IN July of this summer a team of 6 of us made the journey to an island off Haiti called La Gonave. Haiti has been known as “the country the world forgot”. La Gonave has been called “the island Haiti forgot”. It has a much different feel than the mainland and it’s one of my favourite places in the world.
Spending time and energy loving people in the community is one of the most important elements of what we do in Haiti. On a walk after church during our trip, we found ourselves quite far into a neighbourhood called the Saline. When I think of the poorest of the poor, this is the place that comes to mind. I felt a small girl tap me on the back in the crowd of small children. I can speak enough Créole to get by but her voice was so quiet I couldn’t make out what she was saying. She ran off returning moments later with a small yellow sticky note folded carefully in her hand. As she unfolded the note I realized what she had been saying, “Madame Iris Perry”. The sticky note had been attached to a letter Iris had sent with me in February to deliver to her sponsor child, Shabencia. And here before me stood this young girl asking for me to take her picture and send it to her sponsor so Iris would know Shabencia and her family were well and praying for her. I downloaded and sent the photos to Iris that same day because I was so excited. This was the message I received back from our lovely sponsor:
“When Shabencia told me in one of her letters that she would pray for me, this touched my heart and I was humbled that a child would pray for an adult. When she told me she loved me, I was overjoyed and my heart sang. When she deliberately searched for you and asked that you take a photograph of her holding a piece of paper that she knew I would recognize, and send it to me with a message that she was thinking of me, I was moved beyond words.
What a delightful individual Shabencia is! I am touched by her thoughtfulness, moved by her sincerity, awed by her ingenuity, excited by her desire and enthusiasm, and humbled by the love that she has demonstrated. I had no idea that there would be such joy in sponsoring a child. I thank God for placing Shabencia in my life, and I long to meet her in person. God is working in both of our lives to encourage one another, to develop a relationship that clearly He has orchestrated, and to share the love that He has so freely given.
Our sponsorship can really make a difference in the life of a child, and our letters do offer encouragement and hope. Through funding and encouragement, a child will ultimately be able to complete his or her education which is so very important.
She is in my heart and I pray for her every day.
Thank YOU for loving all of these children. It shows in your commitment, your communications, and your willingness to accommodate the wish of a child!
Our program relies heavily on people like Iris and the Sponsor-A-Child program. The money sent each month pays the teachers’ salaries and allows the sponsors to pray for and connect with a student or a school through letters and pictures. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to see first-hand how God is working in the lives of the people on La Gonave. So when someone asks me, “Are things getting any better in Haiti?” I can think of young people like Shabencia and the 150 teachers that received training and answer, “Absolutely!”