Forty-year-old Jesula was a homeless woman who slept each night at a church in Delmas, Haiti. She became pregnant by a man who abandoned her before her son’s birth, and she could not even afford to visit a doctor because she had no money.
Jesula felt desperate about her situation, but she could not find a way out. During the day, she wandered the streets of Delmas or visited old friends in the hope of getting something to eat. Usually she was disappointed in her search. In the evenings, she would head for the New Jerusalem Church where she slept using a pew as a bed and rags for blankets.
Having no one to turn to, Jesula grew more concerned for herself and her soon-to-be-born child. In her situation of hardship, she felt she was going to lose her mind.
While staying at New Jerusalem Church one night, Jesula heard about the Child Survival Program.
Some mothers came to the church to pray that night, and they began sharing powerful testimonies about the program and how it was helpful beyond their expectations.
The next morning, Jesula rushed to the Child Survival Program office. She was now in her seventh month of pregnancy.
Jusula’s story of struggle captured the staff members’ attention. Within a few days she was registered into the program, because the staff believed it was the only way to save her and the baby.
Jesula was not a Christian yet, but she was convinced that God heard her cry and in His grace, He made a way for her. Jesula felt she was at the beginning of a wonderful journey.
“I wanted a father that would care for me and for the baby in my womb. The Child Survival Program staff has played such a role perfectly.”
The Survival Program staff found a place to shelter Jesula. She received home visits and regular medical checkups. She also had the privilege of visiting a doctor on a regular basis prior to childbirth. Thanks to this assistance, Jesula had a successful childbirth.
Through the Child Survival Program, Jesula learned how to read and write. She attends a cooking class and hopes to use this skill in the future to earn money.
Jesula feels that her mind and spirit are uplifted through the Bible stories she learns, as well as the songs they sing during meetings with the mothers, learning about good manners and other cultural and social activities the program holds every year both for the children and their caregivers.
Through the teachings of the Bible, Jesula accepted Jesus in her life as her personal Savior and commits herself to attending church services and living a Christ-like life. She realizes that the Child Survival Program gave her the most precious treasure in life, eternal security and happiness in Jesus Christ.
A few months after his birth, Jesula’s son Slenth suffered from malnutrition. Again to Jesula’s astonishment, she was asked to bring him every morning to the Child Survival Program center for appropriate nutrition. Jesula also received dry food to take home, including rice, oil, milk, spaghetti and sugar.
Slenth is now two years old and is in good health. Jesula hopes to be able to send him to school next year.
“Really, I don’t know what I would do without the assistance of such a program. My life would have been a mess and my child being sick would not have made it.”
Today, Child Survival Program coordinator Elsie feels satisfied about the physical progress that Slenth has made. Elsie also is impressed by Jesula’s discipline and brilliant mind to learn new skills that help her to be a very good mother for her child. Elsie shares,
“Like Jesula and Slenth’s story, there are many other uplifting testimonies of mothers out there about the survival of their children through the Child Survival Program, and I think this is what gives a real sense of purpose to the work we are doing and also encourages us to keep going.”
After the January 2010 earthquake, Jesula had to go back to sleep at the church, because the home she lived in was severely damaged.
Since she was in the program, she received a wood frame, corrugated iron sheets and nails to build a temporary shelter where she now lives with her child.
Jesula gives high priority to activities with the Child Survival Program.
She tells everyone that through the program she receives all she needs for her child despite the absence of his father.
A Child Survival Program staff member says of Jesula:
“If there is one mother you can expect to see in the Child Survival Program meetings, it is Jesula.
She attends every activity, even the class we have for the little children. She loves to draw with her son when he needs help.”
Jesula believes the Child Survival Program is making a difference in this big neighborhood of about 10,000 inhabitants, where children are mostly vulnerable to diseases like diarrhea, fever and malnutrition and where mothers lack education of all kinds.
“I will never have enough words to express my gratitude to the church here, the Child Survival Program staff and the donor of the program. I consider myself a rags-to-riches lady just because of their love put in action. God has used the Child Survival Program to save my child and my life and to give us hope for the future.”
Ever since the Child Survival Program arrived in the area, there have not been any death reports of young children because mothers receive a solid education and know how to raise their children.
Many mothers now testify to the benefits of the Child Survival Program in their lives, the lives of their children, and their families. With the new skills they have acquired, they exert a positive influence on other mothers in the area who cannot be part of the Child Survival Program.