I ask the boy where he sleeps at night, and he scuffs a ragged shoe on the rock-hard floor of his pitched tent.
Right here, on this floor, he says with his foot.
His brothers sleep beside him.
A shabby blue tarp "wall" of his family's tent whips in the breeze.
For half of his life, this boy named Romario has slept on the floor of a tent. His family lives here, sleeps here, tries to find shelter from the rain here.
In a tent.
It was meant to be temporary, only temporary.
That was nearly five years ago. A tent became Romario's home after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake shook Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, turning the country inside out, and killing more than 230,000 people. People who managed to survive the quake sought shelter in little blue shacks set up by humanitarian groups. Soon, whole tent cities emerged on the hillsides.
No one meant for the blue tents to be forever homes. And in five years, tens of thousands of Haitian families have rebuilt -- on their own or with the help of humanitarian aid.
But five years later, countless others, like Romario, go to sleep every night in a sort of blue hell, praying for a bed, and for a real house. For someone to help.
And as each day passes, the tents wither more. The edges tatter. The rain finds new ways in. And the threat of being evacuating off the private land under their tents always looms.
Over the past two years, we've become friends with a few of the families who live inside the blue tents of Haiti. Our daughter, Lydia, sponsors Romario, and he carries her picture in his backpack to school. We know what their voices sound like when they pray for a safe place to live. We love the sound of their laughter in the school kitchen, where several of the mamas are working hard every day, but not able to make enough money yet to relocate. Our hearts break harder every time we leave, watching their blue shacks fade like specks in the distance.
We kept thinking it will change.
And then finally, we figured out that we had to be the change. We had to help do something.
What if this Christmas could be their last Blue Christmas?
What if this could be the last Christmas these families spend in raggedy blue tents, on rock-hard dirt floors?
What if this little community of readers could come together, at year's end, to build one house for one family?
And then, what if we could do more?
We think we can. We think we can build FIVE.
We've been praying hard, and we are believing that this will be the last Blue Christmas for five families.
Maybe you're like me, and wondering every Christmas what you might to do to give gifts that will really last, to celebrate the season in deeper ways than you ever have before.
Our family positively loves the twinkling joys of Christmas in our home, just like you do. We have stockings, and tinsel, and cookies and cheesy ornaments and Christmas CDs, playing on round-the-clock repeat. We delight in giving each other gifts.
But we also delight in responding to the grandest Christmas gift idea that Jesus left for us in His word. Here it is:
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40
When we give Christmas gifts to the least, we give to Jesus.
And we invite you to join us, in making a miracle, in ending the Blue Christmas for friends like Romario, and Viola, and Sonia, and Sabrina, and for so many others.
It really is all because of Jesus. And all for Jesus.
Together we can be the change.
How to Help
Daughter Lydia and I are linking arms with Kayla Raymond, the missionary on the ground near Minoterie, Haiti -- to make a "Blue Christmas Wish" come true. You can find Kayla's blog post here (click here). Lydia has posted here, on her blog (click here).
Together, we are asking if you might consider making a year-end donation to our project: 5 Homes for 2015.
Every dollar counts. Seriously .... Every. Dollar. It takes a village, to change a village!
Here are three ways to give.
1) Through Pure Charity, by clicking here.
2) Directly to Touch of Hope, by sending a check to:
Touch of Hope
205 Old Mill Lane
Rock Rapids, Iowa 51246
- leave a note on your check that your donation is for "5 homes in 2015" –
3) Through PayPal by clicking here.
(Touch of Hope is registered 501(3)c non-profit and all donations are tax deductible.)
Please forward, share or retweet as we begin to raise the funds for five beautiful new homes!
Click to tweet: Tweet: 5 years later, people still live in temporary blue tents in Haiti. Lets make this the last Blue Christmas. http://ctt.ec/34y49+
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