|Jackson and I in the airport, VERY early in the morning.|
|My sister Pam and her amazing family. This is on the beach in Haiti, hard to believe such poverty is literally steps away from this beauty.|
Often we read in the Bible about helping widows and orphans, or feeding the needy, and we are at a bit of a loss as to how to accomplish that. Well for the first time in my life I saw want and knew there was no question as to IF I would help, it was simply a question of "How do I start?". Looking at the poverty in Haiti is overwhelming so I knew God would have to be very specific if He was calling me there, I knew I needed a place to connect to. Well, that's exactly what he provided. After a 3 hour drive from Port au Prince we arrived in a city name Gonaive. We then drove another 30 minutes to a village named Desire, pronounced des-a-ray, and that is where I knew I would spend my efforts.
Before we had left Gonaive that morning we picked up the local pastor, who pastors 3 churches and runs the orphanage in Desire, Jeannot. He sat beside me on the bus and I began to learn about Desire and the great need there. As we drove I was completely enchanted. We crossed a river, not by bridge, we actually drove through it, villagers were bathing and washing clothes. We then drove a few more miles, passing homes without the most basic necessities as children played partially dressed and adults busied themselves trying to keep their simple homes tidy and clothes washed, although soap is not generally available. Most of these adults have no education and the children do not attend school at all. I can't imagine the hopeless feeling these people may have when education is not possible for their children, and feeding them once a day is the most many can accomplish.
We arrived at the orphanage and immediately when I stepped off the bus a little boy raised his hands for me to pick him up. I wished at that moment that I could hold him forever and part of me thought God was leading me to adopt him, more on that later. I spent the hours holding him, observing what it must be like to live there, and praying to know what God was asking of me. I knew that it was no mistake that I made this short trip and that I would never ever be the same. I had a conversation with Pastor Jeannot that day and through the conversation he shared his vision with me. It's an awesome thing when a local, who struggles himself, knows that God has called him to things that so exceed his financial capabilities. Asking other Haitians to help is almost laughable when there is an 80% unemployment rate. Yet he, along with his wife and children, are devoted to Desire. I made a decision that day to find a way to partner with Pastor Jeannot and his family to help Desire. I have started a GO Project, through Global Orphan Project, to assist in what I believe is the most sustainable way to help a group of people, education. To read more about this project click here. I also gave Jeannot information on Heifer, International, which is an organization that donates animals to people that live in poverty. The pastor feels that goats would be a great sustainable way for the families in the village to make money. So far Heifer has denied their request and I am praying that either they will change their mind or God would provide enough funds that the goats can be purchased. I will go into further explanation of why goats or any animal make such a difference in a post at a later time, but would like to ask that you pray for that with me.
I am so excited that God has called me to Desire. When I was young, a very long time ago ;), I desperately wanted to be a missionary. I guess however, I didn't want it quite as bad as I wanted to marry and have children, which I have no regrets about. That desire has stayed with me, if I attend a mission conference tears always flow, if I meet a missionary I am truly jealous, my heart is just on foreign land. I am amazed at God's handiwork, He has shown me an opportunity where I can be a missionary, in a foreign land, and live here in the US, possibly making a bigger difference by doing so. There are many pastors and people in general that love God and are spreading the gospel in Haiti, they do not need me to do that, what they need is someone to help them carry the burden. That is why I named the project "Burden for Desire", I believe God is calling my family to help carry that. I hope you will consider joining us, the more people lifting the lighter the load will be.
Oh and about adoption......from what I have researched Haiti does not allow adoptions by individuals who have biological children already.
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Here are a few pics from Desire. They are filled with the beautiful orphans. I didn't identify them because I'm sorry my memory is just not good enough to remember 73 names. I hope to get to know them individually one day. I tried to identify the people in our group from Baton Rouge but know there are a few missing. Our leader was Darrin Badon and he did a great job!
|My niece Paige and friends.|
|Pastor Jeannot and I|
|In the left rear of this picture are buckets and people lined up at the only water pump in the village. Many walk long distances to retrieve water.|
|The little boy who stole my heart!!!|
|Jackson showing off his skills;) I don't know if I have ever been more proud of my son.|
|This structure is the church and school. Hard to imagine life without a/c especially somewhere that is incredibly hot, yet all are eager to learn and desire education tremendously.|
|A few faces of Desire, God bless them!|
|Dottie, a beautiful soul!|
|These are some of the sleeping bunks in Desire, there are also concrete buildings there that were recently built with funding from Istrouma Baptist through Global Orphan. Progress!!! Jay, Jordan, and Matt were so great to serve with.|
|Another Nichole, she along with Randi are elementary school teachers here in Baton Rouge. I would be sick of kids by summer but they chose to give a part of their summer to serve orphans. Amazing women!|
|Paige, Jackson, and Hannah. Hannah and Paige both chose this trip as their senior trip, that is so cool. Hannah was also baptized in the ocean on our way back to Port au Prince. The most moving baptism I have ever witnessed.|
|This is Jordan and Dustin. Jordan is in high school and destined to impact her world, what a heart. Dustin is planning to be a doctor and watching this trip open his heart to helping the needy was such a blessing.|
|Randi, Paige, and Pam|
|My nephew Lawson|
|The whole group, kids, orphan workers, and us|