My wife and I recently spent a week in Haiti with Reverend John Early, the founder of Heather's Home Orphanage, running rice to other children's homes in the area and loving on the kids at HH. It was an amazing week. Just to see what God's doing there through Pastor and Madame Pastor Eugloge (the native houseparents) was worth the trip. It's technically an orphanage- but resembles a big, happy, organic, Christ-centered family. . . I can't wait to go back! Here's the photojournal from our trip via YouTube:
One of the many highlights of the week was being there to welcome Geudit and Woodly into the family. Tragically, their mother died in the earthquake when the building she worked in downtown collapsed. Her husband was on his own with 12 children to care for and no job- desperate for help. With a friend of his providing directions we drove through a maze of tent cities and destruction to the sagging house he was still living in.
The man urged us to take his four youngest, but two were all we could manage with current resources. Woodly (3 1/2) and Geudit (2 1/2) were both weak, the boy severely bloated from either contaminated water or some other sort of malnutrition. Having the privilege to pick up little Geudit and carry her over to Madame Eugloge, waiting in the rented SUV that would carry those children to a brand new life was definitely one of the top 10 moments in my life so far.
When we arrived back at the orphanage the power had gone out, but the the children were on the front porch singing in the dark as we got out of the car with their new brother and sister. Guilene (the oldest girl) instantly adopted Geudit. All of the boys gathered around Woodly and showed him the shared stash of toys that he was now free to play with. I couldn't help but marvel at the love those kids exhibited in their new siblings' warm welcome.
For the next two days Geudit and Woodly played a little, and ate and slept a lot. Woodly's bloated belly was almost back to kid-size by the time we left, and both kids had bright smiles on their faces.
If you'd like to learn more about Heather's Home, please check out the latest on the Facebook page here. There's also a website at http://www.heathers-home.org/ with a photo gallery to introduce you to the kids and a Paypal link for donations. When it comes to the latest news, the website is in serious need of an update, though, so I'd recommend going to the Facebook page for the latest information.
The building that houses the orphanage is currently a rented half of a duplex. In Haiti, rent for the entire year is paid up front- for HH, it's due January 10th and runs between 4 and 5 thousand dollars. That's a looming financial hurdle considering the fact that everything that's been coming in is sucked up quickly by the cost of rice, beans, toothpaste, doctor bills, and school tuition for 12 kids.
Rev. Early isn't good at asking for money. He has 4 kids of his own, and a small construction business that felt the pangs of the recession just like the rest of us here in the states. With so many other philanthropic entities clamoring for spare change, the thought of actively scrapping for alms amongst the big dogs with their TV commercials and nationwide mailing lists is daunting. He doesn't want anyone at our church to feel obligated to give just because they see this orphanage as his pet project, either.
I'm not any better than Rev. Early is at asking for money, and I'm not going to attempt it here. God gets the glory for faithfully meeting the needs at Heather's Home and I know that He will continue to faithfully provide. That said, having been there and witnessed a seed planted that will raise up educated and spiritually equipped children who have the potential to make a lasting difference and change their own nation for the better, I'm personally going to be giving more, going more, and encouraging others to do the same.
If God so chooses to use my feeble whisper of a post pitched into the hurricane of the internet to touch the hearts of others who are interested in going and doing; sending and giving; or both, then Amen!