This morning I missed being home. I missed playing with the orchestra. From rehearsal I knew we would be playing “Orphans of God” by Avalon, one of my favorite songs. Fitting, I thought, because I would be here in Haiti serving God’s children.
Today we attended the community’s worship service, a long, passionate, and deliberate service. After each age group recited their Bible verses, they dispersed to their families or back to their orphanage group, and many came to sit with us. Two girls sat on either side of me. One was about 7 and the other was a pre-teen. We held hands, hugged, sang, and searched for scripture in my Bible. At one point, the younger girl tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the older girl. She was lying on my lap and a single tear slowly trickled down her cheek. Her name is Esther.
Of the few orphanages I have visited, all have been exceedingly happy places. In fact, that joy and faithful gratitude to God has overwhelmed and humbled me. But here it is different. There is also sadness here.
I don’t mean to be too dramatic. The children here are happy and healthy and well cared for. The tears are sometimes quiet and hidden but at other times it’s haunting. There is the boy who wails, half a dozen times a day, for ten minutes and sometimes more. They think he might be autistic. But there are no therapists here to teach the mamas how to settle him. There was the young girl who was pinched on the arm by her friend. She cried for almost an hour. I held her and sang to her. But the tears would not stop. And Esther; I don’t know what triggered her tears. But they were there.
There is a trauma and a fear and a loneliness that is here. And it breaks my heart. I have not understood so fully the purpose of a mission journey like this until now. To be the one to hold that child in their time of sadness is my honor. “Assuredly I say to you,in as much as you did it to one of the least of these, my bretheren, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40
“So many fallen, but hallelujah! There are no orphans of God.” –Avalon