STILLWATER, Okla. — “Whoever receives this little child in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me receives Him who sent me. For he who is least among you all will be great.” — Luke 9:48
Four years after the devastating Haitian earthquake, a family of nine still live in a one room shelter with no electricity or running water. More than 550,000 Haitians are living in tents or temporary shelters and it is believed that the unemployment rate is nearly 80 percent. Hunger is a chronic issue and many children go to bed starving and scared with the simple dream to have a safe home, food and clothing.
“These are the facts of the world in Haiti,” said Jordan Weston, Glencoe Church of Christ youth pastor. “But the Haitian’s future depends on its children — and our hearts are telling us to reach out and love them as Jesus loves us.”
Weston accompanied other Glencoe Church of Christ members on a mission trip to Haiti to help children in an orphanage and at a feeding station. The group brought 196 dresses with hair bows and dolls from the Payne County chapter of Dress a Girl Around the World. More than 1,400 pounds of clothes, food and medical supplies were hand-carried in suitcases.
The Glencoe crew was scheduled to meet with Jake Wilson, a Glencoe High School graduate, who founded Haiti’s Children’s Hope from his home in Lincoln, Neb. They were expecting to help the families of 300 children but when word spread that Americans were in the village, the group was bombarded by throngs of people.
“We wanted to give each child a complete set of clothes with shoes and food for their families but we had to just make sure each child received something,” said Weston’s mother, Cari Ryan. Her mother, Mary Gidre, and daughter, Grace Ryan, accompanied the mom and son duo on the mission trip. Others included Alyssia Courtright, Mindy Compton, Bryhanna Zavala-Banuelos, Sierra Wilson and Brooke Winterbottom.
Having a new set of clothes is very appreciated because most of the children do not go to school since they can’t afford the required uniforms.
“We immediately saw they needed a school, too” Ryan said.
The missionaries sent a message to their home church and $10,000 was raised in two days to start building a school. They plan to hire a local teacher who can speak the language to communicate with the children.
“The goal of Haiti Children’s Hope is to reach out and care for the children by providing medical care, food, education — and most of all teaching the love of Jesus,” Ryan said. “Right now, they operate on a month to month basis providing for 300 children — and out of God’s grace, they have continued to feed the children and will continue doing so as long as God enables them.”
She said the Glencoe Church of Christ members provided some relief with their mission trip but the needs are great. Empowering the children to help their country through spiritual and nutritional support is a day to day challenge.
“We want to give the Haitian children the confidence that all things are possible,” Ryan said. “Just 85 cents will feed a child a meal so whether it’s $4, $40 or $400, everything helps these precious children.”
To make a donation or for more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-430-4078.