Tag Archives: son of god orphanage

thanks for your help in saving the lives of haitian orphans!

the other day i posted a desperate cry for help. an orphanage i’d visited in haiti, and that teams from my church have visited and helped many times over the past year, was discovered to be trafficking children. i asked you to click through and sign a petition to apply some pressure to those who had the power to shut the orphanage down (the 6 churches and ministries involved — my church being one of them — had already prepared placement for all the kids in the orphanage). many of you clicked through, and many of you passed along the need on facebook and other social networking sites. we met our goal of 10,000 signature (passed it, in fact).


i just got this facebook message from a woman in my church who’s there right now!

It’s done!! You guys, we won! After a morning full of police, guns, and arrests the kids were loaded up and they are now on their way to safety! Praise you Jesus!!

thank you, jesus, indeed.

and thank you, whyismarko readers.

update: abcnews.com coverage

please help stop this horrible case of human trafficking that is close to my heart

last year, when i visited haiti two times, i mentioned the son of god orphanage over and over again. i posted photos, told stories, and rallied people. i brought my church’s senior pastor to haiti, and we established a church to church partnership that has, over the last 15 months, flourished in beautiful ways, including hundreds people from our church visiting the son of god orphanage, and a wide variety of help being provided.

i connected with a boy named jean-michelle there on one of my trips (this photo is of me and him), and keep his little signature taped to the wall in front of my desk. he gave it to me and asked, “please remember me.” it makes me ill to wonder whether jean-michelle is still there or has been sold off (or killed off, or abused) in the year since i’ve seen him.

so, i’ve been so sad over the last few months to have suspicions raised about mistreatment and trafficking. now, the proof has been documented. and six organizations — my church among them — are lobbying various haitian and american governmental agencies, as well as cnn and some other organizations, to shut this orphanage down quickly, before the remaining children are sold or abused in some other way. as the press release below states, there is strong reason to suspect that the haitian governmental department responsible for oversight in this area is complicit in the problem, which great complicates it.

here’s the press release that was issued yesterday:

After continued visits to the Son of God Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti, six charitable organizations (Adventures in Missions, Bridgeway Church, Timberline Church, Children’s HopeChest, Journey Community Church, and Respire Haiti) have challenged the global community to force the hands of international leaders in the closure and investigation of the facility.

According to eye-witness accounts, the children at SOG have suffered some of the most heinous human rights abuses at the hands of the director of the orphanage, Maccene (Max) Hyppolite and his family.

Despite consistent delivery of relief for each child, including food, clothes, and medicine, the children have continued to suffer from malnourishment, curable diseases and parasites, as well as complete neglect of acute medical conditions.

A recent account included a one-year old baby who was severely burned and not treated until almost two weeks later.

Police conducted a successful sting operation after numerous individuals had been solicited by Hyppolite to purchase children. In July of 2011, Max Hyppolite was arrested while attempting to sell one of the orphans and he is currently in prison for child trafficking in Port au Prince.

Continued accounts from as recent as October 13th, 2011 indicate that the situation has only become worse, and to date there are 53 children who have disappeared and are unaccounted for.

The orphanage is currently being run by Hyppolite’s wife, Mary, who not only continues to say she does not know the whereabouts of the children, but has also threatened the lives of the relief workers who have sought assistance in from the Haitian government organization, IBESR (Institut du Bien Etre et de Recherches).

Given the sharing of information from IBESR to the Hyppolite family, cause for speculation has arisen regarding the government’s involvement in the trafficking of the children.

The six aforementioned organizations have worked together with Change.org to bring this issue to light. They have asked the global community to give these children the voice that has been stolen from them in hopes of world leaders recognizing the human rights violations occurring and the immediate call for the closure and investigation of the Son of God Orphanage in Haiti.

would you please help in this tiny, simple, but powerful way? would you please click though on these two petitions, and sign them both? please: close to 2000 people read this blog every day. if each of you would take 2 minutes (literally) to do this, you could play a role in saving the lives of these precious children in haiti.

Sign the original petition urging CNN to expose abuse & trafficking at Son of God Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti
Sign the follow-up petition calling on Haitian President Michel Martelly and global leaders to close Son of God Orphanage and order an immediate investigation of the IBESR

the stories of two haitian boys (haiti, day 2)

i’d like to introduce you to two boys i met yesterday at the ‘son of god orphanage’ in port-au-prince, haiti. but first, let me tell you about the director, pastor maccene hyppolite (people here call him ‘pastor max’). the dude started this orphanage in 2002, with 10 kids. he and his wife kept them all in his home. but, as these things go, it grew over the years, as he rescued kids from the streets. today, there are about 124 children, of all ages, at the orphanage. pastor max is also the pastor of 2 or 3 churches, and a physician. for years, he’s had little outside financial support, and has funded the orphanage with his own money. but since he spends all his time these days on the orphanage, he doesn’t have personal funds to invest anymore. most of the staff of the orphanage are his own adult children. they run their own school. and, since they don’t have adequate beds for all the kids, and it’s unclear whether or not their building is safe, the children all sleep outside in a courtyard, on rugs. pastor max told us they’d received some rice and beans from AIM, but they didn’t have oil or coal to cook it, and the kids hadn’t eaten yet when we were there, late in the morning.

one thing is very clear: there is love in this home.

jean michelle

very soon after arriving in the courtyard of the orphanage/school, jean michelle took my hand. he has a bright smile and a sparkle in his eyes. when i backed up to a ledge he was sitting on, he put his arms around my neck; and for the next hour, he was either on my back, or holding my hand. over and over, he said to me, in broken english: my name is john michael, your name is marko.

jean michelle wrote his name for me on a scrap of paper (he wrote “jhon michil”), gave it to me, and asked me to remember him.

i asked one of our wonderful translators, john, to help me out, and had a little chat with jean michelle. his parents were both killed in the earthquake in january, and he was living on the street when pastor max found him 3 days ago. now he’s in a community of love, and getting an education.

but he’s still hungry. and he still sleeps on a rug, outside, in a courtyard, with 125 other kids, every night.


wendy is a boy (creole names don’t quite translate to english). they say he’s 12 (the same age as my own son), but he looks like he’s about 8 or 9. wendy’s father was a major gang leader in port-au-prince. and one of the things this gang was notorious for was kidnappings, where the victim usually ended up dead. but the horrible part of this story is: when wendy was 8, his father handed him a gun, and made him kill a victim. from then on, for a few years, wendy’s father made wendy his “trigger man”, forcing him to kill multiple victims, so his father couldn’t be charged for the killings.

wendy and his father were both arrested, and both sent to prison. wendy was sent to an adult prison, was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to execution.

at this point, a social worker stepped in and contacted pastor max at the son of god orphanage. the two of them lobbied the prison system, and somehow — by the grace of god — got wendy released into pastor max’s care. pastor max told me this story, with his hand lovingly on wendy’s shoulder. pastor max said wendy is a different boy than the one they first brought home from prison. but, max said, he still gets angry when he’s hungry. and yesterday morning, wendy was hungry, as were all 124 kids at the orphanage, since they didn’t have food.

doug pagitt asked pastor max how much it cost to feed all the kids for one day. he went into the building, and came back with a sheet of paper that explained their costs. after our translator did some exchange calculations on his cell phone, we all came to understand that it costs about $95 per day to feed the entire orphanage (actually, i was looking at the sheet in pastor max’s hand as he was computing, and i think the $95/day actually covers all of their costs — teachers, housing, facility, food, everything).

$95! that’s just shy of $35,000 a year to completely feed (and, i think, take care of all of the needs for) these wonderful kids.

will you help us?