Haiti: Joy & Mourning

A week before our arrival in Haiti, a beloved member of our Imagine Missions family died. His name was Feto. He was a security guard at the team house and so much more. He was a father figure to many children – including two of his own, an amazing servant and friend, and he was Papa Noel (Santa Claus) to the children at the orphanage. He loved to play a card game that involved putting clothes pins all over your face; in fact, I’m not sure if I’d ever seen him without at least one clothes pin on his face. I still don’t understand how the game works, but I remember how Feto was always welcoming and kind.

My husband and I had privilege of attending his funeral last Sunday, which is quick for a Haitian funeral. It usually takes families several weeks to save enough money to pay for a funeral, but Imagine Missions was able to help his family pay for the funeral, so the mourning process wouldn’t be drawn out.

The funeral was unlike anything I’d ever seen, but what struck me the most was not simply the difference in our cultures, but how connected I felt to these strangers.

I’d never met Feto’s family. I didn’t know most of the people who attended his funeral, aside from the kids and staff from the orphanage. I wanted to attend the funeral because I wanted his family to know that we were with them and we were for them, even if we didn’t speak the same language.

And as we sat in the funeral home and heard his family crying out loud and mourning the loss of him, I began to cry. The sound of his family expressing the anguish they felt inside broke my heart. I’ve known that kind of anguish. As the kids from the orphanage, all of whom I love, walked up to the casket and broke down, my heart broke. And as my heart broke and I wept, I felt connected to my Haitian brothers and sisters in a way that I believe only Jesus could have done.

We left the funeral home, and drove most of the way to where Feto’s casket would be laid. The Haitian custom is to walk alongside the casket to the crypt, while those carrying it dance. In the midst of the sadness, those carrying Feto’s casket danced. And it wasn’t just because of custom. They were celebrating their friend. It was really beautiful.

Funerals are hard. Loss is hard. But Feto is present with Jesus, and that alone is worth celebrating.

Today we heard news that another Haitian brother died. His name is Rosel. He was the co-director of the Imagine Missions orphanage, a father to many, and a great man of God. His death was completely unexpected – I don’t think I’ve fully processed what has happened yet. It just doesn’t seem real. I can only imagine how difficult this is for Melissa (the director living in Haiti, who was very close to Rosel), her kids, and everyone who is a part of Imagine Missions.

So I am here to petition my brothers and sisters in Christ. Please join me in praying for our family in Haiti. The enemy is doing all he can to stop the work that God is doing in Despinos, but we serve a mighty God who has conquered death and has given us the authority to rebuke Satan. Please pray for peace for Melissa, her boys, and the children at the orphanage. Pray for protection and strength and pray against the spirit of fear.

My heart is breaking for my Haitian family, but I know that because of Jesus, we will see Rosel again one day.

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