Sonlight's Youngest Missionaries
May 2, 2016
Cara Alexander Wimpelberg moved to Haiti with her family when she was 8 years old. She grew up there as an MK (Missionary Kid), went to the states for college, and is now back at Sonlight teaching Kindergarten and high school literature. Cara is also mom to some of Sonlight's youngest missionaries, Riley (13), Chase (7), Evelyn (4) and Paige (9 mos.)
I never knew how to answer.
I spent years of my childhood unable to answer the question I got asked most.
“What’s life in Haiti like?”
Seems easy, right? “Just say what’s different about Haiti and the states, honey,” my mom used to advise. My younger sister, Amber, could laugh and deflect, turning the question around: “What’s your life in Indiana like?”
I never learned the art of a quick or clever answer. So I usually gave a hesitant, muted mumble about the hot weather or terrific rice and beans. I still get embarrassed when I recall one answer I gave. Feeling chatty, I rambled on and on about Haitian dogs. Haitian dogs! I compared them to Mexican dingoes, and discussed how people here treat pets. Yes, fascinating stuff.
Recently, I have done some research. I made all the Sonlight missionary kids as uncomfortable as I used to get back in the day. It’s their turn! I must give them credit, though. No mumblings, ramblings, or shrugs. I asked them questions about their lives here. They thought and wrote, and I was amazed. And you’ll be glad to know that not a single one mentioned Haitian dogs.
The kids wrote a lot about Haiti, but I was most amazed at what they wrote about themselves, Sonlight, and other missionaries who are now a big part of their lives. It is evident that these are not just kids of missionary parents, but that they are missionaries in their own right. They are impacted by Haiti, yes, but are also impacting Haiti themselves.
We Sonlight missionaries are aware that God is using us in Haiti, but we (okay, maybe just this momma!) may forget how God works in quiet, mysterious ways. He may be using our kids as much as (or more than!) us to bring people to Him.
These kids, aged 7 to 18, have a lot to say. They are honest, optimistic, and see Haiti through wide open eyes. Read this. You’ll get to know Haiti better. And you’ll get to know these kids better, too.
Please meet Sonlight’s youngest missionaries…
Ally Hammond, age 11
I’m glad I live in Haiti because it’s awesome! The people here are nice and kind. I have many friends here. It’s also really fun to learn and speak a new language.
Grace Shoaff, age 10
I can reach out to people here because they are open to religion. They have never told me that they don’t want me to pray for them. I love it here. And after I graduate college, I’m moving back here.
Carter Hammond, age 16
I can reach teens here because I am one! Being able to learn their language and adapt to the culture, I’ve been able to build trust and friendship with the kids here that I’ve grown up with over the last five years. I’m glad I live in Haiti because I get to experience things that most people never will. The weather and food aren’t too bad either!
Evelyn Wimpelberg, age 4
I like singing in pre-school. I like Gally Gally Zoop song. We dance and sing about we love Jesus. Jesus loves all my friends and I do, too.
Abi Shoaff, age 16
Being an MK is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I never feel “at home”, but I never really long to be anywhere but here in Port-de-Paix. My family has grown so much closer since moving here. I feel like it is just right that we’d be here.
I want to impact others and point them to Christ, and I want to use what I have learned to help people who are hurting.
Riley Angel, age 13
Sonlight missionary staff feels like a big family on a mission. We’re all shooting for the same goal. To get people to Christ! Haiti has become my home and Sonlight my extended family.
Being a MK is a responsibility, but it can also be fun. When you see your friend getting baptized and they want you there to put a towel around them is touching. Knowing that you helped a friend make that decision is an amazing feeling.
Andrew Shoaff, age 14
I want to be a youth minister. My time at Sonlight as a student has shown me the importance of investing in youth.
Although it is sometimes difficult to live here, I wholeheartedly believe that Haiti has impacted me more than I could ever have impacted it. And for that, to God be the glory. Though Haiti may seem broken, God is using the ashes to make gold.
Paige Wimpelberg, age 9 months
When Madame Heudite sings Creole hymns to me, I always go right to sleep.
Anessa Bridges, age 16
Being an MK is lonely. The people you are ministering to can never truly understand you, and you can never truly understand them either. Luckily, that weakness allows God to work in ways neither of you expect. I am not a charismatic or charming person, which proves even more to me that God is the one who is building healthy relationships in my life here.
Chase Wimpelberg, age 7
I love the mountains here. They make Haiti beautiful. My best friends are Nesbi and Jordan. When we grow up we will always be friends.
Casey Hammond, age 18
Because Sonlight Academy is a small school (compared to schools in the states), my relationships with other students are really close. I love that because when one student is hurting, we are all hurting, and when one student is rejoicing, we are all rejoicing.
Ethan Alexander, age 9
Sonlight Academy is addicted to God, and I love it.
Sam Shoaff, age 17
I am a major minority and ALWAYS stand out, so it’s easy to get people’s attention. I can reach out to people here because they automatically see what I do and hear what I say.
Conrad King, age 13 months
I love playing in the school yard in the afternoon. The sand is awesome! And where else do you get to have so many people that love you and hold you (and maybe feed you food that Mom and Dad don't want you to have)? I love being the center of attention wherever I go, especially on hikes up the mountain. Haiti is the place to be!
Bella Niehaus, age 7
I love playing with my friends. Sometimes we speak Creole, sometimes we speak English. I love the ocean, and when we go somewhere in the red truck, I don’t have to wear a seatbelt because we drive so slow here. Or I can ride in the back of the truck.
Riley Hammond, age 13
There are many opportunities to serve here. A few ways are to love and play with kids at an orphanage, help with a small task, or just show some love by playing a game or being a servant.
Cameron Alexander, age 12
I’m glad I live in Haiti because it feels like home.
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