C3 Missions NewsletterRich Stigall
Meet Grace and Joy, our photo-of-the-month honorees. Their story tells the story God’s writing in C3. This month, we’re foregoing facts and figures, and telling the story of Grace and Joy. One image. One story.
As many of you know, we lead several vision trips per year. We take groups to Haiti to see the cluster model, in action. We visit our children and pour ourselves into them, and they into us. It’s humbling to the core to share the joy and contentment in these children. But each time we drive away from visiting the children, confusion takes hold of our minds. The euphoric joy creeps out of our souls, and the skeptic’s questions backfill…
There are many millions of homeless and abandoned orphans in the world?
Where do they come from?
Can we really make a difference?
Even if we bring them into a home and care for them, what happens when they’re adults? Then what do we do with them? We have to “fix” these countries! We just have to! But how do we do that? My God, we can’t.
So what’s the point then?
What does this have to do with me, anyway?
Such is the scene on Saturday, September 22, 2007. We have a group of 17 in Haiti. On Saturday evening, we visit a small coastal village in the south, Torbeck, to absorb the raw conditions of third world life. Our partners in Haiti, Pastors Louis and Dony St. Germaine, shepherd us through the visit. They know Torbeck well, and the people of Torbeck know them. Louis and Dony planted a small church in Torbeck where hundreds of villagers sought refuge during a recent hurricane. As for we Americans, the skeptic’s questions occupy our minds as we drive – quietly – down the path out of the village.
Little do we know, God is about to answer the skeptic’s questions as only He can.
Several women break the silence by slapping the doors of our car. They see Pastor Louis driving, and their eyes blaze to life. They lurch at the car and bang on the doors. They must talk with him… Right Now! He stops the car and listens to a frantic Creole rant. He flings open his door and hurriedly follows the women into a makeshift mud hut about 50 yards away.
Five minutes later, we wonder what in the heck is going on in that hut? The next thing we see is Louis, ducking down and stepping out through the doorway of the hut. He lopes our way, shaking his head and staring at his shoes.
“What’s going on in there?”
A young woman, 20 or so, gave birth to premature twin girls about 8 hours earlier. Mom died in childbirth (a common event in these countries). Dad’s not around and either can’t or won’t care for the babies. The two girls – 3 pounds each – lay in the hut dying. (Stop for a second and think of the scene at the birth.) No one in the village will take care of the girls. They can’t care for themselves or their own children. They fear that even touching the girls will mean an ownership claim they can’t handle. So Mom lay dead and girls lay dying.
Then Pastor Louis happened through.
The women banging on the car had surely prayed for the girls. Might this be God’s answer? “Will you take them to a home at the church, Pastor? Please?!” That’s what the women banging on the window ask. Louis answers these questions constantly. That’s life in Haiti. This time, he turns to us. “What do you think?”
You know how you’d answer.
A short time later, several of us walk to the hut. It’s dark by now. There’s no electricity. As we enter the hut, we see only what the dim glow of two small flashlights will allow. And the dim light reveals a sight we’ll never forget. Probably 15 villagers line the walls of the tiny hut. Mom’s under a sheet in the corner. And the babies, these two little girls, lay on the only “bed” in the hut. All by themselves, as if they’re radioactive. No one in the hut will get near them. You should have seen the terror in their eyes!
Dr. Andy Moyes, a doc on our team, checks the babies. But he’s helpless. He has no medical instruments. There’s no NICU here. No incubators. No formula. No social services. No nothing. It’s stark: God holds the lives of these little ones, and He is asking us a simple question, “Yes or No?” We don’t say this to elevate our importance. We’re nothing. This is just a fact. God asks us this question, whether we want to hear it or not. Too often we ignore it. We complicate and obfuscate. We analyze. We doubt with the skeptic’s questions. We continue on our merry way.
Tonight, we can’t help but hear His simple question.
Just for a minute, let’s go back to 2004. Mike traveled to the Philippines, China, Cambodia and Thailand to see, firsthand, the plight of the orphan. He left a “successful businessman” and expected to return the same – perhaps a little more knowing. But wives always know… Beth knew when Mike walked out the door he wouldn’t return the same man. He left for a trip; she braced for an adventure. And she couldn’t help but wonder… “Will I have a role in this?” “What will this look like for me?” “What does this have to do with me?”
I wonder: Do you have these questions?
On this Saturday night, Beth Fox finds herself in a mud hut in Haiti swaddling and scooping up an infant, orphaned and left for dead. Sharon scoops up her sister. These little girls are held – really held – for the first time. It’s not complicated. Beth and Sharon simply walk out of the hut and carry the girls to safety. That’s it. They’re not heroes; they’re just doing. There’s nowhere on earth they’d rather be. There’s nothing else in the world they’d rather be doing.
You’ll be happy to know that Gracianna (“Grace”) and Sara-Joy (“Joy”) are alive. They’re doing quite well. They’re physically well. They’re gaining weight. They’re healthy. They’re beautiful.
We can’t predict the future for Grace and Joy. We’ll help nourish them; educate them; love them; disciple them; pray for them; etc… But we won’t solve all of the problems of their homeland, and we candidly don’t know what they’ll be doing 20 years from now. That’s God’s business. He surely knows. What we do know, for certain, is that the story of Grace and Joy has much to do with all of us (us and you). God did not want those two little dolls to wither and die in that mess. He wanted us to act. He demands it from us. That’s not too difficult to understand. And it’s not too difficult to do.
If I had to describe C3 in a picture, it would be Beth and Sharon walking out of that hut with the girls in their arms and tears rolling down their cheeks. They did not cry tears of guilt, shame, or pity. They cried tears of joy.
Take another look at the picture of Grace and Joy. Do they matter?
Conclusion and Request
There are many more children like Grace and Joy. Join us in this effort. Make this your personal ministry. Your family’s ministry. Your small group’s ministry. Your company’s ministry. Your church’s ministry. Unapologetically, we’re asking you to join us and to give. ALL of your donation will go to these children. 100%. God is at work here, and it’s not about any of us at C3. It’s far bigger than us. As each of you makes this your ministry, and engages your circle, this ministry will become a viral Movement. 1000 children will become 10,000, and 10,000 will become 100,000.
Thanks for all that you do.
Your C3 Partners