Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hope for Haiti

Sleeping on a rooftop under the stars. Cramming 13 people and luggage into a 12- passenger van. Hearing a new language. Singing late into the night. Experiencing complete poverty. Befriending 31 orphans who would ultimately change our lives. These are but a few descriptions of my recent trip to Haiti. I could try and paint an accurate picture for you of all we saw, heard, learned, and felt, but words are insufficient. All I know is I will never forget their faces, I will never be the same. Our team of 12 only had 2 full days with the children living at the Hope Home in Haiti, but it didn’t take that long to feel the weight of responsibility on our shoulders to love and care for these precious, vibrant, joyful children. Who knows what kind of horrors they’ve experienced in their lifetime, ones that an American adult could never fully wrap their minds around, yet the kids within the orphanage walls no longer resemble those roaming the streets just outside. Granted, their physical needs are still great and dependent upon the financial support of those they’ve never met, but any visitor can see an unmistakable gleam in their eyes, a spark of hope. They have been rescued from dangerous streets, given the promise for long, healthy lives, presented with the saving Gospel of Jesus, fed, clothed, and loved. They are happy. They are hopeful. But there are so many others in need of this same care. I personally have been challenged to the core to help meet the needs of these orphans and rescue other impoverished, abandoned children that they may have this same hope.


A few years ago, a young man named Willio and his wife began taking Haitian kids into their home from the streets. Very quickly they ran out of space and funds to provide for these children. Two of them had tuberculosis and needed treatment. Willio couldn’t turn them back out on the street but he needed help. He was desperate, so he googled the word ‘hope’ and the link for Hopegivers International popped up on his screen. He immediately contacted Hopegivers, told them his situation, and Hopegivers agreed to take this man and his orphans under their wing. Thus, the first Hope Home in Haiti was born. Today, 31 kids call this orphanage home, and they have a new building and receive 3 meals a day. There are, however, pressing needs that must soon be met for the welfare of the kids. Currently, they have no clean water safe for drinking and need a new well. Each of them are sleeping on a cement floor and are in need of bunk beds. There are at least 2 HIV positive boys who need to be receiving treatment on a daily basis. Willio is working 3 jobs to pay teachers at a local school as well as additional expenses not being paid.


I say all this because I have realized the personal responsibility to meet the needs of these precious children no matter what it takes, to no longer leave it to someone else and casually remove myself from the situation. We are the body of Christ, His hands and feet, having the opportunity to go where He leads, to reach out and touch the ones He loves. If we don’t, who will? Who else carries within them the power and authority of Jesus Christ and can testify of mercy, grace, deliverance, and provision than those who have been set free by the cross? I challenge you, dear friend. Make yourself available to the Lord in a fresh way. Ask Him where He wants you to go, what people you can serve in His name. Let us make a sacrifice of praise to Jesus as He teaches us what true religion is all about and we respond by giving up certain comforts for the sake of the least of these. May we answer the call to love these kids and others like them. Their lives depend on it.