I’m Christelle Nilsen, the new American Director for the Children of Christ Home Orphanage. My two year commitment began on February 2. I was here for 10 days before being rushed out of Haiti due to the civil unrest. I was able to return in early March and have now been serving and loving on these kiddos for the last 6 weeks!
It’s been so fun getting to love on them and learn their personalities, their likes and dislikes, their interaction with other children and staff members, their hobbies and interests, and their relationship with each other. We have some really great kids.
In January, we moved in a sweet Haitian couple, Franz and Cherlie Anna, to become the house parents for the kids. Franz has worked for But God Ministries for several years now so they already had a relationship with him. His wife, Cherlie, teaches at a school in Galette Chambon. Our hope is that the children will grow up under the influence of a Haitian Christian couple to learn what it means to be part of a healthy family. The addition of the house parents, with myself and Dieudonne has created the potential of a strong team of leaders for this orphanage and the kids here.
Since I’ve been here, I’ve been keeping my eyes and ears open for ways to get them outside of these walls they see so frequently. So far, I’ve found two fantastic opportunities! One is a connection we have with the orphanage at Love a Child. Our good friend Kaeli invited all of the children over to play with their kids. This was such a great way of getting them connected with others who are in similar situations as they are. They loved it. The silent, maybe nervous, car ride we had on the way there was filled with singing and laughter on the way home. Kaeli even offered to host some sleep overs and let us accompany them when they take trips to the lake. The other opportunity I found was a small river bed that is only a 15 minute drive from the orphanage. At most it is maybe 8-10 inches deep, but the majority is just enough to cover your ankles. The first trip we took there was some hesitation, especially from the older kids. But most of the children had a blast! They flopped around and splashed each other like fish! This past weekend we took them back and every one of the kids got in this time. It’s such a fun activity and a great reward for them after a long week.
We also implemented regular chores for each of the kids to complete every day. As with any new change, it has had its challenges. But thankfully, our kids are pretty awesome, and are even excited to see what their task is for the next day.
A few prayer requests for all of us here:
- Our van is en route to Haiti. We have waited a long time to get a vehicle that will safely transport all of our children to and from school. Please pray that we will be able to receive it from the port quickly, at a low rate, and that it still contains all of the items that it left Miami with. Pray that we receive some assistance on the financial side. It cost us about $35,000 to buy, ship, and receive the van. And finally, please pray that it is a long lasting solution for us in terms of transporting the kids.
- Pray for water. We have now been without a well for a year. The loss of our well has caused us many issues and several thousand dollars of expenses. We believe we have found a solution. Pray that we are making the right decision, whatever that might be, and that we will have running water very soon. As of right now, we are spending $85 every three days for a water truck to come and fill up our cistern.
- We are all in a season of transition. We are all getting to know each other and learning to trust one another. Each and every person here is experiencing big changes in all different ways. Pray for us as we encounter challenges. Pray that we give recognition to the positive, the praises and that we learn and grow from the difficulties.
- Pray for the children. They have already experienced more hardship than you and I could comprehend. Pray for their relationship with the Lord – that they would grow up to know and love him. Pray for their sweet hearts, that they would not be hardened by their experiences. Pray for their education. Pray for their future – that they would grow up with a desire to make a difference in their community and beautiful country.
Thank you all for praying for us and alongside us.