It is with a heavy heart that I'm writing this post to tell you about Christerline's story. I first met her when her mom Esther brought her to Canaan one warm January afternoon for help. Esther had brought her to the clinic several times already from fevers and infections due to her medical condition. She heard of Canaan, how it helps those in needs, and now she needed this help her for her daughter. You see Chirsterline was born without an anus. If she had been born in the states she wouldn't have left the hospital, but this is Haiti, and people will go months or years before getting the medical help they needed.
Pastor Henri had talked with her in depth about her daughter's situation and came to us one day at lunch saying there was a reason God brought this baby to Canaan and we needed to help her and so we prayed. We prayed that doors would open for her to get the help she needed. We prayed that we could do everything possible here to help this mom and daughter; and so on that January afternoon I went down to the chacoun with Ricky and Amber to take pictures of Christerline to send to doctors in the states to asses her medical condition.
I've gotten used to seeing small babies, weak babies, babies that are so tiny that you wonder how they will ever make it. Her condition made it impossible for her to keep and gain weight. She was so small when I first saw her that she looked like a dressed up doll. We knew there was no way she would get the help she needed here and so the work began to look for a doctor and hospital in the states that would handle her case.
Ricky took charge on the Haitian side of sending information back and forth to the doctors and found a doctor and hospital in Missouri that would take Christerline. The Hlavacek family graciously opened their doors to the family and took charge on the state side of working with the humanitarian parole board with the mounds of paperwork needed to make this all happen.
A couple of weeks ago I got more involved with finalizing things on our end here. I saw God work in getting the needed information because things in Haiti don't often go as planned. It was a simple task, get Esther and dad's signature on a form, get her address, and tell her to come to the Pierre Payan hospital on Tuesday so the American team of doctors could do an ultra sound and complete the medical records for her surgery. I called and called the only number I had for her and never heard back. I thought how is this going to work if I can't even get in touch with Esther to tell her these things? But God knew. I tried calling her again one morning and the clinic and couldn't get a hold of her. Not 20 minutes later who showed up to the clinic but Esther and Christerline. I explained to her what we needed and told her it was very important to show up at the PP hospital Tuesday to get the exam done. Tuesday came and as the doctors were getting ready to head over to the hospital who came walking up the hill with her baby but Esther herself.
During that week Marcia Hlavacek told me the humanitarian parole board wanted someone to accompany Esther and Christerline to the states. The board knew how overwhelming it can be traveling for the first time, especially for someone coming from a developing country. I can only imagine what would be going through someone's head coming from Haiti to the states and seeing paved roads, street lamps, green grass, cars all driving on one side of the road, loud speakers, toilets that flush automatically; and so I told Marcia I would love to accompany the two to her house in Missouri.
It was only a matter of a couple of weeks before Christerline would be heading to the states for the surgery. But God had other plans and this past Monday Esther walked into the clinic and with tears rolling down her face told us that baby Christerline had passed away on Thursday. I can't begin to say that I understand His reasoning but I take hope in knowing that she is no longer suffering. Please pray diligently for Esther as she grieves for her daughter. She is not living in the best family situation. She told us she didn't remember the past couple of days after her death and found herself on Sunday near the beach not knowing how she got there.
For some reason I couldn't stop thinking about Esther today. I prayed she was doing ok. I wondered if she had eaten. I worried that she wouldn't remember the last couple of days. She had been on my heart all day so after work I asked one of the girls at the clinic to come with me to her town not too far away to see if we could find her. We drove back and forth up the main road, picked up two people who joined in the search, met one sweet family that had an Esther but wasn't the one we were looking for, saw the house where she should have been at but wasn't, and finally drove back to where we originally started the search when one of the guys we picked up told us to pull over. After about an hour of searching we found Esther standing outside her cousin's house on the road. We started talking and asked how she was doing. She was holding up she told us. She remembered everything that had happened this past week. She had eaten. Then she told us before we came she was lying in the bed trying to sleep. She was tired and decided to rest for a bit. For some reason she got this feeling that someone was coming to visit her. She couldn't shake it so she decided to get up and go stand outside her house. At that exact moment she went outside we pulled up in the truck.
I've prayed a lot the past couple of days. Things are happening here at Canaan aside from this and we could all use your prayers. It's been a rough couple of days and I think we all here are emotionally and mentally exhausted, I know I am. One verse that keeps coming back to me through this time is Philippians 4:7 - And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. And so I take comfort in knowing that God has a plan for my life, for Esther's life, for the lives of the kids and staff here. Though I don't pretend to know why His plan was to take Christerline from us I take peace in knowing that His understanding transcends my understanding in Christerline's story.