I mentioned a few days ago that we are planning on moving to Haiti in the future to work with orphaned children…now I will give the details and how this all came about.
The History of the Call
It all started way back when I was a baby…just kidding…we don’t have to go that far back. Seriously, ever since I became a Christian at age 19, God has always given me a heart for the poor and the broken, and particularly towards the black people. I don’t know why a call to the poor and broken…perhaps I have always been able to relate more to these people…not so much due to being poor on the outside, but rather feeling poor and broken on the inside and knowing that it was only through the redeeming love of God that He rescued me from a life of inner poverty and despair…I don’t know if that makes sense, but its true. I know how broken, poor, and wretched I am without Jesus in my life, therefore I connect with the poor. Now, why do I have a specific heart for the black people…I don’t know…but I do
Whenever my wife and I would look through missions magazines and see pictures of this white American family in the middle of a group of black Africans in the jungle, something would resonate within me and I would say, “That’s us. I can see us doing that.” And so I have always had a desire and interest in foreign missions. And I have always had a particular interest and desire to work with orphans. I was just looking through an old journal of mine a few months ago and was reading an entry that I wrote over 10 years ago where I mention to God that I have a desire to work with orphans. Then, a week ago, after forgetting things written from such long ago, I found myself reading a journal entry that I wrote about 5 years ago where I mentioned the same desire to minister God’s love to the orphans. That’s probably why God led me for so many years into the field of social services where I worked with troubled youth and families, including children that were in the foster care system (the American type of orphanage) Even now, as I am a missionary with the North American Missions Board, much of what God has called me to do involves ministering to the poor and broken in the inner city, particularly children and youth. Many of these kids might be considered to be “orphaned by the living”.
Since I have always had a desire to work with orphaned children, and within the last year or so God has birthed a tremendous desire to work with orphaned children, we began to sense that God was calling us to start an orphan care ministry…a ministry that would help collect supplies and resources for orphaned children. A ministry that would be based here in Delaware and would involve collecting supplies from different churches, sending them to the orphanage, and possibly leading missions trips once a year. We had been planning a vacation to Puerto Rico so that my wife could see her family (that is where she is from) and I would get to see where she grew up. In the course of planning, we felt that we wanted to make this more of a ministry trip rather than laying around on white sandy beaches everyday. So, we made some contacts with different orphanages and made plans to visit them while we were there. We had also started trying to make some contacts in the Dominican Republic…we had no thought of Haiti whatsoever…I knew nothing about Haiti. Well, Puerto Rico was great, but we did not sense the Lord leading us to pursue ministry there…same with Dominican Republic…it just didn’t seem to materialize into anything. I shared this desire to start an orphan care ministry with my Director of Mission, but nothing seemed to open up at the time. Then, a few months later, my Director of Mission came to me and said that he was speaking with a Haitian Pastor in Delaware who has started an orphanage in Haiti a few years ago in addition to planting several churches. My Director told him of my desire to start an orphan care ministry and then put me in touch with this pastor. After my wife and I met with him, we felt like God was opening up a door for us. The Delaware Baptist Association (where I serve as a missionary) sent me to Haiti for 4 days so that I could visit the orphanage and talk to the leaders and determine if this was a ministry that God was leading us to partner with. My wife also came with me and we were both excited to see what God was going to do. During our time in Haiti, we really fell in love with the people and the village in Camp Coq and believed that God was definitely calling us to partner with this …but I had no thought of moving there! I was just thinking that we would start a ministry in Delaware that would support this orphanage. It wasn’t until my second trip down there (which was not even planned, but came about because I felt compelled by God to go back immediately after our 1st trip since the people were just devastated by a few major hurricanes) in which I felt that God was calling us to a lot more than just starting an orphan care ministry in the states. After spending an extended amount of time with the orphaned kids and other kids in the village, I just really got the sense that the Lord was showing me that He was calling us there permanently. Upon returning, I shared this with my wife and was curious to see how she would react. (She was not with me on the 2nd trip) When I asked her, she told me that she felt like God was showing her the same thing on our first trip down there. And so, we began to seek the Lord in constant prayer and ask Him to show us if this was, indeed, His will. And the more we prayed, the more we became certain that God was calling us.
We first shared this call with our sending church in Asheville, NC, Biltmore Baptist Church. They are very supportive of us and have been such a tremendous blessing to us since the first day we walked into that church. They are working with us and helping us work out some of the details. This has given us all the more confidence that we are moving according to the lord’s will. We were also told by the Haitian Pastor that has started this orphanage and has also built a large mission house, that we would be able to live at the mission house as long as we need to. Therefore, we will not have to worry about finding a place to live in Haiti. Again, this just seemed a confirmation from the Lord. Then, we decided that the best way for us to get ourselves ready for this move would be to leave Delaware and move back down to NC where the cost of living is so much cheaper. Then, we were told by one of the missions leader in the church that a woman has offered to rent us her home for a very low cost. We were so excited to see God providing already. We will move to this home in Asheville, NC and we will begin to try and raise financial support once we get approved by an international missions board, and hope that we can be on the field in Haiti soon, but only God knows exactly when that will be. We are so excited to see how the Lord is leading us. This is a HUGE step of faith that we are taking…but we both have never felt more certain as to where God is leading us. The thought of raising my 2 little girls on the mission field is just so awesome. Even though we will be living in a primitive area where there is no electricity and no running water, we are just so thrilled to be part of God’s plan to bring His love and truth to the orphaned and poor of Haiti. Our plan is to help build a bigger orphanage since the current one only holds 10 children. We also want to be able to help educate the orphans and children in the community. And we plan on hosting mission teams throughout the year to help bring supplies and resources to the ministry there…so…if you’re interested in taking a missions trip there…please let us know. Wow…serving the Lord is just such an adventure…