Little did I know when my son joined a new baseball team, it would be the beginning of a journey in my life as well. Michelle Cherikos’ son was also on the team. I was so intrigued listening to her stories about her amazing mission trips with Give Hope and the precious children she loves at the orphanages. In May of this year, Michelle asked our team to help with care packages for the children who did not have sponsors. I asked for three names so my own kids could write the letters and help pick out fun treats. When the bags were turned in, I felt good for the “act of kindness,” checked it off my “to do” list, and moved on to the next item on my agenda. Fast forward to October 7th. After much consideration, I was boarding the plane with my son Griffin, Michelle and her son Xander, and the rest of the Give Hope team to go to Haiti. A mission trip had always been on my bucket list, but it never seemed to be an “ideal” time to go. God knew it was my time. The experience was beyond what I had imagined. Words cannot express how excited Griffin was every morning to run down the hill to see these sweet children before school. What precious gifts from God – children so happy with so little. Each day changed me just a little bit more. Mid-week we went to Darivarger to deliver backpacks to the children. As soon as we pulled in the gates, the children rushed to see us, hugging us all regardless of whether we’d just met or not. A tall skinny boy suddenly walked over to Griffin and me. He pulled a photo out of his pocket. This was the child, Olenson, we had sent a care package to months before, and he still had our family picture. He had kept that picture with him all these months! What little we had done meant the world to him. We all three hugged and at that moment Griffin began to sob happy tears. That was our moment, our connection, the reason we were on this trip. Life for both of us changed forever. Part of our hearts are in Haiti. As soon as we returned, we began to sponsor Olenson. He will always be part of our family now! That moment, that connection was a true gift from God.

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