by Danielle Shellenberger
The first time I went to Haiti was in October of 2014. I did not know a word of Creole and knew very little about Haiti.
I discovered firsthand just how bad the devastation from the 2010 earthquake was. Many children ended up in orphanages because their families could not afford to care for them anymore. Health care in Haiti is almost non-existent. Most of the citizens are malnourished and living in shacks; it is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Imagine my joy when I first heard about GlobalFingerprints, the child sponsorship ministry of the Evangelical Free Church of America. In Haiti, this program is working to keep families together by organizing the sponsorship of children who are in need so that they can stay with their families. Local churches are handpicked that share the same vision as the GlobalFingerprints program, and these churches supply the workers that visit the families and help distribute resources to the children in need. The number one goal of these workers is to love these families and communicate to them how they can know God and his love personally through the person of Jesus Christ.
One of the ways that we as a church have partnered with GlobalFingerprints in Haiti is that many of you
in our church have sponsored children in the program. An additional way that our church has partnered with GlobalFingerprints is that we have sent Global Ministry Teams to do medical check-ups for the children. Along with performing the regular well-child check, we also do malnutrition and anemia screening and provide Albendazole, an anti-parasitic medicine, to all the children; parasites are a great cause of malnutrition in Haiti.
I was able to use my skills as a nurse to provide medical care during these check-ups. It gave me such joy to be able to use the gifts and talents that God has given me to demonstrate his love to others. It was such a blessing to be a part of this ministry and to serve others.
During one of my trips to Haiti, I was in the middle of a particularly busy day. There were about 20 children waiting for me to do their check, and I was moving as fast as I could. I looked down at my next chart and saw the name Linda T. Linda is the name of the girl that my family sponsors through GlobalFingerprints. When I saw her name and then looked at her face I started to cry. I was so happy! This was the girl for whom I had been praying for months and months, and here she was sitting in front of me. At first, she must have thought I was crazy, as she does not speak English and did not know why I was crying. My translator then told her that she was my sponsored child, and she started to hug me and wouldn’t let go. She hugged and hugged me. It was a really sweet moment.
To everyone who sponsors a child in Haiti, thank you. You are helping to care for the people of Haiti. God values all of us so dearly. Thanks for being a part of his hands and feet. Perhaps as you read this you feel a stirring of God in your heart and are wondering if you can go, too. It is not as difficult as you might think. There are several teams going to Haiti this year including one that I will be leading in October. You don’t have to have a special ability or skill, just a willing heart. One dear lady that came on the trip last October had no special medical skills, but she helped out where she could and even learned to run a machine that tests kids for anemia. If you can hug and play with a child or spread peanut butter on a cracker or measure the height and weight of a child, then you are well-qualified for my team. Also, the other teams are not medically related: some do construction, others send prayer teams, and I’m sure that the other teams would have basic qualifications as well. Prayerfully consider what God has for you to bless you and others.