By Joe Fry, ACT Worldwide Consultant
Picture the plight of a teenage mother living in one of the poorest sections of Port au Prince. In 2010 she gave birth at home to a baby girl. As it sadly happens too often in Haiti, the father abandoned them both when the child was born. The mother was so poor that she could not afford a birth certificate for her baby. A birth certificate is required, however, in order to enroll children in a public school. Each morning mom watched sadly as neighbor children ran off playfully to school. The paperwork and expense involved in retroactively acquiring a birth certificate seemed beyond the reach of this powerless young mother. She had no hope that her precious daughter would ever go to school.
Through the Kingdom Assignment initiative recently completed by Haiti Teen Challenge graduates, God showed this mother and daughter, along with hundreds of others who are living without hope, that He has not forgotten them.
Eighty two graduates from the HTC Men's program accepted the Kingdom Assignment challenge. The challenge began when they each received the equivalent of $80 USD to be used for advancing the kingdom of God in whatever way they chose. A condition for receiving the funds was that each recipient was required to give a report in three months' time on how the funds were used.
The much anticipated day of Kingdom Assignment reporting finally arrived on December 20th. At a festive, music-filled event organized by the staff, the hearts of two hundred friends of the ministry (including this writer) were touched by their compelling ministry stories.
It was an evening of celebration to remember!
Perhaps you or I might imagine that, in Haiti, these guys would have gone out and simply spent the money. We would have been wrong. Over half of them raised additional funds.
Youbens Gay raised the USD equivalent of over $500 to launch a school for marginalized, pre-literate children and a literacy center for parents.
Daniel Daguste raised $200 USD to purchase a used motorcycle. Using his mechanical skills, he repaired it and now rents it out to gang members in his neighborhood to use as a taxi. They keep part of the earnings. In the process, Daniel is making friends and sharing the gospel with these guys. Other HTC students raised hundreds more for other creative projects. As these young servants regaled us with report after report it became evident that what God accomplished through them surpassed what the staff had imagined.
What God did in the hearts of these young men was equally transformational.
When students first enter the HTC program they see themselves as the objects ministry. How encouraging it is to now see the look of transformation in their eyes as they become the subjects of ministry, reaching out to others.
Daniel Daguste joyfully explained to the assembly that, two years ago he had no purpose in life. Since that time, with gratitude for all that God has poured into him at HTC, he is now helping others find the purpose and direction that God desires for them, also. It's something Daniel had never imagined doing.
Perkens Delius, one of the Kingdom Assignment emissaries, had heard about the need of the young mother who dreamed of sending little Medjina to school. God moved his heart to help. When the bureaucratic process was finally completed and fees were paid, Perkins arrived at her humble home and presented mom with a birth certificate.
The young mother was overcome with joy. She broke down into tears.
Why, she must have wondered, would a tall, handsome young man be so profoundly kind to her and her child without demanding a favor in return? Perkins explained that God had been even more kind to him when he had also been without hope. "Be encouraged. God has not forgotten you,"were his comforting words. "He picked me up. He can pick you up, too!"
Little becomes much when God is in it. On December 20 this theme became reality as through the compelling testimonies of faithful young men who took part in HTC's first - but definitely not the last -- Kingdom Assignment project.
Well done, good and faithful servants!