The first few months of living in Haiti, Stephanie was rarely around, had a ton of attitude, and wasn't very kind. We opened our home to her for a weekend when there was a team just two months into our 3 years. While she laughed and had a great time, it was evident there was a facade. Stephanie came to church with us that Sunday with very limited English, but she asked if she could come back every Sunday with us.
Over the course of the following 5 months, Stephanie came to our home on weekends and came to church with us. Sometimes, I have to admit, I was impatient, I didn't have another ounce of myself to give, but slowly this broken young lady began to trust. As she began to unload on me the pain, hurt, brokenness, mistakes, and heartache, God began to strip her raw of all the walls and facades around her. She laid it all out there beginning with the murder of her mom when she was just 6 years old. She never was able to grieve. It took months of crying out to God, me praying with her, Jeff and our kids loving and accepting her, our team members encouraging her and making her laugh, and Max and Margarette giving a second chance, but slowly healing began.
She has loved to sing since she was little and those of you who have heard her sing know she can. She asked me if she would be able to sing in the worship team at church about a year and a half ago, but it never happened and the truth is, I don't think she was ready spiritually.
Three years together, there were many lessons learned both for her and us. Disappointments, frustrations, blessings, celebrations. Many times, I prayed that God would equip me as I didn't have a clue how to help someone through what this child has been through. He continued to remind me to just love her.
This girl is one determined young lady. She has since excelled in school becoming the first in the Good Samaritan Homes to graduate high school. She is in her second year of nursing school learning a ton and pushing her way past 3rd year students in the clinic work. She is bossy, moody, fun-loving, competitive, beautiful, and healed by the grace of God!
Leaving her last summer not knowing if she was really ready to not have her blan (white) mom there with her was difficult, but God had her in the palm of his hand.
When I returned to Haiti in October, I was surprised to hear she had continued to attend Port-au-Prince Fellowship by herself every Sunday. She had no family or friends of her own there. Her English is excellent now and she loves the teaching! I noticed so much growth in her.
On my visit in March, there was an announcement for worship team auditions and she was encouraged by several of us who have heard her sing to try out. Part of the try out was explaining her faith and what she believes about Christianity.
I'm so proud to say that yesterday was Stephanie's first Sunday singing at PAP Fellowship!
Thank you to her other sponsor, Kim and to the transition sponsors who help make it possible for Stephanie to attend university, to the many team members who loved her when she needed it most, to Max and Margarette for not giving up on her. Her story is not finished yet, God is still writing it, but Praise God for the healing and redemption in her life!
|Stephanie (white shirt)|