MEET BAILEY CHEEK: after a Christmas spent in Haiti, she found the truest of gifts.
Can you tell us about “the week of giving”?
When you walk through the door at Phyllis Newby’s Orphanage is Saintard, Haiti, you are greeted with the warmest of smiles from Mamma Miss and her kids! When our team gets there for “the week of giving”, they KNOW we are there for them! We begin our week by sorting out everything we brought with us, bagging lots of rice up, getting supplies for the schools, and of course loving on the kiddos. Throughout the week we do 6+ rice giveaways to the churches in the villages that no longer receive rice aid. While in these villages we share stories of Jesus and sing songs with the people. We also go to several schools during the week of giving and there we let them show us the dances and songs they practice, then we distribute “Bon Bons” (cookies), sing worship songs with them, and let them know the reason we are there and that we love them! To end our week our group always has Christmas for the children at Momma Miss. We always make the children one of their favorite foods, and then have a sweet desert. The children receive backpacks with things for church and school in them, and to them that is one of the best materialistic gifts they could receive.
How did celebrating Christmas in Haiti affect how you view Christmas moving forward?
Celebrating Christmas in Haiti is a gift within itself! You can take all the presents from under my tree for the last 19 years, and nothing fills my heart like the gift of being with these kids at Christmas. All my life I was allowed to look through the holiday ads and point to the things I wished for and made Santa a list. We would read the story of the coming of Christ and what Christmas really meant. Now that I have experienced Christmas in Haiti, I can take the story of how Jesus came to be and see it in the eyes of the Haitian children we share our time with. One of the children at the orphanage said, “We love when you come, not because of the gifts, but because we know your group is coming to love us.” This is exactly how I look at Christmas now, I love when Jesus came for me not just for the great things that come with salvation, but because I know he is going to love me no matter what.
Many say, “It’s better to give than to receive”. How did your trip impact your thoughts on this?
“To give is better than to receive” is more than just a holiday saying for me. You see, when we do ‘the week of giving’ in Haiti, it fills not only the shelves, and bellies of the people we serve, but it fills our heart to be able to give. When seeing all of the brokenness within the country, I can see how much I have to give and how I hope to receive absolutely nothing from this because it is our calling by God to move our feet and spread the word. Haiti is so beautiful and has so much potential, so for that reason I wasn’t to not only give materialistic things, but I was to be able to equip Haitians with skills that will help them throughout their daily lives so they can go teach others the same, and then you will see a widespread ripple effect of this across the Nation!
What did you learn through fundraising for your trip?
While looking at the huge financial mountain in front of me of what seemed impossible for a college student, I decided to reach out to Fund the Nations to see how they could help! I was on the waiting list to go to Haiti and received a call a month before the trip asking if I was still able to go. I immediately emailed Fund the Nations, and the very next day I was connected to someone who was able to make this happen! I am not very creative, but they worked with me and created my now favorite shirt in my closet! I was able to sell many T-shirts and meet my goal to go to Haiti, no way I could have met my goal without Fund the Nations!
What advice do you have for someone who wants to serve internationally but is concerned about stepping out of their comfort zone?
My advice for someone who wants to serve internationally but is concerned about stepping out of their comfort zone is to seek out others who have the same heart or desire and make it a group mission. I first started the mission work in my own town, then decided to go out of state, and then I went to Haiti. This built my confidence in my testimony and in my heart to prepare to see brokenness and react in a loving way. There are local churches and organizations that have ways of plugging people in to mission work both near and far. Having faith is the first step. While there are many obstacles and fire hoops that you may have to go through, just know that this is what God has called His people to do! God, does not call the qualified but instead qualifies those who are called!
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