You know when something is so intense, so close to your heart, so emotional, that it becomes hard to share, talk or write about it? Well, that is mainly why I haven’t written about going to the prison and brothel last week. In fact it has been a whole week now, and an update is much overdue.
The prison.We entered in through a hall that had a few offices. Once we got into the courtyard, we were greeted by all the women. They were getting their outside time. They were out in the yard doing some laundry. Their faces lit up when they say Melonnie and Susan (the mother and daughter who have been visiting for a few months now) We greeted them and spent some time visiting and chatting with them. Susan led us in a short devotion, and they all listened so intently. Then, we went inside. Nothing can prepare you for what you see in there. There are only 7 cells. Each cell is so crowded that they if they all tried to lay down at the same time, they could not. Some are laying, some sitting, some squatting. FYI, when you go to jail in Haiti, you are not fed. So your family is responsible for bringing you food, and if they do not, you do not eat. They are given a pitcher of water that the whole cell shares. As we approached the first cell, I expected the worse. I expected to be insulted, eyed up and down, embarrassed, uncomfortable. But instead, I stood there and my heart broke. These men looked up at me with hallow eyes. Searching. They sat there so quietly as Melonnie said hello. We all spoke English while Evanor translated. He is an amazing Hatian man who works for the mission. She introduced me and her husband (who was also visiting) They respectfully listened to Susan share a few verses and thoughts. I was so surprised at how quietly they listened. As she shared I noticed my eyes moving around catching all the filth that was around me. All I could see what the dirt, grime, old clothes, old water canisters, stench of stinky men. Then, I started looking into their eyes. It was scary at first. I wasn’t sure what I would see. I didn’t want them thinking inappropriate things. But I can’t control what they think. I can only treat them how God would-and I think He would look them right in the eyes. They looked right back at me. But they seemed sad, forlorn, lost, broken. Then Melonnie asked if I wanted to pray. I was caught off guard, not knowing what to say or how to pray for them. As I began, I felt God continue to open my eyes to see them as He would. I cried through most of it, I couldn’t seem to get ahold of myself. When I was done, a few of them touched my hand and said it’s ok. They were comforting ME. They have families left alone to fend for themselves. Wives.Kids. Babies. Some are in there cause they have done wrong things, others have been falsely accused. I don’t know their stories, not yet anyway. There is very little of a ‘justice system’ in Haiti, so who knows why they are there. I do know they don’t seem like menacing criminals, or least God didn’t want me to see that. He wanted me to see their lost souls, and I did. And it broke my heart into pieces.