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An unlikely reunion

By Jennifer L, Lifeline child sponsor and mission trip participant

It amazes me that God cares about the very little things in our lives. On my recent trip to Haiti, God showed me how true His love for us is.

Bernadette

Let's first rewind to 1990. I was in Haiti for the first time and was helping a group of not-yet-sponsored children color pictures for the new sponsors they were hoping to receive. One little four-year-old girl who was part of this group, Bernadette, always carried a contagious smile and was constantly hugging my leg. My boyfriend Mark, his sister Beth, and I were quickly won over; we had to sponsor this beautiful girl who was full of life! We were in college at the time, but we were able to pool our resources together and became Bernadette’s sponsor. We made a return trip in 1991 and again saw Bernadette.

Bernadette

Mark and I married in 1991 and we continued to sponsor Bernadette until she finished school with Lifeline. After she graduated, we lost contact with her. Mark returned to Haiti in 2013 and was not able to see Bernadette. I returned to Haiti on a women’s trip in 2015 and also tried to see Bernadette, but I was told that she had moved to the Dominican Republic. During the next few years, we continued to pray for Bernadette; praying that she would be faithful to God and that one day we would meet again in heaven.

Now, fast forward several years…

I returned to Haiti in January 2018 for the women’s trip. One of the privileges we have on this trip is serving and encouraging women in Grand Goave during ladies’ day. While I was waiting for the service to begin, I noticed a baby whom one of the Haitian women sitting in front of me was holding. As I looked at the baby and his mother, memories of Bernadette’s mom started flooding in my mind and I realized how much this woman looked like Bernadette’s mom. I started adding up the years in my head and realized that it had been 27 years since I had seen Bernadette and her mother. Could it be…?

The service started and I tried to pay attention, yet I kept looking at the Haitian lady in the seat in front of me and the baby with the big, beautiful eyes that reminded me of Bernadette.

At the end of the service I was needed in the back of the sanctuary to help pass out small gifts for the Haitian women. My thoughts were still on the lady that sat in front of me; I wanted to ask her if she knew Bernadette, but I didn’t have time. I said a quick prayer about it and decided if it was meant to be, I would see her and be able to ask her.

The next thing I knew, the woman I had on my mind came right up to me. She was standing very close in front of me with her hand on her chest, “Bernadette. Family. Family.” My head was spinning, what was happening? Could this possibly be Bernadette? It had been 27 years! She was 5 the last time we were together! I said, “Bernadette Bien-Aime”? She said “Wi.” (Creole for “yes”).

Bernadette

One of my team members who speaks French was standing near me and helped translate. I asked her to confirm this was Bernadette whom we sponsored all those years ago. It was her! The tears started flowing, I’m still amazed by this sweet, very special reunion that I had prayed about, but thought it would not happen here on earth.

Bernadette

Bernadette and I were able to see each other three more times during my trip, and we were able to catch up on the lost years. She has four children. The youngest was the 4 month old baby boy who caught my eye at church. Her husband has died, so she is on her own raising her children. The injuries she got during the 2010 earthquake still give her a lot of pain. Even with all of this going on in her life, I saw a lot of joy. Joy not only for an amazing reunion after 27 years, but also joy for God who she faithfully worships.

I am so thankful for a God who cares about us so much, that He would even make this unlikely reunion possible because He knows how much it would mean to both of us. My prayer now is that we would be able to keep in contact and that God would continue to watch over Bernadette.



You, too, can share God’s amazing love with a child: sponsor a child today!