By Doug Bradbury
“So how has it changed?”
This is the question I often get when I tell folks that I have been going to Haiti since 1985. I was just a sophomore in college when a crew of us from Geneva College spent six weeks there. It was an amazing and eye-opening time for me.
There are many things that are the same about Haiti today as when I first visited. The smell of charcoal throughout the countryside. The laughter and joy that is so contagious, even during incredibly difficult times. The generosity and kindness evident in the hearts of those who live so differently from me.
But there have been many changes as well. Cell phones and cell towers that can reach even the most remote villages. Roads! (Believe it or not, the roads are better today than I have ever remembered.)
Little did I know back then that I would be so deeply connected to this wonder country for the next 35 years.
Over a decade ago, Sarah and Jeff VanderMolen and I began to discuss the possibility of creating a different kind of mission organization—one that looked for sustainable ways of doing ministry. Over the years, God has opened our hearts and hands to a different approach towards missions—a mission that values partnering with Haitians so that trust and relationship can be foundational to the work we do. I have literally placed my life and the lives of my kids in the hands of these servants of love and grace. It has been a fixed anchor of reality for me and my family.
Today, Haiti H20 has partnering cooperatives in four different communities. We have worked at developing schools, composting toilets, churches, medical clinics, goat projects, and hurricane recovery efforts. Serving as the President of the Board, it has been a privilege to be so connected and involved in the development of Haiti H20 from the very beginning.
We now have an active Board and staff and great hope for what is to continue and develop. It is a privilege to invite new energy and talent to help lead our board and continue the mission of Haiti H20.
With this in mind, I am thrilled to announce that Jay Thier will be taking on the role of President of the Board of Haiti H20.
Jay is no stranger. He and his family were part of Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church while I worked there in family ministry. Several of the Thier family have participated in Haiti H20 mission trips and fundraisers like the Pittsburgh Marathon. His executive experience offers tremendous analytical skills and leadership in project management. Jay values the vision of Haiti H20 and is encouraged to expand the network of partnering communities. His experience and leadership in doing board work will be a great asset to our organization.
I have hope that Jay’s leadership will enable Haiti H20 to implement new opportunities in Haiti.
Just so you know, I plan to continue to be involved in the ministry of Haiti H20. I look forward to serving our organization in meaningful ways. I plan to continue bringing groups and introducing individuals to my Haitian family that I love so deeply.
And I am grateful for Jay’s servant leadership and willingness to lead our organization. Please join me in welcoming Jay to the Haiti H20 family.