My journey to Haiti began on my quest to meet our sweet Bebylove. In 2016, my husband Derek and I began sponsoring one of the Cazeau orphans knowing only a few pieces of her story. Later that year, Tonya Hunt, Vice President of HFHC, visited the Ladies’ Class at our Tusculum congregation to talk about Hope for Haiti’s Children. After class, Tonya shared more of Bebylove’s story with me. She said that Bebylove has never had anyone to call her own. It was in that moment that I knew I had to go meet this sweet little girl and let her know she was ours! In 2017, we went on our first trip to Haiti as part of the annual child care clinic team. It was an exciting moment to meet Bebylove for the first time, and our bond has only grown since then.
During the clinic that year, there were ten children sitting on a bench turned around looking in our direction. My sister, Gena Hesselrode, called to me and said: “Don’t look.” Of course, I looked. Those smiles get me every time! Gena told me they were unsponsored, and our wheels started turning. Tonya walked by and said, “Girls, remember this is only Day 1.” She knows us well. That was an aha moment for me, in that I can’t sponsor them all, though I wanted to so BADLY.
No, I can’t sponsor them all, but I can HELP them all. Rebuilding Hope 2020 HELPS them ALL!
We have returned to Haiti three times as part of the child care clinic, with my love for these kids and HFHC [this ministry] growing more and more. In 2018, my sister Gena and I decided to put together a mission team for the summer of 2019. We wanted to be a part of “Rebuilding Hope” for the kids in Haiti. As part of the rebuilding efforts, our team painted a cabin and the water towers in preparation for summer camp. We were so excited to be part of helping to bring the Christian Leadership Youth Camp to Thomazeau. I know God is going to do great things with this project even beyond summer camp.
During our trip, we conducted a VBS each day which gave us an opportunity to spend quality time with the kids and teach them about Jesus. We were also able to develop stronger relationships with the Haitian staff and be an encouragement to them. We saw firsthand the “teach a man to fish” in action – with the gardens, hatchery, and tilapia tank right there on the HFHC property.
Being on property, staying at the Hope Center, and worshiping with the Thomazeau church gave me (us) the opportunity to see the potential – the hope that is growing there.
In the three years we have served in Haiti, we have seen the start and finish of:
- the security wall
- additional classrooms built and being built
- the vision of bringing the leadership camp to HFHC property come to life
- new dorms for the Thomazeau orphans
- solar panels at Thomazeau
- and so much more.
It is amazing to see the transformation of the property but, more importantly, to see the transformation of the children and the community.
I am excited to see what the future holds for Hope for Haiti’s Children. I pray that we can all continue to be a part of HELPING THEM ALL. God is doing BIG things in Haiti.