Haiti (MNN) — For the fifth time, Kristin Vanderwell
journeyed to the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation. But now she could fund
and record her journey, thanks to the HCJB Global Voice and Hands of Jesus
contest. She spent the first portion of her mission trip ministering to
HIV-positive children and the second part loving on orphans.
"It was definitely very beneficial for me this summer
to have the extra money to help with the costs of my trip," Vanderwell
says. "It was really cool to be able to take video of the experiences…to
share it with my supporters and hopefully be able to share with more people in
the United States what God is doing in Haiti."
Contest winners also included Jared and Hannah Norton and
Joyce Tindell. Each received $200 toward their summer mission trip and a Flip
video camera to record their actions. To read stories and ministry reports from
these contestants, click on their names.
Two of Vanderwell's siblings were adopted from Haiti's God's
Littlest Angels orphanage; she spent approximately three weeks there
volunteering in childcare.
"To see the conditions there that so many of the kids live in, with the lack of food and medical care and stuff," explains
Vanderwell, "makes me wanna do anything in my power that I can to help
them and to bring God's love to them."
For an hour every day, Vanderwell spent time one-on-one time
with an orphan. She demonstrated Christ's love for them through her words and
actions; she was assigned around ten orphans total to minister to. In the last
week of her trip, a group from the Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church joined
Vanderwell in Haiti to help lead a VBS for the orphanage's older children.
"Our theme of the week was God's Love, and we used
several different parables to illustrate to the children the immense love that God has
On this trip, Vanderwell was able to connect with other
ministries working in Haiti; she hopes to return there again in the future.
"[The trip] also has changed my life [in Grand Rapids, Michigan],"
she said. "I've learned that you don't need to be upset about things that
we might think are important but aren't really, like road construction. In the
grand scheme of things, we have life really, really good here."
If God has placed missions on your heart, Vanderwell
encourages you to go on a trip.
"It will change your life in a very good way. Even just
a short-term mission trip can drastically change your priorities and your
outlook on life."