Many of you may be wondering why we have said, on numerous occasions, we need more funding now than ever. I want to talk about the biggest reason for this being the case…New Hires! We have had to make multiple new hires for our children and for the ministry to function well. I can assure you that these hires have all been necessary for different reasons, and I want to explain both why and how we have gone from 10 employees (including Audancin and Rosie) to 19 over the past 4 weeks.
We realized early on in the process that we needed more help than we had. We knew that there should never be a time when it is just us (Matt and Jessica) in the house with the children. We always needed to have other adults, specifically Haitians, there with us. Because of that, we needed to make some immediate hires. To start with, we had our weekday caregiver and we had our weekend caregiver from the old orphanage and they came with us to the new place. We also still had our cook, our driver/translator/mechanic/etc., 2 of our security guards, our laundry person, and Lener. We knew immediately we had to increase our numbers to make sure our children were cared for well and to ensure that the future of All Things New would be taken care of.
We know, eventually, we will have houses on the property that will each house 6 children and 1 “house mom.” Our house moms will work in 4 different 12 hour shifts with 2 weekend moms (1 for Friday night and Saturday night, and 1 for all day Saturday and Sunday) and 2 weekday moms (1 Sunday-Thursday nights, and 1 Monday-Friday afternoons) and they will be some of our most important employees. So we came up with a plan. We could make some temporary hires to find out which women we thought would be good to keep and which women would not make it with us. It was important to test these women because they will be raising our children and will have a huge influence on their lives. We asked some of our most trusted friends to find women who were “jamm” or “strong” and who they thought would be good with our kids. We also asked the pastor of the church here at Hope Rising if he knew of anyone who would be good to work for us. Now, let me make one of the biggest understatements I will ever make: “We immediately had people who were willing and ready to work at our door.” What I mean is that when you begin to advertise that you have jobs available here, you would be very surprised at the response you get, and the response was huge. In fact, I have been asked by at least 15 people for a job for their friend, wife, sister, or mom just over the past week. While this is difficult, it is also a very large part of our ministry that we are able to offer jobs to people who otherwise would be out of work.
So our next step was to ask our trusted friends to send us some women to interview. We interviewed many people the first couple of weeks we were here, and we hired most of them. We told them that they had 2 weeks to show us whether or not they could do the job we had for them, and most of them we hired for one of the short weekend shifts so that we could really get a sense of how they would be with the children prior to offering them the job. So far, most of the women who we hired have done excellent! The people who were helping us find them knew what we were looking for and they did a great job of advising us on who to hire next. In fact, we have only had to ask 2 of the women to not come back because they were not good fits for the job. It has been fun to see how different personalities work together, it has been difficult to try and put people in the right place (time slots and with either girls or boys), and it has been interesting to see how the children react to different people. The boys at our orphanage can be very difficult, so we have had to put our strongest personalities with them to make sure they were looked after well.
In the midst of this, we realized (really Jess realized) that we needed someone to help us manage our house moms and to help with understanding the culture of raising children here in Haiti. We are able to manage, do administrative things, and do the best we can to make sure the children are taken care of, but we will never truly understand the culture here like a Haitian. We needed a Haitian woman we could trust to manage the house moms and to help us raise children in a different culture. We had the perfect woman to do this (again Jessica’s idea), but were not sure if she was willing or if she would do it for the amount of money we had to offer. Her name is Gina, and she is the wife of a good friend of ours down here (some of you may know Pastor Raymond). She is smart, capable, and she speaks english after living in the states for a few years. These things are all very important, but the most important thing about Gina is that we trust her and we knew if she accepted this job she would help us immensely both now (even though there are only 19 kids) and even more importantly in the future (as the orphanage continues to grow). So we sat down to interview her and told her what the job would be including the fact that we did not yet fully understand the job and that she would help us figure out exactly what we needed. She left saying that she would think about it, and the next day she called back and said she would take the job. This was very important for All Things New, and she has already helped us in many ways. The biggest thing she is doing now is communicating with the house moms for us to make sure they understand what we need them to do. She also, before taking the job, was one of the people we asked for help in finding new employees and she delivered some of our better workers.
After Gina, I looked around the orphanage and noticed one thing that I knew we needed to change. We had spent the majority of our time hiring new house moms, but we had 10 boys living with us and we had yet to hire a man to help. We knew that we could not hire a man to live with the boys, but that did not mean we could not hire someone to serve as a role model and to help the house moms during the day to have a strong male presence making sure the boys listen. I was not sure who to hire, but I did know it would have to be someone that I really trusted and thought would do a good job, this would be a very important position for us moving forward. One morning we were sitting around the table with Matt and Cara here at Hope Rising, and they mentioned a guy that used to work security for them but his job ended (he was not fired, the job was just for a certain time period and the time was over). They told us that they trusted him and that he was wonderful with children without even knowing that we were looking to hire a man for this position. We thought about it for a couple of days and then came back to ask Matt and Cara what they thought about him for the job we were wanting. They gave him a great endorsement, so we brought him in for an interview. He was big (almost my size), very nice, and seemed like he would be a great fit so we hired him for a temporary position. He has now worked for us for a little over 1 week and so far he has been wonderful. There have been many times when our 3 youngest boys (Maekin, Vageley, and Mivinsley) have all been draped over him with Maekin on his back, Mivinsley being carried, and Vageley hanging on to his leg and being dragged. The boys love him and he has done a great job so far of being stern when he needs to be and playing when it is time to play. We are hoping that this turns into a permanent role for him.
Now, with our previous employees, our new house moms, Jeff, and Gina, we have a wonderful team of people who are working together to raise our children. I do not want to sugarcoat this too much and say that everything has been perfect because there have definitely been growing pains. Sometimes the house moms do not understand exactly what we want, and it has been hard for us to give up some of the control that we have had in decision making and caregiving. Also, any kind of transition like this will come with difficulties, so we do not want you to think that everything has been perfect. However, throughout this process, it has been extremely clear that GOD has led our steps and our decision making. He has given us wisdom that we definitely would not have apart from him as we take on this new direction for the orphanage. When the next house is built we will need to hire 2 more people, but that does not seem like it will be too difficult to do especially with the people who work for us now helping us to find trustworthy and competent people. At this point, we have the beginnings of a wonderful team. There is so much potential for this group of people to grow into an incredible team that will help us to raise these children into the men and women that GOD has called them to be.
Please continue to pray for us, and please continue to get the word out about our ministry and our children. We really do have even greater needs now than we have had in the past both spiritual and financial!