Eiffel Tower & Cologne CathedralArc de Triomphe with Brother

Before I left someone said that Europeans were not very philanthropic… The Lord proved otherwise. I recently returned from my first trip to Europe. A team of us were there for a few weeks to help with the European Haiti Expo Tour. I was really blessed because my brother was able to come as w As you probably know by now, a former student from our ministry named Elisha developed a passion for Haiti while on a mission trip with us a few years ago. She has given so much to the ministry at UCLA when she was a student (and Chi Alpha President) and now gives so much to the people of Haiti. The idea for the European tour came about because Uwe, a fellow staff member of the ministry at UCLA is German. As you remember from previous a newsletters (Click for a refresher), some of us from the UCLA team have been helping Elisha with her economic development and education fundraising initiatives. We have been doing this through helping her host a series of Los Angeles and Midwest Haiti Expos.

Europe Haiti Expo Tour
While we were in Europe, we had the opportunity to host four Haiti Expos in three different countries! We hosted our first expo in Heidelberg, Germany followed by Maastricht, Netherlands. From there we headed to a college campus near Brussels in Belgium for our third expo. Finally we ended in German at the city of Cologne, Uwe’s home town. Besides the expos we were able to have a both at a local festival in Cologne. This enabled us to pass out 4,000 flyers to promote our final expo. During the festival, I met a local journalist who took an interest in what we were doing. Though he could not make it to our expo due to his wedding anniversary, he sent a colleague of his to our event to write a story on it. If you can read German, you can read the story on their website hearAfter the last expo we were very blessed to have the opportunity to drive to Paris and spend two nights there!

Haiti Expo EventsVarious Photos

We hosted the expos in the evenings, and on two of the mornings Pastor Winston had the opportunity to preach. I had the chance to testify at one of them, which was my first time to speak in front of a German church. Alongside testifying at the German church, I was able to share about the cycle of poverty many Haitians face at three of the expos. Many haitians can barely afford to feed their families, much less send their children to school. Education is not free in Haiti and with an unemployment rate of 40%, the few jobs that are available are highly selective. You must have an education to even qualify for the few jobs that are available. The problem is that you need money to get an education… and an education to get a job… but you need a job to even have the money for an education. A simple job… a privilege many haitians don’t have.

The purpose of the Haiti Expo European tour was to help provide jobs by selling local artisan goods, solicit donations for education, and find investors for economic development. My primary role was raising donations. There were 35 youth that we were praying would get sponsored during the tour. It was a long shot and I didn’t know if we would be able to raise the money. I was the only one working the donation table and I had to have a translator at each event (though some people spoke english). By the last event, we still needed 17 youth sponsored, including most of the college students. It was looking more and more like my friend David was going to have to drop out of college early and just settle for his Associates degree.

The Lord worked a miracle in the hearts of the people of Cologne, Germany. Though there was only around 60 people in attendance, after our presentation my donation table was flooded with inquiries. I was so overwhelmed I was calling for additional translators! 

Never judge a person by their looks! During this process, and elderly lady approached me and said she wanted to sponsor David for next year’s college tuition. I was wondering if she realized what she was doing, because David’s education was $3,000! That was a huge win if it was real, but we still had a long ways to go in terms of unsponsored youth. This woman returned later and said she wanted to sponsor some more of the youth. By the end of the evening, she said that any of the youth on the board who were not sponsored, her and her roommate would cover! We later learned she recently received an inheritance and was praying to the Lord to reveal to her what she was to do with it. Due to her generosity and the generosity of others, the remaining 17 youth were sponsored by the end of the night!

Every Youth Sponsored, including some University Students!

Every Youth Sponsored!

Now I recognize there are a lot of needs for the people of Haiti, and there are many more friends of ours we could not highlight for the European tour. There are many different economic development projects that I would still like to see funded… but during this tour I made a push for the education of these kids instead. During the Midwest tour, I pushed for economic development in a bigger way… which helped result in the investment of a local bakery for Gregory, a young adult from Fond Doux. This Bakery has helped produce much needed jobs as well as enabled him to take care of his grandmother and ,other, see the doctor, pay for medicine, and put his sister through school. God honored all the hard work the team and I put in during the tour and the sponsorship of 35 youth’s tuition, books, and uniforms for next year is helping set a generation free!

I leave for my 11th trip to Haiti on June 22nd. While I am back in the states, I am doing a big push to raise additional funds to help with those other projects and with some of the children who were’t on the donation board. Additionally, we need more resources to help provide offerings to local pastors, to invest in local job creation, and have to have the means to help local families in need.

I will be sending out another newsletter sometime next week with more details and want to encourage you to consider being a part of this 11th trip if you haven’t already. By faith, I am hoping to raise an additional $3,000 – $5,000 before I leave. I know this can be tricky because many of you who have given in the past are stretched thin as it is, with this being my 6th trip in approximately 15 months. Details for partnership with this trip can be found here.