Posted: January 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

This morning I had the privilege of visiting Monica, the child I sponsor through Heartline’s program in Cite Soleil (the poorest slum in this hemisphere). There was a traffic jam on the way to City Soleil–which is not all that unusual for Haiti– but as we were stopped I watched a woman vomit in the back of a colorful tap-tap. In a moment the entire tap-tap was emptied and I could hear people outside the window surmise that she has “Kolera”. The empty tap-tap turned around, creating a road block of it’s own, and sped down the road looking for new customers. Just another day in Port-au-Prince. But it was not “just another day” for me or for Monica. We were excited to meet each other for the very first time. Moncia is 3 ½ and lives in Cite Soleil with her mom, grandma, uncle and baby sister. We parked our truck and wound our way through the narrow corridors of cement, tin and cardboard that make up the homes of Monica’s neighbors. I arrived just as Monica was putting on a special white dress for our visit. She was beautiful! At first, like most 3 ½ year olds, she was a little shy. So I suggested we go inside her house, where the growing crowd of neighbors and friends couldn’t see our every interaction. I had brought a little art project for us to do, so we sat on the floor in her one room house a pot of rice cooking slowly over charcoal in the corner, while her mom nursed the baby on the twin bed that all five of them share. Monica’s grandma told me that she used to have her own house, but it fell in the earthquake so now she’s living with her daughter (Monica’s mom). Monica sat on the laundry bucket and leaned on my knee as we put brightly colored stickers onto a piece of paper, she was smiling with pride. She took out her school identity card to show me. (It is not uncommon for a child her age to attend school if the family has the resources to send them). I asked her about school and she shook her head “yes” and “no” in response to my questions, slowly warming up to this strange “blan” (white person) who had come to visit her. I gave her a photo of myself in the snow. She studied it, pointed at the snow and then clasped it to her chest. It was precious. But the moment that struck me the most, about the work that Heartline is doing, was when she laughed with delight. I had brought a few small gifts for the family. And it wasn’t the bed sheets or the new dress or the shiny hair clips that broke through her shyness…it was the socks. A simple pair of pink socks with lace around the edge. When Monica saw those, she threw her head back and laughed with delight! I wiped off her dirty little feet and put the socks on, and then a pair of dress shoes. There was no way she could hold in her joy! And it was in that moment that I saw the kingdom of heaven looks like! It wasn’t that this gift cost me a lot, or was all that special, but the fact that we were TOGETHER that made this moment happen. Heartline created the opportunity for my life and for Monica’s to intersect on an average Tuesday in Haiti. And I received a gift in that moment too. Monica’s gift to me -her laughter and her joy- didn’t cost much either. But she gave what she had, without holding back, and my heart swelled. When the time came for me to go, Monica gave me a gentle kiss on my cheek and a sweet little hug. As I wound my way back to the car, away from the fallen buildings and homes made from cardboard and tin, I wondered to myself if she had ever owned a pair of socks before? I wondered how something so small, so ‘average’ to an American child, could hold such delight for a child a few hundred miles from Florida. I wondered how my small donation every month would change the life of this sweet, intelligent child by allowing her to attend school. Jesus has a lot to say about his kingdom and about children, but in Matthew Chapter 18 vs. 5 he says “Whoever welcomes a little child in my name, welcomes me”. I’m quite certain that wasn’t just Monica’s smile that I encountered today, but the smile of Jesus. I could sense His presence with us in that moment, and His delight–which happens when the ‘rich’ and the ‘poor’ come together. Heartline bridges the gap between these two groups every day…and they allow us the great privilege of partnering with them in tangible ways. For me, the opportunity came from Heartline’s child sponsorship program…and the smile of a small girl, sitting on a laundry crate in her one room house, with her brand new-never-before-worn-by-anyone-else ruffled socks.

Sarah Dornbos

Click HERE for more info on Heartline’s Student Sponsorship Program

Sarah Visiting Monica At Her Home In Cite Soleil

Monica With Her New Socks

  1. Kathy T says:

    What a beautiful story. Yes I could imagine that Jesus was smiling with delight along with Monica. I just love Heartline Ministries and feel so privileged to support it.

  2. johnmchoul says:

    Thank you for your support!!!

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