things on my heart. New things. Maybe it is just so I can be aware. So that I can be praying for people like the Hendricks who are doing everything they can to save the next generation, and bring the love of Jesus to a country of despair. Maybe someday I'll have the chance to work with pregnant women or newborns in some sort of ministry. Or maybe...I'll be delivering babies, teaching Lamaze classes, or teaching moms how to care for their new babies. The best part is- I don't have to know. There are so many many possibilities for the next few years. But I can stand here with open hands, raised to the sky. Because my life is not my own. If the Lord's plan for my future never involves using my Spanish, never teaching a nutrition class, never do anything I just mentioned in this post then it is His will! I may have dreams and hopes for my future but the Lord widens our view of the mosaic as time passes. These things too will be made clear. Maybe someday I'll understand this burden I'm feeling for Heartline and the Hendricks and the women they serve. Maybe I won't. What a beautiful thing that I can go to bed knowing He has my tomorrow, my year, my next 10 years planned out. There is no reason to stress. His plans are for a hope and a future AMEN!
If you made it all the way through this post- you have won the dedicated blog reader award :) The poem that I wrote is below.....let the words sink into your heart as seeds fall into soil. I think that the Lord wants to grow compassion and love.
With puffy feet, tired eyes, aching back, swollen belly
The mother-to-be works all day for little money
To buy food for herself, her unborn baby to feed
A roof for her head, maybe clean water to drink.
The time’s drawing near for the babe to arrive
But she’s doubting whether either of them will survive.
She’s already so weak but has learned not to cry
With inner courage and strength, she’s determined to try
As the labor pains come, her heart fills with fear
She cries out for help, hopes that someone will hear.
She longs to hold the strong, firm hand of a man,
Or feel the gentle encouragement of a mother, sister, friend
But instead she’s alone, as she hears the wails
Of a tiny precious baby, weak and pale
As she holds her new child tight to her breast,
For a moment there’s peace, and both are at rest.
But the babe is still hungry, and neighbors have come
Overwhelming the new mother with advice for her son.
“Feed him 7up, rice and beans, or some bread.
You must get back to work, for you both must be fed!”
As the days go by, the boy’s health changes quickly
His body so tiny, he is weak and so sickly
She hears of a place with free doctors and nurses
So she gets on a bus, reciting childhood memory verses
She arrives just in time for a class of new mothers
She learns about nursing and nutrition with others
They had never been taught how to care for an infant
They didn’t even know what to do with their health while they were pregnant.
But this knowledge brings freedom, a key to success
Their newborns can be healthy, strong at last
They will learn about the Spirit, the Father, and Son
For He gives eternal life to all who come.