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Student spends summer helping families in Haiti

Student spends summer helping families in Haiti

Student spends summer helping families in Haiti

Ashley Crowe, standing at left, spent...

When Ashley Crowe was struggling with a lull in her spiritual life last winter, she decided the best way to help herself was to help someone else.

A graduate of Southeast Bulloch High School, Crowe is the daughter of Barry and Lisa Crowe and is currently a junior at Shorter University in Rome, Ga. She met with a couple from her church in Rome, shared her desire for some type of mission work during the summer, and asked, “Do you have any contacts? I really want to work with children.”

That couple introduced her, virtually, to Stacie Rider-Ulysse, the founder of Empowering Haitian Moms, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “glorify God by strengthening and stabilizing families in Haiti.” Empowering Haitian Moms seeks to give mothers the skills and education to maintain jobs and take care of their children.

After several conversations with Rider-Ulysse and much prayer, Crowe felt God leading her to Haiti. 
Crowe left at the end of May for what she calls “the best experience of my whole life.” She said she fell in love with the women and children she worked with in the small community of Montrouis.

Three days a week, Crowe, Rider-Ulysse and Fritznel, Rider-Ulysse’s Haitian husband, made the trek from the Ulysses’ home in St. Mark to the group of cinderblock houses in Montrouis to play with the children, teach Bible lessons to mothers and children, cook and socialize.

Rider-Ulysse helps the women start a small business, like cooking food to sell from their homes or on the streets, to ease their financial burden.

Some of the women have husbands who help support the family with other jobs.

“Most of the men might make $7 a week,” Crowe said. “But a sack of rice to feed a family costs $26 a month so they can’t make ends meet.”

Many of the families eat only one meal a day, cooked outside with sparse utensils.

The families Crowe served have no indoor plumbing. With only cold water, the families shower outside with a hosepipe and hand-wash all of their clothes.

“All they have is each other,” Crowe said. “They love unconditionally.”

Longing for an education for their children, many mothers wash laundry for hours every day to make a few dollars.

With 18 mothers and their children in the program, Empowering Haitian Moms also helps the children with their schooling. No public education is available; the children attend a Christian school if funding is available through sponsorship.

In mid-August, Crowe reported on her blog, “Following Him to Haiti.”

“God has provided 23 beautiful children with the gift of education through sponsorship,” she wrote. What a blessing this is to their families, and to the child who is now able to attend school without fear of being pulled out because their parents can no longer afford their education.”

Crowe became so enamored with the beautiful women and children in Montrouis that her passion became contagious. Before the summer ended, her mother, Lisa, visited and served with Empowering Haitian Moms. Later, her younger sister, Cierra, came.

Crowe’s departure was bittersweet. She longed for a hot shower, rest and family, but dreaded leaving behind those she had come to love so deeply.

Tears flowed when she said goodbye, but, with plans to return in December, she knew it was a temporary goodbye.

“There’s no greater feeling than being in the center of God’s will,” Crowe said of her time in Haiti. “I know that God has called me to the mission field. I don’t know yet what He wants me to do on the mission field, but that is OK. Right now, I am filled to overflowing, loving on His children.” 

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