I took my first mission trip in 2005 to Nicaragua. It was there that I received a life-changing call from God to enter the mission field. I continued short-term mission work in Nicaragua from 2005 to 2009, and I began working on my degree in Christian ministry at Atlanta Christian College (now Point University) in 2008.
After the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, my heart became burdened for that nation. I prayed that the Lord would make a way for me to go because I wanted to try to help in some small way. My prayer was answered, and I entered Haiti for the first time in April 2010 with an ABA (American Baptist Association) disaster relief mission team. We worked for three days in Port au Prince and then for five days on the island of La Gonave. I knew from the moment my feet touched the Haitian soil that this was where God wanted me, but I just didn’t know exactly how it would all work out.
Once we arrived on La Gonave, we traveled to the village of Belle Vie, bringing much-needed medical aid and food to the people there. There, I met Wilto, who is a founder of our school , and I learned that the school was struggling to pay the teachers, who had been working several months without pay. My heart was burdened to help this situation somehow. I also met my future husband, Pastor Ybene Dalla, on this trip, and felt that God had brought us together for a reason.
After I returned home, I prayed and fasted to hear what the Lord wanted me to do and how to do it. He was calling me to start a 501(c)(3) nonprofit ministry, so I formed God’s Ministry in La Gonave. I had no idea what I was doing, but God placed all the right people in my life to make it happen.
I started the paperwork for the nonprofit just one week after returning from my first trip to Haiti. Then, I took a huge leap of faith and quit my job so that I could double up on my college classes to graduate earlier. I returned to Haiti two more times before graduating and getting married in December 2010. Since then, it has been a complete faith walk to get to where we are now, and I am blown away by God’s amazing and miraculous provision.
I have lived on La Gonave my entire life. I am one of 20 children (seven of us share the same mother). I was born into the voodoo religion, and my father was the main voodoo priest in our village and neighboring villages. People would even come from Port au Prince to do voodoo with him. I grew up helping him with the ceremonies and running his errands.
In my late teens, I was the first of my siblings to leave voodoo for Christianity. It was very hard for me, and my father wasn’t happy about me converting to Christianity. I was constantly talking to him about my faith and telling him about services at my church. When he wasn’t angry with me, he would just laugh and tell me that I was too young to know what I was talking about. Because of the voodoo, my father was very wealthy with money, land and animals, and he didn’t want to give any of that up. But praise God! In 2000, my father decided to give his life to Christ, and to this day he sits on the front bench at church every Sunday.
In our ministry and at our church, we work very hard to help people out of voodoo and into the Christian faith. It isn’t easy for them because they are persecuted, and even threatened, by friends and family. We do everything we can to help protect them as they enter into their new relationship with Christ. It is so good to see how God is working in Belle Vie to bring people to Him.