My Haitian Journey

By: Taylor Westbrook

Hello everyone, I can’t believe how fast this summer has flown by! In just a few short weeks, I will be heading back to the states for a month.  I am already anxious at the thought of leaving.  I have grown very accustomed to being here and have loved being a part of the work God is doing in Haiti.   

First, thanks to everyone who prayed for Haiti during these recent hurricanes.  We planned for the worst and received the best!  Here in Thomazeau, we only experienced some moderate rain that was very welcomed.  Again, the Haitians showed me true heart for God and man.   When presented with the flooding in Houston after Hurricane Harvey, many stepped us to donate money to LiveBeyond’s disaster relief work there.  Their efforts remind me of my experience watching the members of the Kay Soda church tithe.  So often we give out of our riches, but I saw them giving, once again, out of their poverty.   

The most rewarding part of this past month has been getting Chenielo enrolled in school.   He was so excited when I told him he was going to go to school for the first time. On the day we gave backpacks filled with school supplies and personal grooming items, he looked up at me and said, “Taylor, mwen kontan anpil,” Taylor, I am very happy!   

Chinielo and his backpack!

Chinielo and his backpack!

Last month I talked about watching the pain of Haiti intimately close.  The experience continues.  I led daily trips to the homes of Johnny’s Kids with the last team.  I wasn’t ready for Daphne’s mother.  She clearly loves Daphne and gushed over her, but that is only part of her reality.  After telling me Daphne was a good child who rarely caused her any problems, she asked me to take her.  Having to tell her no was hard.  You see, she really doesn’t want to give her daughter away, but LiveBeyond is one of the few resources she has.  Raising a child with special needs is no easy feat, especially in Haiti.  The following day her dad, whom I had never met, was there and had a few questions for me.  I was already preparing for the worst.  He then went on to tell me how grateful he was for LiveBeyond and all we provided for Daphne.  He smiled at me and told me I was a good friend to his daughter!  

daphne3.JPG
tw - daphne.png

This month I have been working with a young boy, Matino.  Matino has an infection that has kept him from walking.  From sitting for so long, his body has tightened and contorted in such a way that he cannot stand straight or lie down with his back flat.  The infection started presenting just above his right knee, and his knee has lost much of its ability to bend.  Our doctor prescribed antibiotics for him, and I have been working with him several times a week doing physical therapy.  Matino has progressed leaps and bounds since the first day I started working with him.  He can stand unassisted and take a few labored steps, he can lie on his back without wincing, he can apply pressure all the way through his right leg, and he has grown exponentially in his trust of me.  As good as all this is, he still has so far to go. We have been trying to get him in for an x-ray but he has been turned away by two hospitals in Port Au Prince.  The original hospital he went to months ago took as much money as they could and finally sent his mother home and saying there was nothing wrong with him to be causing his condition.  This past Wednesday was particularly heart-wrenching.  Matino was not having a good day in therapy; he was being very uncooperative, and after a little rebuking from his mother, she began to cry.  She was crying because she wanted him to walk again, she was crying because hospitals refused to even look at him, she was crying because she has very little money and spends 150 Gourdes per week to bring him by motorcycle, she was crying because she then walks hours back to their home because she must save money for the motorcycle to the base, she was crying because she is tired.  Yet, she keeps coming because LiveBeyond is all she has.  She has loved seeing his progression but desires so much more for him as do I!

tw - matino 1.png
tw - matino 2.png

Here are a few things I would ask you all to pray about:

  • Continue to pray as I navigate the language.  It has been wonderful being able to have real conversations.
  • For meetings - I am arranging with other NGO’s to visit their bases and learn what has helped to make their special needs programs successful.
  • For the upcoming construction of Johnny’s House and the completion of the school.  The school is moving along very well.
  • For Akanj, a new believer who came to us because Jesus told him in a dream to visit our pastor.  He was a slave of the head Voodoo priest that died suddenly last year.  He has not missed a Sunday or a daily bible study since he was baptized a few weeks ago and most days is at our morning church service for the staff.
  • For my attentiveness in sharing the gospel with the men I have formed some great friendships with.

Random Pics for Your Viewing Enjoyment!

I gave myself a haircut! Pretty good, if I do say so myself.

I gave myself a haircut! Pretty good, if I do say so myself.

The cactus tree!

The cactus tree!

Are you my daddy? He's so pale!

Are you my daddy? He's so pale!

Love my confused look during a Creole lesson.

Love my confused look during a Creole lesson.

Quick trip to the market.

Quick trip to the market.

Hiking up to the prayer house.

Hiking up to the prayer house.

None are worthless,

Taylor Westbrook