Imagine having to protect a little over thirty children at any given time in a situation—that is the epitome of off-the-grid living. That is the predicament Jan Ross, Dave Young, and others from the Heart of God Ministry Haiti find themselves in on a regular basis.
Unstable electricity, little to no clean running water, low food supplies, and a complete lack of infrastructure characterize the small orphanage run by the Heart of God Haiti group. Established in 2008, the organization has worked tirelessly to spread the word of God while caring for the basic needs of orphaned children under the direction of Jan Ross, President of Heart of God International Ministries and Dave Young, Executive Director of Heart of God Haiti.
Heart of God Ministry International began as a women’s charity known as Women of Passions. Before long, this organization felt the calling from God to expand their organization to include an international calling; they changed their name to Heart of God International Ministries. Over the years, they have expanded to include Heart of God ministry organizations in Uganda (now known as Heart of God Africa), India, Haiti, Israel, and Soldiers Bible Ministry.
After his second Army Reserves mobilization, Dave Young was sent to Haiti for six weeks to prepare for his time in Afghanistan. Once there, he became deeply involved in his work and was asked to remain there for a year. During his weekend off time, he became connected with a Haitian orphanage and developed a true heart for serving in Haiti. Once he returned to America, he felt a calling to continue supporting the area. His business began supporting a Christian day school. But one horrific day in 2010 changed everything for their school. The devastating earthquake that hit the region destroyed the school, and they lost forty children and some of their workers. A local minister was able to keep together the surviving children and staff and move them to an internally displaced persons camp. Through the support of Solutions for Science, a power unit was sent to the group that had moved again and was able to keep a reverse osmosis system running, along with other minor power. This power unit kept the small group and others in the surrounding area alive as a wave of cholera swept through Port au Prince.
Although the earthquake heightened the poverty and devastation, Haiti was already positioned as the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. The lack of infrastructure, low amounts of food, and lack of skilled trades have made Haiti a hotbed of political unrest, kidnappings, gang wars, and child slavery rings. The damage from the earthquake simply increased the safety and security concerns, as well as the poverty levels. Once the security became too much of a concern in the Port Au Prince area, the group of children and the adults working with them moved again to the mountain area. There God blessed them with an American missionary named Scott who lives with the children and serves as one of the primary caretakers. He gives all of his time to push the message of God out to those around him and is working to live a Christ-like example. His daily overhead is $50 a day. This does not include a salary, for Scott does not take one; he serves to meet God’s calling. It simply covers his room and board, and the ministry has seen incredible things since he came on board.
The beauty of the Heart of God Haiti ministry is that it not only provides the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of a small group of children, but it is working to create a culture of God in the country from the ground up. Imagine the opportunities that can arise when children are discipled step-by-step in the ways of the Lord. As they grow, grounded in the faith of God, they become adults who may have the power to turn the tide of their own governments. This is epitome of Christian evangelism.
One of the difficulties the Heart of God Haiti ministry currently faces though the incompatibility of providing for the children while trying to meet the demands of the government. Currently, the orphanage has no official certificate. They have the authority to house the children and care for them, but without the certificate, they cannot receive additional aide from non-governmental organizations such as World Vision. Without support systems though, it makes it difficult to receive funds to build the infrastructures such as the ability to have hot and cold water and electricity that will enable them to become certified.
At the heart of the organization is the thirty-four children housed in the compound. The primary goal of the ministry is to provide for their physical well being while addressing their emotional and spiritual needs as well. Additionally, Heart of God Haiti wants to ensure these children are equipped with the beginnings of skills and trades that can support them once they age out of the system at the age of thirteen.
Off the Grid Network listeners have been amazingly supportive of Heart of God Haiti, a fact that Dave Young regularly praises. A phenomenal aspect of the organization is that 100 percent of donated funds go directly to supporting the ministry and is used to glorify God and help people receive the gift of Christ. Although the organization works to minimize any sort of administration and overhead, minor costs do occur. Their goal is locate a vehicle for their missionary, as well as to build him a small apartment to live in with the additional space to house some individuals as they travel to the orphanage. Additional support is always needed, particularly in the three following ways.
1) Prayer – There are so many pressures from the outside that can easily cause the missionaries, other workers, and additional supporters to give up. Prayer is needed on a daily basis to strengthen their resolve and spirits and to provide general support. Satan is alive and well in the area and is working hard to destroy any foothold God and His followers may establish; we need to ensure this does not happen by supporting them through prayer.
2) Sponsorship Program – For $1 a day, you can sponsor a child in the orphanage. You can visit the Heart of God Haiti webpage and look at the pictures of the children, specifically choosing which child you would like to sponsor. Your donation will provide two meals and day and other necessities the child needs.
3) Volunteer – Help is needed year round at the compound. Activities ranging from running a vacation Bible school for the children to constructing buildings and providing medical and dental care are a constant necessity. To volunteer, visit the webpage as well.
Understanding life in Haiti is the ultimate mindset of life off the grid. Imagining how you would handle the situations if it were your children or grandchildren or if you and your family were caught in a similar situation allows you to think through and mentally prepare yourself. Even if you do nothing more than simply imagine and mentally prepare, you are still able to see how this situation can influence your preparations for the future.
For more information on the ministry, visit their webpage at http://heartofgodhaiti.org/
©2012 Off the Grid News