Claudel joyfully learning about the book of Romans in November 2011

Claudel eagerly learning about the book of Romans in November 2011

I would like to introduce to you my dear friend Claudel Romulus.

Claudel is the administrator of The Bridge Sponsorship Program in Carrefour Poy, Haiti. He is a very dedicated young man with a passion for affecting the future of Haiti through the spreading of the gospel of Christ and by the promotion of quality education.

Claudel accepted Christ as a child at the age of 10 and was baptized at age 15. Shortly thereafter, he began teaching in the children’s Sunday school classes and later the adult classes. He is currently serving as the principal of Sunday School at the church in Carrefour Poy.

Claudel lives in a small cement house with his father in Carrefour Poy. He also has a mother, two sisters and one brother who he does not live with. He tells me that his family is unable to live together because his father does not have the money to feed everyone in their family. This is one example of how poverty affects families in Haiti.

In my last blog post, I discussed the disparity between the dreams these children have for their future and the reality of the poverty they live in.  Having grown up in Carrefour Poy, Claudel experienced that same poverty. His father tries to earn money by farming his little garden plot so he will have produce to sell in the market.  

And what are Claudel’s dreams? God has gifted and called Claudel to become a pastor. However, because pastors in Haiti do not earn a salary, he also wants to become a lawyer so he will be able to support himself.

Thanks to God’s provision, both of these dreams are coming true for Claudel!  Through the ministry of Pastor Dale Barrett of TLC Haiti, Claudel is studying theology and will graduate as a pastor next year.  He was able to complete his first year of law school with some financial help from an American donor.  He is now in his second year and is praying and trusting God to provide the funds to continue to pay for his schooling.

This remarkable young man is a pleasure to work with. He is eager to serve the Lord however He leads. He is a beautiful example to me of glorifying God by walking in faith no matter what the circumstances.

His story is also a great example of how we as Americans can be a part of God’s work in poverty stricken countries by investing in the education of one individual for the glory of God!

Wendy and Claudel in front of his house in Carrefour Poy, January 2013

Wendy and Claudel in front of his house in Carrefour Poy, January 2013

Categories: Child sponsorship, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Dreams & Disparity

DREAM– something that you have very much wanted to do, be, or have for a long time, a strongly desired goal or purpose.

Meet Michelet.

Michelet hopes to become a doctor when he grows up.

Michelet hopes to become a doctor when he grows up.

He is an 11 year old cutie who dreams of becoming a doctor one day.  He lives with his mom who crushes rocks to earn money.

These women spend their days crushing rocks to earn money.

These Haitian women spend their days crushing rocks to earn money.

This is Philomene.

Philomene would like to be an engineer when she grows up.

Philomene would like to be an engineer when she grows up.

At nine years old, her dream is to become an engineer.  Her mom, who she lives with, is a trader in the market.

People trading at a Haitian market

People trading at a Haitian market

DISPARITY– different from each other, containing or made up of fundamentally different and often incongruous elements

Do you see the disparity?

These children, like all children, have big dreams.  Just like my children. Just like your children.  Many of these Haitian children dream of becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers or nurses when they grow up.

Yet  the family members or friends that these kids live with all do very different things for a living.  Many of them are traders in the market. Some wash clothes. Or crush rocks. Some attempt to farm the depleted Haitian soil.

Sometimes I look at a situation that is so big, and it feels hopeless.  I see disparity in the fact that these children have HOPE that their big dreams will be realized in the midst of the poverty that surrounds them. But who am I to say that their dreams are too big for them?  How am I to say that the problem is too big for God to work in?

I love this quote from Katie Davis so much that it appears on every page of this blog:

“I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. ”

How do we change the world? How do we change Haiti?  How can we change just one little village? We serve one person.  We love one child.

This morning I read this statement by Ann Voskamp:

“You are changing the world – when you are changing one person’s world.”

My prayer is that God will use this ministry to enable us to each change one child’s world.  May God use us to help make those big dreams a reality!

You can see more of our children & their big dreams at this link.


This was a favorite saying of Pastor Ward Willoughby, who spent his life sharing the gospel of Christ. “Well done, good and faithful servant!” December 3,1928-March 31,2014. (The picture was taken in Haiti in January of 2013)

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors | 2 Comments

Changes & Challenges


A fishing boat in Haiti.

Do you ever feel inadequate to fulfill the calling God has placed in your life?

After I got home from Haiti a little over a year ago, I felt strongly that I needed to spend more focused energy being a parent and homeschooling mom.  You see, I tend to have a one track mind, so when God gave me a vision & a passion to begin this ministry, I put all my energy into it… and that meant less energy for teaching my children.  My husband & I have always felt that our children are our first ministry and when God called me to start The Bridge, that did not change.  So for the past year, I have focused more on our kids, but sadly I feel like I have not done enough with The Bridge.  I want to be doing so much more with this ministry:  I want to do more to connect our sponsors with the children,  recruit more sponsors, post to this blog more often, plus I want to start exploring other ways that the school can earn money to help feed & educate the students of Carrefour Poy.

I am learning that with both of these important ministries in my life, I have to rely on God’s strength every single day.  I am learning to balance my time better; certain hours are for homeschooling and certain hours are for working on The Bridge.  (Don’t ask when the “clean the house” hours happen. Ha!) I am learning to have patience and trust in God’s timing.  When a family emergency prevented us from doing a presentation about The Bridge in front of our church, I am remembering that God’s timing is better than my own.  When I am not getting questions answered because of third world technology or electricity problems or because my own computer broke, I am reminded that God is greater than technology.  When Debby, who has been my assistant in this ministry from the beginning stepped down recently, I remember that God is in control and that His grace is sufficient for me!

I need to remind myself on a daily basis to keep my eyes turned to my God who is the Author & Finisher of my faith and Who gave me the vision for The Bridge & will provide for all my needs and the needs of His precious children in Haiti.   And I am thankful for all the ways He has provided for me already… including a husband who has stepped up & offered to help with this ministry when I need it, and who always helps with our family (including when we do find those elusive house cleaning hours).

He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord. Isaiah 26:3

Categories: Child sponsorship, Haiti, Missions | Leave a comment

Life in Carrefour Poy


One of “the least of these”

It starts with seeing the sweet face of a child and feeling that pull to share the love of Christ by making sure that child gets an education, a good meal and an opportunity to accept the Savior of his or her precious soul.  As we step forward to do what we can to bless this child, as we write a check from our abundance, as we pray for that child… that child whose picture we see on our refrigerator finds a place in our hearts.  We want to understand what life is really like for him or her, to know their struggles.

It was a privilege to receive a bit of an education about these things during our trip to Haiti.  There is so much more to learn about a culture so different from our own, but here are a few things we thought our sponsors would like to know in order to better understand the children you have chosen to bless.

School- The general attitude about school is very different in Haiti than in America.  That yearly back-to-school tradition that is such a big deal in America is non-existent.  Despite that fact, school is looked upon as a privilege instead of as a right in Haiti.  Children know that they have a chance at a better life if they do well in school. They tend to appreciate the opportunity and work hard to do well.   Many children asked for prayer that they would be successful in school.

1st grade class in session

1st grade class in session

School usually starts at 7am and is done by 1pm.  Children can start school at 3 years old, but it is not uncommon for kids to go years without attending school.  This may be due to family circumstances, lack of a local public school and/or an inability to afford private school.  The earliest grades are 1st, 2nd and 3rd kindergarten which would be similar to our preschool for 3 and 4 year olds and kindergarten.  The school in Carrefour Poy starts with 1st kindergarten, has a combined 2nd and 3rd kindergarten class and has classes for grades 1 through 6th.   An older child just starting school for the first time will usually begin in 3rd kindergarten.

Family- The role of the nuclear family is not as prominent in Haiti as it is in America.  Because of the general poverty of most people, it is very common to send a child to a relative who may be better able to feed and take care of them. We also saw a lot of children with step-families; sometimes due to the death of a parent, sometimes due to divorce.  Several children have close to 20 siblings, usually not from the same parents.  We also discovered that many children do not know their birthdates.

Earning an income– Most adults in the village do have some kind of a job.  As we asked the children what his or her caregiver does for a living, many told us that they sell things in the market or on the street.  As we drove around Haiti we saw many people sitting by the side of the road selling things– produce, candy, shoes and clothing, even electronics.  The market is very similar to what we would call a flea market.

This is the market right outside the village of Carrefour Poy.  it was not open when I took this picture so you can see all the booths from which people sell their wares.

This is the market right outside the village of Carrefour Poy. It was not open when I took this picture so you can see all the booths from which people sell their wares.

Most towns have 2 or 3 days per week when the market is open and the sellers set up their wares in a roughly built booth which they rent for a small fee.  It struck me that it would be very difficult to make a profit when there are so many others selling the same items in such a small area.

Several children said their parent is a builder.  However in a country so poor there are not many jobs for builders.  Sometimes they are hired by the government, but very often do not have any work. Several times as we drove through Carrefour Poy toward the school, we saw a man sitting on a pile of rocks, breaking them up into smaller pieces.  I believe this is the job of a mason.  We knew from the beginning that the father of 2 of our children is a voodoo priest.  However we were told that there are actually several children in the school whose parents are involved in voodoo.

As I said, there is so much to learn, but hopefully this little bit of information will help you understand the life of your sponsored child just a little bit better.  Seeing firsthand what life is like for in Carrefour Poy makes us so much more grateful for your generosity as a sponsor.  You truly are making a difference!  Thank you.

Posted by Wendy

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Through the eyes of a 14 year old

My son, Jason, loved our trip to Haiti.  He had a great time getting to know the people and experiencing the culture.  As a mom, it was such a blessing to see how God blessed him during this trip and also how God has used the experience to stretch and grow him for His glory!  Here is the video Jason created, chronicling our adventure:

Posted by Wendy

Categories: Children, Haiti, Missions, Shoes, Teachers | Leave a comment

A Different Perspective

In my last post, I talked about some of my first thoughts on returning from Haiti, and how I was having some difficulty processing my feelings. After a week at home I was able to sort out some of my feelings, and in the end, had a very different perspective on our trip to Carrefour Poy, Haiti.

Here are a few of the things I was feeling during the trip.

  • Frustration. I can’t solve this problem. EVEN OPRAH WINFRY CAN’T SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. (I actually thought that…) I also get frustrated at “rich Americans” who can seemingly turn a blind eye to the problems of the poor and needy in our world. I call it flipping the channel. We all see it–the devastation that poverty and injustice brings to people all over the world– on television. But if you can’t stand looking at it, you can always just flip the channel.I read a story about a little boy who had an ant farm. He watched them working together, building homes and gathering food, and he grew to love them. And then he was devastated as he saw his friends stomping on some ants. His mother explained that you cannot love what you do not know. I think this is one of the biggest reasons for personally visiting third world countries. Those people you see on the news become friends, and you can no longer “flip the channel.”
  • Disconnect. I felt  a little disconnected from the process. I even felt disconnected from God, which was VERY irritating. I didn’t have the passion that Wendy was feeling. When we ran out of shoes, Wendy was VERY upset about that. I was just pragmatic. I had hoped we would have enough, but the common sense side of me knew we didn’t have quite enough shoes with us, even if every pair had fit every child. Like I told Wendy, “there are 200 kids here, we would have had to have about 400 pairs of shoes to ensure we had exactly the right size for every kid.” That said, I have to admit that I was wrong before we left–those kids have big feet! They are not very big people, so I thought we needed more smaller sized shoes. We will be sending another suitcase soon with larger shoes.

So. The frustration I can get over. I even wrote about it here. You know, that old starfish story. I can’t help everyone, but I can help this one that I see.

The disconnect, that took a little longer to work through. Its funny the ways God chooses to speak to you. Well, at least the ways He chooses to speak to me… a friend called who had actually been to both the places that I have been (Nairobi and Haiti) so she knew in person what I had seen. That helped a little. A sermon by David Platt that I watched on video gave me a few more insights. Then, Saturday night, I watched a YOU TUBE video (and I cannot recommend this video to you highly enough–it was amazing) and I found a different perspective.

The youtube video was an amazing one-man play called C.S. Lewis: My Life’s Journey. It was so well done. The actor portrayed C.S. Lewis sitting and and actually talking to a group of writing students. When he talked about his wife, and the short time they had together, and how mad he was (at God) at her death, he said he finally realized that the three years they had together (she was expected to die in a few weeks and instead had a 3 year remission from bone cancer,) was a gift.

And that changed my perspective. The trip to Haiti was a gift. It went unbelievably smoothly. The difficult physical aspects (no electricity, sketchy running water, ? food) were all easy for me. None of us got sick. I saw one mosquito the whole time I was there, and NO spiders. (well, okay, I saw one small daddy long legs. I see more spiders than that in my own home in a couple of hours.) And this morning I finally put a couple of other things together. That personality trait that served me so well as a nurse, the ability to disconnect, was still in play. As a nurse I always credited that as a gift, as I was able to be truly compassionate to my patients and their parents, and yet I could go home and not think about them on my days off. I believe that this is what allowed me to minister more whole heartedly to my patients without ‘burning out.’ So that hasn’t changed about me. Its not likely to change. That’s how God made me. And that is why, by Saturday morning, on my weekly talk with my brother, we could talk about making plans to return to Haiti.

I can’t leave the subject of Haiti without sharing my favorite memory with you. One of the little girls I sponsor is Elvena. Her mother is dead, and her dad is, well, just plain crazy (I’m quoting one of the locals.) So when I met her on Thursday, she was very shy, not too many smiles. On Friday, we walked around the village, and visited some of the sponsored kids in their homes. Out came Elvena, dressed in her new hot pink and coral Old Navy outfit! And by Sunday, when we went back to Carrefour Poy for church and our last visit, Elvena just kept hanging around me. Big smiles. Not wanting hugging or touching, just being around. And as we left Carrefour Poy (in the only car that even goes to that village!) it was just like a scene from a movie. There was Elvena, still in her colorful outfit, running along behind, laughing and smiling and waving. And as we went on, she came to her road, and turned and ran on back to her home. I didn’t get my camera out for a picture, but I will never forget that. It was a gift.

 posted by debby

Categories: Child sponsorship, Haiti, Missions, Shoes | Leave a comment

First Thoughts

Thought I’d share some of my first thoughts on returning from Haiti. It took me a bit of time to process all I’d seen and experienced. I’ll share a different perspective in a few days.

I had been to the slums in Nairobi and Ngong, Kenya two years ago with Vapor Sports Ministries. The slums in Haiti were shockingly similar to the African slums. It was difficult to see again, and to think about how many places there are like this in our world.

The city slums:


The country slums:


Side-of-the-road slums (a strip mall??):


What I thought were little ATM boxes everywhere on the side of the road. Turns out they were lottery boxes. Just what a devastated country needs.


Do I sound… I don’t know how I sound, or even what I feel. We were headquartered in Port-au-Prince, and drove through rubble and slums and tent cities and garbage and a LOT of people every day and all the way out to the country area where Carrefour Poy was. Its just a lot to process.

We did have a very ‘successful’ trip, accomplishing almost everything we set out to do. We brought over 150 pairs of shoes with us, but we still ran out before we were able to give every child a pair of shoes. We were able to meet with each of the sponsored students, and quite a few of the students still waiting for sponsors. We had a ‘teacher appreciation dinner’ (served them American style sandwiches) and we were able to visit with some of the students in their homes.


The similarities to Nairobi (I visited Nairobi in January 2011) were almost eery. And as I learned in Nairobi, there is peace in a simple life. Our host and chauffeur and interpreter, Pastor Gilbert, lives in a modest home in the middle of the rubble of Port-au-Prince. Sometimes there is electricity, and sometimes there isn’t. When there isn’t electricity, there isn’t running water (one of the most useful things I learned was that I could wash my hair with 5 cups of water! One to wet my hair, and 4 to make sure it was rinsed. That will come in handy someday.) There were always people coming and going from his house, and they had several women living with them who had no where else to go. A young nursing student and their 5 year old niece also lived with them. And yet, in the midst of all that, I thought, “Gilbert’s home is a very peaceful place.” Oh, and they had THE MOST WONDERFUL COFFEE ready for us each morning. What else could a person want?

Here’s a couple of shots of us at the San Francisco airport, all bright and shiny, at the beginning of our journey.

My friend Wendy and her son Jason, with their healthy choices of kombucha and coconut water.


Guess what I found?


And at the end of the trip, Wendy and I and the three outstanding young men who worked with us as interpreters and more.


 From left to right: Claudel, me, Wendy, Sander, and Alex.
posted by debby
Categories: Haiti, Missions | 1 Comment

Haiti Trip Overview

Our trip to Haiti was an amazing experience.  I have been home now for several days and my heart and mind are still so full of emotions and excitement, that I am having a difficult time figuring out what to share.  If I told every story and every instance where God showed His graciousness to us, this blog post would be so long that no one would read it!

Our team: Debby, Wendy and Jason, checking our luggage in San Francisco, all fresh and ready for adventure.

Our team: Debby, Wendy and Jason, checking our luggage in San Francisco, all fresh and ready for adventure.

I didn’t know quite what to expect going into this trip, but we had certain things that we did want to accomplish while we were there.  We wanted to meet all of the sponsored children, get updated information and pictures of them and have them write letters to their sponsors.  We also hoped to meet the children who have not yet been sponsored.  We wanted to meet all the teachers and see the school in action, and learn about life in the village.  We also wanted to establish stronger relationships with the people who we are working with on this project, specifically, Gilbert and Claudel and others who work at the school.   Although we did not have time to meet every one of the unsponsored children, we did meet many of them and we accomplished all of the other things on our list and then some!

Claudel took us to all the classrooms so we could meet the teachers and children.

Claudel took us to all the classrooms so we could meet the teachers and children.

We also got to bless the school staff with a luncheon in their honor, small gifts to help them as they teach and care for the children, and a small monetary bonus to show them how much we value and appreciate the work they do, thanks to the generosity of our church family.

The teachers looked through the little gifts we brought them while Debby shared a short message of encouragement from Colossians 3:16,17

The teachers looked through the little gifts we brought them while Debby shared a short message of encouragement from Colossians 3:16,17

We brought three duffle bags and a large suitcase full of shoes and socks for the children.  Even with so many, we sadly ran out of shoes before we ran out of feet to wear them. We do have a few more pairs that we just could not squeeze into our luggage, plus quite a few pairs were donated by Debby’s brother’s church in Texas!  We will get the rest of the shoes to Carrefour Poy as soon as we are able.  We also brought gifts from sponsors to their children & little toys for all the kids.

Debby and Gilmine helping a student find a pair of shoes in our little shoe shop

Debby and Gilmine helping a student find a pair of shoes in our little shoe shop

One of the things that made this trip so amazing is that we had the privilege of seeing so many different aspects of Haiti.  We stayed at Pastor Gilbert’s humble but comfortable home in Port-au-Prince.  We spent several days at the school in Carrefour Poy and one afternoon visiting families in the village, walking past several voodoo temples and seeing a little of what daily life is like for these children.

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We drove through tent cities in Port-au-Prince, both the newer & slightly “cleaner” ones and the original, extremely cramped, dirty & disorganized one.

One of many tent cities in Port-au-Prince

One of many tent cities in Port-au-Prince

Pastor Gilbert took us up into the beautiful lush hills to the south of Port-au-Prince where he said the “big shots” live and showed us a beautiful view looking down on the city and the bay.

Port-au-Prince from above

Port-au-Prince from above

Then we headed back down into the hot, crowded streets of downtown Port-au-Prince where you can still see earthquake damage that has not been cleaned up after 3 years.

Damage from the January 2010 earthquake

Damage from the January 2010 earthquake

We visited street vendors and a regular grocery store called “The Eagle”.   We witnessed a baptism in a river near a little rural village,  and spent an afternoon enjoying the hot sands and clear, blue water at the beach.

A beautiful beach in Haiti

A beautiful beach in Haiti

I feel incredibly blessed to have experienced so much in one week in Haiti and to have the privilege of investing in the lives of these beautiful children.  This overview could not possibly cover everything we did. We will be posting a few other blogs with some more specifics about our trip in the near future.

Until then… “Orevwa!”

Posted by Wendy

Categories: Children, Haiti, Missions, Shoes, Teachers | 3 Comments

Notes for the kids

With a team (which included my husband) scheduled to go to Carrefour Poy to build a roof for the church in early May, I thought that would be a perfect opportunity to invite our sponsors to write notes for the children they are sponsoring.

I also thought it would be a good time to involve the children at our church in the ministry & give them the opportunity to share the love of Christ with others.  Kids from our Sunday School, Childrens’ Church & youth classes all participated by writing letters, Bible verses and drawing pictures to send to Carrefour Poy.  We ended up collecting about 70 letters to send to the children, letting them know we love them and are praying for them.

Here is Claudel passing notes out to the children:

Madocher with his note:

Litane with her note:

Monel & Diega looking at each others notes:

A group of girls reading their notes:

Thank you to everyone who spent time writing notes to the children & praise God for the opportunity to share His love with the kids in Carrefour Poy!

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions | Leave a comment

The Original Bridge

In January of 2010, our family did not have a television.  We heard about the earthquake in Haiti on the radio and then had to wait until people started posting pictures on the internet to see the devastation.   My oldest son, Jason, who was 11 at the time and I sat at the computer looking at pictures and videos with tears in our eyes.  I remember him saying quietly. “I want to go there.”  When I asked him why he wanted to go there he said simply, “I want to play with those kids and make them smile.”

Since it was not feasible at the time to go to Haiti my son decided he wanted to raise money to help them out in some way.  I helped him make jars with signs on them asking people to donate their spare change to the children in Haiti; he put these in several stores in our home town and ended up collecting $235!  In November of 2010 a team from our church went to Haiti with that none shall perish.   Jason sent the money he had collected with them, asking them to use it in some way to help children.

When the team visited the village of Carrefour Poy, they learned that it would be helpful to have a bridge over a little stream that runs near the church and school.  This little stream is the village’s main source of water, but during the rainy season in Haiti, the stream turns into a raging torrent which would make it impossible for the children to cross to get to school.  The money that Jason collected was just enough to purchase all the materials needed to build a bridge over the stream.

Jeremy (Jason’s dad) and Logan of That None Shall Perish ministries with some of the kids of Carrefour Poy standing on the bridge in November of 2011.

Categories: Children, Haiti, Missions | Leave a comment

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