Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Someone grab the paddles......

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including heart attack or near drowning, in which someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone — untrained bystanders and medical personnel alike — begin CPR with chest compressions.

Been brewing a little blog post for the last few days.  This sleepy blog is probably not of any interest to anyone, but it has often times in the past been a place where I put all the thoughts I have swirling a safe place to land.  

But also for a place for those who have prayed and supported our love for Haiti and Haiti Orphan Project, I want to share some with you.

Honestly, I probably am still in somewhat of a fog.  I really have been trying to see exactly what just happened to me.  When I begin to think of every detail of this trip, tears just flood my eyes.  DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN?  So many times I had to ask myself during this extremely emotional and beautiful time in a country that I now love beyond words. 

My newest of dear friends, Nicole Halstead has written a wonderful narrative of our trip @  Please read every detail of her account of this far away land.

I will give you a little background:  To say that the last year and half was a hard year is probably a little bit of an understatement.  I won't share details because I wish to honor all those involved because it is  their story to tell as well.  

The last year and half included many challenges included a job loss, my face being broken by a football accident, betrayal of friends, new jobs, Greg's trip to Haiti, new diets(gluten, dairy, blah blah, blah free), and restoring of relationships. The final straw being that I saw Greg Vest lying on the floor in our small little cottage home, seeing him gasp for breath and wondering if I will ever laugh with him again.  

This is the first time I have ever really talked about it in such a fashion.  On January 2, 2013 at 5:30 in the morning our Elizabeth needed some cough medicine.  Greg went to go get her some and grabbed a bite of a granola bar out of the pantry. He came to me soon after and said that he felt like he was having an allergic reaction to the g-bar.  This was a granola bar that was tried and true in our home for some time and he has had it many times.  Greg is highly allergic to dairy products and has always been very mindful of his need to be conscious of any dairy intake.  Zero is too much.  But without going into too many details about allergic reactions, he went into anaphylactic shock right in front of my eyes.  He was unable to breath and the ambulance could not get here soon enough.  He was gasping for breath and I could see him drifting from me.  When the ambulance arrived, they tried to find a pulse. He was grey in color and I could see that he was at their mercy.  They finally got his blood pressure which was 40/60 or maybe the other way.  I still don't know.  All I know is that he was not responding and it seems that he was going before my eyes.  They had the paddles ready. They gave him an dose of Epinephrine and scooped him on to the stretcher.  The paramedic said to me "I believe he is going to be ok, but I am glad you called when you did."    My ash-skinned husband was lifted down the stairs and down the curb into this life-saving tank and we were wheeled to the hospital in a matter of minutes.  Within in a few hours, he was stabilized.  He was ordering lunch and cracking sweet jokes.  Reminding me to thank the paramedics(as if I would forget).  Bossing really, but completely alive with me.  

When alone after all this, I looked at the Lord and asked "Do we have to go through more or can we have a break?" "Just a minute to catch our breath, please."  "Can I just sit for a minute?"  "Are you really going to use all this for your good?"  "You promise?"  "PROMISE ME, YOU WILL!!!!"

Then weeks later I could begin to look forward to something that Greg had described as life changing.  He certainly was not the man I once knew when he entered this squeaky old house after journeying to a city called Gonaives, Haiti. But could I trust that something like that would happen to me?

I did try to steal my excitement for fear that there was a hype or maybe i would miss something because I get in the way of things from time to time.  I just didn't want to feel manipulated in any way or expect too much so I just guarded my heart as best I could.  

And then it happened, unexpectedly.  I walked on to the plane and saw this beautiful sea of brown faces. Boy, was I in for it.  All so pleasant and welcoming.  The most beautiful smiles I believe I have ever seen. My tears becoming a spectacle running down my face and I could hear them hit the floor.  A beautiful Haitian-American woman looked deeply at me and said "The Holy Spirit make you cry, no?" "I stopped in my tracks as all the other passengers waiting patiently behind me and I just stared at her.  She said "Oh you go to Haiti" "Holy Spirit getting you ready".   Stunned. Finally making it to my seat.  Poor fellas who had to sit by me, I just sat down and said to my friends Erin and Nicole, "Was she real?"  They assured that she was for sure real.  Stunned.

To say that I didn't stop crying the whole time I was there would be a bit of an exaggeration.  I did a whole lot of crying, yes.  But I also did a whole lot of laughing from the pit of my belly.  Singing from the top of my lungs and marveling at all that He did right before my very own eyes.  

Things like her:


Isn't she beautiful?  She is not only that,  she is bossy, sassy, contagious, and can she dance!!!She is a force!  Jesus knows her by name!  I am praying for this little darling every day. Apart of my heart came alive when I met this sweet face. Wasn't expecting it, but it did.  Kindof a sacred thing so I will just leave it at that. 

Then there was this:

 An unexpected invitation to a baptism in the sea.  I felt like we stepped out of the book of Acts.  My friend Nicole said she thought, as Southerner's would say, I was just gonna  "Fall out!"  I thought I was gonna fall out (said in my best Georgian accent talking out loud while typing).  If I wasn't gonna fall out at least I was gonna sit down by choice before I fainted at the sight in front of me.  

This picture does it no justice although it does depict something grand!   I was overcome by His presence. The thing about this is that while all this was going on, those in Heaven must have been trying to push their way to the front so they could get front row as to what was going on down here.  The sight was too much for this heart to contain.  

The sea was calm when they all entered, but as the last person stepped foot on dry ground, the wind picked up and to me it was if He was saying "Wasn't that glorious?"  "I love Saturday mornings like this!"

Then there at things like this:

For those of you who heard about Greg's trip with Haiti Orphan Project in July, you may know this little face. If not, this little one is the girl who's arm was burned after falling in the fire at her home.  Greg's trip was more of a medical focus than mine.  Those on Greg's trip cared for the community well into Saturday afternoon and were beginning to weary and run out of supplies.  They had treated many of those in the orphanage and those in the community and decided they had to shut it down for the day.   Then as they were closing the big iron red gates, this little one and her big brother stepped up to be next in line.  The gate almost closed on them when someone from the trip saw what had happened.  Greg's friend, Brandi trumped the decision to close the clinic unapologetically.  She brought them right over to Lindsey and Jonathan (nurse and doctor) for them to see what this little girl had endured.  Her armed had been severely burned from her hand to her elbow.  There was no way really that she would recover from such a thing at least with not without a scar on her beautiful brown skin.  They treated this child the best they could with a random burn kit that was thrown in the bag just in case, some songs and prayers. They had no idea what would come of this little one. 

But then when our friend Julie returned in October she went to see about this little one. And what did she find you ask?  She found a little beauty but second guessed that it could possibly be her because there was no mark or scar or memory of what she endured.  

She was completely healed of any signs or traces of event.  This was an amazing day I know for  Julie and all those on the trip from July.  So when the news arrived back at the Vest's home, we celebrated about what God had done.  We have told our girls this story over and over while they ask for specific details over and over again.  So I prayed that maybe I would get to see her while I was so close to her.  I got the courage to ask our interpreter Vulcy
if he would consider taking me to see her in the village right outside the orphanage. He obliged.  I asked my friend Travis to come too because he was with Greg in July.  He did not just agree to go, but he would have ran to go see her!  Walking through the village was an experience all in its own. ( Haiti Orphan Project has a wonderful video about the village if you want to see.)  

We entered into the tin roof gated home. Vulcy announced our arrival and they welcomed us with a kiss.  (let that sit on you for a minute because I was just taken by that)  She was there and I saw with my own eyes what the Lord had done that day!  She was beautiful and at peace.  Her sister was so grateful we came. The most fun of it all was that the little darling couldn't wait to plant a gigantic kiss right on Travis' lips!  He obliged as well! 

As if that wasn't enough for one person's day, mind you this is still Saturday, Travis and I walked through the village while little village boys ran with us, jumped on our backs, stared at us, laughed with us and skipped with us on our way back to the red gates of the orphanage.   I looked at Travis in disbelief.  Was this really happening? I think it did so much that I decided to share it with you as truth:)

Then there was the people:

No words to express how much I love them.  They are mighty!  They all came alive in their own gifted way while they played with beautiful children for countless hours.  

They skipped with a child on their shoulder, did the Bump, sang Justin Bieber, jumped roped or painted fingernails.  Some insisted we hold hands when we did anything :)

There might have been wild insects involved and some rescue of some sort.  Some argued over whether planets were twinkling or solid stars.  Some declared they wanted to just be "Mr. Nice Guy"!  Others mentioned things such as "Salt of the Earth".  An Easter Bunny was included.  Some met each other on the rooftops, gathered by the pool house for some more Prestige and talk of basketball. Some of us liked 80's music while others like Elvis. Some of us had stark white legs while others had a touch of sunkiss. 

We handed out countless beads that represented the goodness we saw in each other that day.  I watched grown men rock babies to sleep and I watched them tremble and weep.  I also heard grown men grumble over their feet hurting after the girls smoked them in heated game of volleyball.  I watched dainty little ladies dribble a soccer ball past their new Haitian loveys. 

Some heard roosters that may or may not have been there. Some were eaten alive by mosquitoes.  All of us laughed til we were losing our breath. Some left things in Haiti never to return. We were all alive in someway that we had never been before. And just days before some of us believed we were dead upon arrival or at least in some sort of heart failure.

Just days before someone very close to me told me that there was just no good in me going. No hope in change. Sad how wrong they were.

I believe that Jesus brought each of us there and met us face to face. 
He intended for each of us to board that white bus that may or may not have time to stop at a restroom upon request.  The bus that rolled by the life of a Haitian at a glimpse while we sang Willie Nelson, George Jones, Allison Krauss or sometimes Lionel Richie.  

Haiti is filled with darkness that our hearts are not in favor of confronting or looking at and Haiti is filled with far greater beauty than me as an American has settled way less for.  

Really how I would describe my trip is receiving CPR while I was awake, standing or sitting or rocking.  Every single moment, big or small, He used to breath life into parts of my heart that I did not believe could beat again.  He just took each valve and just blew life right in it as if it were a shofar and all I could do was cry.  

My belief in His faithfulness was restored after 5 long, heavy, weighty, lovely days in Haiti.  That is why He asked me to board that plane and that bus.  My heart was starting to fail and He was needing to do compressions on me.  

And as I rocked the Littles in my arms and sang to them, I can see now that He was rocking me too. Holding me and singing "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things on earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His wonder and grace." 

Every single thing that I experienced on the bus and off the bus was to give this weary girl rest, healing and to breathe life back into my heart. 

You think you go to Haiti so you can help them.  Naaaaa, they helped Him heal me.  

He did not forget me.  He has not forgotten Haiti. He is going about the business of restoring. There is so much hope there.  This is the faithfulness of our Father. He does not by any means forget who He loves.  He loves us.  

Kizoa slideshow: haiti 2013 - Slideshow">

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