Tag Archives: Team Haiti 2012

Recent J117’er and Photographer Shares Haiti Story Through Pictures

27 Mar

Keren Chookaszian recently served with Journey 117 on a trip to Haiti with others from her church in Evanston, IL. Keren is a photographer, mother and wife, and advocate for the orphan. Check out her blog to see pictures from her trip as she highlights the story of how God captured their hearts through the beautiful people of Haiti.



2000 Verses About the Poor, Orphaned and Widowed

28 Feb

Blog post by Krysta S., Team Haiti 2012

Deuteronomy 15:7 says: “If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.” In regards to this command from the Lord, why then does almost half the world – over three billion people – live on less than $2.50 a day? Why do 22,000 children die each day due to poverty? Why are thousands of children orphaned because their parents perish because they cannot afford to eat? Whose responsibility is it to tend to this issue of poverty?

According to Deuteronomy, and the over 300 other Bible verses on the poor, it the church’s responsibility. We are called by God to stop the oppression of the poor. The economic aspects of poverty focus on material needs, typically including the necessities of daily living, such as food, clothing, shelter, or safe drinking water. Poverty in this sense may be understood as a condition in which a person or community is lacking in the basic needs for a minimum standard of well-being and life, particularly as a result of a persistent lack of income. Analysis of social aspects of poverty recognizes that poverty may be a function of the diminished “capability” of people to live the kinds of lives they value. This may include lack of access to information, education, health care, or political power. Poverty may also be understood as an aspect of unequal social status and inequitable social relationships. This inequality often explains the lack of relationship care to those experiencing poverty. In third world countries, the poor are excluded and powerless in society. They must do everything that they can to simply survive. This environment often results in the poor becoming enslaved as indentured servants or entering into prostitution in order to provide for their family. Poverty causes the poor to have lower life expectancy due to malnutrition, AIDS, violence and disease. As a result of their parent’s disease and death, the children of the poor become orphaned and abandoned. In order for the children to survive, they will do as their parents did (servitude or prostitution), resulting in a vicious cycle of poverty.

This vicious cycle needs to be stopped. This cycle is the leading causes of orphans worldwide. If we are commanded by God to help the poor, why don’t we help them? Why don’t we extend our reach to help the widows and orphans that need someone’s help? There are over 2000 verses that demonstrate God’s love and mercy toward the poor, the orphan, and the widow. What can you do to help?

Krysta will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with and others from her church in Evanston, IL.

HIV/AIDS and the Orphan

26 Feb

Blog post by Laila B., Team Haiti 2012

It is estimated that more than 15 million children under 18 have been orphaned by AIDS. Every 15 seconds, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa.  Today alone, 5,760 children will lose a parent to AIDS.  Some countries are so negatively impacted by the epidemic that approximately 20 percent of all their children are orphans – the majority having been orphaned by AIDS.

Caring for HIV/AIDS orphans presents many unique challenges.  Even the best orphanages struggle to meet the physical needs of children with HIV/AIDS and cannot meet the emotional and spiri­tual needs. Institutions are not replacement for the structure of a family.

Inside institutions where there is little or no education children with HIV can be treated poorly by caretakers, even neglected. Often times sanitary conditions in orphanages are poor and exacerbate children’s weakened immune systems. Infections are common among children in orphanages and can quickly lead to death for children with HIV/AIDS. Simple antibiotics could prevent fatality in children with HIV/AIDS, yet often they are unavailable in developing countries.

Stigma is a another major challenge facing people infected with HIV/AIDS in the US and around the world. In the US families with adopted children who are HIV+ often suffer rejection within their communities and even among family members due to ignorance regarding transmission and stigma.

(adapted from www.projecthopeful.org)

Laila and her daughter will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with and others from their church in Evanston, IL.

How Much is a Child Worth?

24 Feb

Blog post by Keren C, Team Haiti 2012

$32 BILLION ….that’s how much money is spent worldwide selling humans into slavery and sexual bondage PER YEAR!  That’s more than Nike, Google and Starbucks COMBINED!!

2 Million….that’s approximately how many children are being abused in the commercial sex industry PER YEAR!

So many countries are filled with corruption.  There is no one to stand for the injustice that is happening to these children.   Many are raped and abused and NO ONE does anything about it.  These children often grow up with AIDS or having lived a life of poverty and abuse find themselves giving their lives up to prostitution.

What are you willing to give to help end this and give a child hope rather than a lifetime of horror and abuse?  Your time?  Your money?  Your comfort?

What is their worth to you?

The Starfish Parable:

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”. The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “It made a difference to that one!”

It starts with one…when we make a difference in the life of one orphan…it is one less child being abused, one less child who will grow up into prostitution…ONE LESS!

Take action!  Get involved!  Be the voice of the orphaned…
VISIT, ADOPT, GIVE, LISTEN….it’s time for us to take action.

Keren and her husband, David, will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with and others from their church in Evanston, IL.

World Orphans Starfish Story from World Orphans.

AIDS Orphans: Overwhelming Statistics

23 Feb

Blog post by Wendy K, Team Haiti 2012

Looking through the lens of my mind’s eye, I see two children.
Two children separated by continents.

One sitting pretty clothed in family,
A backdrop of abundance….
A broad smile…
Eyes of hope…
A triumphant shout…
A life of promise.

The other –
Utterly alone.
A backdrop of empty…
A vacant look…
Eyes of misery…
A silent scream…
A life lost.

Two children made in God’s image, precious in His eyes, worthy of respect, dignity and a opportunity.  Two lives- one full of hope, the other hanging in the balance.  I ask myself what I would do if this was the plight of one of my children.  One life lost is tragic enough, but over 16 million children have been orphaned by AIDS.  14.8 million of these children live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Continue reading

HIV/AIDS and Its Effects on Orphans

18 Feb

Blog post by Melissa and Karis, Team Haiti 2012

How many kids with HIV/AIDS do you know that have been adopted? Do you know that a large portion of the world’s population does not have updated information on HIV/AIDS?  If the world was properly educated on HIV/AIDS, they would learn a person with this disease does not have a death sentence.  The truth is, “HIV is considered a chronic, but manageable disease with the proper treatment.”

Thanks to a nonprofit organization, Project Hopeful, we have learned the truth of this disease and God’s heart for these children.  If you’d like to learn more about how these children can live a normal life, with medication and a family to love them, visit http://www.projecthopeful.org.

I saw the effects of HIV/AIDS on orphans while in Jamaica recently.  We spoke with the head of adoption in Jamaica and asked about HIV orphans, like how many have been adopted.  Sadly, she said none.  This woman was asking us what the life span is for a child with HIV.  These orphans are in a remote area of Jamaica, at a special needs orphanage.  They are essentially put in a “back room”.  HIV is so widespread there due to rampant drug use. These children are outcasts; they may not even be educated on their disease. They may have no hope.  This is wrong.  God has plans for these children, other than never seeing anything besides a “back room.”

Melissa and daughter, Karis, will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with and others from their church in Evanston, IL.

My Busy Bubble

6 Feb

Blog post by  Jane L., Team Haiti 2012

As a college student living on campus, it’s so easy to be wrapped up in a bubble of classes, friends, and on-campus fellowship; it’s so natural to turn a blind eye to all the injustices taking place in the world in the midst of all my busyness. But this summer, I realized that I have only a very short time left in college and that there is a bigger world out there. I didn’t know what to do with that until, one Sunday morning, I heard a sermon about serving those in need, during which this opportunity to work with orphans [with Journey 117] was presented. This was it.

As I prayed over the trip, I felt God really encouraging me to go. I felt uneasy because I wasn’t too familiar with a lot of people at church and didn’t know who I would be going with, but I still felt so excited about the trip that I decided to apply.

So, why does God want me to go on this trip?

As a pre-med student who is seriously considering the field of pediatrics, I think that this mission trip is an ideal preview of what I can do in the future. As a doctor, I’d imagine that I would be even busier than I am now and would be prone to being apathetic toward things that don’t affect my life directly. But I don’t want to be that way, and I don’t think God wants me to be that way either. Preparing for this mission is helping me vaguely visualize how to engage in the community in which I will be placed in the future.

I’m excited to continue to discover what God has in store through the preparation process and during/after the trip!

Jane L. will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with and others from her church in Evanston, IL.

A First Step for Me

4 Feb

Blog post by Curie C., Team Haiti 2012

I have been involved with various Christian ministries since childhood. Along with my family, I have been — whether voluntarily or not so voluntarily — a part of international ministries, children’s ministries, and college ministries as both participant or organizing team. I’ve always been hesitant to start mission work, though.

I’ve had a friend throughout middle and high school whose family always went on mission trips for the summer to Africa, but I didn’t really see why it was necessary to go abroad in order to do what we can do right here where we live. Yet, I found that I was drawn to the work that was being done in areas where “bare necessities” quickly became luxuries that many couldn’t afford. Through sermons at Evanston Bible Fellowship and learning more about the scriptures, I became interested in exploring overseas mission work. This trip to Haiti is a first step for me to determine how I can fit into mission work and how, in turn, mission work can be part of my future plans.

Curie C. will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with and others from her church in Evanston, IL.

5th Grader Seeks to Live out Isaiah 1:17

3 Feb

Blog post by Elizabeth B., Team Haiti 2012

Hello everyone. I am in fifth grade and this winter me and my family hosted an orphan from Latvia and we now are interested in adopting her. Something I learned from this experience was that I am really lucky to have parents, a house and people who love me. The reason I am going on this trip is to help and care for those who don’t have any family, home, or people who love them. I want to try help as many orphans as I can.

Elizabeth B. will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with her mother and others from her church in Evanston, IL.

Orphan Care: Get in the Game

3 Feb

Blog post by Laila B., Team Haiti 2012

Orphan care has been a backdrop of much of my adult life.  My husband is adopted and for as long as I’ve known him I’ve been intrigued by the concept of adoption and have grown in my understanding of my own adoption into God’s family.  In the past few years as our family and many close friends have adopted children into their own families, orphan care and adoption have moved to the front lines of my life.

As I’ve been reading all I can on God’s heart for the fatherless, blogs recording the adoption journeys of many family and friends, God has increased my compassion towards the fatherless.  As a family we have been praying about how God would have us move from the sidelines to being in the game and caring for orphans in tangible ways.

When this opportunity to study God’s heart for the orphan and participate in on a team serving orphans in Haiti came up, I knew I wanted to be part of the team.  I’m excited to have my oldest daughter, Elizabeth, join me on this journey.  It is my prayer that God will continue to break our hearts for the fatherless and show us how we can be part of the solution.

Laila B. will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with her daughter and others from her church in Evanston, IL.