“It’s not our job to fight against the world. Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). Instead, our job is to spread the light.”
I don’t know if you remember, but earlier this year I mentioned how I wasn’t much of a reader. I mean, if you knew me in person, you might have even thought I was allergic to books. I’m not kidding.
Turns out, I just hadn’t found my books. Turns out my books are about people. And when I think about it now I think: DUH! Of course my books are about people! The fullest and most memorable parts of my own story have always involved other people so OF COURSE reading about and, in turn, getting to share other people’s stories would fill me up too! 😀
Anywho, I had planned to read one book per month this year, but hands to the heavens, I just finished book #7, Miracle on Voodoo Mountain, last week.
Have you read it? If not, I highly, highly recommend it. It was written by a young woman from Louisiana named Megan Boudreaux who, after a work-related mission trip, felt like she was supposed to move to Haiti. Like, immediately—as if her spirit was relentlessly being lured there.
She had been there twice before she made the move. Once right after the earthquake in April of 2010, and then again later that year in October of 2010. When she got back home from the second trip, she started having recurring dreams about a tamarind tree. Night after night, she would wake up, in a bit of a panic, wondering what it meant. She didn’t recall where she had seen the tree at first, but it looked so familiar, and she eventually remembered that she had seen it on top of Bellevue Mountain in Gressier, Haiti. In her book, Megan says, “it had a thick, heavy canopy of bright green, feathery leaves, and from a distance, it looked like a giant fern plopped on top of a big stick”.
When her dreams about the tamarind tree wouldn’t stop, she knew God was pursuing her, so even though she had recently graduated from college and had just started working for a hospital she loved, she told her boss she needed to go. To Haiti.
So, at age 24, Megan followed God’s call to Gressier. She didn’t know *exactly* what He was calling her to do, or where she was going to stay, but it didn’t take long to figure out the answers to either of those questions. With the help of a Haitian translator-friend named Bernard, she was able to find a rental house (with no electricity or running water) the day she arrived in Haiti. (Whoa! Talk about closing your eyes and letting God lead!) Megan said her first couple of days were “miserable”. She said she just sat inside and cried and ate energy bars and thought, “I should go home. I have made a terrible decision”.
But after venturing outside and wandering around her new “neighborhood” a bit, everything came into focus. Megan quickly discovered that the kiddos on and around Bellevue Mountain were starving. Both physically and mentally. And after a powerful encounter with a 6-ish year old girl throwing rocks a blackbirds (hoping for a meal), she knew *exactly* what to do: feed hungry children…physically and mentally.
She began by enlisting the help of the only people she knew: Bernard—her translator friend, David- a 19-year-old boy who lived in a camping tent on her roof, and Say Say- a woman who lived with her children in a makeshift tent in her front yard (after the earthquake, they were still too afraid to sleep under a heavy roof). The following Saturday they purchased and cooked a large sack of rice and some beans & vegetables. When everything was ready, they hired a local taxi driver to take them up to the top of Bellevue Mountain so they could hand out plates of food. Fifty hungry kids showed up. The next Saturday, 150 came.
Realizing that most of the children did not attend school, Megan decided to rent a one-room church and began teaching first through fourth grades. Shortly thereafter, she was able to purchase a tiny piece of land around the tamarind tree, and officially started Respire Haiti. (res-pur-ay). Did you catch that? UNDER THE TAMARIND TREE. !!!
I don’t want to reveal any more of the (wild/wonderful/heartwrenching) story but I will tell you that each time I curled up with Megan’s book she absolutely transported me with her words. I shot straight across the Caribbean and back to the island where my baby was born. Her descriptions of the ceaseless goat-poultry-pig-people sounds and of air so warm you literally sweat while you shower made so many memories come rushing back.
(Megan and her husband & kids!)