One month ago today, I had the privilege to travel to Cap Haitian in Haiti, to partner with an organization called Streethearts. http://www.streetheartshaiti.org.
Together with a wonderful group of people from my church, we were able to love on all the former street kids (over 30) and serve alongside the Streethearts staff.
How do you put into words all that you saw and experienced? How can one express the deep love for a group of people you just met, that even extends to those whom you’ve never met? Here is the expression of my heart just a few days after our departure when we received some devastating news….
God Knows Your Name
Countless days and nights spent wandering through the streets
I can’t even remember what it was like to sleep in a bed or have a home cooked meal (but have I ever had anything like that? it’s all a blur)
Does anyone notice me? Does anyone care?
I watch other children play, or hold the hand of a loved one,
As I am forced to wander the streets alone, doing whatever I can to survive, awful, unspeakable things, but it’s all I can do to stay alive.
Does anyone see me? Does anyone even care?
They call out to me as if I’m an animal, a cliche, a generalization
I have a name you know (I scream inside my head)
There’s no point in telling them, they don’t care, to them I’m just a nameless, identity less, street kid
I’m used for sport, a battering ram, a butt of a joke, the list goes on…
I must wander the streets for food, wash cars or even sell myself in order to survive.
Night after night, I fight for my life, beaten, used, and abused.
Drugs help to numb the pain.
Does anyone care? Does anyone see?
Will someone come rescue me?
I chose to sleep in this doorway last night, I’ve been here many times, but I had no idea what tonight would bring….
I awoke to a man grabbing me by my shirt, I tried to fight back but he was three times my size.
I lost the fight last night, I lost my life because they couldn’t see, that I had a name, that I was worth protecting, that all I wanted was someone to love and care for me.
No to them I was the object of their anger, one with no identity, who could be beaten, even killed because I have no name, I have no identity, so no one would even notice. No one would even remember me.
God knows your name oh little one, and every hair on your head. He loves you with an everlasting love. You will not be forgotten. And though we’ve never met, and I may never know your given name, I will never forget you.
The story of Streethearts beginnings, from then until now is a story of redemption. It started when God opened one person’s eyes to see the needs around her, she stopped, and responded with love. She loved them like no one else had ever loved them. She called them by name, learned their story, and by God’s grace Streethearts is changing the course of their lives.
Not only do many of them have a bed for the first time, are going to school, eating three meals a day, etc. But, they get to learn about Jesus and come to know him in a personal way. Jesus the ultimate giver of hope, Jesus who is by definition LOVE itself, and the REDEEMER of all mankind….
We praise God that the shelter that was not complete, was finished a few days after we left, and the tap tap that needed shocks was fixed as well. Each night street hearts drives through the city streets to take in and provide shelter for the raw street kids. That they may eat, shower, and sleep in safety. It started with 9, that became 23 and the number continues to increase.
What an honor and a privilege it was to take part in the work of God both in Cap Haitian with street hearts and in Fonfrede with Rose and David. In both places, God is using people who said yes to God and together with God are transforming their communities, Haiti, one life at a time.