Confession #135: Mackendy Shares His Story
I’ve known Mackendy for a long time. One of my first memories in Haiti is of him carting little kids around on his bike at the orphanage back in 2005. He was quiet and reserved, not as outgoing as some of the other boys. But he was always there- watching, listening, and helping those around him.
Until this week, I had never asked Mackendy about his story. I think I always feared he wouldn’t want to share, that perhaps he didn’t trust me yet with the details of his life. And I think in some ways I was right. We’ve never been super close. But this week I knew it was time.
When I asked Mackendy if he would be willing to share his story, not only with me, but with my blog readers he was very willing. “I knew I needed to share my story,” he said. “I remember you telling us in devotional that our stories can help other people. I have wanted to share, but I just didn’t know how.”
So today, with his blessing, I am going to share Mackendy’s story with you. May it encourage and bless you as much as it has me…
Born in the town of Milot just outside of Cap Haitien, Makendy’s mom died a few years after he was born. “Sometimes I get really sad because I try to think of her but I never even knew what she looked liked,” he told me. The sixth out of seven siblings, he was never raised by his mom. Shortly after being born he was given to his grandmother and was later joined by his younger brother.
Mackendy vividly remembers growing up with his grandma. He remembers working in the fields with his grandpa, playing with his brother, and living in their tiny house. They didn’t have much, but he was happy with his family.
When Mackendy was eight or nine years old he broke his arm. Living so far in the country and with minimal resources, his grandmother was not able to take him to a hospital for proper treatment. For close to a year his arm was kept wrapped in sling made from a towel. Mackendy remembers that year as being a very painful one. He knew his arm wasn’t healing, but there was nothing he could do.
A year after his accident a medical mission team came to visit his town. Hopeful they could help his arm, Mackendy’s grandmother took him to the team’s clinic at a local church. The team helped Mackendy get to a hospital and he was able to receive surgery to correct his break.
Shortly after his surgery Mackendy remembers overhearing a conversation between his grandmother and his uncle. His uncle wanted Mackendy to go to the orphanage recommended by the team. Financially, things were difficult. Mackendy’s grandmother could not send him to school, didn’t always have proper food to feed him, and was not able to afford medical care. But she loved him and wanted to keep him. They argued for a while, but eventually Mackendy’s grandmother took the advice of her son and brought Mackendy to the Cap Haitien Children’s Home.
Adjusting to life at the orphanage was a little tricky at first. At his grandmother’s home he slept on the floor, so when he was given a top bunk his first night at the orphanage he was a little nervous. That first night, after tossing and turning, he fell out of the bed and hit his head on the concrete floor. He called for Sadie, one of the older girls, to come help him. She walked him to the director’s house and his head was cleaned and bandaged up.
Never attending school before, Mackendy started the 1st grade when he was eleven years old. At an age when most boys in the states are entering middle school and trying out for sports teams, Mackendy was learning the alphabet for the first time. He remembers school being really difficult, but he was determined to learn.
In January 2010 an earthquake hit Haiti killing nearly a quarter of a million people. Although the devastation did not reach Cap Haitien, Mackendy realized that God must have a plan for him because his life was spared. So the Sunday morning following the earthquake, Mackendy went forward and gave his life to God.
After becoming a Christian, Mackendy knew he needed to develop a trusting relationship with God. He remembers not knowing how to pray. For the first week after he was baptized he would just say, “I am yours now. Help me walk in your way.” And slowly God began answering his prayer. After a week of reciting that simple prayer, Mackendy heard a voice in his head telling him it was time to read the Bible. So he did.
The first passage he read was Jeremiah 29:11-13.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
After reading this, Mackendy knew, without a doubt, that God had a plan for him. He just needed to seek him with all his heart. So he did.
Now if you know Mackendy at all, you know that he is very talented with computers. For him, this interest started when he was young. While at the orphanage a visitor named Drew came to help install computers for a new computer lab. Mackendy, not knowing anything about computers at the time, was very intrigued. So as Drew worked, Mackendy watched and learned. Once Drew left, the older teens started using the computers. As problems would occur or as things would break, Mackendy was the first to volunteer to try to fix them. He would sit at the computers, take them apart, learn their parts, clean them, and teach himself how to reassemble them again. He still remembers how great he felt the first time he turned on a computer that he fixed. After that, he knew this was what he was he was supposed to do.
After listening to his story, I had to ask Mackendy one more question: As a young leader, what do you think Haiti needs the most? I expected a few different answers. Education and job opportunities are the most common responses I receive. But not for Mackendy. His answer was quick. He didn’t even have to think about it. “Haiti needs more Christians,” he said. “God is the only one who can provide real help. If more people in Haiti believed in Him than this would be a better place. God is the most important thing Haiti needs.”
Being helped all throughout his life, first by his grandmother, then the medical team, then the orphanage, his sponsors, and now Emmaus House, Mackendy knows that God is preparing him to live a life of service. He wants to help others the same way he, too, has been helped. He wants to use his abilities and his resources to serve in Haiti and to bring people to Christ.
Because he started school late, Mackendy is older than most of the young men at Emmaus House. He has two more years left in secondary school and then dreams of going to university to obtain a degree in computer engineering. He is a hard worker and has been a leader in our Emmaus Works program designing and printing t-shirts. And he continues to develop his computer and English skills by taking professional classes in town.
Mackendy is the future of Haiti. He is a future husband, father, worker, and church leader. Mackendy is what Emmaus House is all about. He is a young man with dreams, not only for himself, not only for his country, but most importantly for the kingdom of God.
I am so thankful Mackendy chose to share his story with me, and you. His bravery truly inspires me. His life story is one of healing and redemption. Although he has had struggles, God has been with Mackendy every step of the way…preparing him…leading him…molding him.
As Mackendy is about to start the 12th grade, please pray for him. Please pray for his school, for university opportunities, and for God to continue preparing him to grow the church in Haiti. Mackendy knows his story is meant to be heard, so please help in sharing. May God use Mackendy as a witness that he has plans for all his children, both great and small, all over the world!