I’ll never forget the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. I boarded a plane with 14 other people from my church and headed to Haiti. We partnered with Hosean International Ministries to bring hope to Haiti. Each day was an adventure. During the day, we made bricks from mortar and clay for a new orphanage. When the sun fell behind the plush mountainous landscape, we taught Bible studies to eager listening ears. Despite the roach filled out-house, cold shower, and thin and tough mattress, our time in Haiti was filled with bountiful and beautiful memories.
Best of all, there was Manette. She as a young thing, maybe 9 years old the first time I laid eyes on her. Amidst the crowd of kids that we played with each day, she stood out. Her beautiful eyes glistened against the backdrop of her gorgeous coal black skin and her smile was the most remarkable thing I’d ever seen.
I can’t forget it. Her clothes were tattered and torn. Her hair, un-kept and unruly. Her stomach empty and starved. Her parents possibly dead. And yet, she smiled.
She didn’t speak English so we couldn’t talk with each other but we communicated everyday for 14 days. She and Haiti were etched into my heart forever.
The day we were leaving for America I couldn’t find her. I check everywhere. In fact, I almost missed my ride to the airport because I was trying until the last moment. I wanted one last hug, one more smile, one final endearing exchange. My heart sunk as I got into the car. We pulled away and I hung my head in sadness.
About a mile down the road, there was a bang against the window. We were all startled and taken aback. It was Manette; her hands and face plastered to the side of the car. Eyes bright, smile wide. I burst into tears as I rolled down the window, kissed her face and passed her a small token to remember me by. We drove away and I watched her tiny silhouette slip away.
That was the last time I saw her but I never forgot. I often wondered if she’d gone to school. Had she flourished as a teenager and young adult? Was she even still alive? I tried to get back to Haiti on several occasions but life seemed to always get in the way. Still, Haiti was in my heart.
Twelve years passed. A mass mail out from Hosean International Ministries caused a flyer to land in my mailbox. It prompted me to contact them in hopes that someone there might know of a girl, who would now be a young woman, named Manette. I had no last name. Just a description: Bright eyes and an incredible smile.
They answered my email.
This is my Manette. She’s a gorgeous, twenty-something, sassy little thing who’s smart as a whip and serious about serving the Lord. We’ve been in touch via email as much as possible since we reconnected and I’m committed to helping her achieve her goals.
Last week, I was tucked away without television and radio working on a writing project. I had no access to anything “media.” I was completely unaware of the happenings in Haiti until three days after they occurred. My heart dropped to my feet when news of the earthquake in Port Au Prince hit my ears. I sent emails and made phone calls to Hosean International Ministries to see how I could help and most importantly to see if anyone had heard from Manette.
I cried and waited. Days passed before I would get a response.
But when I did, it simply read:
We just saw Manette. She is not only safe, she is serving those who are not.
And yet, I know so many do not have any relief today.
How I wish I could be there, with Manette and those at H.I.M., in the trenches serving those precious people who are suffering this horrific tragedy. But since I cannot, you better believe I’ll be on my knees praying and then back to my feet, check book in hand, to assist those who are.
If you are looking for a way to show the love of the Lord to those in need, Hosean International Ministries is a trustworthy organization through which to do it. I encourage you to send a generous gift. Every penny you give to this faithful ministry will be used in a way that will honor the Lord in the lives of those who are hurting. There are thousands more “Manettes” that they are helping, loving and nurturing.
We can help them do it.
Privileged to partner with you,