Things are so funny at our house. We rarely have a meal, a ride in the car or ANY conversation that does NOT include Haiti. People often ask us, “Why did you pick Haiti?” Actually, it seems Haiti picked us!
We have been so blessed and I would like to share a couple things God has done for HH4H the last couple years.
I decided to name this blog “Just in Time” because it never fails, just about the time we are looking at each other saying, “What are we going to do?”, God shows us who is in charge.
When we felt we should begin Helping Hands 4 Haiti, we really didn’t know what to do or even where to start. All we knew is that we were to do something with children in Haiti and at some point work with children who are too old to be in the orphanage but have no idea how to be successful in Haitian society.
We were sitting on the couch one day and decided on Step 1; we needed a name. We threw around several different names and settled on Helping Hands 4 Haiti. This name came from an idea that we didn’t want to go to Haiti and just do “hand-outs” and make the children dependent on us. We want to really help them. You know the saying “Teach a man to fish-”; that kind of thing.
Step 2: Ok now we have a name, we know we want to work with children, now what? We need to be ON-LINE. We need to open an email address and make our own web site. Well the e-mail part was pretty easy, the web site part was a little more difficult than we expected. You know those sites where just a few clicks and you have it; well, we had it all right. It looked more like a primary school project, but we had a web site.
Step 3: The next one took a while. We knew we were going to help somewhere in Haiti but where? We explored several different options with different organizations, but it just never really felt right. We even went to Haiti and stayed at an orphanage needing American directors (thinking this is it), But after a couple days we were miserable!
So before daylight the next morning we hitched a ride with the pastor and started the two-hour trip to PAP. We had no place to stay and no idea what we were going to do. We just knew that in that crazy, busy city, it felt like “HOME”.
We remember a little hotel in Port au Prince in an area called Delmas 33. We call a Haitian friend and asked if he could meet us there to translate and help us get a room, and then realized one of the orphanages we had visited before was within walking distance and went to visit that afternoon. Once we were there we both knew this was it! This is where HH4H was to begin! Voice of the Children Orphanage was desperately in need of help. They had no outside sponsors and were literally eating bread soaked in chicken flavored broth. The director, a widowed pastor’s wife, had been praying for God to send someone. And I think he did….Just in time.
Step 4: Ok now we know what and where, but HOW? We came back to the US so excited; we finally knew what God wanted us to do!!! We hit the ground running (well jogging maybe). We knew the children needed food, and their shelter needed to be repaired from the recent hurricane that took part of the poorly constructed roof off. We had no idea where the money would come from so with prayer, Facebook and friends money was showing up at our house from everywhere.
We were so excited this was really happening! We thought surely $300 or $400 per month would do the trick to feed the kids. NOT! We quickly realized it was going to take a lot more than that for feed 40+ kids every day (food in Haiti can be expensive) and this was just the basics (rice, flower, beans) Not quite the trip to Kroger. LOL
We decided to start a sponsorship program to help pay for food and send the children to school (Haitian School is not free). Fast forward…We now have 15 sponsors who help us with the monthly expenses and still need approximately 25 more. We know it will happen….Just in time.
Step 5: The other thing we felt strongly about was Short Term Mission trips (STM), this is how we ended up in Haiti in the first place. So, the next step was to host a mission trip. In February 2013 we were off to Haiti with 4 others (my parents included) to start a building project at the orphanage.
Once we got settled in at the guest house the first stop was Voice of the Children Orphanage. Early the next morning we were off, we borrowed a generator, ladders, purchased our building supplies and went to work.
We were so blessed with several Haitian men who came to help us. They were so excited to use some of the electric power tools. Some of them had no experience and was just happy helping dig holes and some seemed to know what they were doing. Like our name says we want to “HELP” not “DO”. So there we are all side-by-side building something they could call “Home”.
We finished the first of the building projects early and a little under budget, after purchasing a truck-load of food, we were able to take the small group out sight-seeing. After our week in Haiti we thought our first group was a big success. Now what?
Step 6: We got word that the orphanage needed $1,000 or they would be shut down. They were 6 years behind on their license and IBESR (Haitian social services) said that each child needed their own bed. Some were sleeping 4 to a twin size bed.
Once again we looked at each other and asked where this money was going to come from? And once again our friends and partners came through (just in time).
We were sitting at the doctors’ office one day and received a text message from an old friend. Unknown to each other, this husband and wife were looking at our photos on Facebook at the exact same time! The text from the wife said, “Wow, I can’t help but cry when I look at all these photos, I have to help!! Let me talk to my husband and see what we can do.”
Within minutes we received a text back saying “My husband just called me and is looking at the same pictures. He is usually not very emotional and he can’t contain himself”! He said to her, “We have to help.” Within a few weeks we received a very generous donation to HH4H that allowed us to do more building at the orphanage and enclose a bigger room for the girls and a covered location for the children to eat, do homework and provided protection from the hot sun and heavy rains. Again it was “Just in time”.
Step 7: Back to the web site. It’s terrible!!! We have to do something to make it better so we can get the word out easier! Thanks to a friend’s recommendation we were blessed to have a Christian web design company build our brand new web site at no cost to us.
As of last week we have now been contacted by several people from Oregon to Virginia who found HH4H through an on-line search looking for a mission trip to Haiti. God showing us once again to look a little further than our own backyard.
Step 8: So here we sit, we have been an organization for one year and have seen some amazing things happen. We took four groups to Haiti last year and have several booked already for the summer of 2014. We feed the children and send them to school , have completed three building projects at the orphanage and with the help of more sponsors hope to build toilets and showers this summer as well as continue to improve the existing facility.
So look around, when you have no idea how a thing is going to happen,
when God is in charge it always comes together, “Just in time!”