At the mayor’s office gate, I was relieved to see an orderly line of men and women waiting to meet with World Renew staff. But suddenly, the reason for my worries found its justification: An angry young man, with a small group of people gathering around him, was expressing concern about the resettlement to rental housing where we would assist the families with transition costs. Once in the office, I found the mayor’s representative, Monsieur Winshell, waiting for me. Together, we decided to talk with the angry man outside. Both Winshell and I could relate to the displaced people living across the street from World Renew’s offices—we had also been victims of the disaster. Winshell lost his wife, children, and house in the earthquake. We were ready to hear and understand, no matter what the man’s concern was.
The angry man--whose name was Jackson--was somehow disarmed by our calmness and willingness to listen. Our peace seemed to cause him to lose his energy to fight. Soon we found out his concern: Among the displaced families was a girl who was disabled, and who had been orphaned after the death of her mother last year. Somehow she had been missed in our surveys. Today, the community planned to abandon her because as an unaccompanied minor, she had not been counted as a beneficiary.
We were speechless, wondering if she had been missed by community members who surveyed the camp because she was thought to be not worth counting. Accompanying the now eager man to the camp, we found the young woman sitting in a dark corner of a hot, humid tent. Probably 20 years old, although she looked like eight, Jesula had both physical and mental handicaps.
Her small, crooked body belied her difficult life. Jesula, who was once healthy and played with her age-mates despite her mental disabilities, was ridiculed daily by neighbors and other community members who said she was cursed for life. She was never taken to a doctor, and she eventually became blind, mute, and lame under the constant abuse. I was in complete denial about what happened to this young lady: I thought that I must be another world--far from the office where I work every day.
But our God, He works in mysterious ways.
Unknown to us, God was already busy in Jesula’s life last January when a group of women from Calvary Church, led by mission director Joyce Johnson, visited our work in Haiti. We traveled to L’Arche Haiti in Carrefour, an inclusive community for vulnerable people. We spent the day there and found it difficult to leave--one of the women visitors said that she clearly felt the love of God in the intentional community at L’Arche.
It wasn’t until moving day for the displacement camp and the very moment that I saw Jesula crouched in that hot, dark tent that I understood why we had visited L’ Arche with the women from Calvary Church. Jesula was to find her home there--God was directing us beforehand to help accomplish his work in her life. L’Arche accepted Jesula with open arms. World Renew built a room on the L’Arche campus to accommodate their new friend Jesula and her aide.
World Renew director, Ida Mutoigo said recently, “This is a beautiful story of God's love stretching beyond our expectations to someone in need. I am sure the support we gave to the families of Delmas 77 Camp will not lead to sustainability for many after our brief intervention with them. But I am sure Jesula found a place she can call home until she dies and a community of people who cares and calls her “friend.”
World Renew Haiti