In April 1995, a Haitian priest started the Ministry of Presence, as an outreach to orphan children living in Haiti. The group started with parishioners of St. Francis Xavier Church in Ft. Myers, Florida. The idea was to be Present to the children in prayer, and visits to the orphanage in Haiti.
The first trip to Haiti in August 1995 included 22 volunteers traveling to a place unknown
to them and the first time for most to a third world country. On arrival to the orphanage,
they were greeted with open arms by the children and staff of the orphanage. The
children had been praying for something to eat, as they had nothing to eat for a few days
before the group arrived. There was much celebration on both sides, as the supplies
brought with the group were unloaded.
The Ministry tried to make semi-annual trips to Haiti during the first five years. Most of
the trips were to the orphanage, but also included trips to different parts of the country,
helping in schools and hospitals.
The Ministry has started sponsorship programs, and has helped out with educational
funding, paying teachers salaries, and securing food sources for the children. Our main
focus has always been the children. To help them become the future of their country
through education, love and prayers. They need a hand up, not a hand out.
We have had teams of doctors and nurses visit the orphanage, checking the children’s
health, and also doing clinics for the surrounding neighbors. We purchased a gas stove,
and supplied gas to cook, so they would not have to use wood or charcoal to cook the
children’s meals. Water lines were run, and a pump installed, run by a generator we
supplied, so they would not have to hand pump water for bathing and cooking.
It has always been a struggle to fund all that we have done, and continue to do. I share
this with you.