This is a holy place
This is a place of gratitude
This is a place to say goodbye
This is a place to return and remember
This is a place of rest
With these words, we opened a recent memorial service with 24 young members of the Kwafè IMPACT Club. The group of young adults gathered with us after their Sunday morning church service to reflect and remember their friends Kalèb and Jacquenor.
Two weeks before, these young men were killed in a motorcycle accident while on their way home from an IMPACT Club meeting. Kalèb was 25 and Jacquenor 18.
Shortly after the accident I received a text from Ledoux, the club leader, telling me of the tragedy. Because the funeral service was the next day it had been impossible for us to attend but as my colleague Fevrier and I talked about it, we decided we should make a visit to Kwafè to show our support to the church, the club, the club leaders and the families.
So, along with 4 leaders from some Port-au-Prince based IMPACT clubs, we sat with the club for over an hour and using a memorial service liturgy from my friends at Street Psalms we spent time with these young people in their grief. We slowly made our way through the liturgy, reading words together that in their honesty brought hope and in their simplicity opened hurts. Together we responsively read Psalm 23, heard poems spoken and then we stopped to hear stories of these two young men.
Through tears and grief, a number of the young people shared their stories of these men. We heard how one was a musician and was teaching others using his gift. His friend thought that he might never play music again because the grief would be too much. Another spoke of the playful spirit and strong character of his friend. Others kept their stories in their hearts, the words to difficult to utter. The pain and hurt was evident on the faces of many gathered there.
Together we committed Kalèb and Jacquenor to our Saviour’s care then, in the fashion of the Street Psalm community, we raised our hands and blessed each other. We ended our time with these words:
Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,
to him be glory,
to the earth be peace,
our family be hope
and to our heart’s be courage.
This IMPACT club is hurting. They are struggling with the heavy loss of their friends and each time they meet they are reminded again that their friends are not there. In this mess of hurt and grief we are confident that the Holy Spirit is working His restorative power in these young people and we look forward to the day this club takes up the challenge to again be change makers in their community.
After our time with the club we traveled to the homes to visit with each family. We sang with them, prayed with them, brought them words of comfort and hope and listened to each family, through their tears and pain, share stories of their son and brother.
Those were holy places we traveled to that day in Kwafè and it was a day I will not soon forget. While grief and hope were wrapped so tightly together that it was difficult to see where one started and the other left off, the hope shone brighter and clearer that day and for that small wonder I give thanks and take hope.