By Beth Guckenberger
I can’t get enough of Haiti. Every chance I get, I hop on a plane to visit the people I care about there. It’s not the cause, or the statistics that make me pack a suitcase – it’s the faces. Each one has a story asking to be heard. We see their families, and their dreams, their hopes and their struggles. I’m often asked, “Isn’t it hard to be there? To see that level of need?” Yes, of course it’s hard. But the contrast between the hard and the hopeful is so wide it’s stunning.
Let me share a story with you of a child that I met during my travels to Haiti. It starts with a boy named Derson, and ends with a little girl named Anne-Marie.
It’s one of the stories that I share in Tales of the Ones Led Out. It’s about a little girl who was the last one left in an orphanage that was closing. It begins with the story of Derson, one of the boys I met there, who had been visiting that orphanage and had heard God whisper to him. It all begins like this…
Uh-oh, what now? Tom thought, though he was certainly used to answering knocks on his door in the night. As the director of a home mostly filled with abandoned boys, he knew that not a day would ever go by when someone wasn’t experiencing some kind of minor or major crisis, at least once in the day. He just wished they could all happen in the day and not when he was about to shut his eyes. Oh well. All in God’s time, not mine. “Yes? Come in.”
Derson takes a deep breath and feels grateful for the counsel he knows he will receive from Tom. “Do you have a minute? It’s about His Garden Orphanage. You know it’s closing right? You know I have been going there, that I have been more than just visiting, I have been investing myself there, I feel led there.”
“That’s great…” Tom says. “So what’s the problem?”
“It’s all coming down to this one girl.”
“Ohh,” Tom said rolling his eyes. “It’s always about a girl.”
“No, it’s not like that,” Derson defends himself. “This is a little girl. She needs a family and…” he looks around the courtyard at the Lighthouse and waves his arms, “…we are that. We are a family. And she doesn’t have anyone else.” He looks at Tom and waits for him to respond to the question he hadn’t voiced yet. Tom waits for him to say it. “Ok fine. I’ll say it. What if we just brought her here?”
Oh Lord, it’s always like this, isn’t it? Tom thinks. Impossible situations, broken people, then the opportunity to step into your story. I don’t know what you have in mind, but my answer is always ‘yes’. Yes to supporting Derson as he listens to you. Yes to providing a family for this girl. Yes to knowing Who, before I know where, how or when.
Tom stares at Derson and squints his eyes, cocking his head and pausing too long for Derson’s comfort. He seems to be holding his breath.
“Let’s go. Let’s go get her.”
“Really?” Derson practically squeals. “Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’m sure. Welcome to this adventure we call following God’s voice.”
The stories in the Lighthouse Children’s Home all share one common truth: God has a plan for the children to hear about His story and to feel swept up in their own. The vortex of God’s healing and helping hand is what continues to draw me back to Haiti.
– Beth Guckenberger
We invite you to join in the story of Derson, Anne-Marie’s and the other children at the Lighthouse in Haiti. Purchase the Story t-shirt and share their story with your friends and family. All proceeds will directly benefit the children living at the Lighthouse. To purchase a Story t-shirt, click here.
About the Lighthouse Children’s Home in Haiti
Jesus in Haiti, a Back2Back Ministries partner, started in 1998 when Tom Osbeck, the Executive Director, moved to Port-au-Prince after visiting Haiti on several short-term mission trips. In 2010, after a devastating earthquake left millions of children orphaned, Jesus in Haiti opened an orphanage called the Lighthouse. On average, the home has around twelve children, ranging in ages from 7-17. The children attend a local school, which they can walk to from the home. After school and in their spare time, the children enjoy playing basketball, soccer, card games, and reading with one another. On special occasions, the children enjoy one of their favorite activities, a trip to the beach.