The Lenhart Family

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

my amazing daughter... Haitian children's favorite "blanc" on the block

Last week, my family (minus our youngest son Jimso) had the opportunity to spend some time in Haiti exploring a possible future with a mission organization called Christian Service International (CSI). My husband and I have spent lots of time doing short term mission work in Haiti and my son, Drew, had previously accompanied us on one of our trips. But this was the maiden voyage, so to speak, for my 11 year old daughter Ashlyn.

Prior to leaving, several friends commented on our decision to go to Haiti with our kids and the week of school they would have to miss as a result of the trip. To which I can confidently say that all they saw and experienced last week was something most adults will never experience and something that no classroom could EVER teach. Teaching my kids that most of the world does NOT live like we do as Americans and the invaluable lesson of service to fellow mankind was PRICELESS!

Because serving the country of Haiti is something we are very passionate about and therefore something that gets discussed around the dinner table at our house quite often…. Ashlyn had heard all about Haiti, seen more pictures than you can imagine, and knew many of the heart breaking statistics surrounding the precious people of Haiti. Yet one of the most exciting aspects of this last week was to see Haiti through her eyes.

As a mom, words can’t describe how proud I was to see my daughter stretch herself as she came face to face with overwhelming poverty and suffering. Throughout the week, she helped a team of doctors and nurses at a mobile medical clinic. Ashlyn’s assignment included helping me work in the triage area of the clinic and her smiling face was what greeted the more than 125 patients we saw each day. Sometimes Christians limit ourselves by focusing on what we think we lack or what we feel we can not do instead of embracing what is we can do for the kingdom. She didn’t know how to take blood pressures, compile a list of chief complaints, or diagnosis patients but she did know how to extravagantly love on the people who came through the clinic, especially the children.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I will let these pictures tell the story of how two worlds came together under the banner of Christ’s love… how a privileged Caucasian American girl and Haitian children who knew nothing of her world could come together and just simply do what kids do best… PLAY. The differences between the two worlds were drastic from an adult perspective. Here are children whose way of live included waiting all day to see a doctor in a make shift outdoor clinic and a girl who never has to wait more than a couple of hours in a comfortable waiting room to see a doctor. Children whose world and culture say that the basic necessities of life like an education, health care, and food/shelter are a privilege or luxury not a right playing with a girl who has been given every chance to thrive. Haitian children live in the reality that their place of birth determines their right to life. While my daughter has had it ingrained in her mind from birth that with a lot of hard work she can achieve whatever she wants in life. But the differences of language, culture, and quality of life issues didn’t keep them from forming a bond with each other so much so that every morning as our truck pulled up to the mobile medical site, children would come running up smiling, waving, and yelling, “Ash! Ash! Ash!”

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