I’m not sure how I came across Megan’s blog, or Respire Haiti. All I know is that when I did I immediately felt a kinship with her cause to help children trapped in slavery. I felt God all over what she was doing. I am inspired by her courage to take action on her faith. To leave everything behind at 24 years old to go where God was calling her to go. I am in awe at what she has been able to build in the short two years she has been in Haiti. The following is a short interview we did with her about her ministry. I pray you are inspired, and will visit her websites.
AW: What is your ministry?
Megan: Respire Haiti. Our vision is to encourage, empower and educate restaveks*, orphans and vulnerable children. We run a school with over 500 children (Kindergarten-9th grade and 2 classes for children who have never been to school before), we also have a medical clinic for our school and staff, Two feeding/discipleship programs for children in our community, Soccer teams and English classes. Additionally we run two business, Ramase Lajan,(literally means to pick up money) a recycling program where we collect aluminum and plastic as well as another business Respire Haiti Cafe and Boutique where we sell fresh juices, smoothies, cinnamon rolls and more as well as locally made artisan goods (jewelry, paintings, wood carvings etc.)
(*Restavek. Literally translates to child slave or domestic servant. Usually between the ages of 4 to 15. Does all of the house chores, cooking, cleaning, washing, fetching water. Often abused and most likely does NOT go to school.)
Megan: Our dream is to educate the children and adults in the Gressier community, both through our school and about the RIGHTS of children here in Haiti. And ultimately we are able to SHOW and TEACH the children here about their identity in Christ.
AW: What drew you to this ministry?
Megan: Honestly, when I first came to Haiti I had no idea that I would eventually live here and serve. God step by step led the way for me to move here, start Respire Haiti and fight for freedom for the children here. When I moved to Gressier I didn’t even know what a Restavek was, it was something that I learned from meeting numerous children that were living and working in terrible conditions.
AW: Tell us about that moment when you felt God call you to this? How did he call you? What was the tipping point for you? Was that decision supported by those around you?
Megan: I visited Bellevue Mountain in Gressier for about 45 minutes and never thought I would move here. I remember looking around and thinking someone else should come here, however when I got home the Lord placed Gressier, Haiti SO heavily on my heart and mind that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. He began waking me up in the middle of the night and finally I listened to the Lord and made the decision to move to Gressier. I moved here on January 9, 2011 and had MANY people that were both hesitant and supportive. Because I moved here by myself there was a lot of caution/concern from family and friends, but the Lord continued to be faithful in this decision and it wasn’t long after I moved here that they were all supportive and encouraging.
AW: What compels you to continue when it’s hard?
Megan: Knowing that the Lord has sent me here to be a Voice for His children. There is so much darkness and evil here in Haiti that sometimes it is difficult to remember why the Lord sent me here, but then I remember His call on my life to Fight for the Fatherless.
AW: What would you say to the person who is on that edge of living life as usual or taking action on what God is calling them to do?
Megan: To listen to the Lord, so often the world’s voice is SCREAMING at us telling us what to do and the Lord’s is softly whispering His call on our life. I would encourage this person to remember that this life is not about us, it is about listening to the voice of Jesus.
AW: How can people help or get involved in what you are doing?
Respire Haiti Christian School has 500 children 80% are or were restaveks. Supporting Respire Haiti and our school means you are helping to fight slavery and change the future for these children! Click here to donate
I grew up a Southern girl in Lafayette, Louisiana and am the youngest of three children. I went to college at Tulane University in New Orleans where I was a cheerleader for two years. I became a Christian after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and I attended Washington and Lee University for a semester. After college I tried several different jobs before I found the one that I felt was right for me. However, months after I started my perfect job I visited Haiti and my whole life changed. At the age of 24, I quit my amazing job, sold everything and started a non profit Respire Haiti. In January of 2011 I moved to Gressier, Haiti and rented a house there by myself and began figuring out what God wanted me to do.
In January of 2013 I married my best friend and number one encourager Josh Anderson (who I met in Haiti). We are now on this journey of living in Haiti, raising a family and fighting for freedom together.
Megan blogs at Blessed by a Burden