His Heart for Haiti

Giving Hope Through Child Sponsorship


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We Meet Our Own Sponsored Child!

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 Meeting Mantha for the first time was the highlight of trip!

We found our sponsored child up in the mountains! We traveled a long way up treacherous, rocky, bumpy roads to get to her school, Boucan Moran. Even though the journey was dangerous it was breathtaking. We wanted to explore further from what we could see from the truck. It was like going back to Bible times in this remote and primitive land. It was a beautiful land where these Haitians lived and somewhere in these mountains our sponsored child lived. All we remember of her was an older picture that we had when she was about 10 years old. Now she was about high school age. Will we recognize her? Will she know who we are if we mention our names? Will she even like us? Lots of questions entered our mind, but we were excited to finally meet her face to face!

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The girls were waiting for school to start. The younger classes used the rooms in the morning.

We pulled up the steep hill into a school where a group of girls were sitting under a tree. Could one of those girls be Mantha? As I looked, two of them sort of looked like the picture. But Mike said he knew which one was her. He jumped out of the car and approached her. He said her name, “Mantha.” She responded back, “Wi” (yes). Mike mentioned the word “sponsor” and our daughter’s name, “Trinity”, and showed her a picture of our family. She got it right away! (And they knew we were coming.) I came behind him to meet her. She was so happy to meet us! It was an exciting time. She was a beautiful girl and had changed from that little girl to a young lady of 17. We gave her a bag of goodies. Extra gifts are like love gifts to them that go a long way. She looked inside and she seemed to like what she saw. She said, “thank you” in English. Thankfully we had a translator so we could communicate with her. She said her mother was still very sick and she lived with her grandma, just like she had written in her letters.

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Rocket balloons are a hit at any age!

Since we couldn’t speak the language with these group of young people we decided to pull out some fun with rocket balloons. Mantha wasn’t sure of this balloon thing until the rest of the group got more excited about them. A dozen kids lined up with their balloons, including Mantha, and let them go at the same time. What a sight of color and sound! It was a hit! Mantha was so excited about the whole thing that she came over and gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you so much” in English. She was pleased! Later, she put her hand around my waist (and I put mine around hers) and she took me to see her classroom. All the kids were already waiting for the class to begin. She sat down with her peers and there was a sea of faces looking at me. I smiled and pulled out of my bag a cartoon gospel tract for each one, and then quietly left while they were reading them.

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Two fish and a white yam were offered to each of us, and then finished off by the girls!

The directors of this school made us a meal from what little they had. It was very humbling considering that they might not have much to eat themselves. The meal consisted of 2 grilled fish with the heads and tails still on in a red spicy sauce, a large white yam, fresh avocado, and delicious fruit juice. The juice was the best part! We tried to eat the fish but couldn’t get used to all the many tiny bones. At home we had been reminded to leave some of what we were offered for the Haitians to finish, and this was the perfect opportunity! Little did I know what would happen next. Into the room walks our sponsored child with her two friends and it was suggested that I offer the rest of my plate to her. I was a little nervous about that. I went up to her and offered it to her. She willingly took it. Mike and Tim Butikofer then offered their plates to her two friends. Those girls all sat down to eat and were so thankful for our leftovers! I served them all fruit drinks while they were eating. They cleaned everything off of those plates! It was very humbling.

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In front of Mantha’s school at Boucan Moran

The last memory I have of this sweet young girl was when she took my hand and we walked together to the car. She showed so much love in our short time together. It was hard to believe this was happening. It was like a rare dream to meet our sponsored child way up in the mountains of Haiti! What a God we serve, who brought us together that day! I tried to tell her that I loved her in Creole. I gave her one more hug before I hopped in the car. Mantha said, “I would like to live with her forever, she is so nice!” I was stunned. The last words I said to her, “I would take you as my own.” It was a very touching moment.

The kids watched us as we drove away, and I threw bouncing balls out the window. It was an awesome sight to see these boys chasing down these balls with excitement. It was a great experience that we will never forget – the day we met our sponsored child! We didn’t realize enough, until that day, the HUGE impact that a sponsor has in a child’s life (and her family and her school). What a difference we can make! It was so easy to write a check every month and forget it actually would reach someone with a real need who was so appreciative! As we finally met our own sponsored child and many faces of other sponsored children, you realize that each one is valuable, uniquely special in God’s eyes, fearfully and wonderfully made by Him.

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Here’s the Situation

ImageWhat did you eat today? What are the chances it was a mud cookie?

Not all, but many Haitian children only get one meal a day...before they go to bed. Why? Haitian parents don’t want to send their children to bed hungry any more than we do. Imagine walking long distances to school (3–5 miles, sometimes 10), sitting through a day of classes in the heat, and then walking back home again in time to help with chores like carrying water or gathering firewood…all without eating!

Many Haitian children will eat mud cookies or are given salt water to drink so it increases their thirst, and by drinking more they will feel “full.”

Local pastors (usually the directors) of the schools where we have sponsored children are asking us to start food programs. World Relief currently has four food programs in operation in Haiti and we hope to assist with the planning and implementation of many others. Directors report the obvious that students that get lunch every day concentrate better in class, fall asleep less, and attend school more regularly (to get lunch).

If you are interested in donating, funds can be sent to World Relief and be earmarked “Haiti food program.” Remember, there are absolutely no leftovers and no waste in this worthy program…only very thankful children!

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Who Can Resist This Smile?

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 When reviewing all the photos from our Massey school visit, one child suddenly stood out from all the rest. There was this girl in several photos that we just couldn’t miss. She is undoubtedly very poor in this world’s goods but she still had something to share – a rich and radiant smile! Certainly God doesn’t see any child as any more special than any other, but he has given gifts for us to use and we were reminded of that when we saw this girl putting hers to use.

Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. – Luke 18:16 

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Massey School Visit

The MEBSH schools that World Relief supports allow only 30 children in any school to be sponsored. The poorest of the poor. The local pastor is usually also the director of the school and he knows the needs of his congregation well enough to select the children for the sponsorship program. One of the closest schools to the Child Sponsorship Office is in Massey, just northeast of Les Cayes which has 140 students. (We also attended the MEBSH Massey church on our orientation visit and will give you the sights and sounds of that soon!)

We arrived at lunchtime so we could view the lunch program underway. Although we only sponsor approximately 30 children in this school, our food program goal is to feed every student and every teacher every day in that school. The kids were adorable as each room prayed together before eating. As we went from room to room they would also all stand in unison to say a welcome. They were very thankful for the rice and beans and it all disappeared!

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Prayer before eating was emphasized!

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Marie Lucie helping to dish up the food for the older kids

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Nothing to drink? No problem! Water can be pumped by the street!


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World Relief Child Sponsorship Office

There is a welcoming place where local sponsored children and pastors of more remote schools come every month to get their support money. We think the kids look forward to coming for more than just money…they may also come for a chance to see Marie Lucie for a hug and a listening ear! Marie Lucie has been the face of Child Sponsorship to many children over the years and we are looking forward to supporting her in every way possible to continue and expand her excellent ministry. This office will soon become our second home!

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For many sponsored children, these steps to the Child Care office are a familiar sight!

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Marie Lucie is the loving face of Child Sponsorship to many Haitian children

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These are someone’s sponsored children!


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What is Child Sponsorship?

What is Child Sponsorship? Quite simply said…it is HOPE! If you follow our blog for any amount of time you will see firsthand what it is and how it works through the personal accounts we will be recording.
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It is easy to get involved and easy to make a difference! By sharing a monthly gift (currently $30 for an individual student or $125 for an entire school) you can give a child in a third world country the opportunity to receive a Christian education including a uniform, books and supplies. More importantly you can give a child HOPE that they can rise above their present circumstances as well as the true HOPE that can only be found in Christ! In many cases schools remain open simply because of the sponsored children in attendance. For more information, visit this link: http://www.acworldrelief.org/sponsorships/
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 Waiting for school to start! Some have walked several miles!
 
On our recent orientation trip to Haiti we visited seven schools and also witnessed two lunch programs in progress. We will share a few special stories from those visits in future posts!
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 Everything is finished off in a hurry!


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Called to Serve in Haiti

ImageMike & Susie Walder, Evan, Grant, Trinity & Grace

Mike grew up in Illinois and Susie in Ohio and we have raised our family in the wonderful community of Smithville, Ohio for the last 17 years. Evan is 20 and in his second year of nursing at Malone University in Canton, Ohio. (He will not be relocating but he will be coming as often as his schedule allows!) Grant is 17 and taking post-secondary classes as he finishes his senior year early this Fall so he can move down with us. Trinity is 14 and is giving home schooling a try for the first time in her freshman year. Grace is 7 and enjoying first grade and being social to the max!
The question is invariably asked…why Haiti? Over the past few years God has slowly and surely impressed on our hearts that there is kingdom work to do. One day Susie reached the point where she was totally available to whatever God had planned, and she asked for a sign…something related to a change in my work situation. That very afternoon it became very clear that it was time for me to move on. When I called Susie she was not surprised! So, it was clear to both of us something else was ahead. It was scary but also an opportunity to do what we have always wanted to do. I had always wanted to start my own business and work in real estate. We also seriously considered missionary service for the first time because about that time we were invited on a work team to Haiti, which we went on in January 2013. We already felt a change was coming up, but we went to find out for sure what God was saying to us. So we prayed about everything and handed the future to God. As it turned out, the mission trip was life changing! We returned home and immediately felt the call to serve full time (Proverbs 3: 5-6, and Mark 8: 34-35 figured heavily into it). We feel God has asked us to sell all and “lose” our life for His sake and the sake of the gospel in order for us to truly “find” it.
Now we are in the process of relocating to Les Cayes, Haiti at the end of 2013 to be administrator of the child sponsorship program under the oversight of Apostolic Christian World Relief. We will be explaining exactly what that means in coming posts…as we find out more ourselves. We are looking forward to the opportunity for our family to serve and bring hope and the light of Christ to many!