Young Hope members L to R: Jeanson, Elisson, Lumaine, Mansado, Galaxson & Wilson
Seeing the Village of Hope kids every day, you sometimes start to forget or take for granted how amazingly talented they are. Ok that’s not true, they are stinkin’ amazing and continuously blow my mind with their love for God, their love for each other and their realization and utilization of their God-given abilities. Over the past few months, six of our Village of Hope young men and women have come together in an inspiring way. Realizing that they all had a unique talent with their voices, they almost completely independently created their singing and rap group named Young Hope in which they write their own songs, practice harmonies and sing about trusting God in every situation and bringing change to the nation of Haiti. This past Sunday, Young Hope had a chance to perform at a concert for the first time outside of the walls of Mission of Hope at a church in Port-au-Prince called Eglise Sur Le Rocher (Church on the Rock).
Bernadine dressed and ready for the bus ride to Port-au-Prince!
It was an incredible experience to watch Jeanson, Elisson, Mansado, Wilson, Galaxson and Lumaine (the members of Young Hope) as they practiced daily for their show, coordinated their outfits and fought through a plethora of preshow emotions together. Not only is it amazing that these kids have overcome all of the past obstacles that a young child should never have to deal with, but the fact that they have showed perseverance and resiliency in the face of adversity throughout everything is inspirational. As we all loaded onto the bus with every Village of Hope child and employee, it was made extremely clear to us by Young Hope that we were not allowed to leave for the concert without praying first. After praying together as a family on the bus, we made our way to Port-au-Prince, everyone singing and jumping up and down with excitement as we went. Young Hope’s preparation and calm before the show was almost surreal- especially as many of us seemed to be feeling all of the anticipation and nerves for them! The six of them huddled together as a group before their act went on; they prayed, shared some words and then united with a group chant. Shortly after, they confidently walked on stage, proceeded to rile the crowd and then blew everyone away, finishing their three-song set with lyrics about praising God even when we are hungry, tired and hopeless. Even though the concert ran late, it was raining and everyone was tired, nothing could have stopped the excitement of the Village of Hope children as they continued to cheer for Young Hope and sing all the way back home.
Young Hope coming together for their pre-show pep talk.
Not only was Young Hope’s concert a unique and life-changing opportunity for them, but what an incredible initiation for me personally! At a time when I have felt led to move here and work with these children to help prepare them as much as possible for their eventual transition into the community, what better way to see the amazing ways they are actively planning for their futures and already using their talents than to watch six of them working together and already bringing hope to people outside of the walls of Mission of Hope? As our program continues to develop in its beginning stages, I cannot wait or even begin to imagine all of the incredible talents I will begin to see in these kids and will have the honor of helping them figure out where they can use their talents in the future. There are endless possibilities for these young men and women and I am thrilled to be able to watch their journey from the front line.