This letter just arrived from our ministry partner Togetherness in Christ (TIC), a school and orphanage serving children in the desperately poor region of Augier, Haiti. TIC was one of the first two projects supported by Cross International when we began in 2001, and we continue to be their primary supporter, providing food, education and operational support to 63 orphaned and vulnerable children. Joseph Julien is one of those children and here is his story as told by TIC founder Gladys Mecklembourg:
Joseph is a quiet, unassuming 10-year-old boy. But like many young Haitians, his large, expressive eyes bespeak of a story far beyond his years.
Joseph says he remembers happy times. He used to live with his mother in a comfortable house that was painted red and blue. His mother loved him very much and worked hard to provide for them after his father died. But when he was only 5 years old, his mother unexpectedly passed away—and along with her, their tranquil life together became a distant memory.
Without parents or siblings, Joseph spent the following years of his childhood in and out of relative’s homes. He never stayed in one place for very long because no one wanted him. Finally, an aunt brought him into her house, but she treated him like a “restavek” (Creole for “stay with”), an indentured servant. Joseph was responsible for the household chores while he watched his cousins go to school. He would endure days without food, even though the rest of the family was eating. But the worst part was the physical beatings that he suffered from on a regular basis.
One day, he decided he could not take it anymore. So Joseph ran away and began life on the streets of Gonaives, a large, coastal city in northern Haiti with a history of voodoo, social unrest and oppressive poverty. He was hungry and alone, with no place left to go. This was his condition when a government official finally discovered him and brought him here to TIC.
Today, with the help of Cross International, we have seen a marked physical improvement in Joseph, thanks to a steady diet of nutritious meals. We have also seen emotional improvement as he builds confidence through school and social interaction. But most importantly, we have seen a spiritual development in Joseph’s heart. He told me that before he came to TIC, he had never heard about Jesus. Now he knows God brought him to us for a reason and he has a plan and a purpose for his life.
On behalf of all of us at TIC, thank you to the staff and supporters of Cross International! May the Lord continue to bless you in all you do.