Testimonies From Our Volunteers

What I Witnessed

As I sit here listening to Matthew West’s “Do Something”, I am reflecting this Sunday on all of the mission trips I have gone on. I reflect on our visit to the kids in Haiti and hearing the part of the song where West sings to God, “Why don’t you do something” when it comes to the pain and suffering of the world and God responds “I did, I created you.” That is a huge five-word response that shut me up and opened my ears the first time I heard it on the radio. Now to me, it can be an ego thing to sit there and think that God created me to help others in need, but I want to focus on the reverse. God created our brothers and sisters living and working in Haiti as well to teach us lessons and to reach out to us.
Let me start with the kids and their smiles – what a life they have huh? We take for granted day in and day out what we have here. How lucky we are to have what we have. God has blessed us beyond what we deserve, even though sometimes we look at others and think we deserve more.
We visited with these kids who may not understand the world, what is in it, what they could have and what they may never have. They may not even have the time on this earth that most of us have, but two things they do have stood out to me the most.
First is love from a staff of people who work tirelessly every hour of every day to make sure they are provided for, a staff that will make sure that they are protected, fed, and kept comfortable. Right there, God provided for those kids. The second thing is smiles. Sitting down on the porch taking a break one afternoon, I watched Ron walk to where the kids were sitting and their faces lit up with smiles as he played and talked with them. What greater gift does a person need than being able to smile, having someone with the gift to make them laugh during the day? Love and laughter, no other blessings are greater than those two right there in my opinion. Thank you to the kids, the staff and Ron for showing that to me over the week.
The second item I witnessed our week there was the night I awoke thinking we were under attack by a mob. It felt like it was 2:00 or 3:00 am but I found out it was closer to 10:00 pm when I was awakened by the most passionate worship I’ve heard in years. As soon as one of the songs, which was sung in Creole or French, became a bit familiar, I realized the staff was holding worship out back and man were they worshipping! Now I am sure you have heard of what the area is like, the electricity being cut any point of the day, the need to live behind a giant wall and locked gate, the heat with no air conditioning, but their worship to God was one of the most passionate I have ever heard.

Some of us look at mission trips as having to give a lot of our things up that we live with for a week. Yes it is tough and I am not trying to criticize anyone for feeling that they feel like something special for doing so, I am one whose ego has put those thoughts in my head a few times, but what the staff taught me that night is no matter where you are, what situation you have in life, your thankfulness to God should be the greatest passion you express. Now we can argue about the situation and why God would put people in certain situations, but as we waste our time arguing, they are spending their time worshipping and praising.
So God created me, to help Rich put screen doors together for the house; created me to work with almost the entire group to build the wall. He also created the kids and staff to teach me lessons for the week. He created all of us to help out and teach each other in many ways. So this trip wasn’t a mission trip for me to help others but one that God created by putting a group of brothers and sisters together in one place for a period of time to help each other, teach each other and build up His family
The work was secondary. The time together between those who traveled, those who live and work there and the kids was what was created by God to benefit us all.
 Brian Harris

God is All Around Us
I really miss all you wonderful people. You made this trip an experience through providing for us with delicious food, a place to sleep, and best of all those kids. I am honored to help support your foundation. I can’t even pinpoint the thing that touched me the most when I was there because it all touched me. I loved being there for the kids. I really miss everything single one of them. I loved the pictures we put on the wall and  their names above their beds. I am so happy to be a part of making the place so more meaningful. When I first walked in there I already thought It was a beautiful home and perfect for those kids. I loved the whole experience of being in a different country and I couldn’t believe how things are there.
It’s a beautiful country filled with very nice people. I saw God a lot throughout that week. I saw the love of God through how you guys take care out of those kids with genuine love, the unconditional love like Jesus. I saw how happy and content they were  because your presence of God rubs off on them. I believe they wouldn’t be so sweet and happy if it wasn’t for your care and love you show towards them. I believe it is Jesus who is working in you guys to provide for the kids. I also believe whoever walks in that door has a major impact on them as well, just as we did. I am honored to be an impact on them.
I pray for more blessings for you guys. I pray for more kids can be saved through you guys. I pray for the ones you have now. I pray for strength and wisdom for you guys. I am looking forward to coming back again soon. Give those kids a hug and kiss for me. You guys are in my prayers.
Jaime Hitchcock

Christ’s Joy is Present
I do not think that words can adequately describe my experience, during our trip, to the Little Hearts Homewith VBF this summer, but I will try. As someone who works with individuals with disabilities, I was absolutely devastated to hear how these children and their families are treated in Haiti.
The part of the trip that struck me the most was the tremendous amount of love in the Little Hearts Home. The staff was absolutely amazing and they genuinely loved and cared for each of the children. The children all expressed great joy and life, which radiated throughout the whole house. I could tell that Christ was present in that home, and that the lives of these children were all greatly improved because of this love and joy.
While we were there, we painted a quote on the wall, above pictures of each of the children that said, “You can’t wrap love in a box, but you can wrap a person in love.” I do not know how to adequately define love, using words, but I know that I experienced it while I was in the Little Hearts Home with those children and the amazing staff.
I absolutely loved every moment I was able to spend with the children in the Little Hearts Home, and cannot wait until I can return to see them again.
 Anais Hussian

The Sound of Laughter

My experience in Haiti through the Vladimir Bryant Foundation was amazing and all it took was five days for me to fall in love with the country, the people, and the foundation.
There is so much to say about those five days, but my personal experience was mostly affected by an eleven year-old boy named Jonathon, who lived in the VBF home. He has a pretty bad case of cerebral palsy and can’t even support his head. Despite this, he has one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen. All I wanted to do was make him smile. He has so much love and joy to share with the world and I feel so blessed to have had it shared with me. There is nothing I wanted to do more while I was on the trip than to hold Jonathon and make him giggle. It was such a simple thing, yet it brought me so much joy.
I learned a lot from him and from all of the kids in the VBF home. The biggest thing these inspiring kids taught me was that you can always find a reason to smile and share your love. Despite their situations, they still found joy in the simplest things and just wanted to be happy.
I will always have a place in my heart for Haiti and for the kids in the foundation and cannot wait to go back next summer.
Sona Hussian

All You Need is Love
Although my visit to the Little Hearts Home in Haiti was a short five days, it’s hard to put into words the impact that it had on me. The love that I saw displayed to the children by the staff was like nothing I had ever witnessed before. The ladies and gentlemen who care for these precious babies were clearly handpicked by God. Upon entering the home it was very evident that these children are very loved, and the love is that real kind of love that only an obedient servant of God can give.
Nahomie, the main staff member, is such a pure spirit. Watching her interact with and love on the children brought such a joy to my heart that I can’t begin to describe. While this was my first time (definitely not the last) meeting the staff and children in person, I have been blessed to get to know them through stories and photos over the last year and a half. I was completely blown away by the progress these babies have made in such a short time with the help and care from the wonderful staff. Each of the children was so thin and malnourished as well as confined to lying down or being held due to lack of care, when they first arrived. These children are now sitting up unassisted and some are walking assisted. They are all healthy and thriving from the work and care of the dedicated staff.
These caretakers are so selfless. Each and every day the children are bathed and cuddled. They are fed three meals a day. The staff members have each taken the time to learn how to work with each child to meet their own very different therapy needs. While they are so selfless, they have also taught me what it looks like to be a humble servant. Through the night, every night, one of the men walk the perimeter of the home, even though it is surrounded by a tall cement protection wall, to make sure that the children are as safe as possible. While someone walks outside and the children sleep inside, a staff member sleeps on the hard floor in the kid’s room to make sure someone is readily available if a child awakens.
I think the most amazing thing I witnessed in the staff throughout the week was also one of the scariest things I have ever seen. Little Marlot was having a seizure (which is not uncommon) that lasted a great deal longer than the ones he has had in the past. Nahomie held this baby and loved him through it. Although there was nothing she could do to take the pain and horrible experience away from him, she did everything in her power to make sure he knew he was not alone. The love and despair I saw in her face as she held this baby as he struggled for over a half hour was a mother’s love. All of these children have their own biological parents who love them so immensely that they were willing to give them away to ensure they have life and the best chance possible, but they also have many spiritual parents within the Vladimir Brant staff who love them with that same love.
I could never thank God enough for blessing me with the opportunity to witness such unconditional love. I will forever be changed by the love that these men and women of God have showed me, even through our language barrier. Through the staff from the Little Hearts Home, I learned what love looks like and it looks a lot like my Jesus.
 Jessica Saranzak

Time with the Kids
The best part about being at the Vladimir Bryant Foundation was spending time with the kids. The kids just have so much joy and energy that you can’t help but smile when you see them. Just to be able to visit them and show them God’s love was such a blessing and an amazing experience.
Bordain Smith

Memories of a Lifetime
Although everything about this experience was memorable and incredible, my favorite part was the visitation to Little Hearts Home, which is captured in the picture to the left. We played musical chairs, soccer, basketball and even sang songs of worship. I cannot put into words how much this short period of time out of the entire trip meant to me, and the impact it had on my life. It was something I never experienced before and will never forget.
What stood out the most and made this trip different from the rest was that it was centered on spending time with the most adorable and precious children. The staff was so attentive and accommodating to us and especially the kids. I have never seen so many smiles or heard so much laughter for the duration of the trip. I am blessed and honored to have experienced the Vladimir Bryant Foundation and to be a part of its first missions group. I cannot wait to go back!
Toni-Ann Smith

Meeting Johnny
This picture is from the first day I met Johnny. I will never forget that day. We pulled up in front of his home – a tiny wooden shack – and saw him in his wheelchair. As we walked up to him sitting there, he smiled the biggest smile and lit up that dark place. If we didn’t know any better, we would have thought Johnny had everything a person could want. He barely had anything at all. We instantly fell in love with him and knew at that moment why we were there.
We moved Johnny into Vladimir Bryant Foundation’s Little Hearts Home on January 12, 2013. He was so happy and took great pleasure in the things we all take for granted. For three weeks he lived like a King. He was bathed, fed three meals a day and slept in his very own comfortable bed. He was enthralled with the TV – he had never seen anything like it. While there, Johnny was able to wheel around on the tile floors and loved it! He was unable to do this on the dirt floor of his home without the help of others.  But most amazingly, after his first week with us, Johnny started speaking! The improvement in his health in that short time was such a blessing to see! He was thriving and we believed there was no limit to what he could accomplish.
We soon found out God had other plans for Johnny.During his third week in Little Hearts Home, he became sick with stomach pains and high fever and was taken to the hospital. While there, Johnny’s mother told us he had contracted Malaria at age 5 and Yellow Fever at age 10. He never received medical treatment for those illnesses; the family just didn’t have the means to pay for a doctor or hospital visit. In the years to follow, he would often become very sick due to the lack of medical treatment. On Saturday, February 9, 2013, Johnny went home to be with his Heavenly Father. Although we miss his huge smile and loving spirit, we receive comfort in knowing he is now healed and running around with other children in his home in Heaven.
God placed Johnny in our lives to show us our purpose – the vision for Little Hearts Home. He was our first child to move into the home and receive our love and care. Johnny will always be in our hearts and in the short time we knew him, touched all of our lives in a profound way. We will never forget him.
We love you Johnny and will see you again one day!
Deb Corey

God’s Choices
Every child in Vladimir Bryant Foundation’s Little Hearts Home in Haiti has a special story of how they were chosen by God to be with us.
Our first child was an 11 year-old boy named Johnny who lived in Montours, about 2 hours from Port au Prince. We drove to his village early in the morning and upon arriving, his Father brought Johnny out of their very small, 10’x10’ block hut they called home. Here was this disabled child in a wheelchair grinning from ear to ear – he seemed so happy in general and also happy to see us! He captured our hearts with his infectious smile and there was not a dry eye among us.
We stayed and visited with the family and shared our crackers and candy with Johnny – he loved them! We learned the family did not have medical care, electricity, running water or a bathroom and were very poor, just like the others who live in the same village. We soon found God had other plans for Johnny though. About a month later we were able to move him in to Little Hearts Home. Four other children – Kony, Ruthie, Samuel and Jonathan – moved in shortly thereafter. This was the first time any of these kids lived in a home with running water, electricity, a bathroom and their own beds. Johnny was so happy! He was the oldest and Big Man of the house. A week or so after moving into the home, Cedric received a phone call and Johnny spoke to him on the phone. We didn’t know Johnny could speak because he had never said a word to us when we first met him! God is so amazing. We were so happy Johnny was living like a King.
One month later, we were told that Johnny was very sick so Widza immediately flew to Haiti to be with him.She took he and his Mother to the hospital and they both stayed by his side for four days. While there, they observed a woman arrive at the hospital to drop off and abandon her 15 month old baby. Soon enough, Johnny’s health improved and he was getting ready to be released so Widza then flew back home. At midnight that night, Johnny took a turn for the worse and we received word that he passed away. We could not believe it and were so shocked and sad. We wondered why God would go through all of that for Johnny but were comforted by the fact that for his last month on earth he lived like a King.
Then God stopped in again and answered our question.  Remember that 15 month old girl who was abandoned by her mother? Her father came to the hospital looking for her and found her. He spoke with Widza and told her his daughter, Analysse, had Cerebral Palsy and asked if we would take her into Little Hearts Home. He and the mother were not married and he had to work during the day and the baby would be left home alone. We agreed to take her in and he dropped Analysse off at Little Hearts Home that Monday. The next day he called to thank us and tell us we saved her life ­– literally. That very night, after dropping her off, his house burnt down. Analysse would have been in the house and died had we not taken her in!
So even in his passing, Johnny became a hero.

Johnny will always be a part of the Vladimir Bryant Foundation and live forever in our hearts. One day when we get to Heaven, we know Johnny will be waiting at the gates and will thank us for what we did and the love we showed him. He will also be waiting for each of you who have helped by donating money so he could live out his last month on earth, like a King.

Ron Corey
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”