This is our third installment of the “Did you know” series. If you missed the first two, you can find them at by following these links: In Part 1 we saw that the HOH is not an orphanage, and we looked at the medical and physical or emotional healing side of the HOH. In Part 2 we saw that the HOH does provide a long-term home for some kids and youth who have extenuating circumstances that does not allow them to return to their homes.
In this third part, we will look at the community outreach part of the HOH ministry. The HOH has been located in the village of La Pointe des Palmistes, outside of the town of Port-de-Paix since 1956. That means this year makes 65 years that the HOH has been part of this community. This third aspect of our ministry has taken on different forms over the years. But this is how it looks for us now.
One way we impact our local community is by providing direct jobs for 15 people, and indirect work for about 10 more (these are shared staff with our partnering hospital). Most of our staff have been with the HOH for 10 or more years, 6 of them started in the 80’s! For many of them, the HOH is their life’s work and they, in turn, have given so much to ensure that our kids are well cared for. For a number of them, their kids grew up alongside the HOH kids and they feel as much “our kids” as any of the others.
Another way we have been able to build into our community around us is through outreach programs to the youth and kids. Pre-Covid-19 days, our yard had a revolving gate. Someone from the community was constantly coming or going. Dropping by to play with our kids, or to take part in the events going on.
They take part in our family devotions in the evenings and even attend our church services on Sunday. Some of these are kids who wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend a regular church, but are able to come be with us. We try to keep an open door policy, especially for kids who need a safe place to land when things in their world are chaotic. Some of these kids become like our own and for visitors it’s often difficult to tell who is who!
Another draw to spending some time with us is the prospect of a warm meal when there isn’t one to be had in their homes. Not every Haitian home is able to cook a meal each day. Some days when these kids show up at the HOH, they haven’t had anything to eat, nor do they have any hope of a meal when they return home. As we are able to, and as the kids and their families come to trust us, these kids will slide right into the table with our kids on those days when it’s needed.
For some of our neighborhood kids, it’s a bit more intentional than that. With friends and family, sometimes they need a place for their kids to hang out after school or on vacation days while the parents are at work. For others, they come from homes that do not have electricity so they come to our yard for our lights in the evening so they can study and do homework. And for some, they just need a place to de-stress. In the evenings, especially on the weekends, there is always a game of something going on where they can join in. Basketball is a favorite, then there is also “little goal” soccer (played with a little goal, because we only have a little yard), card games and dominoes are always enjoyed as is a movie or soccer game on the TV.
No matter what the reason is that brings our neighborhood kids to our home, we love having the chance to be a part of their lives and have an influence on their lives. These kids learn right alongside of our kids the love that the Father has for them and the hope that comes through faith in Jesus.
One of the biggest community outreach programs we have is our annual summer camp program. Of course we had to miss it last year, and 2021 is still a question, but generally we have a big week of Day Camp open to as many of the community kids as we can fit into our yard. Generally there are around 300 in attendance. It is a week of fun, games and food. But it is also a week of Bible lessons, life lessons and activities to share the Gospel with them and help them grow in their walk with Jesus. It is by far the highlight of the year!
So, you can see, the ministry of the HOH has and continues to touch many lives. Today, there are HOH alumni in many different places around the world. Many of our kids plus those from the community, who have been touched by the HOH, have grown up and moved on. We don’t get to hear back from a lot of them, but we do keep in touch with some and it is so neat to watch them go through their own journeys of life, taking with them the things they have learned from the HOH. In their own ways, and in their own corners of the world, they continue to spread the message of Hope in Jesus!
This work is only possible because our Father is so faithful in providing us with what we need to keep the work going. And this is what you are part of. There are so many of you, who over the years have partnered together with us to make the ministry of the HOH succeed. You listen to and respond to our Father by giving to our financial needs. You spend time praying for us when we share requests with you. You send us things when you hear we have a specific need. You encourage those of us who are on the ground working. You, our partners, are such an important part of the equation, and we want you to know how much we appreciate everything you do for us. Together, we are blessed to have the chance to bring healing, hope and life to many children and youth in our corner of Haiti.