A Life Changed
By Joshua Reichard:
I had the joy of interviewing Daniel Jean-Louis who was born and raised in Haiti.
Blessed at a young age, Daniel had the opportunity to be a part of our Child Sponsorship Program. Through this program, God used Baptist Haiti Mission and Daniel’s supporters to change Daniel’s life forever. I am always encouraged to talk to individuals influenced by the Child Sponsorship Program (CSP). Daniel is now a Liberty graduate where he received his Honorary Doctorate. Daniel is married to Ketia, and God has blessed them with two children, Brianne (4) and Meyer (4). Daniel is now the owner of Trinity Lodge in Haiti, the initiator of 100K Jobs Haiti Coalition, CEO of Bridge Capital, and co-author of From Aid to Trade.
Here is what he had to say about being sponsored as a child.
I am not sure how I was placed in the CSP, it must have been through God’s grace. When I was young, I can remember writing letters and coloring pictures to the family who supported me. However, I never was able to meet the family that helped me. I wish I could remember their names so that I could say thank you to them. Either way, it is a joy to know someone cared about me enough to help me receive a Christian education. One thing I enjoyed about the program, was the opportunity it provided for me and my sponsor to communicate. If you sponsor a child, I would encourage you to write to them as often as you can. It indeed is a blessing to receive letters as a child. It helped me understand that there were real people out there who cared for me and took time out of their schedule to let me know they loved me and cared for me.
Q. Did the CSP introduce you to God?
A. Yes and no. My father was a pastor in Haiti, and he was the one who led me to the Lord. But CSP encouraged me in my faith and helped me in my sanctification. The program helped me to understand the spiritual community. It taught me that community is critical for living a godly life. Community is what builds the church; the community is what brings believers together.
Q. Did you enjoy being a sponsored child?
A. Yes! It is a life-changing experience to know someone on the other side of the world cares for you. When I was too old for the program, I was sad because I could not receive that love anymore, though the experience did help me see how much Christ loves me, as the one who made me and knew me before I was born. The CSP taught me to care, love, communication, how to relate, and how to trust. Things that will always influence the way I live life and do business.
If I could say one thing to those considering sponsoring a child, I would say it is one of the greatest gifts that a child will ever receive.
Education and community are fundamental in a child’s life, and without this program, most children will receive neither of those things. Haitian parents, most of the time are unable to provide a good education for their child due to lack of resources. When you sponsor a child, you are helping train individuals in Haiti to become better citizens of tomorrow.
BHM is a large community with faithfulness built into its core. One of the reasons I continue to support them and encourage other people to do the same is for that very reason. The steady supply of staffing and resources help build the eco-system to help disciple the children of Haiti. BHM does all of this and more. But what is most notable about them is their stand for the Gospel. It is only by God’s grace that BHM can help change the lives of countless children.
Q. Can you tell me about your experience going to Liberty University?
A. I was blessed by the Turnbull Learning Corporation program, which enabled me to leave Haiti for a time and receive an excellent education from Liberty University (The TLC was started by Dr. Falwell and Wallace Turnbull, and allows students in BHM churches and schools to go to Liberty if accepted). Schooling there was hard. Liberty is a world-class university in the most developed country in the world, versus Haiti, the least developed country in the Western Hemisphere. Quite simply, I was not entirely prepared. However, it was one of the most exceptional experiences in my whole life. I was able to have fun in the dorms while learning the American culture with American students. Liberty also set me up for success. It was a joy to see the knowledge, material, logistical planning, and many other things that Liberty had going for them.
Along with the challenges of college, I found it very hard to transition from a poverty-stricken land to one without lack. All I had known growing up was lack and this sense of brokenness. When you grow up following a broken model, it is almost impossible to follow the correct model. Not because you do not want to but because the broken model is a self-replicating model that keep poverty-stricken people in poverty. I am grateful that BHM, Liberty, my supporters, and God helped me out of poverty to where I can now make a difference in Haiti.
Q. How do you help Haiti now?
A. I wrote a book, called From Aid to Trade, that helps people understand Haiti’s market economy. As such, trade will cause it to grow as it does in the rest of the world. Poverty in Haiti is man-made and is unnecessary. My book provides a framework on how to change this around. Also, I still live in Haiti, and my businesses are in Haiti. Another way I am striving to give back to Haiti is by being involved in my local church in Coridon.
Lastly, I wanted to mention the Turnbulls’ impact on me and Haiti. They are not just heroes in Haiti; they are legends. They have raised generations through education, church planting, and many other programs. They do not only impact people, but they also provide a correct model to follow, to inspire. I am a direct product of their influence, so are most people in Haiti.
Therefore, if you are thinking of sponsoring a child, do not hesitate. Act now.