Recently, I invited a friend to write about an experience she had in Haiti. Her emotions are raw and genuine.
As many of you fret over the presidential election and/or outcome, let’s take a few minutes to remember what this family, and millions of others around the world, are going through.
Colleena Jimenez, in her own words…
In August, when I sat out to enroll Haitian students in school, I didn’t know that my heart would be so broken. Broken to the point I finally did what God has been trying to get me to do all along. That is to pray without ceasing and give everything to him. I’m human and I typically try to handle things myself. As I am getting stronger in my faith, I am realizing that He will guide me the way He wants things to go or He will just have them unfold in front of me.
On August 24, 2016, I was asked to go pray for a little baby boy named Louiee. We knew he was sick and assumed it was Hydrocephalus but without a medical degree we weren’t 100% positive. So I went with my interpreter to pray for this baby. When I walked into their home there were two small beds and about 8 people living there. Baby Louiee was laying on the bed trying to roll over but he couldn’t because his head was too heavy. I didn’t say anything to his mom, I was instantly pulled to the baby. I started talking to him and trying to make him smile but he wouldn’t smile for me. As I was talking to his mom, baby Louiee kept grabbing my finger. This was when I felt him grab my heart and Jesus didn’t let me shake him off. I spoke to his mom about how Louiee had a medical issue and that is why his head was big. I couldn’t promise anything but prayer for her. In my mind I couldn’t imagine being this mom who had no possibilities of getting her baby help. I left that home fighting back tears and trying to keep my mind from racing. After meeting Louiee, I was dropped off at my room where I sat alone and all I could do was think, then I started talking to God. I cried, prayed and begged God to show me how I could help, asking Him why he brought me there, begging Him to show me the plan. I knew I didn’t have the means to get Louiee his brain scan that he needed, nor did I even know if they had a place in Haiti to do it. I decided I had to share his story. I reached out to full time missionaries that I knew to see if there was a place in Haiti that would be able to accommodate Louiee for a brain scan. Surprisingly I received several messages back, all pointing to the same hospital in Port au Prince. I called a few numbers that I was given. The first phone call was to an actual doctor who quickly got me in contact with the nurse in charge at the hospital. They were quickly able to schedule an appointment for the scan on the following Monday. My next task was to find the funding needed to pay for the scan. Thanks to social media Baby Louiee’s story, request for prayer and support was shared by many in United States. The next day I received a text message to go to Western Union because the money for his scan had been graciously donated. Sadly, I had to return to the United States on Saturday, but God had placed all the right people in Haiti to help get Baby Louiee where he needed to be on Monday.
The anxiety I felt on Monday was high not being able to be in Haiti with Baby Louiee. I was fortunate enough to receive pictures of the process and that eased my mind. I felt like I had a hand-picked group of guys from God doing his work that day. I received the results from Louiee’s scan and he indeed had Hydrocephalus. The course of action from the hospital was that they could put a shunt in to drain the fluid off his brain the next week with a Haitian doctor. I was again brought to prayer as I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t have the funds for the surgery with the Haitian doctor because it was $600 American plus transportation. I was also hesitant because I kept thinking about the doctors credentials. I wondered if he had done this surgery before. I wasn’t getting the communication I wanted from Haiti to answer my questions. Again I turned to prayer. I remember the exact words that I prayed, “Dear God, please guide me in this decision. You know me God, I need you to smack me with the answer. Make it clear please God. I’m scared, I am making a decision for someone else’s child. Help me make it as if he was mine. Please show me what your plan is. Amen.” The next day I received an email from the Haitian doctor refusing to do the surgery. He was very vague, but just said “No good outcome.” I then thanked God for the definite answer to my prayer. I then decided this was God’s way of saying wait the month for the American doctors to come.
With this development came the need for more prayer and financial support for the surgery and transportation. Turning once again to social media and the sharing of Baby Louiee’s story, people graciously gave and I felt like everything was falling into place. I still prayed and wondered why God put me here to do this for Louiee. Baby Louiee had consumed me. Helping him is almost all I could think about. I was awoken at 3 and 4 am several nights with this heart wrenching feeling that I needed to pray for him and his mom. I had never felt the overwhelming need to pray at an exact moment but that night I did. In the days following, I was constantly checking my email and messages to see if there was any news. Finally, I had a date for Louiee to go to the hospital and see if he was a candidate for surgery with the American doctor. October 2, 10am, would be the day we had been waiting for. During the time leading up to this date, I was contacted by a few people that had heard of Baby Louiee and who needed help for other babies in Haiti that also had Hydrocephalus. They asked if I would share what I had learned in hopes of helping their babies. During this process, I met a lady who led me to a second option. I spoke to another clinic that had an American doctor coming a week after the Port au Prince clinic. I felt a push to schedule Baby Louiee for an appointment at this clinic because Baby Louiee wasn’t guaranteed surgery in Port au Prince and would only get it if they had room. So Baby Louiee now had an appointment on October 13h at this second clinic. It was 6 hours away from where they lived though. I assumed we wouldn’t need this option but felt more comfortable having it scheduled just in case.
Saturday, October 1, came around and the anticipation for all involved was building. Then I got the call that normally would have shattered me, the American doctor couldn’t come because of Hurricane Matthew that was slated to hit Haiti. I was surprisingly calm and I felt like again God had answered my prayers. I had found out the second clinic was going to do an EVT instead of a shunt, which would be safer for Baby Louiee and were also going to be able to fix his umbilical hernia. God had answered my prayers on what clinic to take him to.
Now came the difficult task of coordinating how to get Baby Louiee and his mom to the clinic. Luckily, two Haitians volunteered to give their time and take on the task of transporting Baby Louiee and his mom. Getting them there was no longer impossible. All that was left was the financial part of transporting and their stay. Everyone here in the states made the financial part of this long trip possible. When I felt like I wasn’t going to have enough money, an envelope with a check would come or someone would come to my door and donate. I have never felt God work through me the way he has thru this process. Keeping me calm and just having a peace that this was his work and it was all going to come together. And it did.
On October 12, they headed to the clinic . I received pictures of the trip as they went to the clinic. There was some hiccups along the way with Baby Louiee and his mom getting a little car sick but for the most part everything went smoothly.
After 7 hours on the road, they reached the clinic to have blood work and a consultation with the American doctors who would be doing the surgery the next day. I remember waiting and praying not so patiently. I started getting messages I didn’t want to hear or accept. Baby Louiee was not a candidate for surgery. What? Why? No way! I won’t accept that. As soon as I said those words out loud I started thinking. Who am I to say I won’t accept that? I prayed and prayed and I’m not going to lie I was angry. I questioned why God brought me to this baby if it wasn’t to save his life. None of it made sense. I cried and prayed some more. All I could think was his poor mom. She had just went thru this hard day of travel just to find out her son wasn’t going to have the surgery that we thought would save his life. I felt bad using others money to send him there and then he couldn’t have the surgery. I felt like I had let down so many. When I got over wallowing in my own self-pity and worry for his mom, I heard God again. Here I was giving Baby Louiee a death sentence for believing what the surgeons said. Just because the surgeons said he had hardly any brain and were not sure how long he would live or even why he was alive, it didn’t mean he was going to die right away. The next day, I had a visitor stop by my house. She was unsure of why she was there, but had felt God pushing her to come. After talking with her, I realized why she had come. The Lord had sent her as a messenger. The message being that I wasn’t to pray for Baby Louiee to pass peacefully but instead to trust in Him. To trust that He is mighty and I needed to keep fighting for Baby Louiee. Fighting with prayer. Praying for God to show us his power and save Baby Louiee. Only God can do this and He has shown it in all he has done. I have felt it all along that he has plans for Baby Louiee. He is the only one who knows what those plans are. So I pray for his will to be done, whether that is to save Baby Louiee for this earth or his heavenly home.
I believe thru this whole two-month journey, God has been showing me that He is in control. It is so easy to think we can fix everything on our own. I believe until we truly give it to God, He can’t work in our lives like we need.
I pray each of you find something in your life where you turn to God like I had to and get a chance to feel Him work. It is an amazing and eye opening feeling of just how wonderful He is.