Marysa Bonnema lives in Montreal, Quebec and has graduated from School of Ministry’s Heart and Advance Modules. She...
I received a message from my friend Emma inviting me to join her on a missions trip to Haiti. She wanted to help a pastor she had met there previously, who had recently built a school. Her plan was to run a Bible day camp for the students. My heart was filled with excitement at the prospect of going, I knew I could not sit back and allow this opportunity to slip by. I began to declare, “God if it is your will, I am going to Haiti.”
After three months of declarations and seeking His heart in prayer, I was onboard a flight bound for Haiti with three other lovely ladies. On the plane I asked God, “What do you desire to do through us?” I thought to myself, “There must be a reason why He plans to send four young girls to Haiti.” I heard Papa God reply, “Haiti needs to know my gentleness.”
Once in Haiti, our schedule consisted of waking up at 6:30am to prepare for the day at Bible camp. We were responsible for teaching the children Bible stories, organizing games to play with them and leading prayer and worship sessions. I was simply delighted to pour out His heart and affection upon the children. My heart would leap with joy when I hugged a child and saw their face light up. I could not speak their language, but Papa God continually reminded me not to let this be a hindrance. Rather, through simply being myself, His love would be revealed to the children. It is only from this place of surrender, resting in His love, that we too can love out of the overflow.
I spent ten days in Haiti, however, there was one moment in particular that came to epitomize the trip. We had the incredible privilege of going to an orphanage and I fell in love with each and every one of the children there. They gave us a rowdy welcome, grabbing our legs, arms, hands, hair, ears—everything! I remember the scent of urine and dirty laundry but despite this, I was compelled to hold them tightly in my arms. One little boy wouldn’t let me put him down and he wrapped his arms tightly around my neck.
Another precious girl played at hair dressing with me, braiding my hair while we sat with the other children. When it was time for our group to leave, that same girl followed me down the stairs to try and prevent me from going. I held her hand tightly and quietly prayed for God’s love to move her heart. She asked to be picked up so I lifted her onto my lap. As I was holding her, I began to sing, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” and gradually, she began to repeat the words after me.
Once I had made it downstairs, I found a place to sit down with her while waiting for the others. I kept her in my arms and continued to sing and to pray over her as well. When the others had returned, I noticed she had fallen asleep, Papa’s delight and peace covering her. I gave her one last quick, “goodbye” and then heard her whisper, “I love you.” I whispered back, “I love you too.”
I had asked God previously for the chance to hold an orphaned child and partner with Jesus in pouring out His love. While waiting for this moment, God had been preparing my heart and equipping me for the experience. Pouring His love out upon this one precious child was where God needed me to be, and through trusting in His perfect leadership, I was led to Haiti and this precious encounter.
"The Lord your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV)
This archived article was written by Marysa Bonnema for release in Nov, 2013. Circumstances and situations may have changed regarding the author, locations and ministries. This content may therefore be outdated or misinformed.
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