The story of how The Bridge Sponsorship Program began is a story of how God accomplishes His purpose through His people, no matter whom, or where they may be. This has been God’s idea from the beginning, and I feel blessed to be able to participate in His work in Haiti.
After the earthquake in Port-au-Prince in January of 2010, Pastor Dale Barrett, who was the head pastor of our church at the time, felt a distinct call to begin ministering in Haiti. God lead him to a friendship with Pastor Gilbert Jules of Haiti, which was the beginning of the ongoing relationship Grace Fellowship Church has with Pastor Gilbert’s churches in Haiti.
During the same time period, my oldest son was also feeling drawn to do something to help children in Haiti. You can read more about that story at this link.
In the summer of 2011, I got to spend Vacation Bible School week in the snack room with Kay Fox of Handclasp as she shared stories of their ministry in Thailand while the children ate their snacks. That same week, a team from our church left for Haiti to fix the school roof in Carrefour Poy. At the same time, I also happened to be reading the book “Radical Together” by David Platt. God used all of these things in my head & heart like a “perfect storm”, planting in me the vision of a sponsorship program in Haiti.
Although I felt completely inadequate to actually pursue this idea, it kept stirring my heart over the next month and a half. I did not mention it to anyone (except for my husband, who laughed!), though, I did occasionally bring it up in my prayer time.
That July we went camping with several families from church. One morning Pastor Dale came and sat with us at our campsite to discuss a teaching trip to Haiti that he and my husband were to go on that November. During that conversation, Pastor Dale happened to mention to us that Pastor Gilbert was hoping someone could start a sponsorship program to help his school in the village of Carrefour Poy. After a few moments of speechlessness, I was able to tell him that I had been thinking and praying about the very same thing!
Shortly after that, Pastor Gilbert and I began to communicate about how we could help the school and the village of Carrefour Poy through this program. He put me in contact with Claudel, a young man from Carrefour Poy, who is now in charge of The Bridge Sponsorship Program on the Haiti end. On the American side, a recently retired woman from my church, Debby, volunteered to assist me and was a tremendous help as we got this ministry off the ground and over our first two years of operation.
Despite my fears of being “on my own” in this ministry when Debby told me she was unable to continue as my assistant, God has provided once again… this time in the form of my own husband! I am so thankful for his willingness to help me in the areas that I am weak in. And very thankful that God has blessed me with a man who encourages and supports me in God’s calling in my life. We both feel confident that this is something that God has called us to do and therefore He will continue to provide everything needed to accomplish it. It truly feels like God has prepared this work beforehand for us to walk in. (Ephesians 2:10)
“And we being many are one body in Christ…” Romans 12:5