In January 2014 I joined a short-term mission team to serve with The Hands & Feet Project in Grand Goave, Haiti. I’m headed back there, again, in July for another week and, because my wife has decided to jump in this time around, we’re having to dig deeper and reach out further for help to get there. So, yesterday I spent some time setting up a fundraising site that features a convenient link for kindhearted donors to contribute through and indicates the amount of money we still need to raise in order to make the trip.
It was during the process of putting the fundraising page together that I realized, upon typing the total amount of money that we have yet to come up with, that some people might question whether or not it is worth investing this amount of money into a week-long trip. Wouldn’t that amount of money better serve the needs of the people there if it was sent directly?
It’s a fair question and, after pondering it for myself in relation to my own experience there, my growing familiarity with the kids, mission staff, Haitian staff, and American staff of The Hands and Feet Project, I can state with confidence that your investment in our trip will not be wasted.
A significant percentage of the cost to make the trip benefits the work of The Hands & Feet Project directly. The Grand Goave Children’s Village of The Hands & Feet Project is still in the process of building and providing safe structures and buildings for the long-term American missionary staff, short-term mission teams, local Haitian staff and, most notably, the orphaned and abandoned children to live in. Measures are being taken to ensure that the new buildings are built to resist damage from natural disasters like the one that brought Haiti to its knees just five years ago. Donations that the Hands & Feet Project receives go directly toward providing, not just a safe place to live, but, also health care, a balanced diet, an education, and a staff to provide spiritual guidance.
Short-term mission teams bring various skills to provide manual, on-the-ground support and elbow grease to tackle projects ranging from construction and maintenance to recreational and educational activities for the kids that live there. In addition Hands & Feet Project mission teams engage with the local Grand Goave community by assisting with community outreach programs.
Mission teams coming to Haiti to serve are sent wish lists for supplies (ranging from toothpaste to tools and clothing), by the long-term Hands and Feet Project missionaries, a few weeks prior to their scheduled departure so that they can gather much-needed items and bring them to Haiti as part of their baggage. Because of Grand Goave’s rural location in a third world country where neither the U.S. Postal Service or UPS deliver, incoming short-term mission teams serve as a lifeline to the children and staff on the ground with The Hands & Feet Project in Haiti.
The Hands & Feet Project understands the importance of taking a responsible big-picture approach to addressing the orphan crisis in Haiti. The directors and long-term mission families that lead The Hands & Feet Project on the ground in Haiti have a deep knowledge and respect for the history and circumstances that have made Haiti the poorest country on the western half of the planet. They understand the importance of respecting the dignity of the people and they provide a means to prevent future children from being abandoned by providing sustainable employment through their new and developing Haiti Made initiative. In fact, this trip, for us, isn’t just a one-and-done effort. We sponsor two children that are a part of the Hands &
Feet Project family. This trip will allow me to build upon the relationship with Kettia that I started a year ago, and it will give Angela a chance to start hers. We truly desire to be like long-term family members to Kettia and the other children of the Hands & Feet Project and develop bonds that, though miles and time may separate us, prayer and return mission trips to serve at their Grand Goave Children’s Village, can grow for eternity in Jesus.
Last, but, certainly not least, your monetary support for our participation in this mission enables us to serve Jesus, himself, directly. James 1:27 states that, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress…” Jesus himself explained in Matthew 25:31-40:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I learned about and became involved with The Hands & Feet Project by walking through open doors that I had no plan or ability to open myself. Now my wife Angela is ready to step outside of her comfort zone, too, and I know that this trip is going to have as profound of an effect on her life as it has on mine and I truly believe that this trip will have a profound and positive effect on our marriage, too.
The work of The Hands & Feet Project and their vision to fight against the orphan crisis in Haiti are sound and sound and sure. Please help my wife and I to both walk through this open door and serve in the work of The Hands & Feet Project, bringing hope to the orphaned and abandoned in Haiti, together.