KANSAS CITY – Red Bridge Baptist Church, Kansas City, owns and operates the Haiti Home of Hope for impoverished Haiti children. In January, they celebrated their 13th anniversary. But the orphanage does more than feed, clothe and educate the children. The ministry also reaches out and serves the entire community.
“In addition to the directors, Bill and Jennifer Campbell, who came out of our church and live on site,” Victor Borden, senior pastor, said, “we employ about 25 locals. We are the primary employer for the area and it helps the economy.”
“We serve newborns to about age 19,” he continued, “and we take care of 40-50 children on average. Some of our kids have significant medical needs.”
Borden cited the case of one young boy who was blind and had hydrocephalus. “He was just left to die and we took him in,” Borden said. “We took care of him every step of the way until his death when he was six years old. The community couldn’t understand why we gave him so much time and resources. The sanctity of life is the answer.”
All activities of the orphanage are Christ-centered. “We function like a huge family,” Borden said. “We have schedules, the children have responsibilities and duties, with tons of love, sufficient discipline and it is all Christ-centered.”
Red Bridge has a long history of ministering in Haiti. Before the orphanage ministry, they supported a man connected with Child Evangelism Fellowship. He made many trips to Haiti and purchased some land and built a few concrete buildings. When he grew older, he asked God whom He was leading to take over.
“That’s how we got involved,” Borden said. “We acquired this ready-made property and planted there. It has exploded. We’ve quadrupled the buildings by adding dorms, a dining facility and mission quarters for visiting groups.”
Borden said these mission groups have provided “life-saving help for hundreds.” “It is an easy short-term mission trip,” he said. “It is close, the only charge is for the food they eat, and I help plan the trip. The orphanage is contained with secure borders. These missionaries go to make a difference with people, but they are the ones who go back changed.”
In addition to helping with the children, the short-term missionaries get involved in with other projects sponsored by the orphanage including the Milk Clinic, the Children’s Feeding Center and support for widows.
“Widows are left out to die,” Borden said. “There is no one to stand in the gap. So, we help them.”
“We have our help down to a science,” he said. “We want our help to go to the ones who need it and not out on the black market. So, we build in safeguards for our resources.”
He went on to explain how some of those safeguards work. “For the Milk Clinic on Saturday, the mom, grandma, aunt or someone must bring the baby to get the formula. Some walk long distances and they are willing to stand in line for four to five hours for the food,” Borden said. “We evaluate the baby’s health and keep accurate records. We know exactly how much to give them to get the baby thriving and if they return and the baby’s weight hasn’t changed, then we tell them they will be cut off from the program. It hasn’t happened but we want them to know that the food is for the baby and not for them to sell at the gate.”
When the baby graduates to food, the Children’s Feeding Center offered by the orphanage takes over. “We distribute rice and beans to families,” Borden said. “We make unannounced visits to homes as a safeguard to see how they are faring. People on mission trips visiting with us get first-hand experience seeing these one-room mud huts with thatched roofs, sometimes housing eight people. It opens their eyes.”
“Haiti is a land in utter chaos,” Borden said. “You wonder how the country can even exist. But, in the thirteen years of serving, the community has watched us come and serve in the name of the Lord and they trust us. Many have become our advocates to the community, they have our back.”