Heartline in Haiti
Earlier this month, Jamie and I (sans kiddos), traveled to Haiti with our awesome new teammates, Neal and Danielle Carlstrom and their wee one, Jolie. Though our time was short in Haiti (Tuesday morning to Friday), our time was rich– full of learning, conversation, encouragement, ideas, prayers and oh so much more. The major goal of our trip was to visit the Heartline Maternity Center, one of the maternity center’s that we’re modeling our maternity center after in Madagascar. (To read the back story of why we hopped over to Haiti, click here).
As such, most of our time was spent at the Heartline Maternity Center, participating in their prenatal, postpartum and family planning days. During this time, I rummaged through their cabinets, opening drawers, taking mental note of their supplies, getting ideas and discovering new resources as well as taking pictures and video to jog my memory later and to show our staff in Madagascar. It.was.good! However the Maternity Center is just a portion of the larger ministry of Heartline.
And to be honest, this was the most inspirational ministry we’ve ever seen! John and Beth McHoul have been in Haiti for 20+ years… their ministry is a direct reflection of this. They have flexed, they have followed where God has lead, even when it has looked different than their origin plans or desires. They have partnered in life and ministry with Haitians, the have heard and seen the needs, and as God has directed, they have been faithful to walk through the doors that He has opened. As a result, they not only have a maternity center, they have a women’s program teaching literacy, sewing, cooking and beading. They have a men’s program teaching literacy, job-employable skills and baking. In fact, the “dough boys” opened their bakery just two weeks ago. They have Haitian Creations– a women’s artisan program that makes beautiful handcrafted items that are exported to the USA. They have a wonderful guesthouse and oodles of staff, and yet it all started with a children’s home and adoptions 20+ years ago!
Perhaps the best part of being in Haiti was our conversations. Conversations with our new teammates as we talked and dreamt together– God affirmed our partnership in so many ways during our travel together. And conversations with John and Beth McHoul– seasoned veterans on the field. Even though our islands and ministries are on opposite sides of the world– it was wonderful to be with folks who love serving God overseas– people who have a genuine heart for the poor, the disenfranchised and those without a voice and as we talked and prayed together– we understood and shared each other’s heart without having to say a word.
Missionaries tend to be a different breed– no better than any other, no worse than any other, just different. People often times don’t “get” us and the life that we live. In fact, someone even said to us just 2 months ago… “so how long are you going to be in Madagascar and when are you coming back to the States and back into real life?” Hmm, hmm…. this is our real life! And so, with all that said, it was good to be with other missionary folks and to “get each other”.