If you are wondering just how we intend to do these things let me fill you in on a dream we have-
We are renting a space where families can come together for movie nights on Friday's, where children can come for homework help after school, where literacy classes for kreyol and french are held for adults in an area where at least 60% of the population cannot read or write, where we dream with the local community about what is important to them, and educate them on the dangers of institutional care for children. We want to have a prayer space open, scheduled bible studies for all walks of life in our community, worship nights, a streamed church service in kreyol, we want to host English classes for all ages, VBS type programs for children, community outreach events, and have classroom spaces for Haitians to empower each other in skillsets and trades.
The dream is BIG friends- but it has been a long time coming. There are so many specifics God has placed in our hearts and is calling us to trust in Him while it all comes together. We are excited to begin this journey over the next year. We are looking forward to working with families and our local community.
"VWAZINAJ SE FANMI"
This Haitian Proverb depicts the nature of a neighborhood here, of the importance of community. It literally translates to the "Neighborhood is Family." Alex and myself have spent the last two years getting to know our neighborhood, having dinners and meetings with our neighbors. Simple things like going for a walk with a bunch of kids has shown us how true this proverb really is. We are incredibly honored to live in this place and in this beautiful culture. Please begin prayerfully considering partnering with us in this next step! Then stay tuned for when we begin the fundraising and announcing of all things Community. (EDIT: DUE TO COVID19 & THE WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC, ABIDE IN LOVE IS HOLDING OFF MANY PROGRAMS FOR WHEN GATHERINGS ARE SAFE AGAIN).
How do we prevent families from being torn apart by the effects of poverty? How do we fight the monster of malnutrition? How do we make a difference in the lives of these families?
Through prevention and empowerment efforts.
The nation of Haiti does NOT need your pity, her people do not need your leftover gifts or tattered clothes, but Haiti Darling does need your partnership and encouragement.
The Haitian people are completely capable, they are completely willing, and are in need of us to begin redirecting how we do our programs and funds to "help" them.
Other than educational means, like I mentioned before with "Joy", there is need for empowerment through Job Creation.
There is need for people to begin building into the local businesses. There is need for trade over aid, or at least a balance of both.
And above all else there is need for LOVE to reign in the hearts of those we work with- through opportunities for families to come together in the Abiding Love of Jesus we plan to grow and empower local leadership to disciple their own neighbors and surrounding communities. We know real change comes from hearts who want it.
Join us in this incredible journey as we move forward to help families Abide in Love!!!
There is a Haitian proverb that translates to "Your Beautiful Greeting IS Your Passport".
With this proverb in mind and our recent evacuation to the states, I would like to take some time to say HELLO and reintroduce myself. If you are new to our blogs, website, or story- feel free to journey back to some of our earlier blogs and get to know us a little better.
For now, HELLO :)
My name is Kristen and I have written the majority of these blogs. My husband Alex is pretty great too. He runs things on the ground down here and is my fix-it guy so I do not force him to write blogs or update you on the socials. If you have ever lived in Haiti you know why I am glad to have a handy man for a husband. If you have not lived in Haiti (or any third world country) then you'll just have to trust me.
We just evacuated Haiti for a couple months because the political situation led to instability and rioting in the streets which led to gangsters and thugs taking the opportunity to block the roads with rocks or line up tires and set them on fire so you cannot pass. Now we are back in Haiti as things have calmed down somewhat and the roads have been unblocked.
So what are we doing in this crazy country?! How we did fall in love with a place that has so much chaos and dysfunction?!
Pull up a chair, it is time for a quick story:
The beginning of our journey started with us struggling with infertility and wanting to become a family. We already felt that someday we would be missionaries, so God connected us to a family from the same hometown in the good ole Mitten State. This family was already living in Haiti and looking to move back to Michigan. After a quick trip, we committed ourselves to the kids we met in a nearby orphanage. We were very excited about what God was doing through us- taking our inability to have children and adding in their need for parents, it was perfect so we thought. We went from zero to twelve and were so excited about being their mom and dad.
Fast forward to us being in Haiti for three months and realizing these kids had parents, almost all of them. Some had just a mom but some had a mom and a dad. These children were not orphaned by poor parenting choices, drugs, or abuse but simply by the fact that they were from a poor and vulnerable family.
Upon learning this truth and meeting almost all of their families (even the three without parents had siblings being raised by biological relatives) we realized our calling was not to continue separating children from family at the promise of better provision; rather, we were being called to equip families and partner with them through empowerment to stay together.
We desire to see children grow up Family Strong!
So we took some time to get to know the country, culture, language, and how to do more than just survive each day. Then God called us to start our own nonprofit organization called Abide in Love. We are beyond excited to launch a community center initiative through this platform. You can follow this journey on here and YOU can even be a part of it! Seriously, you can change the world with us, we would not have it any other way <3
Are you still here?!? GOOD- let's get to know each other better.
So other than living in a country that is a little less than conventional, I am still your average American girl!
I love Starbucks, ice cream, and kittens. I am looking forward to being a mom someday plus I like my husband, like a lot #insertgushyemojihere.
I enjoy nature, taking pictures, reading, and my fur-family!
I might be just your average girl but I have some HUGE dreams for this land I call my home, and for myself someday.
You my friend, might also feel average but can I implore you to dream?! Chase that thing you have wanted for quite some time, follow your heart, because you never know where it is going to take you.
Let's start with a challenge, find one thing you have been needing to do for awhile and DO IT. Simple as that, do the hard thing, just one, and git-er-dun!
Now for the second challenge- go write down a list of dreams and goals you have, then really think about them.
Ok so now you know TWO new things about you-
1) YOU, yes YOU, can do hard things!
2) YOU, yes YOU, can dream
Chase those dreams!
ps- Tell me more about you by sending me an email or leaving a comment on this blog! I would love to know more about you and do this journey together... #worldchangersunite
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw