With Gratitude

By Eric Helgemo
General Director, Three Angels Children’s Relief
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

 

When I’m driving my truck around Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where I serve as the director of the Three Angels mission, I often keep my GPS handy to help navigate.  Especially when I’m driving out into the more remote areas.

But when I visit Kenilworth Union Church on Sunday, September 10, I won’t need a GPS, all I have to do is locate the sanctuary in town where there are so many caring generous hearts, and I will know I found the right place.

Kenilworth Union has been such loving supporters of Three Angels Children’s Relief, and I really am looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones!

For you who’ve traveled to Haiti, you know the experience makes a lasting impact on you, and the Haitian people never leave your heart.  My wife Christine and I (with our two sons and daughter, all school age) moved to Port-au-Prince six years ago this October to oversee Three Angels, and we never could have predicted the amazing journey that lay ahead of us.

Since we arrived, we have overseen construction projects that doubled the classroom size of our K–6 school, built a 3,000 square foot community center (where Kenilworth Union’s name is shown on a big thank-you plaque), and a new kitchen that provides nourishing meals for the 300 students and 14 orphans daily.  For many of the school kids it is their only nourishing meal of the day.

With your support, we also streamlined the best practices of nanny care in the orphanage, updated the school library, and helped expand a medical clinic that serves hundreds of community members in need.

There have been unexpected adventures along the way as well.  I’ve seen the terrible recent pictures of Hurricane Harvey that ripped through Texas.  It was barely a year ago that Hurricane Matthew did a similar path of destruction in the western provinces of Haiti.  Kenilworth Union members again stepped up and donated valuable support for our efforts with hurricane relief.

With your aid, Christine and I loaded up a truck and trailer, signed up several Haitian helpers, and we headed to the remote storm-ravaged town of Dame Marie, where we built two water filtration centers to provide critical drinking water for thousands of storm victims who were living on the brink.

Hurricane Matthew proved to us that God’s call to serve happens sometimes inside our walls, and sometimes far away.

Since the terrible January 2010 earthquake that leveled thousands of buildings and killed over 200,000 Haitians, things have improved visibly.  Business conditions have improved and travel has ticked upward.  But Haiti continues to live mired in poverty and illiteracy—the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

As Jesus said, whatever you do unto the least of my brethren, you also do unto me.   We strive to do this at Three Angels through education, health care, and loving orphan care, with support from Kenilworth Union Church and from many other generous organizations and individuals.

I am really looking forward to seeing you at worship this Sunday and in the Culbertson Room following the 10:30 a.m. worship to give an update on news in Haiti and at Three Angels!