One of our greatest blessings is our street boys who now live upstairs. I remember when we first began this program–we picked six boys and told them to go find six more boys to bring our total to 12 disciples. Each year for Christmas we take them to Jerry’s Restaurant by the ocean for a big buffet meal. Last night they had goat, chicken, pasta salad, potato salad, french fries and rice and beans. They enjoyed the meal so much and it was so good to hear them laugh and joke around with each other. We have become a family. Thanks to many of you the boys were able to unwrap wonderful gifts of clothes and shoes. We also invited those who no longer were in the program due to various reasons. We still love them and try to help them as much as we can. All of these boys are down at the river washing mopeds each day.
One of the first boys we ever helped was Briole. He and his friend Jude were beggars at the airport. Briole had a horrible life growing up. He was physically and sexually abused. Many times the voodoo people would come and get him and have him participate in one of their services forcing him to drink goat’s blood as part of the ceremony. His life was full of pain and when we began the mission house everything seemed to be looking up for him. One day Briole and a friend decided to hop on top of a bus and go to another village in hope to make some money. The bus almost turned over and in a panic Briole jumped to the ground. One foot completed turned around the opposite way. Thank God for Dr. Dale and the surgery team at the Northwest as they were able to operate and fix it. Briole was never the same after that. It seemed he had lost his strength. He decided he wanted to go home to Jean Rebel and we did not see him for a while until a few months ago when he came to me so weak. I thought he had Aids or TB. Again I sent him to the Northwest and they tested him. He did not have AIDS or TB but was anemic. After being treated once again, he wanted to go back to his home village for he had no strength to work on the streets. I think Briole lost his fight to live. Yesterday we received the word that Briole had died. Someone cut his throat with a razor. I don’t know the details. I just know that a boy I loved with all my heart is dead at the age of 17.
Briole was far from perfect. He did accept Jesus and was baptized but like many of us he had strayed away. There was a lot of goodness in Briole too. I will never forget the little two year old boy who was put on the mission steps covered in his own poop–it was Briole that tended to him. Women passed by the boy and never cleaned him up. But Briole (on his crutches) stooped down and picked the child up and cleaned him up. Maybe he saw himself in this little child.
Special thanks to Andrea Kolhman who brought these shots out for Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad still have trouble sustaining a connection to the internet long enough to send out pictures.