Latest trip to MamaBaby Haiti
by Chantelle Bruyn
Climbing out of the plane in the Haitian sun, my team and I squinted against its brilliance. Though I had never stepped foot on this part of Haitian soil, I strangely felt a sense of home sweep over me. Lord, how can we best serve these people during our short time here? What word do you have for our team on this trip? Anything specifically for me? Ive yearned to return to Haiti for years and that time is finally here. Now what?
We made out way to the birthing clinic in Cap Haitian, MamaBaby and lyrics were running through my mind. They resonated of trusting in Him, with the little and the big. To trust even when I ask Him to move mountains, to part waters and do the “impossible”, and to make His presence known and strong and tangible. And even when His plans don’t look how I expected them to, or when the mountains are not being moved how I thought they would, to trust Him ever more even then.
I could tell countless stories of how we had such major flooding that one afternoon when we were trying to make our way back to the clinic the water reached the door handles of the Land Rover. I could write about Gods revelation of his beautiful creation in a country that at times feels so desolate and depleted. His boundless provision and protection during our time here. How each laboring mother and baby born were healthy because of the efforts of the midwives and staff. And how we helped deliver somewhere around 20 little souls during our time at MamaBaby. But the story that shook me the hardest was about an 8 day old little boy.
Our last Friday at the clinic I was called away from a laboring mama who about to birth her newborn. I was hastily passed a tiny sleeping infant. Seconds later I was told his 16 year-old mother passed away only hours prior and there is no father. My heart was broken. Tears streamed down my face at the bleak-looking future of this baby and I struggled with understanding Gods plan in this situation. Within moments my team and I were able to find him formula and a bottle, and pray over him while Jennifer taught his distant relatives how to care for and nourish him. They were given strict instructions to bring him back in two weeks for more formula and a check-up. Still blinded by tears I returned to the delivery room to help catch the baby girl who was about to crown. The baby boy was gone by the time I was finished helping the new mama and baby girl get cleaned up and settled into the recovery room. I felt joyous at the new life I just witnessed, but at the same time I was numb with grief over the baby boys loss.
Towards the tail end of our trip I reflect on all the hours, blood, sweat and tears spilled over the women and babies of Cap Haitian. Were we used to our fullest potential here? Did we actually make a difference? We saw so many wonderful starts of life but we dont get to see the final pictures. If I were being honest with myself in the depths of my soul, there are times where “not knowing” eats away at me. What’s in store for that baby boy that I immediately loved and whose loss I so intensely mourned?
My answer came several days after returning to my own young son in Hawaii. I received an email from a Haitian friend I had been working with at the clinic. She told me his name is Frantzly. He is well and thriving and being cared for by his relatives. Looking at how Jesus interacts with children, He knows the most intimate details of each of their lives and cares deeply for them. Sometimes we dont see the end of the panoramic picture, and that can be alright. We just need to trust.