Willow

Here's a blog from Talor and an incredible experience he had in Haiti!

Chaos, stress, despair. These are all emotions that I felt as I tried to walk through the seemingly endless crowd of children at the orphanage. There were children of all ages, from year-old infants to young adults, and I so desperately wanted to talk to them, to show them I loved them, even just hug them. The language barrier between us wouldn't let me get any farther than "hello", and that fact frustrated me to no end. Occasionally one of the children would smile at me, and I would quickly smile back, trying SO desperately to convey the words "I love you.” I started to get angry, and I practically yelled at God, demanding and questioning him about HOW I was supposed to reach out to these children and show them I love them when they DON'T even understand what I'm trying to say?! I feel like I was sent on an impossible mission, and the more I thought about it, the sadder I became. Eventually I just stopped walking, and with the sea of children all rushing, laughing, and pushing around me, I hung my head, let my arms drop to my sides, and closed my eyes, unknowingly letting the overwhelming weight of depression and sadness cover me. As I stood there motionless, all of a sudden I felt a dry, cracked little hand slip into mine, and as I looked up, my eyes met and locked with the eyes of a little boy who had to be no more than 6 years old. Now he had many features that could have been distracting to me, like the various cuts and scrapes all over his arms, or the prominent warrior-like scar that stretched from the top of his cheek to the middle of his neck, or his poor bare feet that were overly-calloused and bruised, but these are none of the things that I remember about him. What I remember is his effervescently-vibrant and shining smile that seemed to softly speak the words, "I love you" to me, the kind of smile that I had been trying to hard to illustrate myself. Immediately I felt a powerful wave of peace wash over me, and I couldn't help but smile back as I said, "what's your name?". He then replied with a surprisingly clear voice of broken English and said, "my name is Willow". From there we started walking, still holding hands, and then we started talking, and for such a little guy, he spoke so clearly and was so wise. He told me that he was just 5 years old when the earthquake struck his village. He said that he was walking home with his little sister Jade, (who was 3 years old at the time) and by the time they got to their house after the earthquake passed, they found both of their parents dead under the massive pile of rock and debris that resulted from the devastating catastrophe. Willow told me that he knows it was God who kept him and his sister safe at that time, and that it is now his role to look after her and protect her from "the evils all around them.” Now willow, age 6, and his sister Jade, age 4 have only each other for family. That fact alone was enough to make me want to stay in Haiti and look after them. He then told me that she didn't have any shoes, and that he gave her his only pair, so now he walks barefoot on the sharp rocks and solid ground, while she absolutely adores his shoes, even though they are 3 sizes too big for her and she stumbles in them often. The more we talked, the more I realized just how special this guy was. After talking for a while he kinda paused, looked at all the kids, then looked back up at me, and asked me why we chose to spend our time at this orphanage when there are "lots more fun things to do in Haiti". I smiled at him and told him that we weren't forced to be here, but instead we were here by choice, and that we wanted to be here to love on all the kids and let God work through us. He flashed me that winning smile again and said "thank you" and that he knows we were sent by God because God fully understands a love that doesn't change because of color of skin or race, and that this is the kind of love that needs to be shown to his people. At this point there was nothing I could do but stare in awe at this little 6 year-old boy who has already grasped concepts that most adults don’t comprehended. He then asked me why I personally was here. To this question I didn't really know what to say except that I know it was God's will for me to be here, I'm just angry because I don't know what He wants me to do through Him and I feel lost. All of a sudden, I felt that same dry, cracked little hand slip into mine. I opened my eyes, and that's when he lifted my hand up to his young little face, lightly kissed the back of my hand, looked at me with his tired, vibrant green eyes, and said, "God has a plan". The moment I heard those words, a huge wave of peace and joy washed over me as if taking off the burden that so heavily weighed me down, and I know that this was a message straight from God. At that moment he stood up and embraced me in a hug that I wasn't ready for, and as quickly as it came was how quickly he let go, and then he ran off into the sea of children, most likely to go look for his sister. All the while he left me just standing there with the biggest, stupidest grin on my face, and that's when I realized that God didn't send me here to work though Him for the children, He sent the children to work through Him for ME. I was so bent on spending all my time loving on the children, that I didn't even consider the idea of leaving time for them to love on ME. I never saw Willow again after that, but I know that I'll never stop thinking about him, and I'm just sorry that I couldn't thank him. So all in all, my trip to Haiti was beyond unexplainably life-changing and unsurprisingly amazing, and I learned and experienced SO many new and exciting things, but I know that whatever happens in the future, I will never forget the little 6 year-old servant leader who was just as loving as he was wise, despite his small size: WILLOW.