I can’t remember the last time I cried in public. A small part of me was embarrassed but a larger part of me didn‟t care. On Friday, April 16th my tears flowed. The story began years ago with an odd vision, then a wild dream and finally ends with orphans. How could my heart be broken to tears and yet overflow with joy?
Fifteen years ago I was walking in the „bush‟ to make a pastoral call on a very dear and very poor Haitian family. As I neared the shack I saw two young and dark Haitian children sitting on a cement step. I stopped when I saw them and did a double take. The Haitian children had turned color – from black to white! Their appearance was very familiar to me – they were my own two children, Gretchen and Jason. How could this be? Then God spoke very clearly to my heart, “What would you want a missionary to do for your children if this were their home?” My first response was, “Love them.” A moment later the message became clear, “These are your children – love them.” From that day on, our ministry with poor and needy children became very personal.
Seven years ago Pastor Exanté, my Haitian colleague and I were visiting our HOLD the children sponsor school in LaVaud, Haiti. We found ourselves standing in a banana field dreaming of what could be and said, “Wouldn‟t this be a great place for an orphanage?” The location was quiet, green, and surrounded by mountains with a river running near by. Over the years the local community had embraced HOLD the children and it‟s partnership with Pastor Exanté‟s ministry. They soon embraced the dream and then the reality of a children‟s home in their small community.
Last month Mission Discovery sent a short-term mission team to LaVaud, Haiti. It was an incredible week of challenges and Kingdom victories. The mission team ministered to the poor, provided leadership training to over 170 school teachers and church leaders, and shared their faith at an outdoor evangelistic outreach. Many came to faith in Jesus Christ or renewed their walk with him. The team celebrated as we cut the ribbon and officially opened HOLD the children Home with 23 orphaned children ages 3 to 12. Thank you for helping to make all of this possible.
There I was at the very spot where I had stood seven years earlier in the banana field. Before me was a magnificent two story facility that was now home to children orphaned by disaster or disease. I carefully ascended the home‟s steps as I was just six weeks post-op from a total knee replacement. I entered the room where 23 orphans sat on small wooden chairs placed in a circle. The children stood and greeted me in unison saying, “Hello Papa.” What a powerful moment – the story had come full circle. I held each child and asked their name and story.
My heart was broken for these children who had lost their biological parents. And yet I was full of joy and my eyes dripped tears as I held each child and prayed a blessing on them, “Bon Dieu beni ou.” I had not forgotten God‟s lesson given fifteen years earlier – “What would you want a missionary to do for your children if this were their home?” The answer remained, “Love them.”
Through HOLD the children and our friends in LaVaud, these children are loved and they have a safe home. Please pray that God would raise-up sponsors to help us provide for each child‟s care and education. To date, 10 of the 30 children (the home grows weekly) are sponsored. If you are interested in sponsoring an orphan please contact me or our office for more information.
Karen and I thank you for your continued prayers and financial support of our ministry. This has been a challenging year financially for Mission Discovery. Your help is always deeply appreciated.