By Tia Lynn Ivey
The Haitian Orphan Choir took the stage at Madison Baptist Church last Friday, kicking off a U.S. tour across the Southeast. Members of the church volunteered to host the orphans and ministry leaders at their own homes while the choir passed through town. Before singing their hearts out before the local congregation, a local dentist, Dr. Forest Pagett, also volunteered to clean all the orphans’ teeth for free.
“This gives us an opportunity to provide a service for these orphans that they are not going to be able to get in Haiti,” said Dr. Pagett. “It’s a chance to share God’s love and love from our community for them. We want to show them that we are a group of people that love and support them and help take care of them.”
According to Charles Smith, pastor of Madison Baptist Church, some of the church members became monthly sponsors of individual orphans in the choir last year. The orphans stayed with their sponsors in Madison before the big show.
“Again with great joy, we received the Haitian Orphan choir whom we met last year,” said Smith. “We have been praying for them and supporting them and anticipated their arrival with great expectation. Their joy and enthusiasm was contagious and infectious. Despite losing everything, seeing the joy in their faces helped us all reevaluate our own priorities. We serve a great big God who loves everyone the same.”
Facilitated by a Christian ministry called Love Him Love Them, the choir has toured America for the last seven years, since the musical group was formed after the devastated earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Almost 30 youths comprise the choir.
“The Choir was born from tragedy,” reads the Love Him Love Them website for the choir. “All but five of these children lost everything in the Earthquake in 2010. Most of them lost their complete family that day. They found their way to the home of the Paul’s who were music teachers.”
The Paul family founded Lifesaver Orphanage after the deadly earthquake. According to the ministry, “The Paul’s never intended on having an orphanage but out of necessity LifeSaver Orphanage was born. The Paul’s have truly been a Life Saver for these children. They don’t have much but what they have they have given, and keep giving, to these children. They are one of the happiest FAMILIES we have ever met!”
The choir tours the United States each year to help raise money for needs in Haiti and to share their powerful testimonies.
Love Him Love Them is currently raising money to “provide a medical facility in the Gallette Chambon area to increase medical services for the people that live in the nearby area. This will reduce the amount of travel time for many who live in the mountains surrounding the area. We have building plans from a Haitian Engineer to construct the Medical Facility in Haiti. This is a very exciting project and will provide medical attention for thousands of people who do not have any medical attention available to them without an approximate 6-hour walk. The facility will be staffed with Haitian doctors and nurses and will also have a guest-house available for medical mission teams to come in and serve. This facility will be built in stages as funds are available. It will be at the Gallette Chambon location where a school, church and other facilities already exist.”
The ministry also raises funds to support a vocational school in Haiti, aiming to double the size of the school to accommodate more students.
According to the ministry, funds are also being raised to create a “transitional home” for orphans after they turn 18 years old. “When you live in an orphanage and turn 18 in Haiti you have to leave the orphanage,” explains the ministry. “If you have not graduated from high school by the time you turn 18 you can’t advance to a government vocational school. We are building a transitional home that will be on the same grounds as the vocational school. Eighteen-year-olds and above can stay in the home while they finish school or attend the vocational school for a specific program study. We will then help them find employment and housing.”
The ministry is also hoping to build a basketball court and a soccer field to provide safe recreational opportunities for children. And finally, Love Him Love Them is trying to open local storefronts to build the local economy up and provide employment opportunities.
To find out how you can support this ministry, visit: www.lovehimlovethem.org.