It has been two years since I was last in Haiti, and three since the devastating earthquake that decimated their country. Haiti has begun rebuilding and they are working hard to just get back to extreme poverty.
This time the airport was so different. They had a small, but nice, new terminal. A great improvement from the temporary metal hanger from last trip. It appeared as if everything was going to be far better than we thought. However, looks can be deceiving.
As we were loading our bags onto the bus, gunshots rang out close by. People ducked for cover as the realization of what was happening quickly set in. I will never forget the look on my daughter’s face of, fear and is this really happening, as I told her to duck and run to the bus. That is a reality that no kid should ever have to experience. The attempt by an airport worker to comfort us by saying, “you are safe in here, that is just out there,” failed miserably as “out there” was where we were headed.
It is always hard to wrap your head around the fact that there are some Compassion projects in Haiti that we cannot visit because they fear it is not safe for us. We can avoid it, but sadly these kids can't. This is the reality of life for kids consumed by poverty. I am so thankful that we, through Compassion, can provide hope and a future for kids who might not otherwise have a chance.
This is Chrismene. She works in the Compassion office in Haiti and knows first hand the difference sponsorship makes. She herself was a sponsored child and was rescued from the tough streets of Haiti. She wanted me to make sure to tell you that she is proof that Compassion changes children's lives and impacts generations. She then called me back over to tell me one more important thing. She wanted me to make sure you knew that it was through Compassion that she found the love of her life…Jesus Christ.
If you sponsor a child or want to, make sure you write to them. Your words can help a child become more than they even dream possible. The biggest success stories usually come from kids who were told by their sponsors not to give up, and that they were loved and mattered not only to them, but to God.
This sweet lady is responsible for managing the 300,000 letters that go out from kids in Haiti to their sponsors and the 150,000 letters that come in from sponsors every year. That means we are only writing about half as many letters to our sponsored kids as we receive. Believe it or not, your letters are as valuable to these kids as the monthly support.
Today this former sponsored child is now a congressman in the Haitian government. Men at Compassion still mentor him as an adult, to help him make good, Godly decisions and change his country.
There is hope for the children of Haiti if we choose to get involved. I think the Communications director, Ricot, put it best when he said, “Poverty is not born in you, you are born into poverty." Together we can help rewrite their stories.