On October 25-30, World Orphans was blessed to partner with Together for Adoption and Global Health Training to bring two separate Holistic Care conferences to 13 of our church-to-church partners in Haiti. You’ll see from our highlights that this was a powerful, fruitful time of ministry, partnership, and equipping.
It has been almost three years since the catastrophic earthquake in Port Au Prince where the lives of an estimated 3,000,000 were affected. Haiti continues to rebuild, broken hearts continue to heal, and the church at-large is partnering together to respond to the ongoing needs of orphaned, vulnerable, and abandoned children in their communities.
While we were there, Hurricane Sandy brought heavy rains in the form of a tropical storm. Rain poured through the metal roof where our first conference was held. Pastors and caregivers arrived more than two hours late, and transportation was treacherous in rural areas. God’s provision and the resourcefulness of the attendees to ‘make a way’ assured us that great things were in store for our time together.
Day one of Gospel Hope in a Hopeless World began with 85 attendees, and by the final day, 110 were able to make it. We were blessed to have Pastor Pierre Vermon from Roosevelt Community Church in AZ preach about the love, hope, and nearness of Christ in challenging times. Other teaching topics included Economic Development, Child Protection, HIV, and a Biblical View of Orphans and Adoption.
The second conference, Women’s Health Training, was especially tender to my heart, as I had the awesome privilege of serving alongside my dear friend and sister, Carol Denny. Carol, a licensed midwife and founder of Global Health Training has delivered over 700 babies and educates ladies all over the world with the practical skills of safe birth delivery and women’s health issues.
Haiti has the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere with a death rate of 1 in every 47 deliveries. Seventy-six percent of all births in Haiti are not attended by a skilled birth attendant, 15% of newborns have low birth weight, and 25% of children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Sterile cord care and basic knowledge of the birthing process saves lives, one safe delivery at a time.
We were overjoyed to have Carol resource, train, and encourage 65 ladies in our Church-to-church OVC (Orphan and Vulnerable Child) Program. Equipping women to assist in safely delivering a child not only increases the safety of a mother’s life, but will also result in preventing orphans, keeping them in families, and bringing life-giving, tangible hope to those in need. The attendees were given safe birth kits, stethoscopes, and blood pressure cuffs.
On a more personal note: It is not by coincidence that Carol and I share a similar passion to see orphans rescued and caregivers equipped around the world. More than 40 years ago, it was Carol’s family who intersected my life, saw my vulnerable plight, took me into their home, and shared out of what little they had to provide for my needs. They took me to church, introduced me to Jesus, fed me, clothed me, celebrated my birthday, spent the necessary time to help me work through the emotional trauma of being fatherless, and loved me as if I were their own daughter.
I have often heard it said ‘seeing is believing.’ Suffice it to say that ‘I have seen’ and that ‘I do believe’ that the work of the church to rescue and care for orphans and vulnerable children in their communities will bare eternal consequence. Lives who have known rescue, delight in participating in the rescue of another. Lives who have been saved and transformed by the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, delight in telling the story of Jesus’ redeeming love, rescue, and hope.
John 14:18 – I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.