Haiti. The poorest country in the western hemisphere. A country where the average age is 7 and average personal income is less than $2,000/year, recently ravaged by an earthquake that has plunged them deeper into poverty and daily travails. Too many go hungry and die…way too young.

I am here all week in a small coastal town, Jeremie, ministering to an orphan village of 150 kids. For these children, we ARE Christmas. We bring them love, smiles and most of all hugs. The personal attention that we shower on these wonderful children is all they want after years of neglect. They are indeed starving….for attention.

Those on the trip experiencing this for the first time realize these kids feel no sense of entitlement. They feel privileged to have food in their bellies twice a day and a mattress to sleep on and a school to attend. It is so humbling to know that love is enough. It is all we need.

These children aren’t unusual. They are just like ours. They laugh, pout and bicker. There are drama queens, jocks, and drummers. They dream of a better future. They just have a different background where food isn’t a given and school is a privilege. It reminds us how blessed we are and how little we need. What we need is each other.

The biggest gift of all is given is to those of us who make this journey. We rediscover our humanity, our emotions get to live on the surface and not be subordinated to professional or social protocol. We get to love, laugh and cry daily and no one is surprised. It is such an amazing experience to live in a love bubble all week.

I think of all whose lives I connect with– family, friends and colleagues–and wish you a heartfelt joy-filled holiday season. Consider yourself hugged!!

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