A lot has happened in the last few days, leading us to decide that Irene and Grace will leave Haiti. A few days ago, news broke about probable link between the Zika virus, which was introduced to Haiti in December, and serious birth defects among babies whose moms have the disease during pregnancy. The next day, a warning for pregnant women was issued for Haiti and other affected countries. A number of our friends and colleagues have had this mosquito-borne virus over the last month and a half, so we know that the risk of transmission is high in our area. With the news of the link to birth defects, we were launched into a weekend of Google searches, seeking wisdom from friends, doctors, and midwives, and lots of tears, prayer, and discernment about next steps for our family. At the end of it, we decided that Irene and Grace will leave Haiti on this coming Friday in order to protect this precious little girl (yes, it's a girl!) with whom we have been entrusted, while Robbie stays to complete the school year.
We both have experienced peace and relief at this decision, even though it comes with a high emotional cost of being separated for several weeks at a time, and saying many hasty goodbyes to good friends in the next few days. Irene also has to abruptly end counseling with a number of clients, and say goodbye to her discipleship group of eighth grade girls.
As usual, the harsh reality of Haiti looms large in the background, where most pregnant women do not have the luxury of leaving, or even of protecting themselves adequately from mosquitos. We are so grateful for God's provision for our family, while at the same time being heartbroken for the possible suffering that will be endured by many in this country.
In the midst of all of this, we ask for your prayers for us and for Haiti:
• For all pregnant women in Haiti, that God would protect them and their unborn babies from harm caused by this illness.
• For Haiti, that the upcoming elections (now rescheduled to Jan. 24), would be peaceful and just.
• For our baby, that God would bless her growth and development, and that He would especially protect her from Zika virus.
• For Irene, for a continued healthy pregnancy, and for strength and peace over the course of the next few days.
• For our marriage, especially as we undergo periods of separation over the course of the next four months.
• For Robbie, that God would bless his teaching, and provide him with everything he needs while being separated from Irene and Grace.
• For Grace, that God would protect her heart from the pain of separation from her dad.
• For Irene's counseling clients and discipleship group, that the Holy Spirit would continue to bring healing, insight, and growth into their lives.
Thank you so much for your friendship and your prayers! We wish you all the best in the New Year!
In Christ alone,
Robbie, Irene, Grace, and “Little One”