Cody and Maria Whittaker, along with their daughter, Isabela (age 6) are missionaries to Haiti serving under Global Outreach International. They have been serving in Haiti since October of 2009. They serve in the south in the small coastal town of Jacmel.
Cody hails from the northeastern parts of the United States in the great state of Connecticut. He grew up playing hockey, tennis, and many other sports. He loves the outdoors. One of his greatest passions is fly fishing. While pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in education at Southern Connecticut State University, his life was radically changed after being introduced to Jesus at age 19. As he surrendered his heart and life to the Lordship of Jesus, he knew that meant surrendering his career goals as well, as he just knew from the very beginning that the Lord was calling Him into full-time ministry. Upon graduating from college, he served as a Pastoral Assistant at his local church for a few years. Following that, he began a long career in social services working with at-risk youth and families. He always had a heart to see the poor and broken redeemed by the love and truth of Jesus Christ.
Maria was born and raised in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Her youthful days consisted of climbing on the rocks at the beach and wearing sun dresses and flip flops year round. She moved to the United States when she finished high school. She received her Associate’s Degree at Bauder College in Fort Lauderdale. After years of living life in the fast lane, Maria had an encounter with Jesus that left her broken and undone. Upon surrendering to His Lordship, Maria’s life radically changed. Soon after, she was offered a full-time position in the IT department of her local church, Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale. Working for the church also gave her great opportunities to minister in the area of women’s discipleship and other evangelism and outreach ministries. However, after a year of working for the church, Maria sensed that the Lord was calling her to leave everything and move up north to the great state of Connecticut, though she did not have any family or connections up there.
It was in Cody’s church where he and Maria first met. Through their mutual passion for evangelism and outreach, their friendship developed. The more they ministered together, the more they fell in love with each other’s heart for the Lord. And soon enough, the Lord lifted the blinders from their eyes as they finally realized that they were in love. They were married on September 7th, 2002. Since they got married, they have both been involved in serving the Lord in many different capacities. It was in May of 2006 that they entered into full time ministry.
It was while serving as missionaries in Delaware with the North American Mission Board that Cody and Maria both sensed a call to Haiti to live among the people and minister the love of Jesus to the orphans and the poor. They were commissioned by their local church, Biltmore Baptist Church in Asheville, NC and they were appointed by a non-denominational mission board, Global Outreach International, in the Summer of 2008. They moved to Haiti in October of that same year.
Since then, Cody and Maria’s life has been upended in more than one way. Their family lived through the 7.0 earthquake that rocked the entire country. Their home was spared, though many homes around them completely collapsed. They spent the ensuing weeks and months helping the Haitian people in their community by providing food, shelter, and most importantly sharing the love of Jesus with so many that felt completely hopeless. A few months later, their personal lives were rocked as they learned that their 4 year old daughter, Susana, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer called neuroblastoma. They returned to the states during treatment. During that time, Cody was going back and forth to Haiti often in order to continue the ministry that God had called them to.
After a long and difficult 10 month battle through the world of children’s cancer , the Lord Jesus called Susana to her heavenly home with Him. Though the family is grieving the loss of their daughter, they also recognize that they too have their race of faith to continue. They moved back to Haiti as a family in May of 2011 and continue the work that God has called them to in order to make His glory known. They are expecting a little boy on August 26th.