Haiti is a place of stark contrasts.
It’s hard to believe that, as I am typing this blog, people are rioting in the streets, fires are blazing and gunshots are ringing out. Schools, government offices and businesses are closed. Police and UN soldiers roam the street. Our orphanage is in “lock-down” mode. And the country is in utter chaos.
In the midst of this reality, I met Margolee.
Let me give you some background: A little more than a week ago, our friend and the principal of our school, Ivens, told me he heard about a young girl in a tent city, 17 years old but looking more like 13. A group of young boys said a girl lived in the tent city with four men and that were holding her against her will as a slave. We plotted how we could her out of there without the men harming her.
Apparently, she got into this situation over three years ago, when a person was visiting the girl’s village. The stranger told the mother of the girl that there were great opportunities for the in Port-au-Prince, that she could go to school, be taken care of and one day return to the village well-educated and much better off. The very poor mother, who could never afford to educate the girl, the oldest of six kids, agreed to release her with the stranger. They exchanged phone numbers agreeing to stay in touch and the girl left with the stranger. When the mother would call to check on the girl, the man who took her would always answer the phone and say the girl was out but that she was doing just fine. This continued for three years.
Ivens investigated the situation further, met the girl outside of the tent city and listened to her share her story as she wept uncontrollably. She was broken and fearful that the men would harm her if they found out she talked with Ivens. She was too afraid to leave and had no idea how to escape her situation. He told her that we would have her mother come and that the men could do nothing about it. The girl was able to sneak the man’s phone and find her mother’s phone number on it. Ivens was able to call the mother and explain the situation. When the mother heard the story, she was heartbroken and wanted to come take her daughter back to the countryside. We wired her the funds so she could take the 8 hour bus ride from her village to Port-au-Prince.
She arrived tonight, in the midst of rioting in Port-au-Prince. Ivens took a motorcycle taxi downtown to meet her at the bus station. She hopped on the motorcycle and they dodged burning tires, rioters and policemen, arriving at the tent city where her mother walked right in and claimed her daughter. They then came directly over to our house just in time for dinner. The mother was very skinny, tired and looked ashamed and embarrassed. The girl was thin, pretty, looked younger than 17 and very serious. She was expressionless and would just stare off. She was also very shy.
After they ate, we sat in the living room and shared how God had lead us to Margolee. That it was no coincidence. We talked of how much He loved her and how He wants her to know True Joy and Peace. We spoke also with the mother, how she should not feel guilty and how the Lord wants to take her burden as well. We explained how Jesus paid the price for our sins and that through His sacrifice and resurrection we are given a new life, a new beginning. Margolee began to cry and said that she wanted Jesus to be the Lord of her life. Through Ivens, we prayed with her and she surrendered her life. After we prayed, she started to cry and I saw her smile for the first time all evening. My heart broke. The angels rejoiced!
Ivens said their bus left early in the morning and they needed to leave. We agreed to pay school for the girl and help out her family with food. We said we would stay in touch and hoped one day to visit their village.
In the midst of Haiti insanity – Christ still has victory! God still reigns and is still Lord of all. Amen!