Sometimes it takes encountering despair to appreciate hope. I learned this lesson on my first trip to Haiti (2006). The trip’s initial hours were a shock to my system. After landing, my group successfully bounced through the pinball machine that is the Port-au-Prince airport. Then, we got on a bus headed toward the Cazeau orphanage. I had been on mission trips before, but after minutes in Port-au-Prince, I could tell this was different. The despair was palpable.
Sitting on the bus, I thought: ‘What am I doing here? Can I go home? This is futile.’ I pressed my forehead against the window and cried. I was overwhelmed by what I saw.
After a couple days, our group visited the HFHC school in the impoverished community Cite Soleil. Entering Cite Soleil on that same bus, looking through the same window, I saw sad eyes on downcast faces. I was overwhelmed again.
After a short drive, we arrived at HFHC’s Cite Soleil school and I saw smiles and light-filled eyes. I could feel the warmth and joy of the students and teachers. I remember playing, laughing, and taking pictures with the kids. I talked with them using the Creole phrases I had learned. Unsurprisingly, they couldn’t understand my “Creole”. But, through smiles and hugs, we communicated enough. The difference between the HFHC school children and those I saw along the road was simply this: Hope! Hope entered their world and blossomed into joy, warmth, purpose, and even laughter. The Hebrews writer envisioned hope as “an anchor for the soul.”
Stepping foot on that school property, I witnessed how these Haitian children, vulnerable to life’s storms, were now firmly anchored in hope.
At the week’s end, I sat on the same bus headed to the airport. I pressed my forehead against the same window observing the same scene. Whereas at the start of the week, I asked myself, “What am I doing here?” while wishing I could go home, this time I asked, “When can I come back?” Because when you see hope’s impact so vividly, you long for more. And, I cried again. But this time my were tears saturated with hope. Hope for Haiti’s Children is in the hope-giving business.
That’s why I’m now honored to work for HFHC. There is no amount of despair and injustice that God’s hope cannot break through and transform. Yes, even for Haiti. I believe when a person has hope, they are a force to be reckoned with. So, keep sharing hope. And it may change a life…even yours.
Welcome Rob Long! We are thrilled that Rob joined our HFHC team this past June as a Development Director based in the Nashville area. Rob has been a passionate supporter of HFHC for the past 17 years – serving on three HFHC mission trips, including leading a team of young adults from the Edmond Church of Christ to the Thomazeau Hope Center. Rob has served in a variety of leadership positions in congregations in Oklahoma, Texas, and Tennessee, most recently as the preaching minister at the Maple Hill Church of Christ in Lebanon, TN. Rob is married to Sarah and they have two lovely daughters – Adelyn and Audrey. Rob can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 866-314-9330 ext. 8. 2022