In lieu of a post, today I'm asking all of you to consider giving just $10 to Haiti...
I know, I know, you're thinking "What difference does it make?" or "I already gave!"...but, my friend Kelly is there RIGHT NOW with a team from her non-profit. If you visit their website TODAY and give to Haiti then she will personally make sure the money is used to buy food for the families in need there.
For more info on her extraordinary trip...read on... this is the email I got from her this morning. Prepare to have your heart MOVED:
hey em,things here in haiti are amazing. we've landed in the midst of some of the most genuine women i've ever had the honor of meeting. we're at an orphanage where all of the children have to sleep outside. there's a huge white tent filled with babies under 1 year old...it's sooo hot in there. beside that, there are a huge row of tents where the ladies (caretakers) and the orphans live. we've been in tents as well and had an amazing chance to realy enter into the lives of these caretakers and orphans. You all know that my heart of hearts is to come along side those who care for others and to let them know they are not invisible and that we see them and we want to honor them.
Tonight, i would say, was one of the most significant nights of my life. I wanted to find a way to honor these women. Most of them are living here at their work..in tents with the orphans. The reason? Because their houses were destroyed in the earthquake. They work around the clock because day after day they are finding children in the rubble. They have had an 80% increase in children in 2010.
Here's the beauty...
They LOVE the kids so well. In the tent where so many infants lay one beside the other....it's soo hot. And when one is finished crying another begins. It's a recipe for tempers and impatience to brew. But not these women. At each cry, they take the crying baby, feed the baby, and read psalms over the baby. Then they move to the next. Meanwhile, other ladies are outside handwashing clothes, carrying buckets of water, making dinner for kids and for us, teaching the older children in a pre-school that is behind the orphanage, and i could go on and on with their demand of duties.Oh, and they make 5 bucks a day...they work 12 hours a day. They don't make much now because of how many orphans the orphanage is having to care for.
They are so steady. I can't explain it. They just love endlessly. The amazing thing too is about every hour they all gather in the middle of the yard and they sing hymns and they all pray out loud. I would have to say it is the most beautiful thing that has ever graced my ears. I wake up to them singing. I fall alseep to them singing. And I know that when a baby wakes me up at 2am, they are nursing it back to sleep.
So, I wanted to find a way to honor them. It's so easy to come here and go straight to the cute little kids and ignore the caretakers. The heart of The Oak Project is to honor those who are caring for others.
I approached the director and I told him I had a very American question to ask him. He laughed and I went on to ask if he knew of a pizza place around town where we could get pizza's for these ladies and give them tasty food and a night off of cooking and cleaning.
And guess what? Domino's is in Haiti! Today we went to the Domino's in Puert au Prince only to find it had collapsed during the quake. Pier (the pastor of the orphanage) assured me there was one on the mountain we could go to. So he, myself, melody and tracy set out on a mission. He shared a lot with us about Haiti and Haiti since the quake...i could write a book about what i've learned. But one of my favorite bits of information is that many of the ladies we were serving tonight had never had pizza. The poor live on rice and beans so this was going to be a treat.
We arrived back at the orphange and set it all up. We bought beautiful flowers at a street market for them. They were bright white and beautiful. We bought them each their own soda and tracy picked up some chips a hoy chocolate chip cookies just to top it off!
They all gathered together and before we served them we told them why we wanted to do this. I told them not to feel guilty...I know that they were thinking that money could have gone to something else or to others. But I reminded them of the story when the woman broke the expensive perfume at the feet of Jesus. The critics cried out that the perfume could have fed many of the poor...but Jesus made it clear that there is a time to be extravagant and crazy in our giving...and i told them that tonight this was the best way we could find to honor them. As I was giving my little pre-dinner talk I said to them, "You have amazed us. You love these children so well even with the deep grief you carry in your heart. I know that it is easy for groups to come in and only see the children, we want you to know that you are not invisible to us and you are the ones we see."
Just as those words came off of my lips, they ERUPTED in applause...screaming and shouting with joy. We were all in shock and in tears. They would not let go of their flowers. They held them tight even as they ate. After they ate, they began clapping and shouting and they grabbed us and we all shouted, danced and clapped together.
One of the women said, "kelly, kelly, come take my pictures and you can show everyone you know how happy i feel right now!"
One by one they would come to us with a translator and say to us that they are so thankful for what we have done. They would say that they would now pray that God blesses us for what we did for them.
Okay, you realize we're talking about pizza and some encouragement...right? I can't wait to show you guys the video.
Anyway, I feel very confirmed that these are the people God spoke to me about before I left for Haiti. Turns out, they've been praying for God to send an "esther" to be a voice for them in the states. I told the women and the pastor and his family.... that when I advocate for Haiti...they will be the Haiti I advocate for.
The Oak Moms are in love with the women and we are excited to see what God has planned for us as we begin walking in relationshihp with these wonderful people.
One of the ladies here is named Andrea. Tonight as we were dong the pizza thing another part of our team went to her local fellowship and took dinners to the families there. It was crazy when we went to the grocery store today to buy for these families. Each family can be fed for FOUR days and it only costs ten bucks. They get rice, beans, noodles, tuna, salt, coffee, creamer and a couple other items.
I wrote to you guys because you are leaders and I wanted to ask if you could tell people you know to go to www.theoakproject.com for the next 24 hours and donate 10 bucks and we will take that money direclty out and buy a family four days worth of food.
Tonight we had to turn away a lot of the families at andrea's church and we want to go back before we leave and be sure that those families are provided for.
There's so much more to tell.