Written by a OneVision Haiti Sponsor – Ashley Z.
From the day we first talked about Haiti’s earthquake in school 5 years ago, I have felt a longing to visit and help this country. This past June, I finally had the opportunity to go! It was my first time on a plane, first time out of the country, first time seeing the ocean, and the first time I was finally given the opportunity to go and to fulfill one of my dreams.
In Haiti, we were going to visit and get to know the kids at the OneVision Haiti Orphanage. As the plane took off, the excitement was overwhelming! But little did I know that the next time I touched down on American soil, I would be a different person. As the plane landed in Haiti and we walked out of the airport, I was shocked. I knew that things would be different, but nothing can prepare you for your first time being in a third world country. Driving down the streets of Port-au-Prince was shocking. The were people everywhere. There were police with gigantic rifles, children wandering about, and men and women selling goods on the streets. There were also run down huts and insane amount of traffic. We were definitely not in Sioux Center, Iowa anymore.
Before we went to our hotel, we decided to go surprise the kids at the orphanage. As we worked our way up a very narrow and treacherous road in a big bus (there were a couple close calls), our group’s excitement was through the roof! When we finally made it to the orphanage and pulled into the compound, the kids started running out to greet us. From the first second I saw them, they had my heart. Without even meeting them, I was completely in love with these beautiful children. As we quickly scrambled out of the bus, the kids attacked us with hugs and laughter. In the midst of the flurry of excitement, a precious little 8 year old girl named Srilanka grabbed my hand. As we looked into each others eyes, I knew she was special. I knew that this girl would mean the world to me. A few minutes later, she introduced me to a sweet 3 year old boy named Nelson. Though he didn’t smile that first day, I looked in his eyes and knew immediately that he too would mean the world to me! I can’t explain it; I just knew.
The days that followed were filled with getting to know the kids. Each moment I spent with the kids, I grew to love them more and more. My little Nelson was cracking smiles all the time and has the cutest little giggle. One thing I was worried about going into this was the language barrier. They know a little English but not much, and I didn’t know Creole. However, this is one of the many ways God provided. The language wasn’t a barrier. After the first day, I forgot we couldn’t speak each others languages. I was able to develop relationships with these kids by simply hanging out with them and loving on them.
During evening devotion times at the hotel, our group had some great conversations. We often talked about issues we were wrestling with. Over the course of the week, I wrestled with not knowing where to start. I am a fixer, and I saw so many things and so many people that needed help. I became overwhelmed and asked God to help me know where to start. On one of our last days there, God gave me His answer. As the kids ran up to the bus, I heard God say, “Right here”. He was talking about the kids; they are where I needed to start…where we all need to start.
Kids are the future, and kids in orphanages are the ones we can reach. They are the ones we can equip with tools to make a better life for themselves. We can show them God’s goodness and show them how much He loves them. We can do this so that hopefully one day, they can go out in Haiti and use the tools we have given them to make their country a better place for themselves and their families.
If you want to be involved in equipping these kids, sponsoring them is a great way to do it. Sponsoring a child and loving on them is showing the child that someone out there believes in them. Someone out there thinks that they worth something. Someone out there wants to help them know that they are loved.
Mother Teresa once said, “I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that he will guide me to do whatever I’m supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I’m praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.”
Haiti changed the way I pray. Instead of asking God to do things in the world, I now ask him to show me how he wants me to change that issue. Instead of sitting back and waiting for God to do the work, we need to step up and do what God has called us to do. I don’t know what God has planned for me and Haiti in the future, but I pray that I am willing and ready to do what ever that is. God has lit a fire of passion in my soul for Haiti. I love that country and its beautiful people. I have grown to love those kiddos as my family, and they have forever changed me. I cannot wait until the day I get to see those precious kids’ faces again.
“It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. This is the dream, and it is possible.” – Katie Davis
Interested in sponsoring a child? Visit http://www.katelynsfund.org/orphanage-sponsorship, read about the program, rooted in the desire to love these kids well, and consider investing in the life of one of these.