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This is what hope looks like

This is what hope looks like

Ruth Ann, David and his mom (Regina), and Ruth Ann's daughter, Emma

Written by Ruth Ann Pinnick, Child Sponsor and Mission Trip Participant

There have been many times child sponsorship has come up in our home. We have considered it but backed away because we were just unsure about how it worked and quite honestly skeptical of the whole process. Is this really helping? Does that child really know and feel our love for them? Do they even see the program benefit of the donation that is being given? Those are all questions that came up and we didn’t have answers for initially.  

As we were preparing to leave for our first trip to Haiti, I kept hearing team members talk about their sponsor kids and how excited they were to see them again. They knew them by name and shared details about about their lives and stories. I saw that they weren’t just random pictures on the fridge, these were children and families that were seen and known. They loved them so well.

I thought to myself, “Okay if I am going to sponsor a child, that is how I want it to be.”

After asking about the process of finding a child, we were directed to Lifeline’s website to search through the hundreds of children eligible for sponsorship. Our prayer was that the Lord would give us direction and a peace about which child he wanted us to build a relationship with. My family and I looked through the website for a couple weeks... and we were getting the feeling that it was not the right time...yet.

The Lord kept telling me to wait. I wasn’t sure why because our trip was quickly approaching and I had hoped to have it set up so that contact could be made with the family and we could meet them during our time there.

Three days before we were to leave, I received an email from our trip leader saying, “I wasn’t sure if you had decided on what you were doing regarding sponsorship, but I felt I needed to share with you about this little boy who was just enrolled in the program.”

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God provides abundantly! Not only did He provide Ruth Ann as David's sponsor,
but the mission trip team included health care professionals who David needed to see!  

The minute I saw him in the pictures and videos she sent, I knew he was the one God had planned for us!! Immediately, I said “YES!!! How do we do this?”

So I was put in touch with Lifeline’s sponsorship staff and they told me a little more about David Israel’s story. Just that week his mother had brought him to the mission at Grand Goave desperately needing help and resources. David was born with more challenges than the average Haitian child. He has no arms and one of his legs is much shorter than the other, making him unable to walk.

He was put into the infant nutrition program so they could receive the resources that they needed. His family lives a couple towns away from Grand Goave, which makes getting to the mission a challenge. It is about a 45 minute drive, or a very long trip on foot.

The sponsorship team informed me that when sponsors are matched so close to a mission team's trip, it often times is too difficult for a family to come and meet their sponsors, especially when they do not live locally.

BUT GOD! He knew all of this was going to happen exactly at this time. He knew He would be connecting us with this family. He knew the team that we were bringing to Haiti would include a pediatrician, physical therapist, and other medical professionals that David needed to see.

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Because of this, the first day his mother came to the mission and David was put in the program, arrangements were made for them to return the following week to be seen and evaluated in the clinic. This meant that we would also get a chance to meet him and get to know him in person while we were there!

I could not have been more excited and grateful that the Lord had this arranged way before we even knew who David Israel was! We were given his shoe and clothing sizes and had so much fun shopping for gifts we could bring to give him and share the love of God with him in that way!

On the first day of clinic, his beautiful mother, Regina, made the trip to Grand Goave with him to have him seen in the clinic. I was so blessed to be there and experience that with them.

I observed some pretty amazing things about David and his mother. David was a momma’s boy! I have three boys of my own so I could see that bond with them was so special. She takes very good care of him, and loves him so much! It took him a little longer than some kids to warm up to us but once he did, oh how precious it was! His dimpled smile just lights up a room.

Regina pushes him to try new things. She was teaching him ways to use his toes on his longer leg to feed himself. Talk about being resilient! I am so thankful that Regina chose life for her son. In Haitian culture, I don’t think that many people with disabilities, especially as severe as David’s are given a chance to live, let alone thrive! With so many voodoo practices, often times this is looked at as a curse and they are killed or left to die. Praise God that this was not the case with David’s family!

The Lord has an amazing plan and purpose for this beautiful child of His and I cannot wait to watch it unfold! I kept telling her that God is going to do BIG things with David!!

I asked Regina what we could be praying about for them and one of the main things she shared was that their family does not have a home of their own. The six of them, David’s parents and 3 siblings, live in one room that they are renting.

I told her that I would be praying for God to provide them with a home that would meet their needs and that they would continue to trust Him for that!

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The first day Regina came to the mission with David she very distraught and overwhelmed.
David also was very afraid. But today they are filled with hope!

On Thursday they returned and he was wearing the outfit and shoes that we had given him Monday. It was such a blessing to see that they fit perfectly and he couldn’t have looked any cuter! It didn’t take him as long to warm up to us, and pretty soon we were on the ground with him and he was scooting along kicking the soccer ball and having a great time!

David’s smile and laughter fills everyone with so much joy and happiness! Regina also seemed to be at ease with us and I could tell, even with the language barrier, that she felt the love that we had for her and David.

I asked how she came to know about Lifeline since they did not live in Grand Goave. She said that a few weeks before that (most likely the same time the Lord had laid it on our hearts to sponsor a child) she was on a taptap (a taxi) in Leogane with David. A stranger mentioned Lifeline to them and told her to go there for help.

Later that night, Christi, Lifeline’s Missionary Development Director, shared something with me that will forever be etched in my mind. She said that the first day Regina came to the mission with David she very distraught and overwhelmed. David also was very afraid and initially would not warm up to anyone. Regina had a sense of relief after being put into the program, but she still had some uncertainty about it.

After witnessing the time we spent with them, and how we connected in a very special way, Christi said that she saw a totally different woman. Regina’s demeanor had gone from one of feeling frightened and alone to feeling loved and cared for in a real way. The brightness in her eyes and her smile was pure joy.

Christi’s exact words to me that night were, “This is what hope looks like!”

I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be used by God to provide hope and joy to this family. Our hearts are forever changed!

You, too, can come alongside a child to give hope and tangibly express Jesus' love!

There is child in Haiti, Honduras, or Ecuador who is waiting for a sponsor. You can find your child and begin sharing hope with them today!

Sponsor a child today! >>