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Walking my sponsored child down the aisle

Walking my sponsored child down the aisle

Written by Dan Eastman, Child Sponsor and Mission Trip Participant

As we waited to enter the church, I sat with the bride. I looked at her hand and it brought me back to the day 23 years ago when that same little hand grabbed mine on a mission trip…

I made my first mission trip to Haiti 23 years ago. I was working with a mission team that was doing electrical and concrete work in the clinic area. After lunch one day, a friend and I took a short walk around Grand Goave. We came upon a group of little girls playing in the street. They started crying and yelling, "blanc! blanc!" Then they ran away.

The next day, one of the little girls ran up to me, grabbed hold of my pants leg and would not let go. She had a look of grim determination on her face. I did not know it then, but that was the beginning of one of the most amazing blessings of my life!

I found out that this little girl's name was Gracienne. Her parents had passed away and as a result, she was an orphan, living with a foster family from the local church.

Dan with sponsored child 23 years ago

My wife Mary and I started sponsoring Gracienne, and continued to do so through secondary school. After that, we were still able to stay in contact with her through Lifeline.

Three years ago, I returned to Haiti and was greeted by a beautiful young lady who called me Papa. As we talked, I realized that Gracienne was now a strong woman with a deep faith in God. This young lady prayed for me every day!

Like a lot of things in my life, I started making plans for Gracienne. I wanted to know how I could help. It took me a while to realize that I was getting in God's way! He had started something in Gracienne before I had ever met her and He would complete it. God had everything under control!

In the last two years, I was able to meet and get to know Gracienne's boyfriend, Lionel. What a joy it was to pray with them and to see how God was preparing them to serve Him.

I found out that Lionel had formerly asked Gracienne to marry him and she said YES! Every bone in my body wanted to be present at the wedding, and by God’s grace he opened the door for me to go!

When I arrived in Grand Goave, Gracienne greeted me with a warm hug and called me dad. She also asked me to walk her down the aisle.

Dan walking daughter down the aisle

As we waited to enter the church, I sat with Gracienne. She was nervous, so I held her hand. As I looked at her hand, it brought me back to the day 23 years ago when that same little hand grabbed mine on a mission trip and would not let go.

We were both right where God wanted us. It was His plan that brought us there. What a joy!

I will remember this wedding for the rest of my life! The music, the dancing, the smiles and the blessings...I will remember it all! 

If you are thinking of making your first mission trip and are not sure if it is something you can do, remember all you have to do is pray, show up, and get out of His way. God just might have a blessing waiting for you that will last the rest of your life!

Go meet your sponsored child! 

Want to see the beautiful smile of your sponsored child in person? Join a mission trip and make that a reality! 
Learn more.