Impact Blog

DD's Remarkable Story

Author: Steve Stewart

Our trip to Haiti was, as I expected, very interesting. This was our first time up in the Saint Marc area, about two hours northwest of Port-au-Prince. We were working with DD (Dieudonne) Batraville; she is a remarkable woman. DD was spent the first 15 years of her life in the area where we were working; then, she was adopted by a Canadian family near Ottawa. DD has worked in international development for many years in a number of developing nations. Like us, DD is committed to facilitating sustainable community transformation.

On January 12, 2010 DD flew to Haiti. She told me that she didn’t want to go, but felt a sense of urgency. DD drove to a school in the Gracette area. Two minutes after she arrived, the earthquake hit. She worked at getting every student out of the building and to safety. Over the following few weeks, children started to arrive from Port-au-Prince. Many had lost their entire families; others had been separated in the chaos that followed the earthquake. Before long, DD had 31 traumatized children in her care. The school quickly became an orphanage.

Last week, the Impact team visited the orphanage. What we encountered were remarkably happy, well-adjusted children aged 4 to 16. I was struck with how DD––and Jesus––had created something very special. Here was a family, not an institution. DD told us that the entire village considered the children to belong to all of them.

As a result, everyone looked out for everyone. I was reminded once again, that the Lord takes the ashes of our lives and turns them into something beautiful (Is 61:3). And what we saw was something very beautiful indeed. The early church discovered family as Jesus had re-defined it. He said that in the Kingdom, whoever follows Him and the Father is his mother, daughter and son. In the new community, family has been re-created into something that reflects the eternal reality of life together in Christ. No wonder we felt such a deep sense of joy and peace among these children.

One more thing: although she didn’t tell me this herself, I discovered that DD’s commitment to these children runs so deep that she goes back to Canada for months at a time to work at cleaning houses and other menial jobs in order to earn money to send back to the orphanage in Haiti. She never told any of our team about that. All she told us was how happy and proud she was of the children and the six adults who live with them as their new parents.

It seems to me that DD has discovered the truth of Jesus’ promise: Whoever loses his or her life for My sake, will find it.

Pictures and the incredible stories of all of DD's children are available here.

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