Saying goodbye to the Lighthouse Children’s Home as a new chapter begins
On August 21, the six young adults who still remained at the Lighthouse packed up their belongings and parted ways with their friends, their community, their caregiver, Stephanie, and the place they had called home for over a decade.
The oldest four had known this transition would come eventually after their high school graduations, a natural transition into adulthood; however, the youngest two, Peterson and Johnny, had hoped to stay in the same neighborhood until they could finish high school in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
But as kidnappings increased and gang violence escalated just outside the walls of their home, staying proved to be a greater risk, and JiHM leadership made the difficult decision to relocate everyone.
And so, together, Robenson, Kimberly, Fedner, Anne Marie, Peterson and Johnny said goodbye to the life they once knew in Bon Repos, boarded a bus, and traveled eleven hours north to Cap-Haïtien, Haiti.
For a few days, all six settled into a more peaceful environment with extended family members of Roger, JiHM’s Director of Operations. Collectively, they exhaled a sigh of relief, the weight of living in the midst of a war zone lifted. And yet, grief was never far as they mourned the fate of their former home, unsure of whether or not they’ll ever return, especially together.
While Peterson (19) and Johnny (17) will remain in this historic city in northern Haiti to finish high school, Robenson (24), Fedner (21), Kimberly (21), and Anne Marie (20) continued their journey onward by bus across the border of Haiti, relocating together to Santiago, Dominican Republic.
For 13 years, this group has lived beneath the same roof. Though most weren’t biologically related to one another, the bonds they’ve developed through shared displacement and experience are indescribable.
Though all are relieved to be away from the constant and tumultuous threat of gang violence, this shift is entirely bittersweet. Just before they left Bon Repos, Peterson and Johnny had the opportunity to spend a few weeks with their mom who came to visit the Lighthouse from her home, five hours southwest of Port-au-Prince, outside of Les Cayes. Now, the distance is far greater and future reunions are unknown. Just as they are with Stephanie and Odette, Gervens and Ricardo, to name a few.
JiHM will continue to support Johnny and Peterson’s living and education expenses until they complete trade school or university, and support Robenson, Fedner, Kimberly and Anne Marie as they take intensive Spanish classes over the next four months and then enroll in trade schools beginning in early 2024.
Kimberly plans to take an executive secretary course; Anne Marie will study hotel business; Fedner will study videography, and Robenson will learn auto mechanics.
Please pray for these six as they embark on this next chapter toward independence. Pray specifically for Robenson, Fedner, Anne Marie and Kimberly as they transition to a new country, new language, and new schools. Pray for Peterson and Johnny in their own transitions to a new home, new city, new community and new school.
We know this next season of life will not come without its own set of unique challenges and yet, we are hopeful for the opportunities that God will provide for this group—just as He already has.