One Small Boy’s Big Dreams

The heart of Back2Back Ministries is to give care for today and hope for tomorrow to the most underserved children. Our deep, abiding purpose is to gather people together who will reach out with generosity, hold up in hope, surround with prayer, and support with love.

God’s story of redemption is a big one, and everyone has a role to play. Our deep, abiding purpose is to gather people together who will reach out with generosity, surround with prayer, and support with love.  Each child is an overcomer, and thanks to advocates in our generous, mission-minded community, kids like Stevenson are encircled by sponsors, Back2Back staff, trained caregivers, passionate teachers, coaches, mission trip guests, and generous advocates who offer pieces of hope in their stories.

What started as a typical day for Kelly Aimable and his wife Madame Kelly changed the course of a small boy’s life.   While visiting a local village in Haiti, they met a frail boy named Stevenson* with a painfully distended belly. It was soon discovered he was seriously ill and needed urgent medical attention.  Kelly told Stevenson’s mother about the children’s home and school he founded and offered assistance. At this children’s home, Stevenson received medical care, proper nutrition, and a warm bed. He was offered a safe place to grow. What very well would have been the end of his story was only the beginning thanks to many people who offered a piece of hope in Stevenson’s story.

God was only getting started calling others to lovingly pursue Stevenson.  Two years later, a mission group from Cincinnati visited the children’s home, and Gina Sanders noticed a small boy who wasn’t feeling well.  While his friends played and swam happily, she sat with Stevenson and watched over him while he slept under the blazing sun.  The next day, he was feeling a little better, and she was able to see his true personality emerge. “He was tiny, but mighty,” she remembers, “at the age of four, a swimsuit meant for an 18-month-old was a perfect fit.”  He wanted nothing to do with the water and preferred to stay close to his new friend. Gina remembers thinking about her own four-year old son at home; the difference in their sizes, their health, and their ability to engage was staggering.  It was then she and her family realized they held a unique piece in Stevenson’s story and chose to become his sponsors.

Over the years, the Sanders family has had the privilege of watching him grow, develop, and change.  Gina shares, “One thing you need to know about Stevenson is that he can out-eat any trucker you meet! Where he puts it is a mystery, but he can pack it away!” 

Through letters and visits they have seen his personality emerge, always wise beyond his years and dreaming of the future.  He has big dreams to become an architect, to fix Haiti’s roads as an engineer, and to become a soldier to protect the country he loves.  His letters to the Sanders family are full of stories about thriving in school, tales of tricks he has played on friends, and always conclude with the precious question of how he can pray for Gina and her family.  

The aftermath of the 2010 hurricane in Haiti left the country with little infrastructure, making driving and walking difficult, and sometimes dangerous. Stevenson wants to be a part of making Haiti stronger in the future. “I want to be an engineer when I grow up, Jimmy,” he shares. “I want to help make Haiti’s roads better and safer, I want less people to be hurt in my country. And I also want to be a good husband and father, like you.” Jimmy and his wife serve regularly at the home, and their piece of the story, as Back2Back staff, is to build into Stevenson and kids like him, to help them grow spiritually, physically, educationally, emotionally, and socially. The children not only see Jimmy as their teacher and spiritual mentor, but as a faithful man who loves his family well.  

Several years after their first visit, Gina and her daughter returned to Haiti to visit Stevenson. They had the opportunity to take him on a special trip to the beach and marveled as he fearlessly swam, jumped over waves, and splashed in the surf.  What a contrast to their first meeting, when he was too sick to climb down from Gina’s lap. Our God, who comes after the one, sees the widow and orphan in their distress, and calls on others to offer pieces of hope in our stories. It is because of Him, Stevenson is now an overcomer, and is on his way to leading others in beautiful ways through his kind and strong nature.