Posted by: atxanna | September 21, 2008

JAMIE—Advocate for Haiti

Jamie & her husband Aaron

Jamie & her husband Aaron

I have only recently met Jamie, but from just my first few encounters with her, A) I immediately loved her, and B) I could tell right away that she has the gift of “influence.”  Now I am not making up a new spiritual gift when I say that, I simply mean she rubs off on you, ya know?  She’s one of those people that when walk away from a conversation with her about the things for which she’s passionate, you find yourself thinking “I have to do something about that!” or “I need to hear more about that!”  Her enthusiasm and zealousness for causes closest to her heart stir you somewhere inside and make you stop and think.

 

 

Where in the world is Haiti?

Where in the world is Haiti?

What is this thing that Jamie is so passionate about?  In a nutshell, Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  It shares an island with the Dominican Republic, but the way of life couldn’t be more different from its Caribbean neighbor.  75% of Haitians earn less than $1 a day and 70% of Haitians have no regular jobs.  80% of the population is estimated to be living in poverty.  8% of children will die before the age of 5.  It is estimated that there are 490,000 orphaned children in Haiti.  Malnutrition, and resulting death at its hands, is commonplace across all age groups, and the AIDS epidemic is at critical levels in this country. 

 

 

 

In November 2006, Jamie went to Haiti for the first time.  It was a short-term mission trip where they were going to pass out school supplies, pray with kids, and tour some of the villages.  Just in walking off the plane, Jamie was struck by the depth of poverty that was surrounding her.  I had never seen extreme poverty like that. It was such a needy place… it seemed so hopeless,” she shared.  When she returned home, she felt a deep sense of urgency for Aaron, her husband, to go.  She says, “I just really needed him to see it… I just knew deep in my heart that God wasn’t done with us there.  In the mean time, she started stalking blogs (to use her own words), researching and learning everything she could about Haiti and the Christian workers sacrificing their lives there. 

 

Eventually, she and Aaron planned and led a team from the States to go and experience Haiti for themselves.  The goal of their trip was to bring exposure and awareness to their fellow teammates.  For a lot of people, Haiti is this whole other world you may never know about.  We just wanted to bring awareness to people, because awareness alone can change you,” she says. “If you can see something first hand, you can believe it more… and then you think of it more.  Her idea was to take people from simply having abstract thought about poverty and giving that cause a face, a smell, a personal experience, a memory… in hopes that we might all be moved to do something about it.

 

And it’s not just Haiti, the country, that Jamie loves.  There is also a small organization there that has captured her heart called: REAL HOPE FOR HAITI (RHFH).  RHFH operates two distinct ministries: a Medical Clinic for Haitian locals and a Rescue Center for malnourished children and kids who need continual care while recovering from illnesses.  The Medical Clinic and Rescue Center are run by two sisters, Lori & Licia, whom Jamie found during her blog-stalking days.  The work that is done in these two ministries is purely incredible… there are really no other words to describe it.  And to Jamie, these women are her heroes.  After hearing about RHFH from Jamie, I, too, have started learning about the daily life of these ladies and the work they do.  To read about the family tree of RHFH, click here.

 

The thing about RHFH is that it is a small operation.  They don’t have big money or big organizations backing them.  They’re not a part of a giant anything.  They are just living in obedience to a small and specific call on their lives—to live and serve the Haitian people by meeting tangible, physical needs and caring for those around them with the love & character of Christ.  The more Jamie talks about, writes about, and spreads the story of RHFH, the more people she influences to support the ministry through much needed prayer, through new threads of people encouraging the workers in Haiti, and by raising funds for this organization.  Her dream would be to one day travel the U.S. speaking to different churches and groups about RHFH and declaring to them all why they need to care about Haiti.

“We will always, we will always, we will always advocate for Lori & Licia,” Jamie says.  For Jamie & Aaron, it’s a personal investment… they are adopting two children from Haiti: Amos & Story. (Amos was abandoned at the Rescue Center a little over a year ago.)  They view their commitment to Haiti as a long term one, since two of their children will be Haitian.  One of their biggest hopes is that one day those kids would want to go back to Haiti and serve in their homeland.  They plan to take family trips there often as their young kids continue to grow up.  

Amos & Story

Amos & Story

 

 

Their family is committed to telling the story of RHFH so that not only will people’s lives be changed here in America—by witnessing first-hand the daily lives of those in poverty—but also possibly some children’s lives will be changed in Haiti—through meeting their real needs.  Going changed my life and the course of my life,” she says.  Jamie doesn’t consider herself a materialistic person, but even she admits she can lose sight of what’s important at times.  But going to Haiti keeps her in check, it reminds her of what life is like for a lot of the rest of the world and helps her stay focused on helping others instead of taking more for herself.  Jamie has a dream of taking two teams (made up of new people each time) to Haiti a year.  I don’t know what will happen (in the hearts) of the people that go down, but I just wanna take ‘em!  They have to see it!  They have to see it for themselves!  Look out, if you meet Jamie one day, this just might be you she’s talking about… and don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Meet Jamie on her blog: http://dreamingbigdreams.wordpress.com/   

Meet Jamie’s husband Aaron on his blog: http://aaronivey.com/   

Check out Licia’s blog: http://haitirescuecenter.wordpress.com/   

Check out Lori’s blog: http://www.xanga.com/haitinurse4life

Read about Real Hope For Haiti on their website: https://www.realhopeforhaiti.org/

 

As a little “extra”—Haiti was very much devastated by our recent friend, Hurricane Ike.  When you go and read the blogs from the Haiti workers, you will see tons of pictures of the destruction.  They are in a unique position to help some of the villages and people in greatest need.  If you feel like helping them restore this community, you can make donations online here.  Jamie will actually BE in Haiti this week, visiting her children, visiting the Rescue Center and Clinic, and touring the damage done by Ike in person.  Keep tabs on her blog this week as she’s post updates regularly.

Jamie & Aaron with their first two kids

Jamie & Aaron with their first two kids

Jamie agreed to let me tell her story on this website only if I emphasized her “ordinariness.”  Already a wife and stay-at-home-mom of two, she’s anxiously awaiting the arrival of her next two kids.  She has one domestic adoption under her belt, and two international adoptions in the middle of the process.  She, in some ways, laments that it is not her who lives on the front lines, doing the hard, hard ministry in Haiti.  But for now, that’s not her call.  Perhaps someday God might change that, but in the meantime, she sees her role as an influencer and a change-agent.  And what a valuable role that is.  Our extraordinary God uses her in this way to ignite change into the lives of those who meet Jamie!

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Responses

  1. wow. thanks for telling people about Haiti!

  2. You did an extraordinary job of describing an outstanding woman, and family! I love this family so much, and love them even more after reading your post – thank you for telling your readers about these marvelous Christ followers.

  3. What a wonderful post!

  4. That is an amazing depiction of the entire Ivey family. We are blessed to be friends with them, they amaze us and allow us to see Christ in them every day!

  5. I feel like a Haiti “stalker too. I love reading every blog I can about Haiti. We are hosting a 5 year old boy from the Rescue Center right now. He had 2 club feet. If you would like to read Sonel’s blog…http://4yourglorylord.blogspot.com
    Going to Haiti has also changed my life forever. I can’t wait to go back. Your article was very good. I hope you can meet Lori and Licia someday, they are the best!
    Brenda

  6. I cannot wait to meet Jamie! Maybe I’ll hop over to Haiti and meet up with her on one of her 2 yearly trips!


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