5 Minutes of My Day: A Day at Mona’s. 3/3
I’m walking around the grounds, searching for Dave. I finally give up when a few team members come to me needing the bathroom keys.
Eric and I escort them to the bathroom, which are at the apartments in the back of the compound.
As I’m exiting the gate, I hear his little feet slap the pavement. I look over and he’s been sitting with Jon, one of our finance guys that works in our Duluth office. We rarely get to serve alongside those who work so hard in our offices, answering phones, organizing and planning and staying on top of everything financial. They are the backbone to our organization, the unsung heroes, they keep us afloat and in working order. He’s here visiting and serving alongside this team, and it’s so awesome to have him here on the trip.
I smile and Jon nods. I open my arms wide and, surprisingly, Dave bypasses me to jumps into Eric’s arms instead. I think to myself, “A first time for everything, right?”
It’s the smallest trip, just a short walk to the bathroom, but it’s filled with beauty. Eric and I have just found out about our pregnancy and I get to imagine him as a father as he plays with Dave.
Dave plays with his beard.
We visit the pig pen.
As we step back into the orphanage grounds, Eric puts Dave down and he runs back to Jon. Being so open and playful is so unlike his normal self: Dave normally hides away during this time, like the playtime chaos is too much for him.
“Two thousand US dollars. That’s how much we try to raise every month to cover formula, bottles, diapers, onesies, pacifiers, blankets and prescription medicine for the women. We try to cover it all, each of them getting a bag to help them transition into life with a new little baby.” she explains.
In my mind, I step back a moment, so thankful that Mona is pioneering this ministry. Aside from running the orphanage, Good Shepherd has countless other ministries in the community around the orphanage. Trusting that God will provide, each month, the funds they need to continue on.
“All we can do is pray,” she states.
The team pulls out the sidewalk chalk and coloring pages. Eric takes the colors and I take the chalk. The kids are having a blast, and so are we.
I look up and he has kids climbing all over him, sitting in his lap and searching for their favorite picture to color. He is getting good with his Creole, instructing the kids and keeping them calm. Love surges through me, a warmth spreading out from my heart. He is such a good man.
Standing in front of me is Jon, with Dave on his shoulders. And Dave is… smiling.
Not just grinning, not just a little pleased, but full-fledged smiling, teeth baring and giggles galore.
I freeze in place and will the moment into picture-perfect memory. In my two years of knowing Dave, and he’s just now 3, he’s never smiled. All the times I’ve rocked him to sleep, held him, colored with him, played with him… never even a single grin.
Then I hear a gasp behind me and a shout, “Dave, you have teeth!!!” It’s Mona, standing in awe just like me, seeing him smile for the first time. We laugh and laugh and laugh, I snap a picture. Jon is just humbly smiling to himself, ensuring it was nothing of his own doing.
There’s a first time for everything, right?
You see, that’s the thing. You can stand on either side of this experience. Some will say, it wasn’t Jon who got Dave to smile, others will say it was him, specifically who made it happen. When that isn’t the point.
To me, in the words of Mona, “God can use your hands, even if it is just to hold a baby.”
Now, I don’t advocate for people to travel across the country or world to just hold babies of another ethnicity, but I believe that in the quite moments, our God is present. And He is big enough to inject purpose and glory in the smallest moments.
In life, not just in missions, it is imperative that we are both listening for the voice of God and actively seeking it as well–asking God to speak to us, reveal His lessons and teachings to us. I fully believe He fabricates moments of our lives to teach us lessons that we desperately need.
In that moment of Dave’s smile, I learned this: whether it was solely Jon or not – he was there. God used him, a quiet and humble finance guy from the offices with a quick wit and kind smile, to bring about a moment of happiness for all of us. It wasn’t the only thing God used Jon for during the week, but it was a small highlight. We know that we, as humans, aren’t anything special. Dave could very well smile and be joyous in his own home everyday. We don’t hold Jon up as a hero that did some magical kid-laughing trick. We simply, in that moment, could feel the beauty of this life that God crafts for us. Knowing that in that moment God used Dave to bring joy into all of our lives. And that was enough. That’s the point – that God had a purpose, He fulfilled it, whatever it may have been.
In days like this with Mona and with other partnerships, I learn so many lessons. Friends can come in any form. Mentors can be found in every place in life. Wisdom is gained through experience and communication with Christ – her wisdom being my example. And most of all, following her leadership when it comes to the culture and the orphanage is a no-brainer. Not only is it the healthy and right way to pursue a missions partnership, but ultimately because she is far more knowledgeable than I could and will ever be when it comes to Haiti and her culture, politics, traditions and life.
She knows how to comfort and console a child. She has the respect of the community, she knows each child individually. She knows the culture, she is educated on the country. She speaks the language fluently, it is her home country, not mine.
Just because I hail from America, a country I am thankful to live in, full of great freedoms and education, does not mean I am the ultimate intelligence here in Haiti. Just because I have a full-time job and I don’t stress about food, shelter or clothing, doesn’t mean that I know what’s best for this country. I’ve not walked in the nations history, I’ve never experienced the things she has, I will never speak the language as fluently as she does.
It’s people like Mona who are changing their country, and I will serve alongside them to the best of my ability.
In missions, following and serving under the authority of the local church is of the utmost importance. In this case, as Mona serves as our host in this partnership, it’s her leadership we follow. And it’s amazing to see the benefits that flow from a healthy partnership. It frees up our relationship to grow, for us to speak in transparency together. There’s mutual trust, mutual care and mutual respect. It’s healthy and it’s important.
Beauty and knowledge are gleaned from the smallest moments in life. Thank you Lord for speaking to me and showing me Your light.
Thanks for Dave’s smile.
Want to give to Mona’s maternity hospital assistance program? Go to prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate and give online, choose Haiti in the drop down menu and specify your giving as “Good Shepherd Orphanage Hospital Ministry Donation.” One month of care is $2,000 USD.
Want to buy some of the jewelry I mentioned earlier? Send me a message via Facebook or email.
Want to sponsor a child to go to school for a year? Good Shepherd Orphanage facilitates community children being bused to school, receiving top-notch education, getting a meal in the afternoon, books, uniforms and more. As well, the children are welcome to attend Kids Club on Saturdays and receive a small breakfast on Sunday mornings and go to church with Mona. $200 USD per child, give online at prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate, choose Haiti in the drop down menu and specify your giving as”Good Shepherd Orphanage Child Education Donation”
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
5 Minutes of My Day is a series of the more intimate moments in our ministry. Launching off of something Eric said to me one day: “When you are overwhelmed or stressed and Satan is on you, focus on the little things. The small moments that make you remember why you live this life. Why you love this ministry.” So here it is, the good the bad and the ugly. Snapshots of 5ish minutes of my day.