Hope for Haiti
Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Hilltop excitedly announced this past year that we are embarking on a new outreach ministry called “The Haiti Partnership”. It is Hilltop’s vision to partner with a school in Haiti where we can learn from and help one another. Miss Becky traveled to Haiti this past April to visit various schools and determine which school God was leading us to. It is our hope and prayer that we will be able to work with the Haitian school to provide supplies, teacher training, curriculum development, construction projects, etc. to help the Haitian children be able to learn in a conducive environment, while teaching them about the love of Jesus at the same time.
In support of The Haiti Partnership, Hilltop has opened a Haiti Partnership Fund. If you would like to give to this effort, you may do so by clicking the Donate button below. All funds collected will go toward helping to further Hilltop’s mission of reaching a Haitian school for Christ.
“We can’t change the world, but we may be able to change the world for one child,” conclude Becky Chocklette and Bret and Sarah Applequist who recently travelled to Gressier, Haiti, to explore educational partnership opportunities. They visited two schools, an orphanage, and a community youth center. They also met with Reach Global representatives and now are forever changed by the people they met and the conditions they saw. Bret and Sarah are elementary school teachers, and Becky is the director of Hilltop Christian Nursery School.
Bret said that although all of them had read about Haiti and thought they were prepared to go there, they really weren’t prepared for the devastation they encountered. “I have no frame of reference to tell anyone what it’s like. There is nothing to compare it to.”
The following is an article written by Becky Chocklette after her first visit to Haiti, and New Horizons, the school chosen for the Haiti Partnership.
“In the 2 hours it took to go 10 miles from the airport to the Reach Global site, they witnessed the incredible destruction caused by the earthquake in 2010. Instead of homes, they saw thousands of tents and piles and piles of rubble and trash with children climbing all over them and animals roaming everywhere.
The problems seem overwhelming, but Sarah said they saw “beauty in the ashes” exemplified in the flowers growing out of the rubble and in the smiles and joy of the children. At the New Horizons orphanage/school, they met the 38 children who were excited to sing and perform “Our God is an Awesome God” and “This is the Day” in both English and Creole for the American guests.
Becky said, “They had almost nothing, but they shared all they had with us and treated us like royalty.” The teachers had only a few books, very few supplies, dirty water, and meager food. This orphanage is funded and run by a Haitian couple, known as Pastor and Madame Christian, who had dramatic conversions to Christianity from a background of voodoo and drugs and alcohol. Becky, Sarah, and Bret said they definitely felt the Lord guiding them to help this orphanage.
So perhaps the world will be changed for one of these children or maybe for Billy their translator. At age 24, Billy hasn’t been able to graduate from high school because he needs to pass the necessary exams. The Haitian school system has 14 grades and everything is based on rote memorization. Billy admits his brain “doesn’t work that way.”
In Haiti, it is not unusual to have older children in younger grades because families must pay for school each year. If they don’t have the money, then the child doesn’t go to school that year. So the illiteracy and drop out rates are very high.
Becky said, “We feel that if we can get one child out of the vicious cycle, that’s all the Lord is asking us to do.”
She also said what became very evident to them through their talks with staff from Reach Global is that Americans cannot just come in with supplies and gifts and “fix” Haiti. Relationships need to be established, trust built, and training in new methods of teaching and learning.
A team will return to New Horizons in October and then quarterly to build relationships through English classes, sports camps, lessons in hygiene, and food! In talks with Reach Global missionaries, a suggestion was to have a hot dog lunch at the culmination of a week of English and soccer camp. Becky chuckles that the Lord has been preparing her for such a time as this because she has been organizing hot dog lunches for Hilltop for years!
It is often said that when a person goes on a mission trip, his or her life will be forever changed. Becky admits that she wasn’t thinking that before she went, but when she returned, she looked at EVERYTHING differently. She said, “One week in Haiti changed my life for the 51 weeks I am here in the U.S.””