“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails" Proverbs 19:21
Rebecca and I (Mike) call Montgomery, Alabama home. We’ve been married for 21 years and have three boys: Nick (19), Will (17) and Grayson (13). During that time I’ve been able to build a great career as a chef in the foodservice industry. In 2007 I was offered a transfer to Montgomery, I accepted because we believed that God had a bigger plan for us. I was still trying to climb the corporate ladder: We had no idea that God’s plans would involve something entirely new.
Rebecca was born to travel; she went to Hospitality school and worked in the airline industry for 10 years. In 2012 she convinced me to go on a family mission trip to Haiti, so the 5 of us went with a group of families on a weeklong trip. Soon after that she took a position on staff at our church, and over the years has led several more mission trips to Haiti.
During this time our hearts became burdened as we learned more about the orphan and child-slavery epidemic in Haiti. As parents, it is hard to imagine how heart-wrenching it must be for a mother or father to feel that the best life for their child would be with someone else. We came to deeply admire organizations like the Hands and Feet Project (HAF) who work to rescue orphans and whenever possible to keep Haitian families intact.
Although I enjoyed the first trip, I didn’t feel a desire to go back, because I didn’t consider myself qualified to be a missionary. I was a chef, not a preacher, so what did I have to offer the people of Haiti?
That changed in 2014 when we saw a presentation by HAF on their vision for a Mission Guest Village (MGV). This would be a pioneering approach to missions that would give work and dignity to the Haitian people by jump starting the travel industry in an impoverished nation. The MGV would bring together hospitality, travel, and food services—precisely what Rebecca and I had to offer.
We reached out to HAF, and that February, I was invited to go to Grand Goave to help design the kitchen at the MGV. Prior to leaving, Rebecca asked me to keep an open mind. Through that opportunity, I realized that God had been grooming us for years to serve in Haiti. Imagine – “normal” people, in “normal” jobs being called by God! 1 Peter 4:10 – As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
After another family trip the Holy Spirit confirmed in our hearts the desire to go! We began taking baby steps forward, praying for God’s will and walking through the doors God opened. The door that is open to us now is to move to Haiti in the summer of 2017. We are excited to be able to use the skills and talents that God blessed us with to help His beautiful children in Haiti.
We believe that God has called us to Haiti to spread the good news of His gospel, to teach job skills to Haitians and ultimately, to be part of the movement to end the orphan crisis. He has given us both the skills and the burden on our hearts. Jesus is the one who promised in John 14:18, “No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.”