The storms have passed, the repairs are beginning, some places needing much more than others. But, in this one moment, on this one day, when there are no rains and only sunshine, on a beach not quite recovered yet, some beautiful orphaned children were brothers and sisters on the beach.
This is why Megan, Abby, and myself came here, to give them just an afternoon away. Originally it was to be just an afternoon away from the orphanage, but in the events after Hurricane Matthew, it also became a day away from thinking about places and people whose lives were forever changed. Although, lives were changed here as well in little, incremental parts, but the change in a single life is always profound.
Let me share two moments that truly touched my heart.
The first involved Abby and one of the little girls. She was so terrified to the point of tears of the water that she kept running back and forth between the edge of the water and where we had left our things on the beach. I asked Abby if she would just walk with her for a little bit, which she did, but that walk turned into a truly grace-filled moment. She sat down with the little girl on the beach, and slowly moved her more and more into the water with a tenderness and a care that moved that young girl past her fears and dried her tears and brought her into the water. You couldn’t keep her out after that.
The other moment took place at our lunch that we had there. Megan had been designated as the photographer for the day. It would’ve been easy enough to just take lots of pictures, but instead, with each photograph, she also asked the children how they were, how the food was, and if they were having fun. For Megan, it was more than the pictures. It was wanting to share in that moment with children who don’t usually sit at a table, and eat off of plates, and use knives and forks. That was the real image, one that couldn’t be captured with a camera, only with another heart.
The caring for, and offering of hearts have become the hallmark of every person who comes and ministers with us through “Pennies for Haiti.” I wanted to share these times with you and invite anyone who is reading this to pray about perhaps join us or make a donation to our cause. Be a part of bringing these children to even grander experiences in the future.
Written by: Fr. John