As we reflect over the past 25 years, our lives have been so richly blessed. This ministry has allowed us a “front-row seat” to witness the Spirit of God working through His people. We want to share a few of these joyous times from our experience.
Join in the Praise at Delmas!
It is LOUD. It is JOYFUL. It is EXUBERANT. The worship songs that reverberate off the concrete walls come from the HEART. The PASSION coming from the congregation is CONTAGIOUS. How could this song leader and unemployed accountant, Jambon Severe, be praising God at the top of his lungs – and everyone around us with him? We couldn’t help but join in the torrent of praise, using our English words for those songs with familiar tunes. And how could 300+ members of the Delmas 28 Eglise du Christ squeeze into an 1,800 sq. ft. room without air conditioning? How blessed we’ve been to partner with this Spirit-filled group since our first trip in 1995, who were already reaching out to the poor despite their own poverty.
Parenn Meets Sponsored Child
What joy to witness the excitement in a sponsor’s face as they prepare to meet their sponsored child. The photo on their fridge is about to become a real, live boy or girl which they can shower with love and gifts of affection. In Haitian culture, a child’s sponsor is their “parenn” (godparent) – who prays for them and cares about all aspects of their life, including their spiritual future. When the meeting time arrives, the huge smile on the child’s face as they get to greet and thank their parenn is priceless.
A Simple Balloon
The remote village of Pageste was the inspiration for the artwork of our first HFHC logo, created by LeaAnne Cogswell using a 1995 trip photo. Evidently, this was the first time the children had ever seen or played with a balloon. As we began to bat the brightly-colored balloons upward, screams of delight filled the air! More and more children wanted to be included in the fun and tried to keep the balloons airborne. When one would finally land on a cactus needle—creating a loud “pop” — applause and more screams of delight would follow!
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
In June 1999, our first Christian Leadership Camp was held in a downtown Port-au-Prince basketball gymnasium with a gigantic hole in the middle of the roof. This made the 3-legged race a bit more of a challenge after it rained, as our teens had to navigate through the water on center court! Our sponsored teens are always thrilled to be invited to come to camp. They have such fun playing together, studying and memorizing God’s Word, and understanding God’s plan as it relates to their personal lives.
Jeantyrard Elmera, senior minister for the Delmas congregation and HFHC-Haiti President usually closes out the last evening with a gospel message and an appeal for our teens to put their faith in Jesus and submit to baptism. This decision might be a costly one, since some teens come from families who are antagonistic to Christianity. In July 2016, during the song “Mwen te deside pou m swiv Leseyè” (I Have Decided to Follow Jesus), we were praying for several who had earlier indicated they were seriously considering this important step. What joy to see the first young man come forward, followed by 29 others! We didn’t have baptismal garments, but Jeantyrard just said, “Hold my wallet,” took off his shoes and socks, waded into the pool, and baptized each one!
There are so many more stories. We hope that these few have provided a glimpse into the joy which we have witnessed. We want to thank all of you – our sponsors, financial partners, volunteers, and prayer warriors – who have joined us during these past 25 years in working side-by-side with our Haitian brothers and sisters. Together, we believe our investment in the lives of these young people will keep Hope for Haiti’s Children strong for many years ahead.