Orphans forced to live in tents wait for new orphanage

By July 6, 2011

Haiti (MNN) — Since the earthquake struck Haiti last year, Pastor Edmond Fenelon, his family and thirty-seven orphans have been living in makeshift tents on the countryside. Pastor Fenelon was director of an orphanage located in the Port-au-Prince area of Haiti when the earthquake devastated both the orphanage and his church where he led a congregation.

For over a year now, the orphans along with Pastor Fenelon's family have lived as hundreds of Haitians with no home: in tent cities. These "cities" are composed of "homes" made of pieces of plastic, fabric, and any other type of scrap that can be found in junkyards.

Orphan's Heart has seen this desperate need and is coming alongside Pastor Fenelon and the orphans to give them back the life they had. Just last week, they purchased property in the Bon Repos area, about 15 miles north of Port-au-Prince. With this property, Orphan's Heart hopes to begin construction on a new orphanage.

Orphan's Heart has regular volunteers down in Haiti who will be working on the basic construction, but a team will be sent down in September to begin the major push toward building the orphanage. Another team will also be sent in November.

Charlie Cox with Orphan's Heart states, "We're hoping probably within at least a year, maybe less, to have the first main building constructed so that the children would be able to move out of those makeshift tents and into a more secure and better environment."

There is much pressure to get these children into more secure living conditions. With this being hurricane season down in Haiti, extreme weather and dangerous storms could be a threat to Pastor Fenelon's family and the thirty-seven orphans in their care.

Orphan's Heart has discussed the question of safety with Pastor Fenelon, and there is a plan to move the children in case of another disaster. A plan is good, but a building for safety would be much better.

Cox says, "The concern is that there are so many people; families and children living in those makeshift tents and those ‘tent cities', that if a hurricane was to come through that area, it would be devastating because there's just not enough places for people to go to get into safety."

As Orphan's Heart ministers to Pastor Fenelon and the Haitian children by seeing to their physical needs, they have also been encouraging them spiritually. Teams have gone down to be with the kids and teach Bible lessons. Also, Pastor Fenelon and his church staff have received training so that they can continue their ministry to the people and orphans in Haiti.

"Sharing Christ is the reason we're there, it really is," states Cox. "As we're providing all the other services and the basic needs and things that we can do to help them get back on their feet, sharing the love of Christ and sharing our faith with them is vital."

Please pray for the safety and health of Pastor Fenelon, his family, and the orphans as they continue living in tents. Pray that construction of the new orphanage would continue without any hindrance or delay so the orphans can be moved into a secure space.

God is certainly doing a work in Haiti despite everything the people have been through. If you would like to join Orphan's Heart to minister in the name of Christ, click here.

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