With and Without Translation


He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; 

yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11



Kids_239God makes no mistakes.

He orchestrates every detail of our lives.

He knows exactly who to bring into our lives and when, so we become more of who He created us to be.

It’s been 12 days since I met Kednaud. Out of all the translators I could’ve been assigned, God chose Kednaud. It was truly a divine appointment.

Kednaud spent an entire day with me. It was arguably the most important day of my trip to Haiti, the day I met our sponsored children. He translated every word I uttered, every word our two sponsored children uttered, and every word uttered by a mama, auntie, nurse, and project director. Add up all of those words across an entire day, and you’ll begin to grasp the thousands of words Kednaud translated.

I was grateful for Kednaud’s presence and assistance, truly grateful.

The only words he didn’t know how to translate from English to French Creole were “pink” and “swimsuit.” That accounts for an entire day of translating words. I’d say that’s beyond impressive.

I’ve worked with translators before for my work as a speech-language pathologist, so this translation was nothing foreign to me. But this experience of working with a translator all day, non-stop? It was beyond amazing. The Compassion staff reminded us that these were not just translators, they were “relationship builders,” and that’s exactly what Kednaud was.

But there’s something more I want you to know about Kednaud. You see, he wasn’t JUST my translator that day.

I believe God sent Kednaud to be my translator because there was something He desperately wanted to show me, show us, in the moments in-bewteen translation.

God arranged moments in-between translation for me to connect with Kednaud. When everyone else was using the restroom, when everyone else was helping the kids change into their bathing suits, when everyone else was helping the kids change into their clothes, when everyone else was getting a second helping of food, and after everyone else had been given gifts, Kednaud and I were blessed with small moments to connect about things that matter most.

What are the things that matter most? They’re things that connect us as human beings, regardless of our gender, regardless of where we were born, regardless of our possessions, regardless of any circumstance.

Kednaud’s friends tease him, joke that He’s not fully Haitian. He “gets” American culture. He has friends that are from America, and they’ve invited him to come and live in the United States. They’ll even buy him a house if he’ll move to America. It’s tempting, but he knows. He’s Haitian. He loves his country and he doesn’t want to leave. He’s meant to stay here, in Haiti.

So he translates for American visitors, he values the opportunity to engage and develop relationship with Americans who visit and build homes in Haiti.

And God’s placed on Kednaud’s heart a big God-sized dream. Kednaud dreams of learning 21 languages. He’s already learned four, and knows what his fifth will be, Italian. Because education is expensive and finances are limited, Kednaud works on one language at a time, as he’s able to afford. He takes courses online, through a website called Babbel, where he learns each language and earns a certificate that proves his proficiency.

Kednaud understands. His dream to learn 21 languages is big. It’s a dream most might think is unattainable, especially considering his circumstances. But he believes, I believe, that ALL things are possible with God, through Christ.

I shared about this “God-sized dream” talk in America, how God places dreams on our hearts that seem big, unattainable through the lens of human eyes, but that we trust, knowing anything is possible with God.

We both looked up towards the sky, stating out loud, agreeing as brother and sister in Christ, that yes – anything. is possible. with God. There was peace and joy in this agreement. And that was the first moment I knew, God had me meeting Kednaud, and Kednaud meeting me for a very special purpose. To propel both of us further, with confidence, towards His dreams for us.

Kednaud plays drums. He’s in a band, and he writes songs. And as you might guess, he loves American music. The most perfect medley of songs played throughout the day with our sponsored children. Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do,” Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” and The Jackson 5’s “I’ll be There” played as we frolicked in the pool for the first time ever, played games that united young and old, and shared a great feast together.

Then, it was time to present the families with gifts I’d brought from home. First was Bethchaida. The joy on her face was indescribable. And sweet Djino. I’ll never forget the way he smiled bashfully when I showed him the motorycycle shirt I’d brought for him, the way he bent over, kissed me on the cheek and said “merci.” Kednaud was there, and captured it all in words and photographs.

But there was something missing. I’d promised Kednaud a special gift, too. There was a song, it came to me in the moment we were talking about American music. And I knew I needed to share it with Kednaud. I’d just downloaded it from iTunes a few weeks prior to coming to Haiti; it’s the song that’s resonated most with my spirit these days.

So I ran. I literally ran back to the place where I had my iPhone and headphones. Because the clock was ticking. I’d used up all but 15 minutes of time with my sponsored children and their accompanying adults, and I didn’t want to miss a minute. But I wanted to keep my promise to Kednaud. I wanted to give him this gift, I wanted him to hear this song. So yes, I ran, and then I ran back, iPhone and headphones in tow.

I turned it to this song, Just Say Jesus, and gave Kednaud the headphones.

I sat with the children, the mama and the auntie gathered the gifts, and as we all sat together, speechless, in these last moments, Kednaud pressed play.

The music started. My heart raced. This was the song I’d promised. I had no idea why it was the only song that’d come to me when I learned Kednaud’s dreams and love for music, but this was the song I needed to share.

And that’s when he began. As the words and tune met his ears for the first time, he smiled, his face lit up. He air drummed, and he air drummed some more, non-stop, until the song was done.


He loved it. My gift had been received. God’s gift, to both of us, had been received.

The day had been worthy of a million pictures, and this moment was as worthy as any other. So we snapped a photo of another moment I’ll never forget, a moment that needed no translation.


God unites his children in the most unusual and unexpected ways. He tailors our experiences uniquely. Because He’s the one that created us. He knows our innermost being. He knows our heart and He owns the dreams He’s placed there. He’s the only one who can translate, when words just don’t suffice.

I saw so much of myself in Kednaud. We share a love for words, for music. Kednaud’s only part Haitian, and I’m only part American; we rest in peace knowing our eternal citizenship is in heaven. We share God-sized dreams that seem impossible, but we know in our hearts, without translation, that anything is possible with God.


*This is part of a month-long series about my journey to Haiti. Click here to read all the posts in the series.

  1. Kednaud Thermitus says:

    Amy I want to thanks the song. I ‘m sorry if iam late to listen to it. I was sick. I can tell you iam listening the song right now.
    thanks so much.
    so what happen I never hear from you?

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