Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Wednesday 28th March 2012

God-Bumps & God-Incidences: “To Find a Son”

I stood outside the church doors, in that blur of people streaming from Haiti’s version of a mega-church.

How would I find ever find him in this mass of people? He knew I was coming to his country, but what if something happened: What if he didn’t get the message, or he couldn’t afford a ride? What if he was sick?

My shoulders slumped, and the Nikon camera hung from my neck. I clutched an envelope in my hand with the words written on the front: For Claudel. The girls had drawn pictures and given him a lamb lapel pin with the word “Jesus” written on it.

In his letters, Claudel always calls me his mom. But a mother and father do more than pay for schooling and a few meals. A mother holds her child, reminds him that he’s loved and adored. I’ve had the ache of empty arms.

He was barely a man when we signed up to help him finish his schooling. He was living in a tattered shack on a eroded hillside in Haiti. His father had died, and his mother was living in a tent. He needed help, and we signed a check and made a commitment.

In letters, we told him that if we ever visited his country, we would try to see him. As God ordered things, my first-ever trip to Haiti landed me just a few miles from his village.

We’d arranged to meet at church, the day before I would board a plane for home. This day was our last chance to meet.

I scanned the crowd, looking for a face I’d memorized from a two-inch tall photo I keep in my office.

I could not find his face, and my bus waited.

And then, the voice from behind me. “Mom Jennifer,” he said.

I turned,
and we embraced.





Sharing my “God-Incidence” of Haiti with you today. A God-Incidence is an event that some would choose to call coincidence, but we like to give credit to the Father. Feel free to share your God stories, God-Incidences, and God-Bumps with us in community today. Write your story, add a button to your post, and then drop your link below. Now that I’m home from Haiti, I’m so eager to catch up with all of your stories!

  • This story gave me goose bumps – literally! What a gift to wrap your arms around the one you only knew in the prayers of your heart. You did so much in those few days in Haiti.

    • Hi Shelly! It’s so wonderful to “chat” with you here in the comment box again. I’ve been away so long, it seems.

      Yes, God-Bumps for sure. And a bonus: Claudel and I were able to spend the whole afternoon together. His brother, who speaks English, joined us. So we were able to talk about his hopes, dreams, struggles, faith.

      I spent about an hour in his home. He sleeps on the floor. 🙁 … He told me he actually prefers the floor to a mattress, but it all just makes me shake my head.

      He’s a joyful young man, as you can see by the photograph. I’ve been so blessed by our meeting.

  • “Mom Jennifer.” That right there made my entire day.

    • Me, too, Michelle! It was such a wonderful meeting. Hard to say goodbye…

  • You made me cry! Love it!

    • Hi Brandee! Me, too, friend. I cried, too. Happy, joyful tears.

      I took video of his home, and I “interviewed” Claudel about his life and his home, his hopes and his dreams, so the girls could see what his life is like.

      Thanks for being here today, Brandee.

  • Kim

    Celebrating with you!

  • What a joyous moment! Happy for you 🙂

    • Thank you, Lyli! I appreciate you.

  • Dea

    You didn’t find him. He found you. Beautiful.

    • Oh Dea … Good point. Isn’t this the way of God, too? We go looking, and then turn around to see that He has “found” us first. Love you, friend. And thank you, thank you for all of your God-care and concern during my trip. I treasured your words.

  • How wonderful you got to meet! A memory to treasure. I hope to one day meet our Compassion child. I just have to find a way to Africa:)

    • Christina,

      I hope and pray that you have that opportunity. This was such a gift. And then to have a whole afternoon — with an English-speaking interpreter!

  • First you share your friends. Now you share your son.

    You are something, Ms. Jennifer Lee.

    • 🙂

      Thanks for your love and support this past week, Sheila. xoxo

  • The relief and beauty of this moment is palpable. Can’t wait to hear more. Tried to link up, but maybe you have to approve it first?

    • Laura — I see your link here. I am eager to read your story. Thanks for being a part of our community!

  • Sitting here. Not crying. Really.

  • Beautiful the way God works these things out. You brought tears to my eyes this morning…thank you for sharing your beautiful experiences 🙂


  • Oh, He is so faithful like that. Honoring commitment, desires, love. I am so thankful you found each other!

  • “As God ordered things.” Those are just four beautiful words. So happy you got to hug the neck of your son.

  • “Mom Jennifer” I love that. So glad you could love on him in person whom you had loved on in prayer for so long.
    Keep up the God work, Jennifer!

  • All I could think was “Awesome!” Then again, that’s not even enough to express what our good God has planned in this trip of yours. That’s what being His child is all about…sharing His unconditional love. Thank you for sharing your heart. God bless and protect you.

  • “Mom Jennifer.” See? The seeds for this trip were sown long ago, and the fruit is yet to come. I’d guess you’re in the flowering stage.

    • Megan … Your comment early on during this trip (about the uniqueness of making real friends on mission trips) has stuck with me. Thank you for that… Really, thank you. You made me see the blessing of it.

  • Tears. What a wonderful reunion for you and for him.

  • Precious! What a glorious reunion!

    Reading this post made me homesick for Heaven, all over again.

    Won’t THAT be a glad day?!

  • What a handsome “son” you have! His smile lights up everything. So glad you were able to meet him.

  • I don’t think that was a coincidence at all. All credit definitely goes to the Father! What an incredibly touching story 🙂

    Blessings to you!

  • What a beautiful God incidence. 🙂 He blesses us so much. Thanks for sharing! Love the photo of you two. 🙂

  • Rejoicing with you, “Mom, Jennifer!” How truly special 🙂

  • Your story is so precious and once you could see that smile, you would certainly recognize him. Thank you for sharing this incident from your life!

  • so good to read this…

  • I haven’t been here in a while. Thought I’d stop in and see what Jennifer is up to. Wow! sounds like you’re doing the Lord’s work, and how!

  • What an incredible moment. I cannot imagine your joy.

  • deb

    oh you are just beaming in that photo Jennifer!
    I think these moments of power and tenderness are what it’s all about..

    so glad for both of you.

  • Sarah

    So blessed to have some time to come by and visit again. Love His heart written on the world through your life.

    Splashing around in God’s goodness today … Had to stop by and wade in this glorious place. Hope you don’t mind if I stay a bit and let joy soak deep down. I have quite a bit to catch up on.



  • What a wonderful story! I would love to meet our sponsored child. You are so blessing him with a “future and a hope”. Bless you!

    • I hope you can meet your sponsored child as well, Kathleen. It was an incredible experience.

  • Pingback: He loves his mom. | Hall of Fame Moms | Ohio Mom Blog()

  • Oh, that wonderful smiling face – actually both wonderful, smiling faces. Eyes welling, face smiling here. Thank you for this capstone of a story from your week in Haiti. And welcome home.

    • It is good to be home, Diana! Thank you for joining me on this journey. I often thought of my online friends while I was there, knowing that you were praying. I don’t know how to thank you enough. You’re a gift.

  • I am choking back the lump in my throat and wiping tears from my eyes. The sheer joy on your face and Claudel’s…I have no words. Praise God you were finally able to embrace! So happy for you.

  • That brought tears to my eyes. I hope to meet the two little girls I sponsor in Tanzania one day.

  • Lisa

    So thrilled that God gave you this gift at the end of your visit to Haiti. God-Bumps for sure.

  • Oh Jennifer….These posts brought tears to my eyes…oh to see what you have seen. I know your heart cannot ever be prepared for what you see. I kept thinking as I read your beautiful posts, about my sponsored children I have had over the years, and what kept me from going over to see them. So many excuses, “it’s too far, it’s too dangerous, I don’t have a passport” but really what would Jesus say to me if I told him that! Bless you! Lori

  • What a wonderful opportunity to get to hold him and meet him face to face.
    We have 2 children that we sponsor and I hope that one day, I will get to hold them.

  • That’ll be God’s GPS working for you! Tender love. Amen

  • ooo I sit here in Ohio with tears streaming down my face. God is so good!! Connection of love across the borders. What a great opportunity for you. wow. Bless you for making a difference in that young man’s life.

  • Well a big ole YEEHAAW for you both!


  • Your stories from Haiti have been such a gift, Jennifer. What beautiful people you have introduced us to. I’m so grateful to meet Claudel too. What a beautiful smile he has.

  • I finally made it here! How happy I am that I did. I truly rejoice with you, Jennifer, that you finally held in your arms the son you’ve loved these many years. I can only imagine your joy. o/

    And can you imagine the joy of our Father as He looks forward to that moment with us?! And yet, the love is not diminished across the distance of faith—the evidence of Him Whom we love but do not yet see. ♥

    I’m also waiting to meet and hug you …

@suzanneeller It's a short flight south! The guac awaits. ❤️🇲🇽🍹🌴🌊