On the wall of Togetherness In Christ Orphanage in Augier, Haiti, hangs a handmade poster that says, “Don’t pray for an easy life. Pray to be a strong person.” That philosophy resonates the more you get to know the children and staff there. Take Clona for instance.
Clona had been a happy child. “She had everything—a mom, a dad, and a home,” says Gladys Mecklembourg, founder of Togetherness In Christ Orphanage as well as Canaan Christian School, where the orphans get their education.
When Clona was about 6 years old, though, her world fell apart. Her father was killed in a car accident. When her mother, pregnant with twins, got the tragic news, she suffered a stroke that caused the miscarriage of both unborn babies and left her paralyzed, unable to care for Clona or her 9-year-old brother. In the midst of incredible grief and turmoil, the children were brought to Gladys, who gave them a loving home at the orphanage.
Gladys says, “For a long time Clona wouldn’t say anything, she would just cry. She was so traumatized.” But the staff was caring and patient. They provided Clona with ample food, clothing, shelter and education—basics many poor Haitian children do not get. More importantly, they taught her about Jesus Christ and demonstrated his steadfast love. Over time, Clona came out of her shell and grew to be a strong and caring Christian, too.
Today Clona teaches the kindergarten and first grade children of Togetherness in Christ during the day and teaches English at a community vocational school in the evenings. She loves to sing songs of praise and recently won a local singing competition! By the way, Clona still keeps in touch with her invalid mom, and her brother is going to college in the U.S. on a scholarship.
Clona is a living testament to Philippians 4:13 which says, “For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” To learn more about Togetherness In Christ Orphanage and the precious Haitian children there who find love, hope, and strength, click here.