Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Today I'm dreaming, asking, and hoping.

Dreaming of what it would look like for every church in the States with a Women's Ministry budget to have a line item that says something like...

"Heartline Ministry."

Dreaming of all the beauty God could do through women in the States to fight poverty, hopelessness, and darkness in the lives of women around the globe and particularly in Haiti.

Dreaming of what it would look like if churches in the States ministered to their sisters in Christ in third world countries, providing them the same opportunities and access to the gospel as the women sitting in their own congregations.

While I'm dreaming, I'm asking God what He means when He says crazy stuff like...

1 John 3:17
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

Acts 2:44-45
All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

"They had everything in common."  Sort of haunting.

Even though you and I are probably not from Haiti, as I sat with the women at Heartline yesterday I realized how very much alike we all are.

We love our babies something fierce.

We want what is best for them.

We are proud of our children.

We all fail and yet find grace and forgiveness at the feet of Jesus.

But there's something we don't have in common with the women in Haiti.

Recently Beth McHoul, founder of Heartline had to take two of the women in her care to a nearby Haitian hospital to deliver.  Let her words really soak into your soul...

"...the conditions of this hospital sent my head spinning.  I saw two doctors and one nurse for many, many laboring women.  The plight of Haiti - understaffed and overworked.  Broken equipment, no sheets, no supplies, bare, dirty, rooms, no clean up crew rushing over for every spill of vomit and blood.  ...I stood there, looking around, trying to keep back the flood of emotions.  I so wanted to grab our ladies and head back to our clean, sterile maternity center.  But they have what we don't.  An operating room for a possible c-section.  We know our limits, we know when care is beyond our skills.

I envisioned our ladies grabbing our bodies and hanging on as we headed out the door.  They didn't.  They hugged and kissed us with promises to call when babies were born.  They accepted this.  They are poor, Haitian and this is what hospital means to them.  They were not as appalled as we were.  They were not fighting back tears.  They were not thinking human beings should not birth in places like this.  They understood.

I don't understand.  And as a person with power I have to advocate and fight for them.  We can be a voice for them.  Our prenatal program services 20 pregnant women at a time.  We lavish them with good care, dignity, love and respect.  All women should have this.  We feel ownership once a woman joins our program and we have a commitment to see her through till that child is six months old and flourishing.
Sometimes pregnancy means complications especially with an impoverished population.  We can only go so far when dealing with these complications.  I want a better transport option.  I want quality care in decent surroundings.  This should not be a luxury for the wealthy only.  All laboring women should be guaranteed good care in a clean environment.

If we can't find it here then we have to take action.  We either need more money to send our ladies to the hospitals that only the rich and powerful can afford to go to or we expand and provide a hospital ourselves.  Let's do it.  A small hospital with clean sheets, equipment that works, a caring staff and patients that come out whole in body and spirit.  Our field hospital showed us that this is a possibly.  We can do it and we can do it well."

This verse came to my mind as I sat with these women yesterday...

Luke 3:11
The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.

I wasn't thinking about tunics, cause I'll be honest...the last thing the women of Haiti need are tunics.  Heck, it's so hot here, if it's got sleeves on it, no one wants to wear it.  Thankfully, Jesus wasn't talking specifically about tunics.  Jesus was making a point.  If we have an abundance of something, we need to share the extras with others.

There are two beautiful hospitals in the town I call home in the States.  Both of those hospitals are filled with doctors and nurses who love and care for the women who come to their facility to deliver their babies.
My heart hurts that women here in Haiti do not have a safe, clean birthing experience like we do in the States.  Today we have to admit that we don't have this in common with our sisters in Christ in Haiti.  We have lots and lots of incredible hospitals in the United States where we can deliver our babies while the women of Port-au-Prince have none.

Heartline is attempting to remedy that in Haiti.  They are trying to build a birthing center for the ladies in their program.  Because of the work that Heartline is doing these women currently have access to the gospel, they are surrounded by people who love them and share God's love with them, they take classes every week that teach them how to love and care for their babies.  Heartline provides literacy skills and job training so that these women can be free from the chains of poverty.  They are fighting the orphan crisis and caring for the orphan by providing mothers the resources they need to successfully raise their own babies.  But Heartline wants to build a woman's hospital.

Will you dream and ask God with me how we can each be involved in loving our sisters in Christ in Haiti?

Will you dream and ask God with me to soften hearts in American give women in the States a passion for world missions and for loving and serving their fellow believers around the globe?  That women's ministries would be excited about discipling and sharing their possessions with the women living in third world countries?  That American women would use their beautiful, creative brains to serve the least of these?

I'm grinning right now thinking of so many of you ladies who read this blog.  I'm smiling because I can literally hear you...see your brains working, dreaming, thinking, planning and envisioning the role God wants you to play.  Using your life, your skills, your time to make a huge difference.  I'm thankful to be in this with you.

My heart is filled with dreams and hope today.  I pray God is filling your heart with dreams and hope for your sisters in Christ as well. 

God is inviting us to be a part of something big and lovely.  He desires to write new chapters in our lives...chapters filled with stories of living by faith, living for eternity.  Chapters filled with hope and love.

Let's dream big, God-sized dreams for how we can personally be involved with ministries like Heartline, and how God can use each of us to bring excitement in our churches, particularly among the women in our churches to share our tunics, our hospital options, and our access to the gospel with women we'll spend eternity with in heaven.


The Lourceys said...

I am praying, Heather. Thanks for being a voice for these women and this cause. I'm grateful for people like yourself being the hands and feet when we can't. Excited to see what God's going to do.

the herzogs said...

thanks for posting this, heather. my heart is heavy right now for all those women...we're going through radical right now (book, but i'm also trying to listen to the sermons as well to try and get it through my thick head :-) ). can't wait to see what God does. thanks for sharing all of this.


SNM said...

Oh the last picture of the lady nursing her baby is beyond words! The little white bonnet is precious. Her smile is precious! You are doing great things. That would be a great picture to send to a blog I follow called Blacktating. LOVE IT!

Amy said...

I'm posting this on my FB page....

(and praying). Yes, wheels are turning, friend. Wheels are turning.

Megan Fletcher said...

we have been involved a little with CURE International, based near Harrisburg, PA, where we lived before coming to join GFA staff. My husband went with CURE to the DR, where they have a hospital. I'm going to try and see who I might still know there to ask questions about Haiti. My dream...they can partner with Heartline. how amazing would that be?!

Megan Fletcher said...

okay, I guess I'm a dork. CURE focuses on deformities. but, hey, why not ask?

Anonymous said...

I've been reading through your blog for the past 3 days. Haven't even started Radical or gone over to Katie's blog yet - Lord help me, I pray I won't go back to who I was 3 days ago. I believe your missionary work is now based in Haiti, ministering to hopeless, self absorbed middle aged women like me here in the states. Thank you....thank you...thank you. I know you don't want thanks, but I can't help it - I am grateful for God, for his work, in you, through me.
Praying, and hopeful.
Your new friend,