Monday, February 06, 2006

A Complete Mission - Water Purification units brought into Haiti and Adopted children brought out - Making both flights count!!

Titusville, Florida--February 6, 2006-- Posted by Cherie Hurston

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Introduction: This story is about a specific child, Stephen Clark. However, throughout this story, there are various pictures of children shown. We have chosen to show pictures of many children because Stephen's story is the same as many other children who live in Haiti as well as around the world.

Little Stephen Clark was burned. His hand had blisters and there was a burn on his head. He needed medical attention. His adoptive father is a doctor and he was eagerly awaiting the adoption to get the child to safety. He could not. In Haiti it is neither easy or quick to get a child adopted. With prayerful hearts, we left to go into the heart of Haiti.

The violence in Haiti is still raging and everyday there are more reports of people being kidnapped and killed. As the Air Mobile Ministries (AMM) team landed, the sweltering heat was filled with the deceptively calm rhythm of soothing Caribbean music. Our eyes shifted to the fences surrounding the airport and wondered who might be watching us exit the plane.

In the 26 years that AMM has been working with the precious people of Haiti, we have seen many instances of extreme violence. It almost always has its roots in the political world. But the brutality of it bleeds all the way down to the peasants on the mountainsides.

Everything from lack of basic food and water, to gun fights that riddle the shanty towns of Port-au-Prince, destroys the lives of the inhabitants of this beautiful island.

So.... here we found ourselves, staring down the barrel of oppression and poverty solely for the purpose of helping these people- even in the immediate face of danger.

For the last several years, AMM has worked with a courageous woman named Barbara Walker. Our lives and our work for Christ will forever be intertwined. She is responsible for helping multitudes of women and children all over Haiti and currently runs a village in the heart of Port-au-Prince.
She finds homes all over the world for orphaned children and then pushes the adoptions through the incredibly slow and corrupt legal system of Haiti. Using a legal team of over 30 lawyers and an equal amount of aids, she has already established over 600 children with their new adoptive families. She does all this while living in the middle of the violence, where frequently her work and even her life are challenged. And now she was fighting to get little Stephen out before it was too late.

Barbara is also AMM's Caribbean representative for distributing the Vortex Voyagers.

She travels around the island, establishing where to deploy the life-saving water purifiers. Our criteria is simple: You must be actively serving the community around you, as well as agreeing to not sell the machine or the water. This is a labor intensive job, and AMM is so grateful to Barbara for doing it.

While in the city of Port-au-Prince, we are constantly aware of the danger. As we drive down the streets we will suddenly be stopped by men with guns. So far, for the AMM team, it has only been for the purpose of directing us away from the violence. Then, three months ago, Barbara met men with guns who had other intentions and she was kidnapped. She was quickly released through the mighty hand of God. So over the next several days, we traveled all along the southern coast of Haiti where we were outside of the city. We went to the town of Petit Goave where we found many schools that were unable to provide the children with safe water.

Daily, kids that attended the school were forced to choose between highly polluted water or going thirsty. Either choice was deadly. As I walked around the crumbling and dirty cinderblock school houses, I was amazed by the beauty and charm of the stories written on the children's faces. The principal had said that the children were sick all the time with diarrhea and frequently they even died from many of the most common and preventable water-borne illnesses. It is such a blessing and relief to know that due to the generosity of some, many will now live and have a chance at a real life.

We headed up into the mountains to visit an orphanage that Barbara is working with. They received a Vortex Voyager TM almost a year ago and we checked on the status of the mechanisms. The unit was still running great and the babies looked healthy and clean. It was a huge relief. Previously many of the children had been habitually ill unless the orphanage had scrapped together hundreds of dollars every month to buy bottled water.

Next, we continued up the mountain to a ministry entitled "God's Littlest Angels". Here there are more than 60 infants and 90 toddlers.
These children had been dropped off here by desperate mothers who were unable to provide for them due to extreme poverty. Currently, all but 30 of these children have already found adoptive homes but have been unable to finalize the process.

In the meantime, they live in this home and it takes an exuberant amount of money to keep it up and running. They were spending thousands of dollars a year to keep up with the demand for purified water. That money can now be spent on many of the other pressing needs. The Vortex Voyager TM has forever changed the economic structure of these children's lives.

This was wonderful to be able to help so many but my heart was breaking for Stephen. Several months earlier Stephen became ill with pnemonia. He was close to death and if his adoptive father hadn't come to help him, he might not have made it through the sickness. His adoptive family wanted him so badly. They had fasted ALL meat, bread, sugar, and soda for the last year and they would continue until they got Stephen home. They had written letters to the government begging them to consider expediting the adoption and still the paperwork was not finalized.

Barbara said she wasn’t going to give up. The child had to get to his new home. We sent out every worker and lawyer that Barbara had at her disposal. We prayed and believed. We paid again for the papers to be pushed through. We had a departure date of the 21st of January and we knew that had to make it.

That night as we sat down to discuss our work, it was with hopeful hearts. We knew we needed a miracle, but it was small work for God. He had done it before and He would do it now. And just as we said this the telephone rang! It was one of Barbara’s workers! Before we went to bed that evening the passport and visa were in our hands.

As I boarded the plane bound for my comfortable office and world, my world that is filled with food, clothes, and housing, I did it with a baby in my arms! We were beaming with pride as we walked triumphantly with Stephen Clark to the area where we met his family. We immediately went to Steak and Shake and got the largest burger, soda, fries and milkshake that they had. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

AMM is planning another trip into Haiti as soon as possible. We are not going to announce the date in advance due to the
violence. We know that God will guide us through safely.


Cherie Hurston
Air Mobile Mission Specialist