Sixteen elderly and very frail widows eagerly lined up waiting to ride in trucks they called a “machine” to take them from their homes to the orphanage to a women’s lunch retreat. Most had never ridden in a vehicle before. The widows were carefully placed into the trucks by the Valor Christian High School boys and slowly and tenderly walked into the retreat room at the orphanage. The retreat was led by Marci and the Valor Christian High School ladies. Each woman’s hands were washed, massaged with lotion and their nails were painted. The ladies were prayed over before they dined on chicken salad, made by the students from canned chicken brought from America, and mango and banana fruit salad from the local market. The widows curiously tried the chicken salad and smiled with approval as they ate half and saved the rest to take home to their families.
Marci taught the women from Isaiah 61:3 that God has come “ to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” She reminded them that the suffering they endure each day in Haiti is temporary and that God sees them, hears them and loves them; that He has prepared a place in heaven for them where there is no sickness, pain, sadness, hunger or thirst. They were reminded that any of them who have asked Jesus to be their Savior are saved and are a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Royalty! Adored! Chosen! Loved! Full of Purpose! Co Heirs with Christ! And promised eternity in heaven! Marci showed them the bridge illustration sharing with them that no human can ever enter into the presence of God because we are all sinful and He is perfect and Holy. No one can never be good enough to get to God no matter how often we go to church or help our neighbor. The only way we can come to God the Father is through Jesus, accepting his death on the cross to pay for our sin.
As Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me.” God the Father loves us so much that He made it very simple for us to get to Him by accepting the free gift of salvation through Jesus death on the cross. The widows clapped, cheered and shouted Amen at this good news. Their enthusiasm for the truth of the gospel was contagious. Afterward the students handed out tiara’s to each widow to remind them that when they love Jesus they are daughters of the King! Each widow put the small tiara, adorned in pink jewels, in their hair and smiled with joy.
At the end of the retreat Marci asked the women their prayer requests. As we went around the table the prayer requests consisted of asking us to pray that they would be more faithful to the Lord, that they would love the Lord more, that they would know the Scriptures better, that they would please the Lord with their life. It was quite humbling to hear women who need health, food, shelter and water not ask God to meet their physical needs but rather ask Him to increase their faith and love for Christ. The last woman to share her prayer request was Sonia Jean, Adrillene’s daughter, who said she would like to pray to become a Christian! We led her in a prayer to receive Jesus as her Savior! Glory!! This is the daughter of the widow we build a house for. Her daughter was touched by our act of kindness and wanted to know our Savior. Marci then brought out a basin to wash our new sister in Christ’s feet to show her the love and acceptance of Jesus in a tangible way. The feet washing didn’t stop there! Each of the Valor girls took turns washing all the widows’ feet honoring them as fellow believers and showing them they are treasured in the eyes of Christ.
Each time we lead a retreat we think of how it will bless the women of the Haitian community we are serving, but we come away more blessed as we witness how faithful these women are to the Lord in the midst of hardship and poverty. We see them loving and worshiping God for who He is not for what He has given them.
Please pray for these widows and Sonia Jean, our new sister in Christ. Please pray they would be faithful servants of the Lord, that God would continue to reveal His deep love for them every day and that they will always remember they are royalty . . . daughters of the King.