Excerpt From Dan Woolley’s Book, Part 1

Posted January 11th, 2011 by Dan Woolley in Updates

Port-au-Prince, Haiti. January 12, 2010 9:15 a.m. (EST)

“Good morning, Dan,” Ephraim said as the SUV rolled to a stop in front of our hotel. “Are you ready to go to the church?”

“I’m ready and excited,” I said as I helped David, the videographer for this trip, load our gear into the back of the car.

I had corresponded with Ephraim for several months planning this trip to Haiti, so I wasn’t surprised when I found him waiting for us at the airport when we arrived on Monday. I immediately recognized his smile beaming out from underneath his straw hat with the bright tropical print on the band. After loading our luggage into his SUV, Ephraim took us to the Compassion International office inPort-au-Prince, where we spent the day with the local staff.

As I climbed in behind David, and settled in my seat, Ephraim’s ebullient spirit seemed to overflow the SUV. I looked forward to the day’s events — visiting a new Compassion program at a church just outside of the city and then making a home visit to one of the moms who participated in the program.

As we drove up to the church and parked in the dirt lot next to it, I noticed the drab exterior of the one-story concrete building. I wondered what we’d find inside. We all exited the SUV eager to get started. Ephraim pushed his door shut, and the SUV rocked. Though his size may have been intimidating, his spirit wasn’t. An inner joy danced across his face as he explained the program we would soon see inside the church.

“I’ll introduce you to the pastor first,” he said as he took off toward the front door. With his long strides, there was no point in trying to keep up with him. Ephraim had an undeniable sense of urgency about Compassion’s work. Whenever he spoke about the difficulty of life in Haiti, he also talked about the difference Compassion was making for mothers and their children trapped in poverty.  I helped David grab the video camera and other equipment from the back of the SUV, and we hurried to catch up to Ephraim.

“Let’s review what you want to accomplish today,” David said as we walked.

“We need video that captures the Child Survival Program in action. I believe if people can see what Compassion is doing here, they’ll want to support the ministry.”

Though Compassion is perhaps best known for their child sponsorship programs — where donors form one-on-one relationships with their sponsored children through exchanging letters — in the past few years, new programs like the Child Survival Program were already making a huge impact. As one of Compassion’s website developers, I was excited to highlight these new programs online so our donors could see the impact their donations were having.

“Most donors will never get within three hundred miles of the poverty in Haiti, but if they can watch a video on their computer that gets them even three steps closer to a mom who lives it every day,then we will have done our job well,” I said.

Opening the creaky wooden door, I stepped right into the church sanctuary, where forty moms with babies and young children were waving their arms, singing, and clapping in time with the Creole rhythms.

“Thank you for coming,” Pastor Yves said, giving me a hug. He didn’t speak English so Johnnie translated for him. “We’re glad you are here to tell our story.” I hoped I could.

A lot was riding on this, and I felt the weight of the responsibility. I glanced over at David and watched as he studied the room, looking for natural sources of light. Once he found the right spot, he carefully set down his bags, opened the tripod, and adjusted it to the right height. Next he unpacked his gear, put batteries in the video camera and mics, and inserted a fresh tape. He checked the audio level and adjusted the settings, then nodded to let me know he was ready.

To be continued.

For more information on Dan’s book, please go to www.danwoolley.net


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