This is for the people who have heard that we are planning to move to Haiti in the future, but don’t know the details, thereby drawing such reactions ranging from “Ummm Haiti…umm ok” to “That’s great to hear…good LUCK” to “What are you CRAZY!!!” So, I hope the 5 W’s and the H (who, what, why, when, where, and how) bring some clarification.
WHO: Cody and Maria Whittaker and their 2 daughters (Isabela 4 yrs old and Susana 2 yrs old), 1 son (Ervin 16 yrs old)…and our chocolate lab Casey (picture not available at the time)
WHAT: Moving to Haiti as missionaries under a missions board (yet to be determined). We will be ministering to the orphans and poor children. We have connected with a Haitian Pastor and his wife who have planted churches in Haiti as well as built schools, a large missions house, and recently an orphanage. We want to be working with the orphaned children (there are currently 10 children…and the orphanage is full) There are still several hundred orphans in this tiny village, therefore one part of our vision is to build a larger orphanage and oversee the daily operations. Another part of our work will be providing education to the children through working with the school there that was started the same time that the church was planted. Most of the people in Haiti are uneducated, which leaves them very little hope for the future. We want to help change that. We also plan on hosting several missions teams throughout the year so that people can come and help serve and grow this ministry. There is probably much more that God will reveal to us as we get settled in there.
WHY: Because God has always given me and my wife a love and desire to help orphaned children…that’s probably why most of my career has been in social services working with troubled youth, including those in the foster care system. And because God has given us no greater desire than to serve the orphaned children in this country…and we believe that this is His will for our lives, as we have prayed through this thoroughly. In God’s sovereignty, He connected us with this pastor and wife who started this ministry. We originally went down there the first time because we were planning on starting up an orphan care ministry (sending supplies, raising support, leading annual mission teams) with the churches that we are working with in Delaware. But after going down there a few times, our desire just became greater and greater to actually move there and serve with this ministry. And Lord willing, in the future, we will do just that.
WHEN: We are not sure. We are just trusting that the Lord shows us when it is time. It could be 9 months from now or it could be years. Only the Lord knows.
WHERE: The orphanage, school, church, and mission house is located in Camp Coq, which is in a little mountain village in the north part of the country. The village is very primitive (no electricity, no running water). There is a lot of poverty. We will be living at the mission house that is right next to the orphanage and the church. Camp Coq is a very pretty mountainous region. The people there have been so kind and friendly towards us. We have felt very welcome. We already know some locals there, and they will help us get adjusted. We will also be working with the Pastor of the church who we have become friends with.
HOW: We have to raise our own financial support. We will apply with a missions agency that serves as a 501c3 non-profit organization for friends, family, and churches to give to us through, so that the giving is tax deductible. Once we raise the support needed that will enable us to move there and draw a monthly salary that will meet our families needs and the needs of the ministry, then we will move to Haiti. First, we are planning on moving back to Asheville, NC where we used to live and where our “home” church is. The cost of living is very cheap there, and therefore we will be able to pay off some of our debt and get ourselves ready. I will hopefully get a job again working with at-risk kids and families. There, we will also be able to reconnect with our church who we love so much. A woman just recently contacted the church and told the missions coordinator that she would like to offer a home to a missionary who might be between assignments and is in need of a very cheap place to stay. That took place only 1 week before I contacted the same missions coordinator and asked her if she knew of any person that would be willing to rent us a place for cheap! Therefore we will be staying there. God is good!!
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