Last year, our team went into the mountains to visit a church youth group. While we were sitting in the church, our team members, Alex and Joe, noticed a boy standing behind the church fence, peeking in.
They quickly noticed that the boy had cerebral palsy. They decided to invite the boy in but the boy was resistant. Joe would not take no for an answer, because he knew the boy was very interested in what was going on. The boy pulled at his own shirt, and shook his head no, pointing out to them, that his shirt was not nice, and full of holes. Not accepting no for an answer, Alex took off his shirt and gave it to the boy. The boy pointed down at his feet and shook his head no, again. They saw he had no shoes. So Joe took off his shoes and gave them to the boy. The boy didn't want to take them at first, but Joe insisted. Joe placed them on the boy’s feet, and they fit perfectly! Then, the boy came into the church, and they could clearly see that he was delighted to be a part of the youth group.
Understand that in the Haitian culture, it is expected that when you go into a church, that you dress nice, and wear shoes. To them, it is a sign of respect to Our Lord. Unfortunately, this can be a hindrance for people to feel welcomed, when they cannot afford it. They would not expect someone to not come in; but this boy did not feel worthy. It took someone completely removed from the culture, to show this boy he was totally worthy to be in God’s house, and it was especially there FOR HIM!
Since this moment, God had placed this event on Joe’s heart, and mind. Joe couldn't wait to return to Haiti, so he could see the boy again, and learn more about him. He learned the boy’s name is Joanes, and he is going to youth group, all the time. He absolutely loves going.
Joanes not only has cerebral palsy; he is deaf and cannot speak. Alex, Joe, and the rest of our new team, went to visit the boy at his home. They saw the boy lives with his mother and grandfather, in a house as small as a bedroom. It can only fit one small bed in it. Therefore, the boy sleeps on the floor, next to his mother.
God has placed it on Joe's heart to continue to minister to this family, and being a part of their spiritual journey. He also is interested in helping them with some of their physical needs. He will be helping Joanes with a small goat farm, which will help provide food and income for him, and his family. Joe would also, like to help build them a bigger house, to provide the boy enough room for his own bed.
Amazingly, this project is expected to cost ONLY $3000!!!! If you would like to help support this project, please reach out to Porta at email@example.com or 616-443-6775. Or go to our donation page, of www.lovingkayerfij.org, to make a donation. Please note your donation as “Joanes Project”