Friday, January 15, 2016

When Life is Cruel, Love Empowers

A momma currently in the program - 10th pregnancy - 3 living children

To say that life is complicated for the women of Haiti is a cruel understatement.

Weekly we hear stories of abuse, infidelity, homelessness; struggles beyond comprehension.

It has become cliche to hear of the tenacity and strength of Haitian women. 

We wish that they had lives that allowed for some weakness and rest.  

When working in a place like Haiti, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the need. This is especially true when so many of the women we meet share a difficult story and a similar large need.

It has been our goal to truly get to know each woman in our program and to glean a little bit of her story - to take the time to understand specific details about her life and her situation. We want to know more about them than, "they are pregnant and materially poor". 

Whether we can help in each situation or not - we truly desire to know about the ladies and their lives and to enter into relationship with them. We believe that love transforms, redeems, and empowers.

It is easy to fall into thinking, "Why did she get pregnant again? Doesn't she learn?" Some might even think, "Well she got pregnant - it is her fault she is so poor." 

While a very small portion of her situation *might* be a direct result of her own choices, the fact is MOST of her life circumstances have much more to do with the culture and country she was born into. Her culture allows her very few choices and opportunities.  

Our programs do not exist to fix Haiti or change Haiti's culture. That is a battle we won't likely win no matter how hard we try. We can change a few misconceptions. We can make a dent here and a dent there in long-held inaccurate beliefs. We can empower the women we serve, but we won't always succeed in convincing women we work with to use birth control or to plan ahead or even to breastfeed their newborn. Sadly, we won't be able to protect our women from gender based sexual violence and abusive marriages. While it is easy to get stuck being frustrated with what cannot be changed, our challenge is to focus on what can be done.

Our program exists to show mercy and grace and love to the forgotten and to be to them a little bit of Heaven on Earth. We hope that by feeling unconditional love, they might desire to know the unconditional love of the Father. We pray to that end. 

Jesus came not only for me and for you, but for the Momma with three kids and six abortions that is pregnant again. He loved the prostitute, the unclean, and the serial mistake-makers. He did not give up on them or turn away. It is for this reason that we won't ever turn away. We hope and pray she does not have another unplanned pregnancy  - we're doing everything we can to educate and after that we are choosing love - because love empowers.