The story begins in the small town of Trou du Nord, near the northern coast of Haiti. A group of seven local Christians felt called to minister to the many orphans, abandoned and abused, in their region. At this time, no place existed to house these vulnerable children. Something had to be done. So even though their own personal resources were limited, they founded The Good Samaritan’s Children’s Home in 2007 and took in as many children as their small home would allow. They made due with limited space and finances for a time, but after the tragic earthquake of 2010, their situation became even more desperate. Food prices soared and more and more children were found needing shelter and protection.
Without assistance, these caregivers knew they would be forced to close the home. Determined to not let that happen, they decided to fast and pray for God’s intervention – for seven days.
On the seventh day, help arrived in the form of a young man named Frantz. He had come a day’s journey from Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti. Frantz did not know the Children’s Home existed, but had heard what he knew to be God’s voice telling him to travel to Trou Du Nord to help the struggling orphanage he would find there.
Frantz himself was penniless at the time, but obeyed the call, asking friends to help with his travel expenses. When he arrived, he asked the villagers where he could find the poorest orphanage. With only one orphanage in town, they pointed him to the Children’s Village!
The caregivers and children couldn’t believe their eyes. A stranger had come to help!
So – Frantz remembered an Australian couple he had met some time before who had spoken of their heart for Haiti and their love for God. He contacted them and told the story of these children and their caregivers in Trou du Nord. They came immediately and knew they had to help. Assisted by fellow church members in Australia, they were able to move the children into a larger rented home, pay for their schooling and provide a budget for food.
Their situation was much improved, but they envisioned something even greater – a plot of land with permanent homes for the children, a vocational school, a clinic, a chapel and land to produce enough food for themselves and others. They dreamed these dreams and one day boldly asked the government for a plot of land. Ask and you shall receive! They were given seven acres of beautiful fertile land!
And then they continued to pray for people who could help make their dreams a reality.
In 2012, five years after the Children’s Home was founded, NRI’s president and founder Laila Mickelwait met the Australian couple who had been led to the struggling orphanage. She knew who they were after a brief introduction in 2010 when they were both in Haiti providing relief after the earthquake, but this time, two years later, Laila providentially ran into Cay Merritt at a church service she hadn’t even planned to attend. They both knew it was not an accident. As Cay shared the story of the Good Samaritan’s Children’s Home, Laila knew that New Reality International was the missing piece of the puzzle that could help make their dreams become reality. NRI decided to call the project PROJECT 7.
--- Project 7 is a dream becoming reality. Picture a strong, protective brick wall surrounding a village of carefully constructed homes full of thriving, ambitious children. Picture a well providing clean water, solar panels providing sustainable electricity, and irrigated fields teeming with fresh produce to eat and sell. Picture children able to receive an education, able to live in a safe home with house parents, emotionally and spiritually fortified.
The land has been acquired, the solar panels installed, the well drilled. The wall is complete, the gates secure. And the first home, to be used as a model for the rest, is nearly complete.
Dr. Joel Mickelwait, the director of Project 7, is heading up the construction work and over the past six months has employed around 120 locals to help with work on the perimeter wall and the first children's home. Things have gone smoothly, with much prayer and partner support.
With just electrical, plumbing and paint, the first home will be complete! The goal is to finish up 5-6 more homes, build a vocational training center, medical/dental clinic, soccer field and chapel to make the village complete.
The fields are producing all kinds of bounty -- watermelon and corn right now, with mangos, lemons, avocado, bananas, oranges and more to come!