Day 5- Haiti Journal (His Plans vs My Plans)

Kim Porter March 1, 2014
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By mid-morning on Wednesday, we were close to finishing the first walker.  Autumn brought Gildine up to where we were working and we set her inside the shell of the walker to measure her height. She then set Gildine up against a pillar and tried to encourage her to take a step. Gildine giggled a bit but she wouldn’t move. Trying to encourage her, I knelt beside her and she lunged towards me. This time, instead of her usual wiggles, she laid her head in my neck and relaxed in my arms. My eyes began to well up and my heart filled with joy. She remembered me from the day before and now she felt comfortable and safe in my arms. I rocked and sang to her and eventually, the sweet little angel drifted off to sleep. It was around that time, that Autumn mentioned something that I didn’t know until that moment.  Gildine was blind. She didn’t remember my face, she simply heard my voice and knew who I was. Inside, this precious little body was a mind that was processing much more information than we could ever know. It was amazing.

When I discovered that it was her nap time, I quietly took her down the long staircase to the inside of the center. Looking for a Haitian mom for direction as to where to take her, one mom directed me down the hallway. I realized that the room she was referring to was the same room that five days ago, I wouldn’t enter. It was the room that had appeared dark and ominous when Carlos needed help looking for a ball. Now, as I entered the lit room, I realized that it was filled with mats and beds where tired little children laid to rest.  With shame, I acknowledge the probability that Gildine was probably one of those sweet children sleeping in there that day. I knelt down on the floor and gently laid her down to sleep and took a minute to process the beauty of the moment. I was so grateful.

I spent the rest of the day with Autumn and Todd completing two walkers- one for Gildine and the other for a boy named Ti-Willy. It was so incredibly emotional to see Gildine in the walker for the first time. Todd recorded her first steps and we all teared up with excitement. We took her and the walker downstairs to the Miriam Center and surprised the Haitian moms.  They were thrilled!! I don’t think we stopped smiling for quite a while aftewards.

Deb reminded me that morning, that I was scheduled to give the devotional for the entire chapel Thursday night. I still had no idea what I was going to say and was hoping somehow it would be skipped over. Before lunch, Deb asked if I would be willing to switch and give the devotional on Wednesday night instead because she and Rick were planning a night trip to House of Moses Thursday and she wanted to be there to support me. Reluctantly, I agreed and so I sat down to try and compose my message. I sat, pen in hand, my  journal and Bible next to me and all of the sudden, God began to speak to me.

Here is what I shared….

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a Hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

I am a planner. I enjoy making lists, charts, calendars, anything to keep me organized. Before Todd and I left to come to Haiti, I did just that all around my house. Our daughter, who is 16 came home from school and after reading all the lists on the fridge, reminders in her room and the “lunch” note I left on the front door, she said, “Mom, are there anymore notes?”

I said, “No, that is it.”

“Good, because this is starting to get weird!”

I love to plan, but Haiti was never a part of my plan until a year ago.  

We moved from Detroit to Cincinnati four and a half years ago and it was very clear from the beginning, that The River Church, where we both worked, was passionate about Haiti. They would faithfully send two teams a year and would dedicate whole Sundays just to talk about the experiences. For some reason, though, my impressions of Haiti were that it was extremely hot, had large bugs that bite, involved long bus rides and that taking bucket baths was common. None of that sounded like a good time to me. As time went on, however, I would hear more stories, we began to sponsor a young man named Ti-Frantz and then last year, something finally clicked. Deb, our faithful team leader, shared a slide show to the tune of “I Saw What I Saw” by Sara Groves and the people in the photos grabbed a hold of my heart.  

As we prepared to come, I was overwhelmed with the exciting possibilities. The Eye team, the Miriam Center, the Gran Moun (elderly people), the orphanage… I planned to stay really busy.  

I think God made it very clear almost immediately at the start of our trip, however, that my plans were going out the window! We dealt with re-directed flights, long shuttle rides, lost baggage, a plane that traveled all the way to Port A Prince just to turn around and go BACK to Miami… it was crazy!  

When I got to the mission, things went from exciting to overwhelming,  Everyone had their job but I felt misplaced. I would wander to the different areas of the mission but I had no clue what I was supposed to do. It was all new and uncomfortable. That is, until a small boy with a dripping nose, cough and fever found me and fell asleep in my arms. It was in that moment that God said, “This”.

I realized that I was looking for something significant and big and God said, “No, look for God moments.” 

God lead my husband and me to talk with Autumn about her desire to make walkers and God’s plan unfolded before us. Today, we completely assembled a walker just for little Gildine, who couldn’t talk, walk or even see, and watched her joy as she moved in it for the very first time. If you had told me I would be sewing and designing baby seats in Haiti I would have laughed at the absurdity, but God knew. He knew ALL along.

I went on to encourage those who were listening that if they had come like I did with an agenda and nothing unfolded the way they had planned- good! I told them to be encouraged that God knows exactly why they were there and He had a plan all along. I also encourage those on the Eye Team to continue to do God’s great work but to also keep their eyes out for the God Moments in the midst of all that they do. Those moments could come through a sleeping baby, an elderly person who just needed someone to hold her hand or maybe even a special little girl like Gildine.

Later that evening, one of the Eye Surgeons came over to me and said that he wanted me to read the email he just sent out to 200 people who were following their progress in Haiti. He had written my story and then ended it by saying, “Isn’t it ironic that God would use a pastor and his wife to do something for a little blind girl that we, as eye surgeons, could not – they gave her the ability to walk.” My heart stirred and my eyes filled with tears.  I couldn’t have been more grateful that my plans were not His plans.

God, give me ears to hear and eyes to see…

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Kim Porter

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