Leader of the FamilyRich Stigall
Written by: Trip Manager Stephanie Mutert
I first met Jean Ronald, a first year Pathways student, early in my time here after moving to Haiti. I was wearing a Duke Basketball t-shirt and he ran up to me and pointed at his shorts that shared the same logo. One of my other favorite memories of him was when the second year students arrived last September, he was playing basketball with several boys and when he made a basket he thrust both hands in the air and yelled in English, “I am from Biggarouse. BIG HOUSE!!!”
Last month when I arrived at Biggarouse with the Funds Distribution team, it brought a huge smile to my face when Jean Ronald greeted us, then asked if I wanted to see his home, exhibiting the same pride as he had when he yelled ‘BIG HOUSE!!!’ on Jumecourt’s basketball court. We walked through the school and saw a few boys practicing for the Christmas Eve service. We passed a big group of kids sitting with mamas in the shade. Then he asked if I wanted to meet his kids.
I laughed and said, “You are too young for kids.” He laughed with me, then with a straight face he responded, “They are my kids. I help them.” Since I was taking photos of the village, I asked, “Would you like a family photo?” He smiled and said he would get his kids. As he gathered them and arranged them in front of him, it was very telling when he placed his arms protectively around them for the photo how much he cares for these three kids. His kids. They are not related by blood, but they are related by situation.
I find this photo to be a beautiful image of family within the villages – older kids who look out for younger kids and genuinely care about them.
Discipleship is just that, protecting and leading those God has brought into your life as you walk through life with them, teaching them all God has taught to you through others. It’s a continual transference of knowledge of God’s love, grace and transformation that is evidence of a young man who has been poured into by older Haitians.