Written by Mindy and Missy Brock
Like every great story, The Brock House/Trudy’s Kids orphanage began with a simple prayer. A group of 7 women and a pair of Missionaries prayed God’s Will over a piece of land, in September 2016, on the very last day of their mission trip to Haiti. The missionaries, Ronald and Terry Brian, felt called to open an orphanage on that piece of land; they just never imagined how fast God would work. The 7 women came back to the United States forever changed by what they experienced, with a heart full of passion for the people of Haiti.
One of the women, Mindy Brock, shares how God turned that heartfelt request into a fully functioning orphanage in just a year.
“I’ve always wanted to go on a mission trip. I just wasn’t sure what a technology junky could offer in a third world country. Helping the sick and less fortunate kids has always been a passion of mine, so when a mission trip to Haiti was mentioned at my church I was the first person to sign up. I was also the first one to try to back out! What good would a graphic designer be in Haiti? Luckily, I have wonderful friends in faith who convinced me to go anyway. So in September of 2016, seven of us flew to Haiti with no idea of what was to come.
The devastation left behind from the major earthquake in 2010, that killed 250,000 people, and catastrophic hurricanes in 2004, 2008 and 2016, left Haiti in severe disrepair. Being raised in Southern Illinois, I was unprepared for the environment I was thrust into. People, cars, rubble, trash, and dirt everywhere. Everyone is working or selling anything they can get their hands on, doing everything they can to just survive. They are lucky if they get to eat once a day. They live in houses made from concrete blocks and mud, the vast majority don’t have indoor plumbing or electricity, the poorest live in tents. It was heartbreaking to see the conditions in which these people live, yet they smile and worship freely. We are so privileged and blessed in America, often basic needs like good water and food we take for granted. We can learn so much from them.
There are no parking spaces or lanes in Haiti. People park, and drive, wherever they can fit. I prayed more on the drive to the Brian’s compound than ever before in my life. Everyone needs the experience of driving in Haiti at least once in their lives. It’s chaos on wheels, no traffic rules on rough dirt roads, with people and motorcycles and even goats weaving in and out of it all.
After the shock of what we saw from the ride in, the UPCI compound, that the Brian’s live on, felt like a safe haven. Their home had lights, and fans, cool showers, and provided a temporary break from the dirt and dust. Surprisingly, we were perfectly content without having air conditioning and limited electricity after what we saw on the streets. The little lizards climbing up the walls, finding a frog in the shower, and being concerned with whether I’d share a bed with one of the huge spiders I’d seen suddenly seemed like minor inconveniences.
The compound has a full playground, that was funded by Louisiana District Sunday School Department. It includes a swing set, jungle gym, slide, basketball court and full soccer field. Every day after school, they open their gates to all the neighborhood kids. 40-60 kids of all ages, often dirty, hungry and in the same clothes as yesterday; most without shoes, none have on socks, come for a refuge from all the struggles of life in Haiti. For a few hours every afternoon, they get to eat, play and be kids, in a safe environment. Just like for the 7 of us, the UPCI compound is a safe haven for them as well. The Brian’s try their best to be home in time to play with the neighborhood kids for a few hours every day. Often, the kids are hungry. The Brian’s feed them as often as they have the money to do so, but more than they physically desire food, they just want someone to play with and pay attention to them. Haitians have to be hard to survive, and these children crave physical contact and love most. They just soak up God’s love.
We spent our first afternoon outside with the children. As you can imagine, the language barrier was a challenge, but we knew that showing love is universal in all countries regardless of words spoken. We played with them, rocked them, sang to them, held them, grilled hotdogs for them, prayed for them. We hardly even noticed the sweat pouring off us in the 97 degree heat, or the ever-present dust swirling all around, the kids fully captured our attention. We quickly learned that bridging hearts is what it’s all about.
Throughout the week, with donations from our church family and friends, we bought and delivered food, supplies, and toys to the orphanages that the Brian’s help feed, we visited the schools that the Brian’s help to provide scholarships to, purchased benches for a local struggling church, attended a church service at one of their churches, and even spent an afternoon at the beach. Haiti IS a beautiful island, after all. We saw just how much need there is in Haiti, yet the children sing and worship God all day long. I will never forget hearing them sing: ‘Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul, I’ll worship Your holy name’
If they can sing ‘Bless the Lord’ in the midst of their struggle, what’s our excuse?
On the last day we went to this piece of land that the Brian’s wanted us to pray over. They bought this land in faith that one day it would house an orphanage, Bible school, church and medical clinic. Together, we prayed for God to provide a way for their vision to become a reality.
We came home, and I told my family all about what I had experienced in Haiti. A few nights after I was home, I showed my Dad the photos I captured. With these images, I was able to capture the desperate need and the joyful spirit of the Haitians. My father isn’t a big talker, and he quietly looked at the photos and asked few questions. I honestly didn’t think it made much of an impact, BUT GOD. Little did I know that God had laid it on Dad’s heart to use some of the inheritance he had received from the passing of his father earlier that year to fund the building of the orphanage. Dad prayed about it and talked to his wife, and a few mornings later, told me he felt led to do this and would I get a figure from the Brian’s on the approximate cost to build the building.
I returned to Haiti just 3 short months after my first trip, with my brother, for the groundbreaking of the Brock House. Once we broke ground, God unleashed an avalanche of blessings on this project. Many churches and individuals generously donated to help complete and furnish the project, as well as provide the necessities for the children. The Brian’s found orphans that have a medical need and applied to house them, along with their siblings. They didn’t want to split up any siblings.
The Brock House was completed in November 2017. This fully functioning orphanage, built on Trudy’s Kids land, can hold 12 children. My Dad, Step-mom, Sister, Brother-in-law, close family friend and I went to Haiti for the opening. When we arrived at the Brock House for the first time, the 9 children had already arrived and had started putting their few meager belongings away. We got the privilege of helping the children make their beds for the first time. Most of them had no clue how to put sheets on. Sheets are a luxury most can’t afford. Each child was also given a few new outfits, undergarments, toiletries, a new backpack and school supplies, and a few toys, donated by amazing people. We were honored to Help these children put away their new items and watch them visibly relax, knowing they were finally in a safe environment. There weren’t any tears, as you might expect from children in a brand new home, just gratitude, and smiles. I’m always amazed at the how thankful these children are! You can not un-see Haiti. Our lives are forever changed when our great big God turned a dream into reality right before our very eyes.
The orphans at the Brock House need our continuing help to provide them with food, housing, education, medical care, and operational costs. “Whatever you do unto the least of these you do unto me.” Ambassadors