In 2010, shortly after the 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti, I had the opportunity to visit the devastated country for three weeks. I was not prepared for what I was to see and experience. The injuries, the disease, the poverty, the smells of rotting flesh, fear and hopelessness took my breath away. I visited orphanages, churches, villages, medical clinics and tent cities. My heart was broken at levels I had never imagined possible. For the first three days I spent much of my time in tears. I was overwhelmed with emotion.
Upon returning home, I knew something had shifted in my heart. I knew I would NEVER be the same. The things that once mattered, nice car, big/flat screen TV, the latest gadget, a new surfboard etc., no longer seemed to have a hold on my heart. Something new had grabbed the strings and were now pulling them in new directions. I became consumed, almost obsessed with thoughts of how to help.
A year later after resigning from my position with the Orange County Probation Department and leaving my career behind, my goal was to build an orphanage, transition home and church on the beaches of Jacmel, Haiti. However, God had a different plan.
On my second trip to Haiti I discovered there were 37 established orphanages already operating in the Jacmel region. Although there was still need for additional services and beds in the area, I discovered another sobering fact. Many, if not all of the orphanages in the region were severely under funded and struggled to stay afloat, feed their children and pay their staff. Even the seemingly strong organizations struggled daily for survival. My thoughts turned to “Why should I start another program and pull resources from the others?” That did not make sense to me. So I had to ask the question, “If not my own orphanage, then what?” I knew I was called to serve the people of Haiti, but how?
While on this trip I had the privilege of spending time with many local missionaries and other non-profit organizations. I had never met people like this before. They sacrificed EVERYTHING to live in a land that was less than hospitable to them. Yet they LOVED Haiti and they loved her people. They were not there out of obligation, or a sense of “Christian duty,” rather their hearts were saturated with compassion and dedication to a people they had come to genuinely love. I heard their frustrations and saw many tears. The struggle for many was the desperate need for resources, not people, but financial help. My focus shifted.
God opened my eyes to see His servants, field workers if you will, the way He sees them, as true Heroes of the faith. For good or for ill, we are all players in the living drama going on around us. God has designed us as decision makers in His very image, not only to partake in history, but also to prayerfully shape history. These missionaries that God honors for playing their part in this ongoing story, need to be taken care of in ALL ways and raised up as HEROES to the church and to the world. They have taken a leap of faith and have engaged in something immensely larger and more important than their own personal comfort and happiness. They understand that the struggle between good and evil requires nothing less than EVERYTHING, and they HAVE given EVERYTHING! They have picked up the baton of faith and stepped onto a road where even small acts may have grand possibilities, not knowing where their journey will lead till they come to the end.
The Isaiah Foundation celebrates these Heroes and is committed to emotionally, spiritually and financially supporting them. We have selected four from the 100’s we have met along the way (with hopes in the future of adding many more), to be their voice and take care of them so they can take care of those they serve. The Foundation provides the following services:
• Financial support – for their personal needs and for the projects they are engaged in, including baby/infant rescue, medical clinic, education, fresh water systems, agriculture (coffee), life skills, empowering women, building homes and many more
• Spiritual support
• Emotional support – through friendship, encouragement and professional counseling when needed
Even if you do not have a Christian background, the works of our Heroes deserve the respect and praise for serving the world. Although their service is rooted in their faith, the work they do is not necessarily to tell people about Jesus, rather to love and empower the communities they serve. Please join us in celebrating and supporting our Heroes.