Author Archives: laila bechtle

a lighter load

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My mom gave me this book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young for Christmas.  Last year a local Christian radio station read from it daily and I was often so encouraged by her words.  She took her own prayer journal and her increased awareness God’s daily presence in her life and created a devotional filled with Jesus’ words to her and us that we would have a greater sense of “God with us.”  Each day is written as if Jesus were speaking directly to us.  Because He is.

Today’s words are taken from Isaiah 41:10, Zephaniah 3:17 and Psalm 34:19

The world is too much with you, My child.  Your mind leaps from problem to problem to problem, tangling your thoughts in anxious knots.  When you think like that, you leave Me out of your world-view and your mind becomes darkened.  Though I yearn to help, I will not violate your freedom.  I stand silently in the background of your mind, waiting for you  to remember that I am with you.

When you turn from your problems to My Presence, your load is immediately lighter.  Circumstances may not have changed, but we carry your burdens together.  Your compulsion to ‘fix’ everything gives way to deep, satisfying connection with Me.  Together we can handle whatever this day brings.

I love this reminder from some of my favorite passages of scripture.  I will travel lighter today, sharing my burdens with the One who carries them with me.

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Audrey Assad

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I had the privilege of hearing Audrey Assad perform downtown this week.  The young singer / songwriter gave a great performance and delighted her hearers.

I discovered her a few years back via a friend and have come to appreciate her heart felt lyrics that sing of a real human experience.  She joked in her concert the other night that most of her songs are sad .. I disagree, I believe they’re about life, our experience, and yet they point to God where our hope is found.

I’ll drop in a few links here to some of my favorites (at the moment).  You can check out her website as well here.

summer!

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I just added some much needed color and cheer to the front porch … summer is coming!

I just realized I have less than 10 days before school gets out for my kindergartner … knowing how much I love the few hours I get each day at home alone … I must also use this time to get ready for the change that is right around the corner! Kids home, free time, pool time, bike rides, library reading program.

Things on my to do list include:

-find a summer bible study (for me and for the girls)

-reading plan for girls (Justin Taylor has put some great reading lists for kids on his blog recently, click here to view)

-organizing plan for girls rooms and attic (and basement too)

BLOGGING .. I hope to do much more regular blogging this summer. I want to experiment more with my camera and share my work here as well as what I continue to learn!

HIS home for children

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Even though we’re back home in Chicago, I wanted to write about our experience at the orphanage where we spent our last two days. (on a side note, what a privilege it is to type on a computer and not an iphone!)

 

We were at a wonderful orphanage and creche (which means they also do adoptions) called HIS home for children.  They have babies, special needs children, toddlers, school kids and a transition home for girls ages 13-20.  This place was amazing.  It definitely rounded out our time there and we left this particular place with more answers than questions. You can check out their website for more detailed info on all that they do.

 

http://www.hishomeforchildren.com/

 

 

What impressed me most were the director’s answers to many of our questions and how she pointed to God’s sovereignty and goodness in providing for them.  We were in awe at her stories and testimonies of all that has happened there.  When asked, how?  Her answer was that it all started by stepping out in faith.  This was such an encouragement to me and I know to our entire team as we think about orphan care moving forward.  It will look differently for each of us, and even in different seasons of our lives.  But one thing was clear, we will defend the fatherless, and we will step out in faith to do it!

 

 

I also wanted to add an update for those who read my earlier posts on this trip and our boy Luke from Tuesday.  We are working with the resources here and through other contacts to see about transferring him from his current location to a safe place that will be able to care for him and meet his needs.  It was a great vision for our team to realize we can continue to defend these dear ones, even though we are back home, especially with the help of our new friends in Haiti, who have devoted their lives to caring for the orphan. While we were at HIS home, we also had the privilege of leading their chapel service.  Here are a few pics!

little hands and feet

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Little hands and feet is the name of the orphanage we visited today. What a blessing .. in so many ways! This is a small orphanage that takes amazing care of 17 orphans, most of which are currently in the adoption process.

I think what encouraged me most was having the opportunity to hear the stories of the staff.

A young married couple and their 9 month old who have just relocated to Haiti from the US to care for orphans there in multifaceted ways. They have already begun medical clinics, partnering with this orphanage and are working on a retreat center for orphans.

Then there was the dear college student with an amazing testimony of how God literally saved her life by getting her attention through an HIV baby who is alive and well today. You can read her powerful story here.

In addition to American staff are dear Haitian women who love these babies! These kids way preferred their Haitian mamas to any one of us.

I was reminded as I heard their stories of God’s sovereign plan in all our lives. He fulfills His purpose for our good and His glory.

Here are some moments of our day I was able to capture on my phone.

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this is our Karis holding their Karis

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Our team leader, Emily

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Elizabeth working her artistic magic in the boys’ room

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this little guy was happiest if we didn’t look at him.. 😉 I wasn’t following his rules by snapping this pic

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I definitely took more from this place than I gave.

not pictured

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I did not take one picture today, with my camera. I did however have many images etched, and even burned in my mind.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw today.

We visited another orphanage today outside of Port au Prince. Pretty much everything good about yesterdays orphanage did not exist where we were today.

I’ll resist listing all the horrible realities I witnessed today. I will share one moment though. Well, it ended up being more than a moment, but a decision that was made in a moment.

Many of our team members were out on the ‘balcony’ playing with about 30+ kids, waiting for the remaining 40+ kids to be finished with their schooling for the day.

Looking into a ‘bedroom’, the doorway loosely covered with a hanging sheet, I see a naked 3 year old wandering about. No caregivers in sight, I take the opportunity to approach her. Big smiles.. I look around for diapers.. none. Ok, how about a dress? No luck. My eye catches a large pile of clothing on another ‘balcony’ out the other side of this room. Are these clean? Yep, I think so, and find something that’ll do.

Heading back into the room, my eyes glance right and lying flat, in a shaded corner, on a thin mat, is a little boy, unclothed, shaking in the corner.

Wait.. this cannot be. It is. I go grab a teammate, because emotionally I’m about to lose it and I need help with this one. We get him dressed and grabbed one of the older boys who speaks English to give us some answers.

This precious one cannot move his arms or legs, (or any part of his body) they are rigidly bent in position. He cannot hear or speak, but appears to respond visually. The older boy tells us this is where he stays. Not today! Today we will hold him. His name is Luke.

We took turns holding him till he fell asleep and then placed him on a new ‘clean’ mat indoors.

At our team meeting tonight there was much discussion about Luke. We plan to investigate getting him into another facility, that can care for him. We may get no where, but we will work every connection and resource we have here.

La Maison

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Today we were at La Maison. This is a Christian orphanage that also does adoptions. The way I understood it, all the available children here are in process being adopted into families.

A bit about it… many kids, ages birth – thirteen-ish. There’s an infant room with about a dozen babies. The bebe due room where they go once they walk.. another dozen here. Then the toddlers.. age 3-4 easily 15-20 of them, and all the rest in the boys or girls bunk rooms out back.

I think it was a nice orphanage for Haiti. A large staff. The children clothed, fed, changed, held, even schooling for the older ones.

I loved being there. It was hard to be there. Truth is, I was choking back tears all day. I had to ask myself what the tears were for, why was I sad?

My favorite part of the day was also the
most emotionally challenging. In the afternoon it was time for the two year olds, walking babies, to come in for their bath. One by one they were filed in for their quick shower. I had the great job of drying, powdering and diapering each and every precious one of them.

They knew the drill … they came out one by one and waited for their turn to be wrapped up in the towel. I took my time. I wrapped each one and snuggled them up, head to toe, drying every inch. I looked deep into their eyes and my heart asked,

‘who are you previous one?’
‘what’s your story?’
‘how did you get here?’
‘why are you so tiny?’
‘so weak?’

Then they went to one of the nannies who had their clothes in hand, ready to slip on.. boys got the t-shirts, girls got the dresses.

My eye caught a verse on the wall…

Proverbs 16:9
In his heart a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

How and why did God direct these little ones here? While my heart broke to see them without a mom & dad, I also had this confirmation that today, God was caring for them here. I was pleased to be part of that today.

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