On Sunday May 29th 2016 ten children had their Holy First Communion at Zanmi Beni. Below are some images, taken by Libby Goff as well as a letter written by Bill Horan of Blessing International and one of the Founders of Zanmi Beni. It was a truly special day
Today was First Communion Sunday for ten of the 64 children at Zanmi Beni, the home for abandoned children in Haiti that Operation Blessing co-founded with Paul Farmer’s group Zanmi Lasante almost six years ago. It is truly miraculous how the kids have blossomed since we rescued them soon after the quake. The girl in the middle is named Betty and has always been one of my favorites. I remember when she first arrived, as if in a trance of utter misery. She didn’t cry or smile or register any emotion and spent hours, sitting alone, staring into space. God only knows the horrors that she had experienced. Her skin was covered with wart-like bumps, she moved awkwardly and seemed the epitome of sadness. When we built the dorm, Loune and I paired her up with Ogeline (shorter girl to Betty’s right) who was vivacious and seemed as full of joy as Betty was full of sorrow. We painted their names on the doorway of their room so they knew that that room was theirs for keeps. My mother, Luella Rose, for whom the dorm is named and who spent the last 50 years of her life fighting for children with disabilities, told me that it was absolutely necessary that the children know that ZB was their home, and not just another stop along the bumpy road of their lives. As time went by, Ogeline’s exuberance seemed to rub off on Betty, and after about two years, Betty emerged from her shell and began to grow taller and to blossom in every way. Today, she is joyous and full of life, excited about school and life. The three girls in the photo, along with seven of their brothers and sisters, received their First Communion today. They all study scripture and love the Lord. Loune, Mona and the ZB team have poured so much love on these children that in spite of disabilities and against seemingly insurmountable odds, have overcome their traumatic beginnings and have a chance at a fruitful life. This is example of what love can do.