Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mwen Grangou

There are those moments when the world seems to stop on its axis. When the very air you breathe is sucked out of the room.


In a room full of people, I knelt face to face with one. She spoke in Kreyol and I fumbled to understand. Fumbling didn’t help. There is nothing in Kreyol that registers with my synapses – lips move, vocal cords utter and I stand blank as an empty sheet of paper. Yet, her eyes were speaking with a want and intensity that I could not deny.

I called Wilson, our very capable interpreter, over to help break this barrier of language and he did. With a somewhat hesitant pause, he relayed words that cut me to my very core - "mwen grangou - I am hungry".

At that very moment, my God took on the appearance of a little Haitian girl and spoke Kreyol to the very core of my soul. As I stood there it was as if the words of Matthew 25:35-40 came alive in full Technicolor.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothed you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

The brutal reality is what small attempt I may have done to appease this little one’s need, is but a drop in the ocean of her life - a fleeting instant that will soon be followed by many more “mwen grangou” utterances. The need in Haiti is overwhelming – physical, emotional, spiritual. It is hard to reconcile my abundance with their want.

What was once printed on paper or flashed upon a TV screen, has become flesh and blood to me. It was easier when I could turn the page or change the channel, easier for me, not for them. What is in my heart now cannot be so easily forgotten or ignored.

I have heard the cry with my own ears. I have hugged the need with my own arms. I have looked the distress face to face. I can’t turn away.

That is where I am right now - unable to turn away and wondering where to go next.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2010


  1. I know He will continue to direct your paths as your heart is willing to follow what He wants for you to do. This came to mind after reading your post:

    From Matthew 14:13-21, when Jesus fed 5,000 with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes. He looked up into heaven and broke the bread first...You are that bread [and others doing ministry work for the Lord]. As you pray and are willing to be broken and be given to those who are hungry...Not only physically but spiritually...2 fishes? Not a lot. And it doesn't take many Christians to do special work for the Lord. Because He will be the One to equip you with the things you'll need. It only takes one to make a difference. So, Lord, I pray for you to guide sister Denise as You call her to do a special task for Your glory. Protect her and her family. And provide her with the things she needs to do things for You. In Jesus' Name.

  2. Praying for you...and for all the hungry little ones. You've given me pause today to thank the Father for food, both physical and spiritual, that I will accept today with ease. May I be more grateful for both.

  3. What can be worse than the suffering of children? I know the Lord will direct you and use your compassionate heart to continue His work.

  4. Praying GOD continues to direct your path! I know HE will...HE is faithful!
    Hugs, andrea

  5. My husbands family is from Louisiana, St. Martinville. They speak broken Kreyol (hope that's spelled right). I can never understand what his family is saying—especially his grandmother (when she was living), and I would be so shame.

    I know that feeling, as far as a little one saying, "Their hungry." I remember some of my neighbor's children—years ago knocking on my door in the summer time saying those very English words to me. I was dumbfounded. Had never had anyone tell me that before, and that was here in the U.S. So, I just fed them.

  6. Praying for the amazing need that still gapes there. And bless you for hugging it with your arms. Just wow.

  7. And as you are wondering where to go with it all... you are already giving us a fresh picture of what you experienced, and we need that. We need to NOT forget how many hurting hearts and lives there are all across our world.

    Thank you for sharing, keep on going... He is leading you.



  8. Denise, I am praying for the provision and for the next step for you. My hubby and I give but we are not there to hug and you are doing both and for that I am so grateful.

    You said some things that ring so deeply in my heart as I feel that way in my fight for the life of the unborn. I can't turn away...

    I love you and I stand with you in prayer and sowing for those precious hungry children and may the LORD strengthen you as He uses your arms to be His around those children.

    Love you.

  9. You have managed to put into words what I haven't been able to articulate since I got back from Zambia. The faces, the need, the joy in the midst of hardship, they never leave you. After the experience your life is never the same... sometimes is seems it's no longer enough. Very well said.

  10. Have you read Tom Davis' "Scared"? Your post here reminds me of his work. If you haven't read it, I'll forward it to you. My mom is reading it now, but will be happy for you to have it once she's done.

    Thank you for sharing your heart.


  11. Beautiful, Denise. Holding the cry...
    How I've missed your soul, your heart, your words.
    I'm praying for you, your family and missing you!!

    Thanks for your prayers. Someone emailed me a quote today that said this, "His presence is sweeter than answers." Praying you sense His presence today, sweet friend. xoxo

  12. Carrie @

    I am truly speechless. I cant imagine seeing the suffering firsthand. Your story (and hers) has truly touched my soul. I will faithfully pray for you both tonight.

  13. The hunger of a child is something that goes right to the heart of every mother. I will pray for this sweet child, that her belly can be filled.

  14. New to your blog from the Gypsy Mama..have you read the book Radical? amazing journey and could give you direction for your heart.

  15. Yes, knowledge is the most powerful virus to catch. I think we all struggle with it - how best to use it - when we return from an experience like that. Thank you for sharing the honest wrestling that it can evoke.

    You don't walk that journey alone. Ann Voskamp, Kristen Welch, Amanda Jones - I know each of their blogs is a good place to join the journey of processing what we have seen with our own eyes.

    Blessings to you on your journey.


  16. sigh...

    i feel this in my bones because i've seen the kreyol take shape and rest in the deepest parts of my heart. although it's been ten years, those landscapes point to so many beginnings on my faith journey - so many awakenings leading me to now.

    most recently, it was a precious kenyan girl living in one of the world's largest slums who looked at me and asked, "will you forget about me?"

    i get this. and i'm praying.