So after what could easily be considered the worst week of my life, Saturday arrived. I woke up at 5:00am and couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up to pray which was hard to do. I couldn’t do anything but tell God we needed Him and the kids needed Him. I had no fancy words to say except help. I had no idea what the day would bring but I remember throughout the day for the first time really understanding what it means to “pray continuously”. I was in constant conversation with God…the conversation consisting of “Help!” and “We need You”. My parents and Matt woke up shortly after and my parents made breakfast (I vividly remember French Toast which is a comfort food for me). We ate together, made cupcakes for the kid’s family members who were coming, then took another load of our belongings to Hope Rising. Our first official meeting of the day was to begin at 10:00 so there was some time to fill and I wanted to stay busy. By 10:00, Matt and I were both dressed in our church clothes, cupcakes were made by my mom, cold cokes were in the fridge for the meeting, and we were ready. Matt already mentioned that time in Haiti is very different than in America. Saying that we would meet at 10:00 in no way meant that this would actually happen. Plus, we had people coming from all over and there is never anyway to know what kind of traffic there will be. We had a translator, Sony, positioned at the Christianville gate to tell parents how to get to our house and two other translators, Julihomme and Makenson, inside with us ready to help with the meeting. We had tried to think through every possible thing we would need to make the day successful. I need to mention at this point that even writing this last paragraph has my stomach in knots again and makes me feel like I’m going to be sick.
At around 10:05 I remember walking outside our house to see if any parents were coming and up walked Angena and Milouse’s mom. These are 2 women who are actually related to Audancin and had come to us the week before to tell us what a bad man he is. We got the chance to talk to them for a few minutes without others around which was good. After that we had a steady stream of parents, family members, and family representatives for the kids. We all gathered in our living room in our house at Christianville after offering cupcakes and cokes to everyone. Another very vivid memory for me of that day is not having enough seating and Julihomme (our driver and translator) taking shelving off of our wall and making benches out of it so everyone would have a seat. Everyone went around the room and introduced themselves and who they were connected to. At that point, using a translator, Matt shared with each of them what had happened the last month, why we could no longer continue caring for their kids at the orphanage, and what our new plans were. He then went on to describe our hope for the kid’s futures. That this wasn’t just a temporary decision to make for the kids but that this is something that would affect them for the rest of their lives. Everyone listened, nodded, and seemed to be on the same page with us. After Matt finished speaking, several of them talked amongst themselves and then one parent stood up to speak. He said that he didn’t think it was right that we would be having a meeting without Audancin there to speak for himself. Matt explained that the reason Audancin could not be there was that he was no longer allowed on Christianville campus due to leaving with our girl’s belongings and that we were no longer allowed at the orphanage. Matt also told them that they would get a chance to speak to Audancin and Audancin would get a chance to speak for himself. At this point I felt very nervous. Yes we had a beautiful and safe pace to bring these kids but these parents and family members could not be trusted to do what is best for their kids. Most had not seen their kids in years and did not care to. As Matt said, Haitian pride could certainly get in the way of them making a good decision. I prayed even harder that same prayer….”God we need you”.
We decided that the best thing to do at that point was to bring them to Hope Rising to show them where the kids would be living. We all got in the trucks and drove to Hope Rising.
We walked in and everyone immediately loved it. We will post pictures soon and show you just how beautiful it is. We did not spend much time there before sending the parents and family members up to the orphanage. We reminded them that if they wanted their kids to stay at Hope Rising, they would need to bring back all of their belongings. Everyone left and we waited. This was the worst part of the day. There was nothing we could do but wait and pray. This is when I began to pray a different prayer. I knew that this was Audancin’s chance to speak to them and so I began to pray that they would only hear truth. I prayed that when lies came out of his mouth, they would know them as lies. Keep in mind he is an excellent liar and people tend to believe him. I paced, worried, and prayed.
We got word pretty quickly that he wasn’t there and for a few minutes I thought that maybe this was God’s way of just getting the kids out. After all, they could just leave and not have to speak to him. Then we got word that Rosie had locked everyone in and would not let them leave until Audancin returned. I realize this sounds ridiculous but it is true and to be honest it did not entirely surprise me. This is the kind of person she is. A few people had hung back with us at Hope Rising and one was Pastor Lamentation who had been in the big meeting with our girl that we removed from the orphanage and her family. If you remember, he had come out of that meeting on our side. After that meeting we had another meeting with him just to talk through things….we realized he was an important person to have on our side. Another person that hung back was our girl’s cousin. She had been extremely influential with the family member’s of the kids in our favor. She was one that I am certain God revealed the truth about Audancin to and I will forever be thankful for that. We owe a lot to her. When Pastor Lamentation heard that they were locked in and that Matt had a key to the gate, he asked Matt for it and said he was going up to let the kids out. The cousin jumped on board as well and they both headed up. It all seemed so silly but all of this truly happened. After they left, there was a long period were we didn’t have any idea what was going on. This was awful. Then Matt got a phone call from Audancin that changed everything.
I tried to listen in as Matt was talking but it was hard to understand what was going on. In this kind of situation Audancin will talk a lot and he will talk in circles. Matt hung up, turned to me and said he is sending all of the kids to us as long as we pay him and Rosie for the month of May. I could not believe what I was hearing. There were so many different ways that I thought it could end with Audancin but I never thought it would end with him just giving up. He is a terrible man and the only explanation for him making this phone call is the power of prayer. I still have a hard time believing this is what happened.
About half and hour later the two trucks we had rented for the day pulled in to Hope Rising piled high with suitcases and kids. It is hard for me to even describe this scene accurately. It is something I will never forget and at the same time is still hard for me to believe. There will be more blogs to come about teaching the kids to use a shower for the first time, kissing them goodnight every night, and what life is like here now. The conclusion to these blogs, though, is that 4 years ago God brought Matt and I to an orphanage in Haiti to these specific kids. Soon after that, He gave us a vision for what He wanted for these kids and told us He was calling us to do it. We had no idea what we were getting into at the time and how hard it would be but on April 25, 2015, we saw that vision come to completion.
There is still a long way to go, a lot to do, and MANY more prayers needed. Audancin is still out there and while he is, we will never completely let our guard down and we will always fear he is exploiting and hurting other kids. The ending to this story, though, is a happy one. Aside from the beautiful facilities, running water, and electricity, the most important thing is that the kids are safe. We realized a while ago that this would be more of a rescue mission than anything else and that is what happened. The kids were rescued.
I have seen first hand the power of prayer many times but never like this. We could literally feel the prayers of God’s people surrounding us that day and the days since. Please don’t stop. We need them now more than ever. It is as simple as “God we need You.”