I choose Joy

This post was started at the end of May. May 17th to be exact…

Today, I lost a pearl of a little friend…

From the first day I met her, she was special to me. She lived in a community where Streethearts boys serve. Our boys were in Petit Anse after a flood last October to hand out food, vitamins and fungus shampoo for the local kids. Naturally, I was doing what I do best, having fun with local kids while our kids did the “serving”! She was the only one who would dance with me out of a crowd. She was a brave, feisty, spirited and an incredibly sweet little girl. She was taken so soon and although my heart deeply hurts, I know she is dancing with Jesus now with a permanent smile on her little sweet face. Please pray for her mother, her sisters and her brother for their loss. Please pray for the community. Pray for Haiti. Pray for economy… for jobs so mothers and fathers can take their kids to get simple medical treatment for basic care. It is heartbreaking that children are dying from illnesses that simple medical treatment can cure. The details of her death are very unclear. “She became sick and then she died”… She is in a better place, but the rest of us are left with a hole in our hearts. meanwhile I have these pictures and the memory of her smile as she ran to greet me every time I came to visit

My shadow. Rest in peace sweet girl
Since I left Haiti for my short break stateside, I have been surrounded by death. It started with Emmanua and since I’ve been back (beginning of July), never in my life have I experienced so much death in such a short amount of time. I’m pretty sure more in the past 3 months than in my entire life. The street kids murdered on the boulevard, a young boy murdered near the kids house and yet another senseless killing near my house of a moto driver (all late at night when I’m not out). This could easily be a way for fear or sadness to creep into my life and keep me from living my life. Keep me from doing what I know I’ve been called to do. Driving up to the lifeless body of a child and seeing what could not possibly have been done by human hands to an innocent child…but knowing it, in fact, was done by a human. I can’t deal with that. How can anyone deal with that? But, I was asked a great question this past month. What can you do? When faced with challenges, trauma, pain, what have you.. what can YOU do?
I can choose joy. Every time I go back out to Petit Anse and Emmanua does not run up to me with arms out… I choose joy. When the kids on the boulevard tell me they are scared they will become a voodoo sacrifice. I choose joy. Not only for myself, but to impart a message of joy and life so the kids and the people I am honored to have in my life can hold on to that as well. I choose to respond lovingly when I am asked a rude question on the street by someone who thinks i don’t speak Kreyol. I choose joy when I feel betrayed, or rejected or annoyed. Or when I’m asked to take a selfie with 40 kids in 5 minutes. Why not choose joy in taking a selfie with kids that think I’m pretty special. Why not choose joy?! It’s beautiful chaos half the time, but it’s my beautiful chaos and so worth it! And why not have that attitude for life in general, regardless of where I live or what I “do”?! It has actually made life so much easier. With joy comes more love, more patience, more gentleness, more kindness… more of what I want in my life. 
Don’t get me wrong! I don’t alway choose joy first, but at least I am quicker to recognize it these days. Life is too short to let satan bring me down with all the things I can’t control or things that are or can be overwhelming (perfect example…moms, you get this: hearing my name 170 times a minute from 35 different kids!!). My question at this point though is… why has it taken me so long to “get it”?!! ha!! whatever!! I choose joy and I am not going to worry about how long it took me to figure it out 😉 

“…do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10
For those of you that skip to the pictures…you and I both know who you are! Here ya go 😉 Love you all!
 kiddos arguing and hoarding chocolate. Joy!
 Having 12 kids climb on you in a pool. Joy! 
Fritz wants his picture and our picture taken multiple times a day. I changed it up with a forehead kiss this day. Joy!
Taking 10 minutes to make a human pyramid. Joy! Look at those smiles! Worth it! 
 Wedky wanting another selfie. Honored. Joy! 
 Jacquelin was a 2nd chance kid. I am so glad he’s with us. 180 degree changes! Joy! 
Johnky trying to teach Melodie, one of our visitors how to dance… hysterical. Joy! 

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