The Journey Back to Haiti

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.

young boy wearing button up shirt

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.

I asked,

“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 trip 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.

young man standing next to his sponsor

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 trip dates, my work schedule would not coordinate with a Sponsor Trip 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:

two women sitting together
  • Before and after the devastating earthquake
  • Sponsor Trip 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!

8 Comments |Add a comment

  1. citra rose July 10, 2012

    what a wonderful trip u are..!
    i’m very interested in ur was amazing can meet our child..
    i’m the one of child who ever sponsored by compasiion..but until now i never meet my donor.
    i have graduated from compasiion..and now i’m really miss my donor.

    pleasure heard ur story..

  2. George Lammers June 5, 2012

    It was really good to read your post, and I will be watching for your followup post when you return.

    I’ve been on a few “group” tours, and about the same number of “individual” tours. I find that the individual tour is much better for me and also for my child… I get to see the child’s home, sit where they sit, see their church, meet their pastor, walk in their neighborhood… All things that I can’t do on a group tour. And I think that an individual tour is more comfortable for the child… They are on their “home turf”, and I can see how anxious they are to take me around and show me the area. I can also see the letters that they have saved, and we still have been able to do something fun like going to a pool, etc.

    If my experience holds true for you, you’ll be thrilled with the individual tour.

    I have a CDSP child and an LDP student in Haiti, and hope to travel there in the next year or so. It will be great to read your thoughts about the country.

    Blessings to you as you travel.


  3. Jill Foley ~ Compassion Family May 23, 2012

    I love reading your story. I really look forward to hearing about your upcoming trip to meet Enold. I’m sure you mean so much to that family. You are an inspiration to me!

  4. Vicki Small May 22, 2012

    Oh, Julie, I’m so happy for you! I know you will have a wonderful trip and that Josue and Enold’s family will be overjoyed to meet the sponsor who has been with their family for so long! When will you be going?

  5. Nancy May 22, 2012

    Wow, Julie! We visited La Gonave on our trip to Haiti and heard a nurse who was a formerly sponsored child speak while on that island. I wonder if she was from this hospital. I would like to go back to Haiti one of these days. Have fun going across the ocean to the island!! I think we are friends on OurCompassion-keep us posted!

    1. Juli Jarvis May 22, 2012

      Yes, I will definitely follow-up on this post. I’m sure it was the same hospital; there’s only the one on La Gonave. I’m looking forward to meeting some of these nurses! I have heard about the boat trip across — it will be an experience!

  6. Chrissy Davis May 22, 2012

    I KNEW you looked familiar!! I worked a Compassion table with you for the 2 Friends concert at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. It’s so cool to read this from someone I’ve actually met before!

    1. Juli Jarvis May 22, 2012

      Oh, that’s awesome. Yes — I remember! Thanks for speaking up!

Add a Comment

Read the ground rules for comments.