Life in Haiti is a paradox between beauty and pain, and this past week has surely proven it. Even throughout so much pain this week, God has shown up in all the details, shining through the darkest spaces.
In this country, we are face-to-face with cruelty, injustice, abject poverty, and so much more on a daily basis. I would never say that we have become hardened to it, but (for sanity) we hone in on the few things we CAN change rather than focusing on thousands we can’t.
We have experienced some of the deepest pains in our time here this week, and everything is hitting very close to home. We have been reminded how fragile life is and delicate love truly is.
Many of you may have seen on Facebook that our dear friend Mario was shot in the face this week during an attempted robbery.
We see Mario on the regular at the café in our neighborhood (where he works), or the occasional stop by our house for a moment with Gary. Mario is one of those guys that you instantly like being around. He has a smile that lights up his whole face and a heart to match. He has mentored our boys on numerous occasions, as well as the street boys in our community. His generosity and warmth is something that is apparent and makes him well-loved by all who meet him.
Mario and some of his friends have visions that we can get behind … He shared with us that they had been talking with the street kids about the importance of school, hard work and opportunity. He told us of his dream to help these kids learn from his past mistakes. This is how the Pfamily Mission Education Initiative began.
We got the chance to visit Mario while he was in the hospital and I wish I had taken a photo of all the people lined up outside the gates of the hospital to see him. Security could only let in a few at a time and we were happy to wait to see our friend. Once inside, we had a few moments with him – he looked good, all things considered. He was frustrated he couldn’t speak though, which is certainly appropriate. He showed us where the bullet entered and where they’d performed surgery. He had his Bible and so many people who loved him there. Clover made him a paper fan that said “God is your superhero” and his eyes danced with a smile as he held it to his heart.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I realized how much Mario meant to our family until this week. I left the hospital and it truly hit me how much I value him as a brother. I got home and knelt in front of each of our kids and my husband to tell them how loved and valued they are.
Life can change in an instant.
Throughout the darkest spaces this past week, there has always been something that will brighten the day … a beautiful piece of art, an act of kindness, or even something as silly as a twerking granny (an actual sight this week). Mostly, though, it has been the sense of community – all our people rising up together to help a friend in any and every way possible. Our community here is amazing, but the way everyone has come together for this is truly a testament to Mario’s character and the impact he has in all our lives!
Throughout it all, God is good – or as we say in Haiti, Bondye Bon!
Many of you have asked about Mario:
Mario has a very long road of recovery ahead. He will need surgeries to reconstruct his jaw and chin; he will need dental surgeries to replace his lower teeth (something I am praying my former dental community will support); and of course his own life struggles, bills, and a little boy who has needs as well. You can give a tax-deductible gift through Pfamily Mission if you would like (please select “Mario’s Road to Recovery”) and we will be certain to allocate those funds toward his medical, recovery, and personal needs.
We would also love to share what our friend (and Mario’s employer) Shelley wrote: Mario and the journey ahead