We have been working step by step on the school in Charye for a few years now. Growing from a small literacy school of 36 kids to a K-5 of 300 kids has been a pretty amazing journey. Along the way we have found that there are a lot of needs, in order to provide a place for kids to learn. From books, to teachers, to shoes…. but especially a facility. Teaching this many kids requires a proper place for them to learn, complete with desks and chalkboards and a roof over their head to keep them out of the hot Haiti sun. Every step of the way, we have seen God come through by bringing people into our lives just when we needed them. The money has always shown up when a new building project was needed. We have always had just enough, sometimes down to the very penny. When we started planning for what was next, we again asked God to show us what He needed us to do. We trusted He would provide a way. The challenge was that there were multiple major needs. More classroom space is needed for the growing school, more teachers to teach the kids now and in the future and a playground. All of those needs add up to a lot of money for us to find.
The school addition was projected to cost $6,800, a modest cost for two classrooms, a cafeteria and storage space to protect books and other essentials, yet still daunting for us. The teachers are being paid through sales at Made to Love and several great sponsors that help fund this program for $25 a month. Adding more classrooms and teachers will cost more, making it harder to take on special projects. Then, there was this big dream of a playground. Picturing these kids playing and having fun makes me tear up just writing the words. Of all the needs, this would be the most expensive at $10,000 for the smallest playset with installation. This seems the least important when compared to educating kids and providing jobs to teachers. Our mission is that, education and jobs. Playgrounds are extras that would take a back seat. In February, we had this big fundraising event called, “Shoot for the Moon.” We wanted to provide some added support to our wonderful missionary Dr. Kelly Crowdis who does so much for us, but receives little funding from us. All our funds usually go to the schools and artisans. We also had this goal of raising some funds to help with a special project. We didn’t know if it would be classrooms or the playground. We were leaving that up to God to decide where it should go. On this special night in February, 237 of our friends showed up and helped us to raise $8,100. We were able to gift Kelly with $2,600 and had a great start towards the special project with $5,500.
We still did not completely know what we were going to do, but God was working all of that out. Over the last few years, we have watched an organization based in Cincinnati do amazing things in Haiti. They are call Restavek Freedom (www.restavekfreedom.org). They work to end child slavery in Haiti. We have wanted to reach out to them for years, but something always got in the way. We felt like they would be a perfect fit to speak at our event about what they do in Haiti. Dr. Kelly works closely with their founder Joan Conn in Haiti, especially recently after Hurricane Matthew. Kelly urged us to reach out and make contact with Joan. She graciously said she would attend, it actually fell in a window between trips to Haiti. We were excited just to meet her and get to know her and Restavek. Her being there helped to bring God’s plan all together. Joan reached out to a church in Pennsylvania that Restavek works with and she vouched for Made to Love and the work we were doing. They contacted us for a little information and next thing we know, Life Church in Allentown, PA (www.lifechurchlv.org) is committing to buy us a large playground from Kids Around the World (www.kidsaroundtheworld.com). This will be the single largest donation Made to Love has ever received to date. The playground will cost between $15,000-$20,000 with purchase and shipping. From a Church we did not know, through a friend we had just made.
That is all God.
We had even contacted Kids Around the World previously to get an idea on prices for a project like this. We thought at best, we could try to get a medium sized playground due to the costs, but we were afraid it wouldn’t be large enough or durable enough for the kids. In the coming weeks and months, we will be working with Life Church and Kelly to plan a time in the fall to install this for the kids. In the meantime, due to this church and their amazing gift, we sent the $5,500 that was raised (plus $100 more we received randomly) to Kelly so Odilon and the others in Charye can start the work on the school now.
No need to wait for God to show us what that money is meant for, He already did!