It is with a glad heart that I share that my family has an amazing opportunity to participate in a mission trip to help make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.
Last year a couple great friends from The Great Banquet went to an orphanage in Haiti that has approximately 50 children of various ages living in it. These children were orphaned after the 2010 earthquake, their parents were killed in the devastation, others have been abandoned by family due to the extreme poverty experienced in Haiti, and many have for other hardships ended up at Une Famille Orphanage. My heart can not understand or be at peace with the thought of that many children living and going to bed at night without the love of parents, benefit of family, or structure of a home.
2014 surprised me with unexpected feelings of downheartedness. Usually so optimistic, I couldn't think of ONE New Year's resolution that mattered to me or that I could believe in or be inspired about. I began searching my soul and during a one-day silent retreat was asked to write down a Spiritual Plan. My Spiritual Plan was two full pages long but in the sideline margins I scribbled "visit orphanage in Haiti?". I did not make it part of my plan, I just added this idea without truly entertaining the thought with any real conviction or hope. My girlfriends' testimonies and stories of the children inspired and haunted me, but I wasn't sure it was what I was suppose to do. Ironically, the very next day I received a message from my daughter asking about the orphanage that my girlfriends had been to the previous year because she was feeling called to go to it! I took this as (possibly) a pretty big sign.
What was going through my mind is "how can I make a difference for anyone? I am not rich or wealthy, I do not have resources, I don't even have any special talents or skills. How can I really help? What can I really do or provide?" But then just as quickly and very quietly I heard another voice that said "Sometimes all someone needs is someone who is willing and someone cares." -(As many of you know, I work as a teacher assistant in a preschool with 3, 4, and 5 year olds. One of the things I've learned working with at-risk children and special needs children is that sometimes all a little one needs is the gentleness, kindness, affection, and attention of another human being in whatever capacity it is provided. I've experienced how healing and fulfilling it can be to work with children.) With this experience in mind, I knew then that I may not be rich, but I am blessed with two arms and two legs to carry, hug, cradle, or cuddle a child who doesn't have the benefit of a mother or father, who might otherwise go to bed that day without somebody's full attention or care. I told myself, or that quiet voice told me, that I have "me" and two hands to clean, feed, or care for a child, and the heart and willingness to do whatever is required of me during my time there. My girlfriends' stories of these little ones waiting at the Une Famille orphanage gate with anticipation of missionaries arriving for a week and literally running towards them at their approach with open arms tugs at my heart. With that many children at the orphanage, and so few adults to care for them, besides their every day basic needs these children crave relationship, attention, and affection. It surprised me and makes my heart full to discover that BOTH my children have expressed the same desires to "Go!" and are of the same heart, spirit, and mind to take on this work with me.
My daughter, Kassandra, is 20 years old and interested in social work and making a difference for others. She is currently taking online courses at the local junior college. She will be doing her own fundraising. My son, Alexander, is 11 years old and in sixth grade. He has the biggest heart and loves children. Our largest obstacle and the final (big) sign will be if we can raise the funds for all three of us to go together this April 2014.
Did you know that according to the National Geographic, Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas due to decades of violence and instability. Jean Blashfield in "Haiti: Enchantment of the World" (2008) claimed that more than 10% of Haitian children die before age five. This number has increased since 2008 and since the earthquake that devastated the nation in 2010.
Haiti at a glance:
*Population: 9 million. Half of these are under the age of 18.
*1 in 5 children is an orphan.
*50% of children born will die before the age of 5....(information taken from 1013 Mission website)
*80% of the country lives in abject poverty"“ on less than $2 per day.
Un Famille Orphanage is in Port Au Prince near the town of Croix De Bouquets. The children that live in the orphanage of 1013 Missions are all-ages from newborn to preteen. Please help us make a difference this April 3-8th! Your generous donations will be used to care and feed several children and will greatly help with the Trip Cost of $1,550 per person (which includes airfare, accommodations, meals, transportation within Haiti, and translators).
Your donations are tax deductible when you make an offline donation of any amount and write your check to Community Christian Church- or for a small fee you can simply make a donation here through this website.
Thank you and God bless!
2234 Reflections Drive
Aurora, IL 60502
- Stacy Bella
- Deb Krueger
- Jane Gilkes
- Adriana Naranjo
- Desiree Peerman
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