Our friend, Mia McLaughlin, is following her heart back to Haiti. Marci and I had lunch with her last week to talk about her trip. I asked Mia to summarize her burden for the people of Haiti, a burden we share. Mia writes …
This prayer is powerful, important, life-changing. If we haven’t prayed it, we’ve at least heard it. I could write a book about the power behind that prayer. It’s a prayer that highly motivates me and my work in Haiti. The broken heart of the Lord is the soundtrack of my life in Haiti. I would argue that this prayer ties me directly to my purpose under God. But I must be careful. Because that prayer, just as efficiently as it moves me, also breaks me. It’s heavy. Especially in Haiti. The Lord’s heart is massive. There are a lot of broken pieces. Most of what I see in Haiti breaks the Lord’s heart. So, most of what I see shatters my soul.
It’s a good thing Jesus has no intention of leaving me with the all broken pieces. He created my heart. He knows I yearn to fix the things that break His heart. He knows I am easily overwhelmed. Jesus has helped me separate my heartbreak into sections; organize it in a way that makes it easier for me to look at each section in a detailed way, a way that helps me make a little bit of a plan, or at least a way that helps me make a more specific prayer.
One of the more specific things that broke my heart last time I was in Haiti was being able to bless a lady with a new home, just to see her sleeping on the ground. Or peering into a makeshift lean-to that houses a family of 7, just to find crumpled up bed sheets on a dirt floor, only imagining the river that becomes their home during rainy season. God so intentionally created rest and He cherishes the renewal of our bodies. This rest is so hard to come by without a place to lay your head.
On my last trip in December I had the opportunity to help out a family with this problem. Marie’s home was just being finished when my friend Cecilia and I arrived. It was beautiful, complete, and Marie was over the moon. However, I just could not settle with the fact that she was in a brand new home, but still sleeping on the ground.
We convinced Wilfrid to take us to the market the next day to buy two mattresses. After much negotiation and discussion, we strapped two mattresses and one box frame to a couple motos and sent them up the river. We didn’t have quite enough money to buy two box springs, but Wilfrid assured me that it would be fine. We followed the mattresses to their new home, set up the box spring and mattress in the first bedroom, and then turned the corner and ducked under the door into the back bedroom.
Wilfrid got there first, then excitedly pulled me over just as our friends dropped the second mattress down. There was an old, sturdy bed frame already placed against the wall. Marie must have had it in her old home or something. The new mattress fit perfectly. Wilfrid turned to look at me, joyful but not surprised, and just said, “I had no idea that frame was here.” And then he rushed out and moved on as if a small, but definite miracle of God had not just occurred in this stuffy, new, blessed concrete house. I, for one, was stunned. What are the odds that this lady, who has absolutely nothing, had just one old bed frame that works perfectly to match a mattress she didn’t even know she was about to receive?
Every time I think about this story, I get so encouraged. Jesus so wants these people to sleep well. I am unsettled by the thought of women and children sleeping on the ground because Jesus is unsettled. I want so badly to make sure every home has a safe place to lay. I expressed this thought to my mom recently, and she asked how many mattresses I would need.
“Enough for each family in Haiti.” I replied.
While I realize this is unrealistic, I don’t think it hurts to try.
I will be going back to Haiti on August 6th and will be staying for a couple weeks. I would love to purchase and distribute as many mattresses as I can. One mattress is about $80 to $100 US dollars. But one mattress truly changes a family. One mattress provides rest, safety, comfort, even a small bit of peace in a world so greatly lacking in all of those things. It is simply unacceptable that a mattress is such a luxury. But if I know one thing, it’s that these Haitian people deserve a little luxury.
The good news is, I think there is something we can do about this mattress problem. With your help, I can invest in some serious mattress purchases during my next trip in a couple weeks. My soul is lifted by the thought of one community coming together to try and give another community in a different part of the world a little extra luxury. Would you like to buy a mattress for a widow, a child, or a whole family?
To donate for the first time or increase your support visit HopeRisingHaiti.org/donate or click below.