Nine-year old Gervens lost his sight as a young child, due to a common illness. Handicapped people in Haiti are often marginalized. There, children with disabilities are especially vulnerable to being abused or tormented by other children. In an effort to protect him, Gervens parents kept him shut in a room in their home.
In 2010, our ministry partners, Jesus in Haiti Ministries, were hosting a Vacation Bible School nearby. Gervens heard the music and escaped, scrambling outside in hopes of joining the festivities. Almost immediately, a group of children began beating him. Tom Osbeck, the Director of JIHM, heard the scuffle and rushed to Gervens’ defense. He quickly learned of Gervens’ situation. Gervens’ parents confessed that they were desperate to protect their son, but lacked any other options. Tom invited them to allow Gervens to live at his orphanage, where he is now receiving individualized care and thriving. Two weeks after Gervens left his home and moved into JIHM, the 2010 earthquake hit. It completely devastated Gervens home and the room that he had once been locked in crumbled to the ground. Gervens certainly would not have survived had he still been living there.
Meet Krista. An Interview with a Child Sponsor
Through Back2Back’s Child Sponsorship Program, Krista, a student at Ohio University, is contributing toward holistic orphan care for Gervens, by assisting us in meeting his spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social needs. Krista is passionate about serving children in Haiti and jumped at the opportunity to join a recent mission trip to work alongside staff in Port-au-Prince. Krista shares more about what prompted her to sponsor Gervens, after he captured her heart on a recent mission trip.
Back2Back: Tell us how you met Gervens.
Gervens: My story begins with a 9-year old boy named Gervens. The day after we arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, our group was introduced to Gervens and a staff member mentioned that the little boy was legally blind. My heart immediately dropped. This little, skinny-as-can-be boy was dealt an extremely tough life, and yet he stood there with a smile on his face and no sign of struggles at all. I felt this overwhelming sensation to go to him and introduce myself. I sat down next to him on a chair and in broken and terrible Creole, I told him my name was Krista. He grabbed my hand and held it in his, and something indescribable occurred. I felt the deepest love for this little boy and a connection that cannot be explained and I knew this was only the beginning of our friendship.
Back2Back: How has sponsorship impacted your life?
Krista: I’m now sponsoring Gervens through the Back2Back Child Sponsorship Program and I continue to share his story with anyone who asks. I cannot wait to return to Haiti, a place that feels a lot like home to me. Although I can’t express what occurred during my first day in Haiti, I know it was God’s attempt to call me to help Gervens, a little boy who I loved from the moment I met him. The absolute blessing of being able to sponsor Gervens means the world to me. I am so thankful I am able to have an impact on a little boy who has impacted me more than he will ever know.
Back2Back: Do you have any plans to return to Haiti?
Krista: This sponsorship is just my foot in the door into what I know I will accomplish in Haiti. I cannot wait to return in March to see Gervens and he will continue to be in my life for as long as possible.
Back2Back: What are your dreams and hopes for Gervens’ future?
Krista: Gervens’ absolutely blew me away with how he uses his other senses to compensate for his lack in sight. I know that he will have no problem living up to his full potential and I will be praying for him a long the way as he grows and continues to amaze and inspire those who are blessed to meet him. He wants to be a preacher when he is older and I know he will because he is one determined boy. I am so excited to see who he becomes.