Monday, November 09, 2015

When LOVE Shows Up: Reporting on the Love Flash Mob & Together Rising

Thanks to the generosity and efforts of thousands of people each giving a small gift, The Heartline Maternity Center in Port au Prince, Haiti - will soon be receiving $230,000 for an expansion project. 

(Details on how that will be used at end of post.)

Amy & Glennon as they left Haiti
If anyone ever, in the history of the world, had a chance to convince me that the Internet is a place where good can happen, that person is Glennon Doyle Melton.  

You see, I am a realist. As a realist I admittedly walk right on the edge of the cynicism line, sometimes tripping all the way over and flailing around on the ground in a fit of despair or disgust. When I am being cynical and get caught and called out,  I just shrug and say, "hard-core-realists get called that sometimes."  But -  Inside, I know

I know I'm prone to distrust that there is SO MUCH deep goodness and love in the world. I am guilty of hyper focusing on the jealous and angry, the dishonest ones, the people that make mountains out of molehills, the ones that are critical. When I am dumb and do that, I always forget that there is a large army of folks that live their lives in order show up and help - in order to love and lift others up. 

When Glennon first (see: wrote me to say she felt she and her non-profit, Together Rising should consider doing something to help The Heartline Maternity Center, I instantly broke out in hives.  

I love Glennon as a friend and peer and have enjoyed the times we have been together. I felt super afraid to have our friendship change into "business" and spent several weeks lamenting to Troy that maybe the risk was too great.  I care more about relationships than I do fundraising and maybe mixing the two wasn't something we should do???? What if everyone hates this Love Flash Mob fundraiser or doesn't care about the cause, I asked Troy.  Glennon will get hurt and so will we.  Do we want to risk the rejection?

However, Glennon seems to live in the space and the reality that matches her conviction  - That conviction being: love conquers all.  

She pushed me about "doing something!" and I in turn pushed her to come to Haiti and see it all first - that went on for a bit - until we all agreed that we would willingly risk together. 

Thus, the Together Rising Love Flash Mob you likely heard or read about here and here took place in October.  

There was no rejection.  

There was love.  There was beauty.

People showed up and gave and shared and cared.  It was stunning to watch.  

Telling the pregnant ladies what happened the next day was a really special moment. "So, the Internet, you all know about it, yes?  Well, the tiny little lady that visited in September and her tiny little friend and the whole Internet gave us a lot of money to make this place bigger and better and to help more of your sisters and aunts and friends have a place to come find love and community and a safe place to deliver."   

They all nodded at the awesomeness of the Love Flash Mob and marched outside to pose for this photo.

Dear Lovers of Women, Dear Sisters that Show Up,
I am writing for all of us at the Heartline Maternity Center when I say, we don’t at all comprehend or believe what you just did. We want you all to know this: The depth and breadth of this love will unfold for years to come. **YEARS**
When we consider that each life is ascribed unsurpassable worth, and that this gift you’ve given will allow many more women to give birth safely – where they will be honored as individuals, and surrounded by love … And then you consider how love changes people and they take that love they receive and go touch others.
There is literally no way to quantify what this Love Flash Mob has birthed in Port au Prince, Haiti.
We feel all the things right now. Not an exhaustive list: Grateful, Excited, Nervous, Thrilled, Humbled, Anxious, Jubilant, Hopeful -and mostly, Overwhelmed by Love. 
Heartline M.C. Staff 

My favorite laugh-out-loud moment of the hours Glennon and her trusted right-hand-(wo)man Amy spent with us, happened early in their trip.  

We picked them up from the airport and drove them straight to the state run hospital in order for them to get a chance to see what that option looks like.  Most women deliver at home, but if they don't want to deliver at home, this is the main Port au Prince option. We thought Amy and Glennon should know what the women face here as they make these choices (or the choices happen to them in most cases) about labor and delivery. 

When we drove into the hospital parking lot, the security guard with a automatic weapon in his hands made a gesture to Glennon while making direct eye contact. The gesture was to take his fingers/hand and from left to right drag them across his own neck. Glennon's eyes popped straight out of her head and into my hands.  I frantically repositioned them and popped them back in her head. She said, "Oh my gosh! What did I do?!?!?"  I laughed and said, "In Haiti that just means he is thirsty or hungry".    

The guy with the huge gun making a motion that appears like he wants to cut your head off  -  is actually communicating non verbally that he'd love a drink and is not well at the moment. NO WORRIES.  :) 

I think Glennon's eyes went back to normal fairly quickly, but I'm not sure her heart-rate ever did. 

Lydie and Phoebe and Amy and Glennon - PowerHouseTeam


We currently work out of this Maternity Center:
(see video tour of the MC above if interested) We have reached capacity in this 1300 square foot space.  We truly need more space in order to grow and we need the extra operating cost money before we could grow.  

The 230K is going to do ALL of the following:

Add a second floor to the M.C. - this will be classroom space, add a two-stall ladies restroom upstairs in the classroom, convert the downstairs classroom space into 2 postpartum rooms and 1 versatile room that will be used for prenatal visits, postpartum recovery, etc., as it is needed, after that we will remodel and upgrade the current birth-room bathroom, buy medical equipment, pay one (new) midwife salary, do some professional development/education for the staff, provide continued birth control services and grow the Prenatal and Early Childhood Development programs by 30%  -- adding 20 more women at a time in those programs. 

Heartline Maternity Center is accountable to Together Rising's Board to spend the money as agreed and designated.

How long will this take to happen?

We believe that 100 days from now the upper floor will be completed. At that point we will have the space and bandwidth to do every other thing listed above. Haiti has a way of keeping life interesting (read: things don't usually go as planned) but we have chosen and hired the general contractor and we await the news of the actual construction start date. 

This is great news!  Does Heartline Ministries need our financial help and prayers after this huge successful thing and after that large gift has been given to the Maternity Center?

It IS great news.  We're giddy about it. Thanks for asking that, because YES YES YES YES YES, we still need everyone that helped us meet the previous operating costs. We still need every family, church, individual, and group that sent their monthly sponsorship or donation.  

We still have all the other things going on at Heartline Ministries and this gift from Together Rising is very specifically designated to only the Maternity Center and exactly what we've listed above. The previous operating costs all continue. Your faithfulness in helping us make payroll and run all the programs is huge and important and appreciated beyond what we can communicate in a simple blog-post.  The joyful ladies in that photo above are living testaments of the ways your prayers and gifts are put to use  - and bless many.   

As always, Heartline Ministries and The Heartline Maternity Center and our staff and my family are crazy grateful to be where we are - SO grateful. We are seeing God at work in and through all of you, we are seeing the lives of women changed. THANK YOU for your generosity, love, and commitment.

With LOVE-