I met Jameson in January 2011 on my first trip when I was a PA student. My memories of that trip are hazy. It was overwhelming in many ways—my first time to a developing country, my first mission trip, still a student doing medical work, seeing all these sweet children living so differently than children live in the US. I was moved by their openness to us and how they welcomed us and wanted to interact, despite the language barrier. Upon returning home, my wife and I decided to sponsor Jameson through Give Hope and started corresponding with him through letters, photos, and the occasional care package.
In October of 2016 just days after Hurricane Matthew, I returned to Cambry. Due to the weather changes and increased mosquito population brought on by Matthew, many of the children came down with malaria, including Jameson. When I saw Jameson, he was lying on a cot, so weak and tired. He improved after a few days and would hang out with me in the church we were using as a medical clinic. He just sat there for hours watching me work. He speaks Creole and I do not. Luckily we had other children who could interpret for us. By time we left Haiti, Jameson looked much better and said he felt better, too. We had so many people back home praying for Jameson’s recovery. It is truly amazing to see how many family members and friends have been impacted by our involvement with Give Hope.
I used to feel awkward writing letters to Jameson, not knowing what to say. I would agonize for days just to get enough words to fill one page, uncertain of his interests, and wondering how I could connect because of the language barrier. I would end up telling him what my day was like and what I did for work. I also wrote about what I remember it being like to be a teenager, about the uncertainty I felt, about trying to find my place, and not liking school but that it was important. Luckily, my wife would finish the letter for me adding her special touches to make him feel loved and a part of our family. I think just receiving the letter and knowing someone cares is the most important thing. We like to take selfies while holding a photo of Jameson so he can be “included” in our family.
When I saw him in October 2016, the awkwardness disappeared and a real connection was solidified. Those awkward letters did mean something after all. He really did feel the love from my wife and me. It warms our hearts to know we are in each other’s thoughts and prayers on a weekly basis. I know all of these children’s lives are better, not just because of the monthly monetary donations but also through the emotional support of knowing someone cares about them.