It is the end of the year, Christmas is coming and we will celebrate in our annual tradition by taking a bunch of kids to the beach and spending the night. It's always so much fun just to be together and celebrate. This letter is always one of the hardest for me to write because it feels like, at least to me, it should be more impactful than the others since it is the end of the year. A summary of triumphs and failure, reflecting on what we have learned and how God has worked in our lives. It feels like a daunting task because so much has happened there is no way to accurately capture it all. So I think maybe a couple of stories of things that have impacted me will have to suffice. You'll see how God has moved and how you are a part of this journey with me.
First a snippet from the goat project (Give a Kid to a Kid)- In my last letter I told you about the village gangs and how God has been working in my heart. By the time you read this we will be getting ready to give out 15 goats to gang members in the village of Merger. There are 3 main groups representing about 80 people and they got to choose 5 people to receive goats. When those five give back their goats' offspring, we will add others to the project. Hopefully a little peer pressure will encourage them to respect the principles of the project.
One of my biggest heartbreaks this year was the death of a little girl from rabies. Over 130 people a year die from rabies based on world experts but less than 10 are reported by Haitian authorities. She was a week short of her 4th birthday when she died. She had been bitten in April by a dog and contracted rabies in September. She was from a small community of about 3000 people who live about an hour drive off of the main road, meaning they would have had to walk several hours to the hospital if they would have taken her. They didn't take her to the hospital because they thought an evil spirit caused her death. During the first investigation the people treated us with great suspicion and weren't sure why we were there. We told them we would come back in November and vaccinate all their dogs and that is when we started to gain their trust. We came back - so many times people here in Haiti come in to visit and say they will be back and they never come. The people of Haiti are jaded when it comes to promises from foreigners. When we keep our word it opens all kinds of doors in this culture. As a result, the people don't just tell you what they think you want to hear, they start to tell the truth. We were able to vaccinate their dogs, educate them about rabies and more importantly to build relationships. Now we are welcome in community and they want us to come back and treat their other animals and we will have a chance to share with them why we are really here. This little girl didn't have to die, rabies is preventable and something we can do something about. Sometimes people question why I am working with the government on this project and not doing more "ministry" but for me it IS ministry. I get a change to debunk the voudou myths and share knowledge with people on who can save both their physical and spiritual lives. We are blessed in Haiti that we can speak freely about Jesus and there is always a way to work it into conversation.
Always my biggest joy, is Ronald. Man I love that little guy!! Things on the adoption front moved, not sure if it was forward but movement is good. After 22 months on one lawyer's desk we got the papers we needed, however since it has been so long the Haitian adoption authorities made us redo some of the original paperwork. It's done and now we wait again. Please be praying for forward movement. Ronald is getting old enough now to understand about paperwork and knows he needs a passport to travel out of the country with me. He is just convinced it's going to come and when he's 6 (December 27). For me being a mom is still a new adventure everyday, some days it's an amazing adventure of fun and excitement others frustration and fear but always one of love. I wonder is that's how God feels about our relationship with Him? I think so and use that to guide me when things are tough- How would God treat me in this situation? The answer is always love. Ronald finally had grasped the concept of "I love you but I don't like what you are doing", that's so huge to know that you are loved even if what you are doing isn't what is right. There is so much joy in my life watching this little person become a bigger one.
With much, much love and more love,
Kelly and Ronald