HELO Orphanage in Haiti

But Why?

By Erin Hein

My third trip to Haiti was fantastic! I had a great time with the kids, and enjoyed sharing God’s message of love with them. However, this trip was a little different for me. I saw hardships in Haiti that I had not witnessed before, whether it was because I was too naïve to see them or for other reasons. I saw people walking through piles of burning garbage, trying to find something for themselves and their families to eat. I saw dogs being kicked and beaten. And I saw so much sadness. Despite all of this, I also saw a great deal of joy on the faces of the children at HELO.

When I described what I’ve done and am continuing to do in Haiti with HELO to a friend at college, he asked me why I keep returning year after year to a country with so much poverty and disease. Many people have asked me this same question, and I usually give the simple answer of, “Well, I believe that God is calling me to do his work in Haiti, and I enjoy my time when I’m down there.” My friend continued to ask me, “But why? Why is it important to you? Why do you bother? Couldn’t someone else go in your place?” At first I was taken aback by his questions, and it took me a while to come up with an answer. After describing the hardships that I have seen in Haiti, I’m sure many of you might have the same questions as my friend from school. So, here’s my answer: relationships.

bus The relationships that I’ve created with the employees, house parents, and especially the children of HELO will last a lifetime and I would not trade them for anything. For example, I have developed a relationship with one of the little boys at HELO, Ricardo, who is eight years old. Every day while I’m in Haiti I try to tell as many of the kids as possible that I love them. One day, while Ricardo was showing me how to hula hoop, I told him that I loved him. He looked a little confused, so I said it again. He asked, “Really?” I said, “Of course I do!” and he ran over and hugged me with the biggest smile on his face! The happiness of these children is why I go back. It’s the whole reason for HELO: to provide a safe and happy place where these children can grow up, when they would otherwise have nowhere. Now in the moment, I didn’t think much of telling Ricardo that I loved him, I just knew that it would make him happy, so I did it. On the last day of our trip Ricardo sat with me on the bus. He asked if we were leaving for the United States, and when I said yes he started crying and cried the entire bus ride. Thinking back on that moment made me realize that I had made an impression on Ricardo, and that the relationship that we share will not go away even though I am so far away. I have similar relationships with most of the children of HELO, and I hope to continue to foster those relationships and support HELO as time goes on. The children of Haiti are precious and deserve our help and love, and I am proud to be among those who are able to go and spread the good news that God loves all his children, and he loves them through the relationships that we create with each other.

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