This was my third trip to Haiti. My husband, Shane, went with me last year for the first time, and this year we also brought our 18-year-old daughter, Morgan. We wanted her to experience helping others and seeing how happy these kids are, even though they live in poverty, and how pure their love is.
My passion has always been working with children. I’ve wanted to do missions since I was a kid. I went to South Africa three times with Pastor Dennis, but he also wanted me to experience Haiti. Once he got me there, I fell in love with the kids.
It’s hard to describe it in words or pictures. You really have to experience it firsthand, such as when the bus pulls into the orphanage and a kid “picks” you out and grabs your hand or puts their hands up to be held. Differences in nationality and language don’t matter; they just want your love and affection. Since I’ve been multiple times, I’ve built relationships with these kids. They remember me and get so excited when they see me again. One little boy had written me a note and saved it for me. When he saw me, he ran up and gave it to me.
Many of the children who live in the orphanage have parents, but their parents can’t afford to keep them. In the orphanage, they are fed, provided a safe place to live, receive schooling and attend church.
The hope is that they can one day be reunited with their parent(s). I had the privilege to experience this firsthand. One of my special friends, Junior, was reunited with his mom while we were there. Through the interpreter, I was able to talk with him and his mom about his life and dreams. I cried and shared what a leader and great kid he was. I told him to keep Jesus first in his life. It was an unforgettable moment.
I feel so close to God when I worship him through music. One of my favorite memories was when we were doing our group worship time on the balcony above the orphanage. The little girls were sitting outside getting ready for bed, and they started singing also. There was a wall separating us, and we were singing in two different languages, but we were all raising our hands and praising God together.
It’s great to go as a family. I loved watching my husband and daughter fully engage with the kids and love on them. Shane was a big jungle gym that the kids climbed all over. They loved to snuggle up to Morgan and play with her long hair. Just spending time together and sharing God’s love with His children was truly remarkable.
It’s hard to see hope in Haiti, but it’s there. It’s there in the smile of a child. It’s there in the pastor who provides for them. It’s there in the Global Orphans Project representatives. It’s there in the Pathways program that is training the young adults for a career. It’s there in the companies that are hiring these orphans and helping keep families together. I’m glad God allowed my family to be a part of his work in Haiti.