Heartbreaking and Beautiful

by Natalie Heimann

Families who are existing on $1 a day of income. A water supply that can turn a bath into a breeding ground for serious illness. Child slaves. A deforested rain forest. These are some of the heartbreaking images that we observed during our immersion trip to Haiti earlier this year. 
Community. Pride in success. Sacrificial love. Radical hospitality. Hope. These were the overwhelmingly beautiful images we witnessed on that very same trip.

October is Global Missions month, and during this time, Epiphany will focus on telling the stories of our global mission partner, the Haitian Timoun Foundation, or HTF. This weekend in worship at the Far Hills Campus, we will welcome HTF’s director Erin Murphy, as well as Haitian partnership director Maya Fon-Rose during our worship services, with a question-and-answer session to follow the 10:15 a.m. service. They will share the stories and mission of HTF, which is a dynamic grass-roots movement whose mission is to create a future of hope, sustainability, and dignity for the children of Haiti by identifying visionary Haitian-led organizations in the areas of education, poverty eradication, and leadership development.

This past February, my husband, Carlin, and I revisited the trip Pastor Jay took to Haiti in February of 2015. We were able to witness the work God is doing through the people and Haitian-run agencies that Epiphany supports through our gifts to HTF. Most importantly, though, we walked alongside and built relationships with those whom HTF serves. Now we need YOU to join us and see God in action in Haiti.

Pastor Jay, Carlin and I will return to Haiti February 18-24, and we want to share the immersion trip with our Epiphany brothers and sisters in Christ. I’ve had many people ask what we DO while we are in Haiti – what kind of mission trip is this? The answer, quite simply, is that we are PRESENT. We show the Haitians that we are serving through HTF that we are walking with them in their struggles and in their work to make a better life for them and their children. “Yes, but what do you BUILD?” I have been asked. We build relationships. We play with the children at Wings of Hope, a home for children and young adults who have disabilities, and who have been abandoned by their families and society. We hold the babies of women who proudly show the progress they have made in improving their home and their successes towards building a sustainable income with which to care for their family. With college students, we discuss their dreams and plans to return to their villages and cities to enact change. These students would not be able to afford to attend university without the assistance of the Haitian Education Leadership Program (HELP), which is another agency that HTF supports. What do we DO while in Haiti? We show people that we love them, that we see their value, and that they matter.

Come learn more about HTF and listen to Maya’s story this Sunday. In addition, you will hear more in the coming weeks about our shared mission with HTF. Please consider attending a Flag Room Chat on October 17 at noon, at which Carlin and I will share pictures and speak about the heartbreaking challenges, but beautiful hearts of the people of Haiti.

For more information about HTF and to learn how you can be involved in this mission, please contact Pastor Jay or Natalie Heimann.


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