Dear Friends and Family-
This past summer I had the opportunity to go to Haiti, what a life changing experience, I learned so much about myself. I went to share my gifts and talents with the community but instead I was the one who was blessed. In the city of St. Louis du Nord, I fell in love with the work of Northwest Haiti Christian Mission (NWHCM) and all of the programs that they run there. But what truly began the change in me this past summer was an unexpected relationship, I fell in love with a little boy named Gilbert.
I remember so vividly my first few days in Haiti. It was hot, extremely humid and I found myself struggling to find the purpose for which I had been called to Haiti. I knew God had equipped me to be a co-leader of the team as I helped facilitate team bonding as well as fundraising but once I was in the country, I had a hard time connecting and finding purpose. Then on our second day we went to go volunteer in the Miriam Center, a special needs orphanage located at the mission. The room was hot and I was overwhelmed with emotions as I had never worked with special needs children before, I was afraid that I would hurt a child if I held them too tightly. I had a hard time reading their emotions as so many noises floated in the air; I didn’t know whether they were laughing or crying, joyful or in pain. I tried to engage myself in games with the team and the children but often times I found myself hiding behind my camera. That is until one boy pointed in my direction and wanted me to visit with him in the window. He wanted to learn how to use my camera, so I nervously let him which caused me to let my guard down. It was the best decision I could have ever made as I bonded with Gilbert hanging out with him every chance I got over the next 10 days.
Gilbert is 14 years old and is one of 10 children. Gilbert and one of his sisters both have a type of dwarfism, cerebral palsy and some other health related issues. He came to the Miriam Center at least two years ago when his mom became ill and could not care for him and his siblings. When Gilbert’s sister passed away, he blamed his mom for her death thus creating chrysalis around his heart that is sometimes tough to see through his big smile and fun nature. But I have seen Gilbert’s love for God, I have seen his love for others, and I have even sung worship with him. I know that God’s love, mercy, and grace is powerful; I pray not only for Gilbert’s health but for the condition of healing and forgiveness in his heart.
Since graduating school I have often questioned God’s direction for my life, wanting to really just serve God with my gifts and talents. Over a year ago I began working and serving at a church in Los Angeles, and God has grown and stretched me so much over the past year. Over the past few months, through much prayer, discernment and wise council, I have decided to pursue ministry vocationally. I have begun transitioning out of my current administrative roles and into a part-time ministry position as I seek full-time employment in ministry. I cannot think of a better way to start this next process and journey in my life than to fully immerse myself in ministry in Haiti for two weeks beginning June 18th- doing what I love and serving God through my gifts and talents.
Haiti is the poorest country in the world. In Haiti, the youngest children in a home usually get fed last. If a child has a mental or physical disability, things are even tougher. Having a disability in a developing country like Haiti means you’re invisible. And because voodoo is practiced in Haiti, disabled children are also viewed as a “curse” resulting from evil parents. However, NWHCM shines the light and love of God on the “invisible” and making it visible. NWHCM and the Miriam Center believe that every child is of value and I am excited to partner with them again this summer.
I ask that you would please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I prepare myself for this trip. I ask that you pray for Gilbert and for NWHCM and the Miriam Center, as well as the country of Haiti. Lastly, I ask that you would prayerfully consider financially sponsoring my trip. My goal is to raise $2500 and I have less than two months to do so. Your prayers and donations (which are tax-deductible) help to change lives around the world as we work together to be the hands and feet of Christ.
My previous experiences in missions from Camden, to Peru, to Haiti and even locally would not have happen without the love and support of my family and friends. Thank you for your continued support and impact upon my life. I can’t imagine a better way to spend sometime this summer than being reunited with Gilbert and seeing how the Lord continues to work through our lives.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)