His purpose and providence in PhiladelphiaRich Stigall
by Jenni (GO Fellow)
I recently had the privilege to travel with a team from the Haiti Orphan Project ministry who, through GO Project, have partnered with a village in the Gonaives region of Haiti called Philadelphia. Here is just a glimpse of what we experienced when we visited the site a few weeks ago…
With a bridge out from the main road to the Philadelphia village, we had to take a different route to get to the site safely for its special grand opening ceremony. As we drove over the narrow dirt path, we passed many small houses surrounding the village and got a glimpse of everyday life in this rural community. When we reached the property, a fresh white sign greeted us proclaiming that this is the “Village de Vie” which translates to the “Village of Life.” The name couldn’t be more appropriate. As the team got off the bus, we were welcomed by the village pastor, Pudens Innocent, and many of the children who were already present for the celebration.
We realized then that we were a little early, but that didn’t matter to the small hands that took ours and led us to the new buildings constructed just last month. Then it was only a matter of time before several games of Duck-Duck-Goose erupted and someone found the secret stash of stickers we had packed. With bright eyes and gleaming smiles, the children who would call this village home danced to the music and chatted away with us while we waited for the ceremony to begin.
The new kitchen was a buzzing center of activity as many of the women from the community were preparing a feast for those in attendance. Some of the team members were graciously allowed to help in various ways, peeling locally grown onions and garlic, bouillon cubes, and crushing the different ingredients together. For a short time I was one of them until the cooks realized I have no talent for mashing with a wooden mortar and pestle.
As the sun was setting, the wind was soft, the music grew, and a large crowd had gathered for the ceremony to begin. While more and more members of the community arrived, we were reminded that the children who were coming to live in this village had been waiting for quite some time for this moment. After Pastor Pudens’s church had identified the 24 children in need of homes and families, his congregation went a step further in their desire to serve the Lord by opening their own homes and lives to support these “true orphans” until the village’s construction was complete.
After a few bands and choirs performed, our team was able to join in prayer and worship before witnessing the final ribbon cutting for this “Village of Life” with Pastor Pudens and Les Prouty, the executive director of Haiti Orphan Project, holding the scissors. What a privilege to share this moment with our Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ as they dedicated the land to His purpose and providence!
The Philadelphia village is now home to 24 children who have a safer place to sleep, a working kitchen, a well, and new latrines. We are excited to see how God will continue his work here in the future as this village grows deeper in faith and in service to His children.
See more photos from the Village of Life (Philadelphia) Children’s Village: