It has been over three years since the devastating earthquake in Haiti took so many lives, left countless homeless, and created far too many orphans. As the World Orphans OVC (Orphan and Vulnerable Children) Program begins its fourth year, we have stepped back to evaluate what has been accomplished and what is yet to be done...
We didn’t begin that process alone; we did so at a Pastors Forum with the fourteen churches we partner with in Port-au-Prince – the hands and feet of the program. These are the men and women who are working with the families and caring for these children day after day.
For two days, our fourteen church partners and representatives from World Orphans staff met to discuss our original objectives of supporting families that had taken in orphans; keeping children from being abandoned at orphanages by helping caregivers care for them wholistically (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) and providing access to education, food, encouragement, mentoring, discipleship, and love.
We talked about what is working well. We talked about what is challenging. We talked about families feeling like they are being cared for, that they are loved. We talked about rising food costs. We talked about the ongoing challenges of housing. We talked about the children growing, healing, learning, hearing about Jesus. We talked about church-to-church partnerships and the friendships and relationships that have been established. We talked about the beauty and challenges of home visits and cross-cultural ministry.
We encouraged one another, laughed together, read scripture together, prayed for one another, planned together. It was an amazing time, unlike any I’ve experienced before. It was a time that affirmed our model of partnership, our belief in the local church, and our confidence in these fourteen churches. These pastors have started preaching in each others’ churches. They are resources for each other, they support one another, and they have become friends.
Partnership is an amazing thing. It is a primary distinctive of our ministry. We thank God for the privilege of partnering with so many churches, both here and around the world, by the glory of His grace.