During my recent trip to Haiti, I had the privilege of spending a breezy morning at Bethsaide Children’s Center in the seaside town of Jacmel. At Bethsaide, the love of Christ is palpable. This Cross Catholic-supported project provides a temporary home for seven girls from troubled, desperately poor families. In an area decimated by rising crime rates and the January 2010 earthquake, the center is an oasis of God’s peace for vulnerable children and youth.
The girls were all smiles and laughter as they showed me around their rooms, garden and excitedly told me about their daily routines. At the home, each girl is provided with an education, nutritious meals, a solid Catholic foundation, and a loving support system. But Bethsaide’s compassionate president Nirva Desdunes not only ministers to the children, but also extends material and spiritual support to their parents. She believes that helping families will ensure sustainability and true community transformation. Her ultimate goal is to restore the family unit and establish moral homes as the foundation for future generations.
The girls of Bethsaide ready for a day at school. (Iverose is pictured fourth from left with the white ribbons)
There are so many wonderful facets of Bethsaide’s ministry, but instead of hearing it from me, I want you to read about the impact you’re helping us have on one of the precious girls I met during my visit:
Hello, my name is Iverose Mettulles. I am 13 years old and in sixth grade. Before coming to Bethsaide, my mother had a hard time paying for me and my four siblings to go to school. My grandmother is sick and all of our money goes to taking care of her illness. My mother could not take care of all five children. But by the grace of Jesus, she found this home to take care of me. I am very happy to be in this beautiful place that Jesus has brought me. I raise my hands up to the sky and thank him very much for bringing me here.
I like living at Bethsaide. I love what they are teaching me and I love the other girls. When we came we each got our own Bible. My favorite Bible passage is Psalm 23 and I like the story of creation. I want to thank Mama Nirva and those that support us. Only Jesus knows the goodness that you have done for me!
I saw firsthand that thanks to our donors, at-risk girls like Iverose are being rescued from dangerous situations, instilled with the love and purpose of Christ, and seeing their dreams come true!