In November 2017, I finally made my way to Haiti. I’d had many opportunities before then but life just wasn’t making a way. This time, God was, no matter how many excuses I tried.
I had six children with special needs and one was in crisis. We were trying to buy our old farmhouse, our dishwasher broke, our washing machine broke, and I literally woke up one morning to water gushing through a gaping hole in our kitchen ceiling. Until now, I’d always had an enthusiastic YES! for God and wherever He was sending me, but it just didn’t seem like the time.
Jesus himself might as well have smacked me right in the face when he sent me Isaiah 58:11-12… multiple times.
“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”
It might not have been my time, but it was His.
Our first night in Haiti, we sat around the kitchen table gabbing and listening to Michelle share her stories. She was telling about meeting the older children at Voice of the Children, how her heart breaks for their future. Through my tears I saw the words in front of me, as if they were actually written on the table: Hallelujah House.
I had no idea what it meant.
During my trip, I spent many hours on the infamous rooftop praying. Just tell me why I’m here, Lord. Why me? Why now? Before I left, God had given me the word “Hallelujah” and reminded me it was the highest form of praise. When I didn’t know what else to say, I looked out at Haiti and gave a Hallelujah.
When we got to VOC, little kids burst from the seams grabbing me at the waist, begging to be tickled and hugged and noticed.
But it was the older girls quietly standing across the yard that caught my attention. In an experience that matched Michelle’s almost exactly, we made eye contact and it was like being magnetically drawn toward one another. One in particular stole my heart right away.
Two lessons from Haiti: If you say it, mean it. Your word is your promise. And in Creole, the phrase for “I love you” and “I like you” are the same.
When it was time to say goodbye at the end of our trip, I was overwhelmed with the sudden feelings I had for these teens. When “my” girl came over to bid me farewell, she put her hand on my face and said, “I like you.” I like you too, sweet girl. So much. “You’re coming back to me, aren’t you?” I paused, wanting to answer cautiously because I knew not to say something I didn’t mean.
In Haiti, children become ineligible for adoption at age 16 and age out of the orphanage officially at 18. But adoption isn’t really the goal for these orphanages anyway, they’re merely meant to be a chance for survival. In fact, the Carvers’ children had been the firsts adopted from another just like this one. Knowing this and knowing these teens… including my girl… had such little time left, I flew out of Haiti feeling desperate to do something. My head was spinning as I made my way home to my husband and children, swirling with images of what could be.
As I shared the pictures from my trip with my family, my husband shared too. He’d had a dream while I was gone. Never meeting them and knowing nothing about them, he had seen ‘these’ teens and how we could help them. Our visions matched.
We prayed and we fasted and then did nothing else. But I could feel whispers in my spirit. Whispers started becoming daydreams. For seven months, we only imagined what might be… if anything at all. Then suddenly we found it leaking more and more into conversations. We were just waiting for God to say “it’s time”.
We didn’t know it yet, but while we were in a holding pattern, God was literally *moving* in the Carvers.
I followed Michelle and Jonathan’s adventures in Haiti all summer (mostly hoping to see glimpses of the girls!) When they announced at the end of summer that they would be moving their family to Haiti full-time, but still waiting for God to tell them why, I knew. We had breakfast together and within minutes, we were in agreement. The room filled with His presence and the vision(s) came full circle.
The things I’d been dreaming up, Michelle had journaled about years ago. The prayers we had prayed had echoed theirs. Our spirits intertwined and a collaboration was cemented. HALLELUJAH.
In the following weeks, we were collectively confirmed over and over.
It’s time. (!!)
Our family is BEYOND grateful to partner with Helping Hands 4 Haiti to make this vision a reality, but only by the grace of God and His enthusiastic YES! to use us.
Soon, Hallelujah House will open in the heart of Port-au-Prince as a transitional home for teens aging out of the orphanage.
Traditionally at age 18, these young people are sent out with no real education, no money, no skills, nowhere to go, no options. They do what they have to SURVIVE.
At Hallelujah House, they will have the opportunity to be (further) educated, taught skills & trades that open doors to employment, life skills like budgeting/rationing, cooking and proper nutrition etc. They will not just survive, but thrive in the way God always intended them to. We will pour into them so that they can pour into themselves and consequently back into their country of Haiti. We’ll start, of course, with our young people at Voice of the Children, the ones that set this all in motion.
We are SO EXCITED to watch God move mountains because He cares for them. To see them chase their purpose in Him. To see who they dream of being when they realize He has a plan and a future just for them.