It started in 2010, just after Haiti shook hard after the earthquake — so hard that thousands perished, thousands more were driven to tent cities and the whole world groaned for its lost children.
Here, on an Iowa farm, one small girl groaned with the world. I remember the night she trickled out her first prayer for Haiti, praying that God might do something, anything, to make it better.
“Mom,” my Lydia recalled this morning, 2 1/2 years later, “before that night, I never even knew that Haiti existed.”
Huddled under those covers night after night, we always knew that God really could do a miracle for the people of Haiti. And we were certain that He would. We still believe God is doing just that: We believe that God is redeeming all things, reconciling a groaning world. And we believe that He has a patterned history of using ordinary, common people to carry out His work. People like Lydia Lee. She writes to you today:
Ever since the earthquake occurred in Haiti in the year of 2010, I’ve wanted to help Haiti. I’ve prayed, donated money, and even held a tea party fundraiser at my church, which raised more than $600. The money was used to buy a generator in a rural Haiti church, so they could have lights during their church services. But this will be my biggest fundraiser yet. I would like to raise more than $5,000 to build a playground for children in Haiti.”
Today, Lydia kicks off her fundraiser, to build a playground at a school in Simonette, Haiti, where more than 500 children receive an education, a meal and a daily dose of hope.
“These children have nothing to play on at recess. These kids would love this playset, which will have lots of swings, slides, jungle gyms and other features. The playground is being purchased from a supplier in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.”
So begins the fundraiser. Last week, Lydia sent out 100 invitations, asking people to attend a kickoff party at our house. She invited her piano instructor, the school cooks, her school teachers, and every woman in our little country church.
Today, we invite you as well. If you live close enough, by all means, head over to the house tonight! We know that most of you live far away. But if you would like to be a part of bringing joy to 500 kids in Haiti, here’s how you can help:
1 — To kick off the fundraiser, Lydia is selling ViBella Jewelry. This jewelry is handcrafted by women in Haiti. The sale of ViBella jewelry supports sustainable employment for real women. I’ve seen firsthand the difference that these jobs are making in the lives of women at risk. And the jewelry is stunning!
2 — Much like a Pampered Chef or Thirty-One party, a percentage of ViBella sales is calculated at the end of the party. With Lydia’s ViBella party, 30% of all sales will go toward the playground fund. This means that 100% of your puchase will support a ministry in Haiti — either the jewelry artists or the schoolchildren.
3 — Would you consider placing an order? Place your order online at www.ViBellaJewelry.com anytime before October 14. IMPORTANT: In the SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS part of the order, just before you complete your order, type the words “LYDIA LEE.” This will make sure that the proceeds will be included in the final playground tally.
4 — Enter right here for a ViBella Necklace giveaway! Last spring, while in Haiti, I watched as women made Faith necklaces, one of my favorite ViBella pieces. I purchased several of those necklaces from the workshop, and am now giving a brand-new one away. To be entered in the giveaway, you can place a comment in the comment box, SHARE this post on Facebook, or SHARE this post on Twitter. If you do all three, let me know in the comment box. Your name will then be entered three times!
Thank you for helping Lydia with her dream to raise money for a playground. Thank you for bringing joy to children in Haiti. Like Lydia said this morning, “you are an answer to prayer.”