This is my story about the country and children of Haiti and how they have turned my life completely around.
I have been part of 20+ mission teams over the past 10 years in Haiti. Although there is great poverty and oppression in the lives of most Haitians, they have a great love and joy in their hearts. I have witnessed their passionate love for the Lord and they truly seek his face. Most Haitians have very few material things, but are extremely grateful for the things the Lord has given them.
Some of the hard realities about Haiti that also impact my story are:
Haiti is home to 10.32 million people. In comparison, the country of Haiti is equal in size to the state of Massachusetts with a population of 3.579 million
67% of the Haitian population goes without food some days
The average per capita income in Haiti is $480 a year, compared to $33,550 in the United States
A typical worker in Haiti makes only $2.75 a day. Because jobs are so scarce (approximately 70% do not have regular jobs), those who do have jobs are afraid to speak out against unfair labor practices which makes significant change very difficult.
A tremendous need has been identified by many prominent American Christian leaders who have lived and ministered in the country for many, many years. This need is helping older kids transition out of orphanages back into their culture and to the place in life that God has called them to serve. Because their background includes great tragedy and oppression coupled by the lack of resources and support, most of them start school years behind schedule. As a result, at the age of 18 they have not completed the education necessary to seek truly meaningful employment.
Although at first I didn’t totally understand or believe it, God started calling me to live in Haiti full time over five years ago. I was quite content, and happy, with my life in Colorado. I had a good job, and I enjoyed travel back and forth to Haiti in ministry to the orphaned. I questioned him and tried to resist but he has been undeniably clear and persistent in what he is asking me to do. He has slowly opened the doors and allowed me to see his true vision for my life in Haiti, weaving together my professional background and my love for orphaned children. God has led me to develop a model to facilitate transition of these young people into their society, establishing resources and interventions such as internships, on the job training etc.
In response to the call of God upon my life I have said YES! to my calling. I resigned from my position at the VA Medical Center in Denver, Colorado and almost 15 years in the government to move to Haiti full time on Oct 20, 2015.