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One Boy, Two Trips to Haiti and a Call from God

One Boy, Two Trips to Haiti and a Call from God

Feed My Starving Children partners with Praying Pelican Missions to provide the opportunity for volunteers to see first-hand the communities that have been impacted by Feed My Starving Children food and build relationships with those who live there. Lianna Cotant works for the FMSC MarketPlace as a retail operations associate.

Here, she shares what God has done in her life after visiting Haiti through Praying Pelican Missions. This post was adapted from an essay Lianna wrote for a Praying Pelican Missions contest.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18

God always speaks to me so clearly when I travel.

Something about stripping away the excess—no closet full of clothes, no long morning routine, and no internet to distract me for hours.
When I travel to Haiti, I find myself further connected to God’s voice, His presence and His love.

I appreciate the simplicity of watching the sun set or sitting with kids and blowing bubbles. I am content to just be, to rest, to recover and to listen to what God is whispering into my life.


During my first trip to Haiti, my husband Chris and I spent a week at Pastor Josue’s compound, singing worship songs under the tree, braiding hair and enjoying the company of the kids.

As the week continued, we both made a special connection to one boy, a 16 year old named Renand. The language barrier didn’t bother us, and we spent hours sitting together, joking and worshiping.

Six days flew by and we had to tell Renand that we were leaving, that we weren’t sure if we could come back and that we’d miss him. Our last morning, he shed quiet tears and refused to smile as we said our goodbyes.

God’s Call to Adopt

The entire year after our trip, Chris and I would speak about Renand often. His picture sat on my desk so I was reminded to pray for him daily.

Over that year, God started whispering louder in my life—urging Chris and I toward adoption as a way to grow our family.

We had always planned to adopt, but had planned on a baby or perhaps a toddler. We wanted to start from the beginning with our child–fewer complications and risks, we thought.

However, I found myself telling people about Renand and adding, “I wish I could adopt a 16-year-old boy from Haiti!”

Fast forward to March of this year and Chris and I are on a plane back to Haiti, sleeping overnight in the Miami airport and arriving just in time for church on Sunday after a flight cancellation.

We stayed at Pastor Jacky’s this time, and fell in love with a different group of kids, a new ministry and a new part of Haiti.

One of the first days there, though, we all loaded onto a bus and headed back to Pastor Josue’s.

Over the bumpy road to his compound, my heart was racing—will Renand be there? Is he still in school? Will he remember us?

His Jaw Dropped and His Face Lit Up

The bus stopped and we all piled out, sweaty from the ride. The compound was wonderfully familiar, but with remarkable changes—the children’s home, which a year prior had been half rubble, now stood tall and complete. The tree was still there, and we all headed for the shade, guitars in hand.

Chris and I scanned the landscape and immediately saw Renand, standing by the kitchen.

We called his name and ran over. The look on his face continues to bring me to tears—his jaw dropped and his face lit up.

We gave him big hugs and showed him pictures we had printed from our trip the year before. We sat with him all afternoon, enjoying his company, his jokes and his improved English. He tucked the pictures away in his notebook and told us he was still in school, still working hard.

When we had to leave, he stood by the bus and asked if we would return. We weren’t sure, and though we did return later in the week, he was in school and we didn’t see him.

Renand’s picture is still at my desk, and his heart continues to remind me to be humble, to live simply and to care for those around me.

Chris and I have heard God’s call to care for orphans, we’ve mapped out our plan to adopt from foster care and it’s just a matter of time before a child becomes a part of our home.


Except now, because of Renand, because of the way God spoke to us with all the distractions stripped away, we are considering older children, kids with more complications.

Because of one boy, two trips to Haiti and an amazing God, we’re hoping to give a kid who’s been looked over too many times a forever home.

Haiti is an amazing place, my trips there have given me such clarity for my life and the uncomfortable but wonderful path God has chosen for me.

After all, He doesn’t call us to be comfortable; He calls us to follow Him.

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