How was your Tuesday?

This is Madelene.  She is 5 years old and weighs 26 pounds.   Her mother died when she was giving birth to her younger sibling.  Madelene was just a baby herself then, not even 2 years old yet.  Her mother gone.  Leaving her dad to raise her and 9 other siblings.  Three of those siblings have died.  Madelene’s dad needs to work.  He has to.  He has to feed his family.  He does not have time to take care of Madelene and work at the same time in the fields.  He made a hard decision to pass her around with family members.

This is what Madelene has been doing for the past 5 years of her life.  Going back and forth between different aunt, uncles and cousins.  She has been neglected.  She has had a hard life for these past five years.  I am not sure how long she has been malnourished and suffering from kwashiorkor.  Her skin is split open in several places around her eyes, stomach and legs.  She has a terrible fungal infection. Her hair is falling out.  Many of her teeth are rotten.  Her fingernails are long and full of dirt.

 I went into the room to talk to Madelene’s papa.  I looked at him and told him “I am not mad at you.  I understand.  I understand.”  You see Madelene’s papa gets up each day to work in the fields.  He gets up before day break and heads for his small plot of land.  He has his hoe and pick and he works the land.  The land that already does not produce much.  He works all day long.  Some days he does not even have food to eat.  He plants, harvest and then sells his crop.  No tractors to help.  All of this is done by hand.  No vehicle to travel to the market in.  He uses his mule to carry his load down the steep mountain path.  He cannot afford to pay for a tap tap (taxi) to carry his load once he does reach a road that can be traveled on.  He saves every gourde (penny) that he can for his family.  He loves Madelene dearly.  He loves all of his children.  He wants so much for them.  So when I told him I was not mad at him and that I understood.  He began to cry.  I began to cry.  The staff began to cry.  We all together understood that there is no easy solution to his problem.  But his love for his daughter runs deep.  I asked him if he was a christian and he was.  I told him to go to his church and ask them to pray for him and his family. Pray that God will heal Madelene.  I also told him that I had many friends that would also pray for her.  If she does live, by the grace of God, we will have to help her papa find a new solution for Madelene.

Someone came to the gate yesterday and wanted to see me.  She needed some advice on a problem she was having.  She has 5 children.  Four of them are currently living with her.  The two older children are on the school sponsorship program.  The two younger children are in school but got kicked out of school this week because they could not pay their bill.  The mother was very discouraged and told a few of her neighbors about it.  That afternoon someone came to her house and told her that she could put her kids in an orphanage.  She told me many other promises that were told to her if she would give them up for adoption.  She was thinking about it and wondering what the best choice would be for her kids. She wanted to know my thought and if there was anything RHFH could do to help her.   I asked her why she would consider putting her children in an orphanage to be adopted.  She said that she cannot feed them a plate of food each day.  They cry and are hungry.  She cannot pay for their school.  She cannot buy their uniforms or books.  She lives in a stick house that is falling apart.   All these things she could not do for her children were promised by the orphanage.  I asked how she really felt in her heart.  “I would rather know that my kids had a plate of food to eat each day and get and education than to hear them crying.” was her response.

I have never known this pain.  I have never had to make this decision for my children.  I have never been in the place that Madelene papa has been in.  These are only 2 people who I have talked to in the past 24 hours.  I sat and listened to them and their stories.  It is easy in our western lifestyles to think and judge.  Why do they have so many children?  Why don’t they get a job?  Why don’t they feed their kids?  Why do they live like that?  Why don’t they have a bed for them to sleep on?  Why is their so many problems?  Why don’t they this and that….  I have heard it so many times from so many people.  But not one of us has any idea the daily pain that many go through here in Haiti.  RHFH has a unique ministry to be able to offer help to many of this families.  We are not againist adoption at all.  But want to keep as many families together as we can.  I want each of you to be in prayer for both of these families.  Maybe someone could sponsor the two children in school for the year.  Do not think “that is so sad” and do nothing.  Pray for them and ask God what He would have you do. 

We fall down
We lay our crowns
At the feet of Jesus
The greatness of mercy and love
At the feet of Jesus
We cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
Is the lamb

My Jesus, I love you
I know thou are mine
To thee all the follies of sin I resent
My gracious redeemer
My savior, art thou
If ever I’ll love you
My Jesus tis now


(all pictures and stories used with permission from parents)

26 Responses to How was your Tuesday?

  1. Jennifer says:

    What amount do you need? I feel so helpless here in the States. What amount would help these two families?

  2. Cathy says:

    Beyond words, my Tuesday was ridiculously easy in comparison. What can be done for Madelene’s family to ease their way (praying she makes it)? Is there any other sort of business-related activity that the dad can be set up for in his area or is farming it? Would additional tools help him with his farming? Please let me know if there are constructive ways to help. No judging here either, I cannot imagine.

    Prayers for you all as always.

  3. Lori says:

    How much does it cost to sponsor a child for school? These stories just break my heart. I love adoption and think it can be a great solution – but the best thing for kids is to be with their family. This world is so broken!

    Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

  4. mommaofmany says:

    Do you have a sponsorship program for families? I would love to be able to send a certain amount of money a month and know that the same amount actually gets to the family I sponsor.

  5. Carol Ann says:

    For the record, one of my good friends in Haiti was sponsored through school and is now a doctor in Haiti. He never took his education or his sponsorship for granted. Every time I’ve been to Haiti, I have had more kids ask me to help with their schooling than I had ask for food. I think it is a great investment in Haiti’s future. Btw, I’m adoptive mom of two brilliant Haitian-born children and I couldn’t agree with you more about keeping families together as much as possible. I am so glad to be their mom and I’m glad they aren’t malnourished or dehydrated anymore, but they have so many questions I cannot answer. We hope to be able to find their birth families again one day (haven’t been able to find them since January) and fill in some holes. Thank you for your service in Haiti. I miss the people of Haiti so much.

  6. Sheryl says:

    Would it be adding too much to your already enormous load to ask you to be the middle-woman for some family sponsorships? I’m thinking maybe I can fundraise at work, etc, for $30 or $40 a family. (In my experience, people are more likely to shut down if I start out asking them for $50…) I’ve no idea how many sponsorship commitments I could come up with, but I’ll be glad for even one…

  7. phyllis says:

    Instead of sponsoring one or two families, what about something that could benefit the farming community in Cazale? Perhaps we could sponsor equipments which the people in village could sign out and use?

  8. Tamara Bonacquisti says:

    Would love to have answers to these great questions to know how exactly we can help. I know that they cost of a uniform and school tuition (which usually includes a meal a day) is INSANELY low, by our standards. Can you help us know what the cost would be? What about school for Madelene and her siblings?
    God bless you for you work today…and God forgive my for complaining today about my so much of nothing.

  9. kristen says:

    I read on facebook it is 250 dollars for the whole school year for each child.

  10. Carmen says:


  11. Celina says:

    Followed a link from the Livesay’s blog . . .

    I love this: “We are not against adoption at all. But want to keep as many families together as we can.”

    God help us be the hands and feet of Jesus.

  12. Dee says:

    My Tuesday was spent cuddling my grandchild, taking her and my mother to a grocery store brimming with good things that we could afford to purchase. We then went out to eat a wonderful lunch, dropped our little girl off at kindergarten (clean, warmly clothed, and well fed) We returned home to a warm house, put our groceries up in already full cupboards and planned our Christmas celebration-gifts(most not needed)and a fabulous meal that most of us chubby people:) could do without. I READ YOUR POST. Then I saw through God’s eyes. Real eyes. Loving eyes.
    I sat down and figured up what we spent this afternoon. Groceries: $169 Lunch: $32 Gas: $54
    Total $255 Enough to sponsor a child for a school year
    I cried. If I stayed home this Tuesday, my life would not change. I did not need the groceries, the lunch, the extra gas in the car. What I NEED is my mom and my little girls. What I NEED is my family. Does that say anything? Who am I that because of my birth I live here and Madelene, her papa, and so many others live there?
    From childhood we are taught to share. Our Father lovingly asks us to now. I am sitting down with my family tonight. We are reading about your Tuesday. Then we are evaluating our Christmas. Will it sting a little to get only one present each? Probably. Will it change our lives? In the name of JESUS-I hope so!!!
    For now I am sending my Tuesday spending of $255 to you via paypal. I challenge everyone to send the amount you spent this Tuesday to RHFH. Imagine what that will do. A flock of chickens to raise, a goat for milk, seeds & tools to feed a starving family, who knows? Will it change a life? In the name of Jesus, I hope so!!!
    More tomorrow.

    • Jenifer says:

      Your post brought me to tears. You are so right. We have been donating to the Livesays and hope to donate to RHFH next. From reading this blog since January I know this family has done so much for the people of Haiti. Praying.


  13. cathleen says:

    i would like to help also. if you write a post about specifics ways to help…like school, equipment, etc… sponsoring a food box each month, i will drop money in also. can we send the younger children to school also?
    looking forward to supporting these families.

  14. Tara L. says:

    awesome Dee …. looking at your day in that way is pretty amazing and I am touched that you were willing to do it.

    Yesterday I spent $40 going out to eat and $100 on clothes for my kids. we did not NEED any of it. Will do what you’ve done here too.

    LOVE YOU LICIA and LORI. Be encouraged that you are challenging others in really needed and gracious ways.


  15. […] part, our resources will be going here this year […]

  16. Claire says:

    I vote for family sponsorship also – keeping the family together and working as a unit would be best. I would think you could set it up so they get food, school and meds and could have several people donate every month to the family of their choice — I know it is more paperwork – but maybe Casey could handle that end and your dad oversee the family getting their needs met?
    God Bless you all

  17. Carly says:

    I would also love to hear about any family/school sponsorships that you can come up with or direct me to. I was having a rough morning…..but NOTHING in comparison to these 2 families. I too will repent and do better at loving and helping my fellow man. Please let us all know how we can help.

  18. Dee says:

    I wonder if Lori’s Community Development Group working with the local churches like they do now (when they pass out tools, seeds, food boxes, etc) would be a good choice to set up a program like what everyone is talking about? After all, our Haitian neighbors know the problems they face better than we do. It’s not lack of hard working people that cripples Haiti!
    World Vision has some interesting programs we might want to copy-such as micro-loans, that when paid back go to help another family, and another and so on. Chickens, goats, livestock pairs, etc that are given to families, who then give a pair of the offspring to another family, who keeps repeating the cycle. If we here could fund ways for Haitians to help themselves and feed their children, their self-respect and what this would teach the children would be invaluable. Could the Community Group oversee such a program?(like they did with the corn seeds, trees, etc) Could we get training from World Vision? Again, I like volunteering Casey 🙂 and World Vision Headquarters ARE in Seattle!
    These Ideas are easy to come up with-but what CAN we do to make a difference? To treat the source of the problem rather than the symptoms?

  19. Holly Mccaghren says:

    I too want to help. I have so much!!! So much money and things compared to these people. Please tell the Papa and the Mom that we do care and we will send money to help. If the papa had enough money per month, could he hire a nanny to care for the children, buy food, cook and clean. I would love to sponsor the cost of the nanny. Or whatever would help. I will pray for Madeline. Also I would love to help the Mom financially and also through prayer.

  20. Sheri Wiebe says:

    My Tuesday was spent thoroughly enjoying my little daughter. She used to live in an orphanage in Haiti. She has lived with us 10 months already. She is loved and fed and dressed every day. She rewards me by singing and singing and singing. I am so thankful God opened the door for her to become our daughter. I love reading your blog…often with tears in my eyes and my heart breaking for Haiti. Keep looking to the hills from whence cometh our help.

  21. Roberta says:

    I love seeing how people are affected by your blog and by the stories you tell of the precious people that live in the Cazale area. It wasn’t that long ago that I saw a photo of a starving child here and with tears rolling down my cheeks I prayed for a way to do something. I hope more people will be able to see how incredibly blessed they are and share what they have with people who are trying SO hard to provide for their families. Thanks for sharing these stories with us and for letting God use you to help people every day!

  22. ayelen says:

    Please give us actionable solutions.
    I have been interested in working with Heifer International an organization that lets you purchase goats, chickens, cows, and give to a family in need. This gift would be a sustainable gift that would bring the family income from milk or eggs, etc.
    I’m not sure if we would be able to choose a specific family to recieve this gift by going through their organization, but you could certainly replicate this model by allowing us to donate money to purchase livestock for these families or water pumps for their crops, or water filters
    Just a couple ideas that come from this book

    You could easily set up a project on this page to raise donations

    Please let us know how we can bring sustainable solutions for these families and help them to be able to provide for their children.

    In Him,

  23. Tara says:

    I am stepping in uninvited on this one … Having lived in Haiti four plus years and worked closely with the Zachary Family I feel that I can vouch for their good work and accountability.

    Licia and Lori and Zach (their dad) and Casey (their brother) have poured their lives into overseeing and running this ministry. This is not some giant NGO with “people” to do their fund-raising and their donor communication and to set up really amazing marketing campaigns with donor-friendly detailed reporting. (although the quality of the care they provide rivals every and any giant well funded NGO)

    That fancy donor stuff is all awesome but some small grass-roots organizations just do not have the time or the man power to create that stuff for the first world because they are so focused on serving the hurting in the developing world.

    I have watched for five years now how this family handles its funds and the way they help their community. It is to be trusted — they live very very very simply and they rarely rest (not that I don’t want them to) and they are always focused on loving the least of these.

    The actionable solutions are:
    Give to RHFH and trust that they will absolutely be using your funds to deal with critical and emergency needs AND to work on development (reforestation and water solutions are just two of the many things they have been doing for years – the list is long – but they do not provide only emergency relief) Give give give and pray pray pray. They might not have time to report back to you personally about the family you wanted to help but you can trust them to pass along training, teaching, dollars, emergency relief …. they have years of their work documented here on this blog. They understand Haitian culture better than most “blans” in Haiti. They have no one in the USA taking a paycheck to make a fancy website and send out glossy mailings — your money goes to help Haitians. Period.

    I know from watching them that they are doing everything they can and that they do not have enough energy or time to work on the marketing and fund-raising side.

    The best gift you can give to encourage them is to look at their work, pray for discernment and give freely trusting God to make the most of your dollar.

    • ayelen says:

      Thank you so much for your input Tara.
      I will be praying for their (and your) work in Haiti and I will be giving to help meet this challenge today.
      I did not mean to imply that I do not trust in this ministry – I have just been reading alot about how to give to people in need so that they can help themselves, and just tried to offer up some of the ideas I’ve read about.
      By what I can see on this (and your) blog I can see a very real and daily service and dedication to the Haitian people and am honored to be able to help in any way I can.
      thank you for your continued work.
      In Him,

  24. Tara says:

    Ayelen … I hope that I did not come across wrong – it was meant to be general information and not at all directed only in response to your comment. (and no – I did not think you were un-trusting at all) Thanks for loving the Zacharys — they are on the front lines and I feel so honored to know them. We just read “When Helping Hurts” this fall and you are right to care about helping people in ways that empower them and equip them to rise up out of poverty. Thank-you so much for wanting to do that.

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