A Year-End Trip to Haiti

A couple toys and hugs made this little girl very happy!

Dear Friends,

Because you’ve demonstrated your compassion for our Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ who survived January’s earthquake, I wanted to update you on Heaven’s Family’s on-going relief efforts in Haiti. I recently returned from a week’s trip there.

Our team of five journeyed to Haiti with plenty of concerns. There were reports that the often-deadly disease of cholera was spreading. Then we learned that presidential elections were scheduled two days before our arrival. Many sources predicted violence when the results were announced. The Lord kept reassuring us, however, and we went as planned.

Day 1

On the first day, we checked on the progress of a home Heaven’s Family is helping to rebuild for a man named Antoine, whose story we told in the March issue of our magazine. Antoine and his wife lost a daughter when their small home collapsed during January’s quake. When I visited their homesite in July there was only a pile of rubble, but this time I was encouraged to see a simple home rising up in the very same place. The joy and gratitude on Antoine’s face encouraged me.

We also visited two orphanages in Port-au-Prince. The first one, Children’s Home for Tomorrow, had never been visited by Heaven’s Family staff before, although we had been in contact with the director via email for a few months. The children welcomed us warmly. They were just finishing school for that day, which is conducted in their rented orphanage building.

Our team members didn’t waste any time loving on the children, giving them new clothes, shoes, toys, and medicine. We were blessed to see the joy on their faces! While my wife Karin and I, the two Heaven’s Family staff members on the team, busied ourselves talking to the orphanage staff and taking photos, our three other teammates played with the children and gave them lots of hugs. I think everyone at the orphanage truly sensed that the Lord touched them that day.

At Children’s Home for Tomorrow, orphans received special love and attention from our team members

We later visited Mt. Zion Orphanage, which Heaven’s Family has assisted for several years through our child sponsorship program. The children have finally begun to sleep inside their concrete block home (which was not damaged in the quake, and which our work team painted in July), having slept outside in tents for more than eight months due to their fear of another earthquake. We also gave them clothing, shoes, toys, and some medicine, and talked to the director about helping him rebuild a collapsed wall on the edge of the orphanage property.

Days 2 and 3

On our second day, we drove north to a rural area, where we found El Bethel, a very poor orphanage that had to relocate from Port-au-Prince after the quake because their building became uninhabitable. The director had purchased a small, inexpensive parcel of land—a barren, rock-strewn plot without access to water—and built a very simple concrete block building in which he and his wife now live with over forty children.

Our hearts broke to see their living conditions. Everything—including water—had to be carried up a rocky, winding path to the low hilltop where they live. The director and his wife, however, had the joy of Lord in their hearts, and they were grateful for our visit. We intend to provide them with a well so that they can enjoy a plentiful source of water for themselves and their dozen or so neighbors. We also hope to find sponsors for their children through the Orphan’s Tear division of Heaven’s Family. (Please email me at Jeff [at] HeavensFamily.org if the Lord touches your heart in that regard.)

After our stop at El Bethel, we headed for what has been named “Mahaneim Camp,” about an hour’s drive north of Port-au-Prince. This is the Christian resettlement camp that many of you, through Heaven’s Family, have helped sustain throughout the months following the earthquake. Hundreds of our brothers and sisters in Christ fled there after their homes were destroyed, and we helped provide their basic needs.

For the last few months we’ve been funding construction of permanent homes to move people out of tents. Six duplexes that will house twelve families are nearing completion. Each duplex costs about $10,000. Our team of five even got to spend two nights in one of the homes!

Heaven’s Family is also working with the camp’s spiritual leaders to develop income-generating small businesses and a school to teach English and computer skills. The long-term vision is to help the camp’s families become more self-sufficient and reach out to their neighbors. We were very excited to see how, thanks to you, we’ve made a measurable difference in the lives of the people there.

At left, three of our team members with Ruth, one of our favorite translators, in front of an almost-finished home; at right, two more duplexes near completion

Days 4 and 5

We left Mahaneim Camp early on the fourth day and headed back to Port-au-Prince’s airport to catch our flight to north-central Haiti aboard a single-engine Cessna. Landing on the grass strip in the town, Pignon, was very smooth, and we were soon at Mt. Carmel Orphanage, which Heaven’s Family has also been assisting for several years through our child-sponsorship program.

Just as at the other three orphanages we’d already visited, we blessed the children at Mt. Carmel with new clothing, shoes, and toys, and gave medical supplies to the director. We spent two nights there, sleeping in an adjacent home, so we were able to spend lots of time with the children. We also took photos and collected names and biographical information of several new orphans. Many of them lost their parents in the earthquake and were moved to Mt. Carmel from Port-au-Prince. They are now living in a much better place.

New toys and clothes brought smiles to lots of children!

The director of Mt. Carmel and his wife see us off at Pignon airport

Day 6

In the morning, we drove back to the airport to catch our little plane for the flight back to Port-au-Prince. A few cases of cholera had been reported in the area recently, and many people were fearful. Cholera, however, is easily cured with antibiotics and lots of liquids. We were glad to be able to leave some medicine to treat cholera at Mt. Carmel in the event it reaches their neighborhood.

After arriving safely back in Port-au-Prince, we had some time to rest and reflect on our mission trip. We were very grateful to have accomplished everything we hoped to accomplish, with the added unexpected blessing of helping a new orphanage. And I’m happy to report that all of our on-going relief and development efforts are progressing satisfactorily.

Thanks to all of you who have helped poor Haitian believers through Heaven’s Family during this year of disaster. Together, we’ve touched the lives of thousands of our brothers and sisters in Christ. They asked me to send you their heart-felt thanks, and I’m sure they will also put in a good word for you when we stand before the Lord someday! Thanks for making a difference.

Be blessed this Christmas Season!

Jeff Trotter

Director, Disaster Relief Fund

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