As our 7th year of hope through education launched this month (September 2019), I couldn’t help but celebrate the new things God is doing. 313 new students will be served by our organization. 22 new staff members will find both individual and collective purpose at one of our campuses. A new campus in Haiti has launched, impacting a new community. A new partnership in Cambodia has expanded our reach into the unreached. God is doing a new thing in and through our organization!
Before going forward, I want to look back in order to help you see just how far we’ve come. A mentor of mine prompted me to do this last week; I’m going to do the same for you. In 2013, we launched our first school campus with 5 Haitian staff members who served 35 students. We operated in an open-air, pavilion-style building. We had absolutely no clue what we were doing when it came to operating a school. We learned a lot that first year, and we’ve been committed to learning and growing ever since.
Since then, we’ve invested over half a million dollars into developing two campuses in Haiti and carried out three major construction initiatives. Many of you gave sacrificially to these initiatives to help make hope through education possible. Our most recent phase of construction in Haiti was overseen completely by our Haitian staff. Gregory, our Haiti Director, owned this work like never before as our short-term serving teams were unable to travel as frequently due to political turmoil.
We’ve poured countless hours into developing leaders at our campuses in Haiti. Dozens of you have served on trips and invested in our staff teams. Through the development of a leadership pipeline, we’re intentionally moving team members from one level to the next. Both of our Principals are a shining example of this intentionality. Wolcarline and Dieflyne both started out as teachers, then moved up to Assistant Principals. Now, they find themselves in key leadership roles with the responsibility of developing and leading our staff teams. With continued leadership development, our campuses could not be in better hands as we start off on a new school year!
2011 marked the launch of our organization. 2013 saw the launch of our first school in Haiti. In 2017, we launched a new vision to serve unreached people beyond Haiti’s borders. Now, 2019 marks the launch of our work in Cambodia. This year, 2019-20, we will operate three campuses in two countries, serving a total of 490 students through the empowerment of 47 indigenous staff members. What an honor and privilege it is to share in this work with you!
As we look ahead to the current school year, I’d like to share three things with you that you can expect to see happen:
Our conviction is that indigenous leaders have what it takes to make hope through education happen. You will continue to see us focus on empowering our school staff teams to be the face of Jesus to our students, catalysts for academic excellence, and banner carriers for our work in the communities we serve. God created each and every person, you and me included, on purpose and for a purpose. We’re excited to help our indigenous team members discover more of that purpose this year through prayer, training, and support.
Last year, 18 students in Haiti accepted Christ as their personal savior. Looking ahead, we expect to see God move in similar, if not greater, ways. In Cambodia, a key initiative we’re pursuing is implementing our Bible Curriculum. Right now, 189 out of 250 students do not have a personal relationship with Christ. What an opportunity we have before us to reach children for Jesus! In Haiti, we’re more intentionally expanding our reach to parents through quarterly outreach experiences. From sharing “family meals” with their children’s teachers to attending camp experiences with their students, we’re excited to see families strengthened.
Our work doesn’t happen without you: our partners, donors, and volunteers. Your heart beats for the left behind just like ours does. You give consistently of your time, talents, and treasures to meet the needs of students who live on the margins of society. Looking ahead, we’re going to continue sharing opportunities with you to serve on trips, invest in our campus facilities, and pay the bills for our school operations! We need your leadership and enthusiasm in the field on short-term trips. We rely on your generosity to fund new facilities and sustain our students as they attend school. You make hope through education happen!
In order to launch you into the school year with us, I want to leave you with our staff vision. Philippians 2:3-4 encourages us to, “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” Greg, our country director in Haiti, shared this verse with me as the vision for our Haitain staff. Now, I’m sharing it with you. My prayer for you this year is that you continue to pour your life out on behalf of others. I pray also that many of you rediscover the joy of giving and do so with a cheerful heart. God has an amazing story written for us. May we discover more of Him as we push our worldly desires to the side!
Curtis Stout | Executive Director