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Tori & Baby Djoulissa

Trip Testimonials

For this week’s newsletter, I’ve asked Tori Riches to share her thoughts about recent news we received from Haiti. Marci and I have had the privilege of knowing Tori and her family since she was in 3rd grade and now Tori is a 3rd grade teacher. She has traveled with us many times to Haiti and has a big heart for kids here and there. We recently served again together in Haiti. We love how Tori loves others! Tori writes:


“Today I am choosing to hold on to the promises of God and recognize his faithfulness in the midst of heartache and confusion.

In February, I met a tiny baby that I immediately adored. Djoulissa was passed into my arms by her 16-year-old mother, Wilene. I sought shelter from the blazing sun in a grove of trees and loved every moment I had holding this sweet baby girl. She was animated and happy, one of the healthiest babies I’ve had the privilege of meeting in Haiti. I used my minimal Creole to ask names and ages of mom and baby and then quickly sought a translator to learn more of the mother Wilene’s story. This is when I learned she was only 16-years-old, and she wanted to hand her baby off to the care of another. My heart broke for her desperation. I learned that Djoulissa’s father was in jail; that Wilene had no way of making money, and that she was renting a shack to live in down the hill. With tears in my eyes, I told Wilene how much she is loved. I told her that her sweet girl Djoulissa needed her mama. I told her that she was doing a good and hard thing, and I told her I would pray.

The desperation seemed beyond my understanding.

A 1997 photo of a Thomassique pastor training


And now, just a couple months later, we learned that sweet baby Djoulissa passed away after spending a week in the clinic seeking help. We learned that we have no choice but to rely on the promises of God even though none of this makes sense. We believe the Lord is close to the broken hearted (Psalm 34:18) and we believe God works out all things for the good of His people (Romans 8:28). So, we rest in knowing that Djoulissa is free from all the pain and hardship this world has to offer, resting in the arms of her loving Father. We do all this while mourning a devastating loss and grieving with her mother and our other Haitian friends.

We look back to how we have seen the Lord work and have hope that He is working even in the midst of this heartache. Wilene knows that God loves her. She rebuked the power of voodoo by taking her baby girl to a clinic instead of the voodoo priest. Wilene’s father has given his life to the Lord, repenting of his past and seeking to live a new life devoted to God.

God is at work, and He is faithful.

We share this story with you to ask you to pray. Pray for the people of Haiti who face hardship every single day. Pray for Wilene as her heart breaks for her baby girl, taken too soon. Pray for Wilene who is several months pregnant again, still so young and desperate.”

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Thanks to Tori for sharing this story. Please do pray for Wilene, her pregnancy and her new baby. Pray for Wilene’s father and for the father of Wilene’s new baby. There are so many questions. So many things we cannot understand. This 16-year-old young woman represents hundreds of thousands of other young girls in Haiti and millions around the world – children having babies and living in desperate situations.


Thank you for joining us in praying, “… may Your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.” – Psalm 79:8b

Blake LaMunyon
Founder & Director


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