I woke up this morning in my bed in Kansas City. Yesterday I woke up in Haiti. It was 5:00 in the morning there, about 4 am Kansas City time. I had slept for a total of 3 hours the night before. My thoughts were too filled with all that I had seen and experienced to sleep. Yesterday was a LONG day of bus rides, crowded airports, even more crowded airplanes, more airports, more airplanes. I walked in the door of my home at 2:30 am this morning. I had been traveling for over 20 hours (it just took me a solid 5 minutes to figure out the math there!) I had slept a total of 3 out of the last 44 hours (I think?again not up for math yet!). I should be EXHAUSTED but I'm really not, at least not yet. Over the next few days I want to share with you what I experienced in Haiti, and a few of the things God taught me.
I will NEVER forget the very first child I met at the very first orphanage we visited. I was one of the last ones off the bus and each team member had been instantly "claimed" by a child (or 2 or 3) as soon as their feet hit the ground. This child stood there waiting for me, just for me.
She was older than I thought she would be. For some reason, in my head I pictured all the orphans would be 5 years old or younger (don't ask me why, I don't know). This girl was older, I would guess she was around 10 or 11 (neither of us spoke enough of the other ones language to really figure that out). I wrapped my arms around her and brought her in for a great big bear hug, and I asked in VERY broken Creole what her name was. And then my heart just stopped...I asked her again, "What is your name?" CERTAIN I had heard her wrong the first time.
"Tamara," she answered.
I looked at her with what must have been pure shock, and somehow stammered out, "That's MY name too! MY name is Tamara!" Her eyes got huge and we hugged each other tighter.
I've always recognized what a blessing it has been to born where I was. Through no credit to myself or even my parents, but ONLY by God's mercy I was born in the U.S., in a small town, in a christian home. Honestly, I have truly wondered at times what my life would be like if God hadn't started me out right where he did. I think this was God's answer.
THIS could be you. Just as easily, this could be YOU, standing here in an orphanage, in a poverty struck, 3rd world country. This could be you. Don't take for granted for a moment what God has done for you by placing you EXACTLY where you are. Whatever circumstances you are in.
As I loved on Tamara the verse from Acts 17:26 came to mind, "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and HE determined the times set for them and THE EXACT places where they should live."
I don't know why I am here in the States and why she is there in Haiti. I don't know why it's not the other way around. But I know that is how God determined it should be. And I know that God had a reason for bringing us together at that time, and in that place.
I don't know if Tamara will remember me, our time together was very, very short. But I know I will NEVER forget her. God brought us together for a very specific reason and I will never forget.