26 March 2015

beauty from ashes

Claudin just left my teary office beaming, straight from the hospital with brilliant news of his HEALTHY baby girl and his healthy dear wife. 

I couldn't be happier.

Do you remember his story?  So many of you prayed and help and cried with me, making TODAY an even BIGGER celebration!

Here it is again, from December of 2013.

***we're making it real today.  I hope you know my heart and are not offended as I share honestly.***

The hardest days of living in the 80% of the world that does not possess 90% of the world's wealth are not the hottest days.  The missed holiday days.  The lonely days.

They are the days when the world, or His body, seem very broken.

And yesterday was one of those days on both accounts.

Haiti being incredibly poor fleshes out in a lot of ways.

Often, our hearts break over the realities of hunger.  Since Lily began school, I am frequently haunted by the realities of treatable illnesses and avoidable diseases that the majority of her friends and classmates continually live with.  Even working at a Seminary, the number of our local staff who struggle to write a lopsided "x" next to their names each month remind me.  Each day, as Micheline, Gertha, Noel carry home their gallon of drinkable water from our tap because they have NO other access to clean drinking water, I remember we're living in the "rest of the world".

Almost daily, we shake our heads in wonder about how such-and-such makes it from day to day.  I just don't know HOW.

And yesterday, I was horrified again to be reminded of what living in our 80% means...little to no access to GOOD medical care.

Fleshed out, it means Claudin and his wife lost their little girl, the week she was to be born.  Unnecessarily.  Their Lily.

Claudin and I share a wall at the Seminary, and having an office next to this timid man has done wonders for our relationship.  As we talk for a while each morning, I've been able to closely live alongside, sharing stories of common pregnancy woes as he and his wife waited for their first child to be born, laughing at how life would change, praying with him over his church, pouring over student affairs with him, learning from him.

Claudin is our Dean of Student Life, incredibly humble, full of integrity, and remarkably reliable.  He is steady, he is disciplined, he perseveres.  His wife is a jolly and sweet woman, and aside from swollen ankles, her pregnancy has been uneventful.  Like Lily, their little one was to come the week of Christmas.

But last week, she was having trouble catching her breath.  More swollen ankles.  Signs of high blood pressure.  And he did EVERYTHING he could.  First, they spent four days at the same clinic where Maxi and his wife ultimately delivered Christie.  They kept telling him that she was not doing well, but told him several times that they didn't know what to do.  Just to wait.

After four days there (and wracking up a large bill), she was in agony, and they were getting NO treatment.  He pulled her from there and took her to a clinic near the Seminary that is missionary run.  As soon as they saw her, they were concerned about possible preeclampsia, and as a nutritional and breast-feeding clinic only, told him to take her immediately to the "Grand Hospital"...the main hospital in Cap-Haitian.

He did (all of this representing a lot of funds, waiting for public transportation, bumpy roads, his wife in continued agony).  Loaded her up and took her to our biggest hospital, only to discover the entire staff was on strike.  The entire hospital, closed.  Fighting, burning tires, people dying in the parking lot.

Claudin waited for transportation again, loaded her up again, took her to the second largest hospital in town, and wasted an entire day trying to get her seen, only to see very clearly that no one who attended to them had any idea what they were doing.  He said he felt terrified to let them touch his wife after what he saw there.  I don't even want to know.

The pain and physical distress his wife was going through seemed to calm while they waited, and she was afraid.

They bit the bullet, borrowed money from everyone they could, loaded up for a final voyage, left their home, left Cap-Haitian, and drove all the way to Milot, at the base of the Citadel.

A few hours after they arrived at the Milot hospital Sunday night, they were told their baby seemed to have died in the last 24 hours, and she was given medication to make her deliver a beautiful, six pound, lifeless little girl.

So he came to work in his threadbare tie.

He came right to my office, asked about my weekend, told me the final headcount for the Christmas party, gave me the schedule for the final soccer match, and then shared with me the nightmare I just shared with you.


And as anger and sorrow welled up speechless within me, he had the audacity to tell me that he praises the Lord.

That his wife could have died.  He has seen women die.

That while only 5 in 1000 infants die at the time of childbirth in the United States or Canada, 50 die in Haiti.  75 in Ethiopia.  120 in Afghanistan.

That while about 20 mothers lose their lives during childbirth out of every 100,000 in the United States (or 12, in Canada), that 350 die in Haiti.  600 in Niger.  Over a thousand in Chad.

When Claudin said, "M'di Bondye mesi"..."I thank the Lord"...I started to cry.

Because he just lost his daughter.  Because his wife is still in the hospital.  Because it IS NOT FAIR.  Because I wish I could do something.  Because I went to America to have my baby.  Because I COULD.  Because he has a new mountain of debt and just held his perfect daughter who didn't need to die.  Because he did everything he could.

Because he DOES.

This world is broken.

On days like yesterday, man, by 10 am I wanted to quit and just go HOME.  This world is not our home.  Sometimes I am so ready to leave it.

But I know--personally--His love to be enough.

And He came into the world for Claudin.  For his wife.  For their precious daughter.

And I know Him to be enough.  So does Claudin.

And I know His love to heal, to reconcile, to redeem, to chase away darkness.

And it is why we are here.  In this dark and broken world.

But not of it.

Don't forget this Christmas that this world, whether you're in the 20% or 80% of it, whether it is hard or painful or easy breezy--just like it wasn't Jesus' home--is not ours.

We have to keep living like it.  Have to keep living full of praise, as Claudin is teaching me.  Full of HIS LOVE.  Full of HIS holiness.  Full of His responses.  Full of HIS light.

Full of His healing.

Despite our circumstances in this world that's not our home, we have to live victorious, because He lives.

I sure am trying.


  1. Yay thank you Lord!! Such a beautiful day!

  2. Yes! Thank you Lord for this precious baby! I do remember their tragic story and praying for them in Decemeber of 2013. So incredibly heartbreaking and yet praising God for this new little one they now have.