An Afternoon to Remember

There are times when my heart is touched so deeply that I struggle to formulate thoughts. I struggle to find words. All in a beautiful way.

Confused? Me too.

My heart can be so sensitive. To beauty. To grace. To joy. You would think that when my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that I’d be bursting at the seams to share it with everyone I come in contact with. Sometimes, I  burst. But then there are times like this. I think back on what has brought me so much joy and the only response I have is silence. My heart goes on this crazy journey of reliving the moment, experiencing the joy all over, and being completely consumed with awe and gratitude. And after all of that, I have no words. I’m left with this feeling of complete amazement and I don’t know how to share it. Will people understand how special this was? Will people feel the joy I have felt for days? Will it have the same magnitude to them as it has for me? Probably not. And that’s okay. I’m going to attempt to share it anyways.

Last Thursday was an afternoon to remember. Quite possibly the best afternoon I’ve had in Haiti. Or in my life. I’m not really sure yet. Never in my life have I felt more at home here, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve been calling Haiti home for 6 years. We’ve been living in Haiti for 7 months as of today and I am sure now more than ever that this is where the Lord has called us for such a time as this. And I love it. I absolutely love it.

Matt and I are so blessed to both work with the same group of people. Our Village Champions. Oh, how we love each and every one of them. Deeply. It has been so neat to watch as both of our relationships with them have developed and how it’s tied us together with them in a really unique way. We are constantly blessed by them and their love. I feel so undeserving to work with them. I really do. I’m in tears just thinking about how I wouldn’t trade any of this for the world.

One of our Village Champions, Atthis, from Bercy, has always been one to make us feel at home. He has a smile that is contagious beyond words. No picture can capture that smile. The way he lights up when he sees us. The way he always greets us with a hug and the gentle words, “I am so happy to see you today.” My heart melts every time he says that.

While my mom was here last week, we planned to go to Bercy for the afternoon to pray with people and to stop by and visit Atthis and his family. We arrived in Bercy and went straight to Atthis’ house. What happened the rest of the afternoon is what made it perfect in every way.

The afternoon was spent sitting in Atthis’ house sharing stories, talking about the Lord, laughing uncontrollably, taking silly pictures, and eating a home cooked Haitian meal. It was the true definition of fellowship. We weren’t expecting to stay the whole afternoon. We weren’t expecting to eat there. Oh, but I’m so glad we did.

I could write pages upon pages about the afternoon. However, I don’t think telling you about what we did will help you understand why this is so special to me. It isn’t about what we did at all – even though it was so special. It’s all about who we were with. Isn’t that what fellowship is? It’s about the people. So instead of sharing about what we did, can I introduce you to this sweet family?

Meet the Leandre’s!
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This family is a family that radiates joy. And it’s oh so contagious!

Meet Atthis: 

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Papa is the best word I can think of to describe Atthis. When I think of Atthis my heart smiles. He is nurturing and caring not only to his own family but to the people of his village. He is well known and deeply loved by all. Call me crazy, but I’d love to be adopted into his family – and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way! One of the sweetest moment’s I’ve ever experienced with Atthis was that afternoon. He sat and shared how he lost both of his parents at a young age, had come to found Christ, married his beautiful wife, how he loves her with his whole heart, and how they have three beautiful children together. Friends, this is huge. Atthis said, “I love my wife so much.” Almost immediately, his son Mathensly lit up and started singing “He loves my mom! He loves my mom! He loves my mom!” How beautiful it is when children recognize the love that their parents have for each other. Heart. Melted. Atthis lights up any room he walks into. He is a prayer warrior and kingdom fighter. I’m so thankful for the example this man sets for those in Bercy and for his family. So unbelievably thankful.

Meet Pierrette:

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What a beautiful woman. I admire her so much. My heart is filled with joy knowing how deeply loved and cherished she is by her husband and family. I often feel burdened for the women here. They seem calloused. Hard. Oh, but sweet Pierrette! What joy she has. Atthis shared with us that she has some mental disability. It’s hard to fully know what she struggles with due to language barrier, but it doesn’t matter. This sweet woman is struggling with something and her precious husband has done his best to care for her. He’s done so well. Pierrette has a beautiful heart and serves others so well. I wish we could have spent more time talking with her, but she spent the afternoon outside their house in the back cooking food for us (see picture at the end of this post). She served us joyfully and was honored to do it. Little does she know that I feel so honored that she would do that for us. I’m amazed by this woman. Completely amazed.

Meet Athlande:

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What a sweet spirit this precious 11-year-old has. She is quiet and reserved, yet sweet and joyful at the same time. I think Athlande is going to grow up to be just like her momma. She helped her mom and kept her company while she cooked us food and loved every minute of serving us with her mom. I was so touched by her gentle and quiet spirit. She was shy but oh so bubbly. I love this girl. She is the oldest and I can only imagine the joy she has brought to her parents. Their first born. The child they prayed for. I hope and pray she realizes how wanted and loved she is. She is so very loved.

Meet Pednika:

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Sweet and sassy Pednika made us giggle and laugh so much. This nine-year-old is full of life! So full of joy. Her beauty shines like no other and her passion for life is evident. Pednika loves to take pictures. I’m pretty sure she was carrying either my phone or camera the entire time we were there taking pictures of things around their house. Oh, and if you can’t tell she’s a natural in front of the camera as well. I pray this beautiful girl recognizes that her beauty comes from the Lord and she uses it to bring Him glory. I pray she knows and believes that her worth comes from the Lord and that she is worth more than precious gold. Because she is worth so much more. SO much more.

Meet Mathensly:

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This child has captured my heart from day one. I have never met a child more joyful than this one. He is silly, sassy, but SO sweet. He loves to dance, give hugs, smile, and make everyone in the room cry from laughter. Can’t you just picture him singing about how much his Papa loves his Mama!?!? Precious child. Mathensly is 7 years old and is brilliant. He is the spitting image of his Papa. Those ears and that toothless smile. Be still my heart. I love that when Mathensly sees me he runs with arms open wide and just latches on to me. He knows he is funny which makes him even more hilarious. This boy is going to make a difference in this world. I pray that he sees his Papa as an example to follow. I pray he fights for the kingdom like Atthis. I pray he grows a passion for the Lord that is rooted deep in his heart. I pray that he never loses his contagious joy. Oh, that joy. Don’t you see it?

I pray that you see my heart in this. I pray that you feel the joy and feel like you experienced this afternoon too. I’m in tears, friends. This family means the world to me. I can’t stop the tears from falling or hide the smile on my face. This is joy. This is family. This is what it’s all about.

No words. No words to express my joy. My love. No words to express the gratitude I have that the Lord has graciously placed us here for such a time as this. So grateful.

To end this post, here are some more pictures from this joyous afternoon that I will never forget. My heart is full. I pray that yours is too!

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And the best part?? Getting to share this lovely afternoon with my mom!
(Post about her visit here coming soon!)

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**Pictures taken either by me or Rachel. (The awesome ones are Rachel’s!)**

2 thoughts on “An Afternoon to Remember

  1. Pingback: A Beautiful Afternoon. | Rachel Durban's Blog

  2. Pingback: Little Moments | The Journey of Two Sojourners

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