Summer before last, Ryli and I went on a medical missions trip to Haiti.
I was 5 months pregnant with Baby Vaughn. Even though for many reasons, it probably wasn’t the wisest thing for me to do, it was the best thing. Ryli benefited so much and we both enjoyed serving and helping doctors in their quest to see as many patients as possible during our week long trip.
The most heartbreaking moment came when a beautiful 18 year old mother came to my check in table with her two year old daughter. The child looked about the size of a malnourished 3 month old. Feeble, seizing, and obviously suffering from sort of trauma at birth, the young mother simply stated that her baby was sick and she had walked miles to see a doctor.
She was hopeful and expecting that our supply of medicine (which mostly consisted of anti-malarials, anti-biotics, high blood pressure meds, ibuprophen and Tylenol) would cure what was ailing her sweet daughter.
I knew better.
The diagnosis was going to crush her.
As I took temperatures and blood pressures and weighed dozens of other patients, I watched her make her way through the line. When it was her time to see the doctor, I followed her behind the curtain.
The young doctor she was seeing was a single man who was an excellent care-giver. He was tired as he gave her the blunt diagnosis through a translator. What was wrong with her baby could not be fixed. “It happened when she was born,” he said.
I watched her eyes go blank. He heart visibly breaking as all hope drained from her being. A single tear welled up in her eye.
I implored the doctor that he explain it wasn’t her fault. I knew, as a mom, that the words she heard were not the words he was saying. She felt responsible for an accident that could not have been helped as she squat behind some bush bringing this tiny life into the world. I have never felt so completely inadequate in my entire life.
I walked her to the “check out” line where she would get vitamins and drops for the baby’s eyes. Nearly as lifeless as her child, she sat waiting quietly.
I did the only thing I could think of. I held her and prayed. Crying together, we embraced for what seemed like 10 minutes.
And now I just wonder if she and that sweet little baby survived Hurricane Matthew.
If they are hungry.
If they have a roof over their heads.
If she’s lost friends or family members.
Truthfully, there is no way of knowing.
Yesterday, I announced our #helphaiti initiative and we began collecting monetary donations so that we could purchase food and aid and transport it to Missionary Flights International where they will fly all the gathered goods to Haiti. Donations trickled in and yet word spread. A high schooler at Palm Beach Gardens High, Lauren Kreidler, mentioned it to her student government and now the whole school will have an opportunity to participate. Here’s a picture of my sweet Lauren:
I mentioned it at Jupiter Christian’s cross country’s practice and now the administrators will consider making an announcement to get the kids in on bringing goods. And the cross country team was all in.
I’m hopeful the swim team will take part.
Who knows how many supplies we may be able to give through the generous financial contributions and the local schools who let kids do what kids do best — jump in and snowball a simple request. I can hardly wait to see what the Lord will do.
So pray for Haiti. Pray for my sweet young mother friend and her baby. God bless teens like Lauren Kreidler who see an opportunity to rally their troops and jump in to help the least fortunate. And search your heart for what you can do to #helphaiti.
***For all my local friends, if you have donations you would like to drop off, contact me through facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to drop off at David’s office: Reback Realty on the corner of PGA and US1.