The following is a testimony from a Forward Edge Team Member who recently took part in a mission trip to Haiti:
I love Joe Joe’s ice cream from Trader Joe’s. I was looking forward to this creamy treat when I returned home from Haiti. Having been to Haiti once, I wondered throughout this trip why God had called me back.
Every day, while washing dishes outside the feeding program, I noticed a little girl, maybe seven or eight years old, walking in the church yard. She was wearing a pink hat. If I smiled really big at her, she sometimes smiled back.
Pastor LaFleur, director of Restoration Ministries and one of Forward Edge’s partners in Haiti, shared Thursday night about when he first started his ministry. He would daily ask children roaming the streets if they went to school. “It broke my heart when they said no because there’s little future for those who cannot attend school,” he explained. It became his mission to get children into school.
The next day I saw the little girl with the pink hat. I asked her if she went to school. She said no. Pastor LaFleur was with me and continued a conversation with her, most of which I didn’t understand. But I did catch that when he asked her how old she was, she didn’t know.
After the little girl left, Pastor LaFleur filled me in. “Her name is Annette and she is a slave.” My eyes must have questioned his comment because he said it again. Tears welled up and began to pour down my face. I suddenly realized that I had never seen this girl playing like a normal child—she was always walking through the church yard like she was on some kind of errand. Pastor LaFleur went on to say that she would most likely end up uneducated and raped early in life. I had to turn away because I could not control my weeping. And yet, as I cried I wondered if this was why God had sent me on this trip.
“I will sponsor Annette if you can get her out of that situation!” I exclaimed. He looked at me in disbelief. Then he restated that she was a slave, and that her masters would not want to give her up. I pleaded, weeping, “Pastor, please try, please see what you can do. If you can get her out, I will sponsor her monthly!”
The rest of the day went by quickly, preparing to leave, but not ready to go. I was still unsure why God brought me to Haiti again.
That night, as our team debriefed, I shared the story of Annette. Soon after, Pastor LaFleur showed up. He approached the circle and said, “I have news. Annette is now part of our sponsorship program.” My heart leapt and I sobbed tears of joy. There’s much more to Annette’s story. Her father had raped her, then burned her birth certificate in her face and told her she was no longer his child. He continued to abuse her until other people took her away and made her their slave.
That last day, I learned why God had sent me back to Haiti. If I would give up Joe Joe’s ice cream and putting henna in my hair each week, I could afford to send Annette to school. It was an easy decision.
Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
by Vera McEwen
Vera was willing to give up Joe Joe’s ice cream. What are YOU willing to give up to change a life?