Imagine finding yourself at the age of 10, living on the streets of Port au Prince, an experience that makes you feel like less than a person. You are often beat up by older boys and live a “terrible life.” Whom do you trust? What do you do? Imagine being 7 years old. You never knew your dad. Then Mom and Grandma die. Now you have no one. No brothers. No sisters. You are living on the streets of Port Au Prince. Whom do you trust? What do you do? Imagine being left alone at 8 years old, amongst terrible violence and no one to defend you. You now are living on the streets of Port Au Prince. Whom do you trust? What do you do?
These are a few of the true stories of people God connected me with in Haiti. The stories may be different but the people are real. After years of living on the streets and by God’s divine grace, these boys were taken in by an incredible organization called Grangou, which provided a home for them where they learned how to love others and to live together. This home is Zanfan Lakay, which means Children’s Home in Creole. Now eight of them are over 18 years old with minimal education and can no longer live at that home. Haiti does not have the infrastructure to support people aging out of orphanages.
As Christians, we are called to live as Jesus did and to reach out to those in need… the orphan, the poor, the oppressed…. and help build up the Kingdom of God. My heart is particularly compelled to help support and guide the young people who have aged out of Zanfan Lakay. Five years ago each of them was living on the streets with no formal education or family. Although they are going to school now, they still have a long way to go. Their current education level ranges from 2nd to 9th grade.
I believe God is calling me relocate to Haiti (for an undetermined amount of time) to help empower the young people aging out of Zanfan Lakay on a day-to-day basis with the talents and skills He has equipped me with:
- Life skills to allow them to be successful, productive adults in Haiti
- Spiritual development and discipleship
I will meet with them daily as a positive role model who recognizes natural teaching opportunities and acts upon them. These opportunities will most likely be in budgeting of resources, conflict management, goal setting, homework and chores. We will attend church services weekly and have daily devotions and Bible studies as a small group and/or individually. I may also work as a liaison between the United States based management of HandUp Global Goods and the team on the ground in Haiti for their jewelry making business.
God has been preparing me my entire life for this calling. In addition to the above-mentioned talents and skills, I have raised a family, most of the time as a single mom and now have eight beautiful grandchildren. I have taught Sunday School, volunteered to serve the youth of my church and neighborhoods, been a beacon of hope to women who have suffered abuse and trauma, raised up leaders at Celebrate Recovery, administered and led discipleship programs, led small groups and gone on numerous short-term mission trips. This call to go to a third world country to share the love of Jesus and serve those less fortunate, does take me out of my comfort zone. Hebrews 11:8 and Luke 9:24 assure me that losing my life for His sake is a very good thing.
What is God saying to you? How can you help?
My research shows that it will take $22,400 a year to me to embark on this ministry in Haiti. The breakdown is as follows:
- $7000 Housing, including internet and phone
- $6000 Medical Insurance, including evacuation and repatriation
- $3400 Food and miscellaneous (legal forms, etc)
- $3000 Innovations for transitioning young people
- $3000 Travel to and from the United States
I doubt one person will fund the entire amount, but if God is calling you to do that… WONDERFUL!!! It is more likely that many of us will be working together, as faithful stewards of all we are entrusted with. If one person gives $500 a month, three give $100 a month, ten give $50 and twenty give $20, we will have more than reached our goal! No amount is too small to give. (Remember the widow and the coins?)
Please give this your serious consideration. Your gifts, whether one-time or monthly recurring, are not currently tax deductible but can be made through my member church, either online or through the mail.
- Online – go to http://www.ashworthroad.com/donate.aspx
- Be sure and select “Other” and input purpose as “Linda Martin”
- When donating online, remember there is a 3% fee for credit card processing. (It is less than 2% if you use your bank account).
- Mail – Address is ARBC, 5300 Ashworth Rd, West Des Moines, IA 50266.
- Be sure and write “Linda Martin” in the memo line of your check.
Whether He is calling you to serve financially, prayerfully or in some other way, please listen to that call and respond accordingly. These young people are the next generation of leaders and business people in Haiti. If we do not help them, they become a statistic amongst the 49% malnourished, 48% illiterate and 80% unemployed in Haiti. How devastating it would be for them to lose the hope they found when God led them to Grangou and Zanfan Lakay, only to return to the streets. God started a good work in these young people and He will carry it on to completion. What we do to empower them today CAN help them and future generations.
Thank you, in advance, for your support!!!