Stories touch our hearts
The Eden Foundation Team interviewed Marie Gray, founder of Joshua Mission of Hope in Salagnac, Haiti. Here is Marie’s witness story, told in her own words:
My uncle came to visit me in America and said they were opening a school, Gabriel Academy, and needed help. I believe that education is the way to help Haiti move forward. That’s why I started the Joshua Mission of Hope Foundation here in the U.S to help fund the school in Salagnac (Haiti).
Joshua Mission of Hope is a way to get other people involved to support Gabriel Academy. My parents worked very hard for me to get an education when I was young, and now I work very hard so that these kids can have a good education, too.
The school is important because they also feed the children a meal every day. Sometimes that one meal is the only meal they eat that day. It helps them grow and be healthy. We also show the kids a lot of love.
The kids come from near and far to come to the school. Some of them walk three or four miles every day and it’s a very hard terrain – up the mountain. Many of them get up very early to walk to school. Some parents carry them if they are really small. But there is no complaining. They are happy to do it.
I called it the Joshua Foundation because my son’s name is Joshua and I want him to carry on the tradition. But it’s also from the Book of Joshua in Bible which says, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This is how I serve the Lord. It is my mission and I love it. God has put me here not to be served, but to serve, and this is how I do that.
It’s been a win-win situation for both of us. The school has been a blessing in my life and they have been blessed too.
It’s not only a school that we are building; we are also building a community. We would like to have a clinic and eventually a hospital. The school right now is an elementary school. We hope to one day have a trade school and a high school. A lot of the kids in Haiti cannot afford to go all the way through school because they have to help their families. So a lot of times they leave school to learn a trade. That’s why we want to have a trade school, so they can stay in school and learn a trade.
Many of these kids are the first generation of kids who are going to school. A lot of their parents can’t read, so we not only have the school for the kids; we want to teach the parents too. I want the parents to be able to know what it says when their kids bring their report cards home.
I do believe in education. I believe we can break poverty through education. And I will try to get as many people on board as I can to help Gabriel Academy educate these kids so we can move Haiti forward.
Education is healing for these kids. So my mission is a healing ministry. And in Haiti, I’m using education to do that.
I do see it as evangelization. I want them to know that God is alive. That God is very present in their lives. That God is in the middle of all of this so they are not alone in this. And I think we are building a generation that can go out and evangelize. That, to me, is what it’s all about. It’s not to get an education so you can get rich. No, no. It’s to get an education so you can go out and further God’s kingdom and to better the world.
Submitted by Danny May, Eden Team member