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Here I am Send Me!

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’  Isaiah 6:8.

In 2020 on a Sunday morning I fell in love with Haiti.  It actually began as Pastor Mike Harrell lifted up his bible and said “ya’ll my bible smells like Haiti.”  Pastor Mike shared the story of how he and others found Marmont Haiti and how Love Haiti Partnership began.  I began sponsoring my first child that day.  Soon thereafter I told my husband, Paul that I felt that we were being called to go to Haiti.  I went to the Love Haiti Partnership website and clicked the “go” button saying out loud as I did “Here am I. Send me!”.

Our God is an awesome God and I think if I share a little about me you will understand why I was called to Haiti.  In 2011 my beautiful son, Noah Paul died at the age of 13 from cancer.  On that day, May 26th, 2011 I lost my joy and my sense of purpose.  Although I had peace in knowing that he is in Heaven for he loved the Lord with all his heart, I still lost my joy.   In 2013 and 2018 I regain much of my joy through the birth of my grandchildren, Noah Thomas and Jocelyn Grace, but something was still missing.  I moved to Florida, I got my Masters, and had recently been promoted, but something was missing.

I found the something missing in Haiti, I found my joy.  The moment you enter the gates of our village, in Marmont, Haiti you will feel it.  When you step out of the van you will be greeted by the most joyful faces you will ever see.  Children that are happy to see you and engage with you. They make you feel beautiful and loved. 

Let me tell you the story of Dieudsen Paul, whom I met on that first trip in October 2020.  Dieudsen is a very serious young man about 11 years of age.  He has very dark complexion and the look of a warrior.  When I first encountered Dieudsen he was apprehensive and I think a little “to cool” to engage with me, but I would see he was always watching.   I would make eye contact and smile.  When he would see no one was looking he would make a gesture to me.  He would put his fist to his chest, thump twice, and then point at me.  I quickly asked someone to tell me what he was trying to say and they shared he was telling me that “I was in his heart”.   I have now been to Haiti four times and on my last visits Dieudsen was the first person to greet me when I stepped out of the van.  He is  still very “cool” but he gives me smile, a quick hug, and greets me by name.  During our last visit I taught him to play “cat’s cradle” and experienced him truly laughing and I found joy. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting his mother, who also has a fierce warrior look and honestly scared me a little during our first interactions.  She also now greets me with a hug and I found my joy.  In the land of plenty I felt loss and sadness.  In the little village of Marmont, with no electricity or water, I found joy.

Joy in children’s eyes that want nothing more than to hold your hand or play with your hair.  Joy in watching 19 Haitians being baptized in the local stream.  Joy in seeing 6 couples married in the church.  Joy in listening to the choirs sing.  Joy in building benches and chalkboards alongside the men/boys of Marmont.  Joy in taking new school pictures and getting to meet the new preschoolers.  Joy is seeing the children learn and enjoy a meal during their school day.  Joy in getting to know the teachers, the Pastor, and our Haitian team.  Joy in experiencing love through amazing food.  Joy of building friendships through the trips.  Joy in coming home and “smelling like Haiti”. 

“Then he said to them, Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

  I encourage anyone reading this that hears God calling them to shout out “here I am, send me!”.  Join us on a trip to Marmont, Haiti – you never know what you will find.  Maybe you will find joy like me and smile when you smell Haiti.

[Written by LHP Team Member, Kristi Yamilkoski]

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