Life sometimes has a way of taking us back to the beginning, back to our roots, to the very thing that motivated us in the first place. I’m going back to Haiti.
That is where my Compassion journey began.
In 1988, I had been praying about helping a child in need, but I didn’t know which organization I could trust.
I prayed about it for months, not wanting to make the decision lightly.
Then God answered.
I went to lunch with a missionary doctor who was home from Haiti on furlough. She was telling me about a recent hurricane that had devastated Haiti.
“What happens to those people? How do they live? What do they eat and where do they sleep?”
Her answer was unforgettable:
“Well, of course the children of Compassion didn’t miss a single meal.”
I asked if this was the child development organization I had heard about. She said it was, and proceeded to tell me that Compassion was a good ministry, based on integrity and very effective. Then she added one more statement:
“Nearly all of the nurses in my hospital are formerly sponsored kids.”
Well, that sealed it for me. I knew God was giving the answer to my prayer, and that this was an organization I could trust. I called and asked for a child from Haiti, on the island of La Gonave where Dr. Marilyn’s hospital was.
They partnered me with the most adorable little boy, Josue, and I sponsored him for 14 years until he graduated from the Child Sponsorship Program.
His letters meant everything to me; one even came on a day when I was in despair, asking God to show Himself to me in some special way. Josue’s letter arrived in my mailbox that day and he had written,
“I keep your photo on my bed so I can remember to pray for you every day. I love you.”
Josue and I developed a close relationship through the years. We were finally able to meet each other when I joined a Compassion Advocate/Sponsor tour to Haiti. Though I was initially afraid to go, it became one of the most memorable and touching experiences of my life.
We fell into each other’s arms easily, and had much to talk about face to face.
When I returned home and learned that Josue would graduate from sponsorship soon, I asked if he had a younger brother I could sponsor. The answer was yes, and in 2002 I started sponsoring Enold, Josue’s little brother – and I’ve had the privilege of sponsoring Enold for 10 years.
Now it’s time to go meet him!
Though I’ve considered different Compassion tour dates, my work schedule would not coordinate with a Sponsor Tour this spring.
I spoke with Dr. Marilyn to see if she would be going back to Haiti (she’s retired). She told me she was not going this year, but that her church was sending a medical team.
And guess what?
They’re going to a village that is only 20 miles from Josue and Enold’s village. I knew this was the answer. I have joined the church mission team, and have even bought some scrubs! We will be leaving the end of May.
As arranged by Compassion’s individual visits team, a representative will meet me at the hospital on a designated day and take me to the village where “my boys” live. I can hardly wait.
Meanwhile, Dr. Marilyn was in town and we met for lunch to discuss my upcoming trip. As we talked, I couldn’t help but wonder about the differences and contrasts between my first trip and my upcoming one:
- Before and after the devastating earthquake
- Sponsor Tour versus an individual visit
- Meeting Josue in person and now his brother, Enold
- Being a new Advocate versus being a seasoned Advocate
- Differences between Haiti’s mainland and the island of La Gonave
- Meeting one child versus getting to meet a family
- Fears of travel to a developing country versus being an experienced traveler
Needless to say, I am very excited to go on this journey! I have a feeling it will be very different from what I expect. It will be exciting to see what God has in store and how this trip compares to the previous one. I will keep you posted!