My first experience with GoServ Global was our sponsorship of Rose. We started sponsoring her in 2012. We loved sending letters and gifts to her with Ken (DeYoung), and looked forward to the occasional phone call and letters we would receive from her. I was finally able to go to Haiti for the first time in March 2016. For once I was not pregnant or nursing a baby…so I jumped at the opportunity. It was on this trip that my heart was shattered and I was forever changed. I grew up in South Africa, so I was not ignorant of poverty, but I had never experienced it in this magnitude until I went to Haiti for the first time. Yet, despite the extreme poverty that I saw, and the vast number of orphans I met, I was blown away by the Haitian people and their resilience and friendliness. I fell in love with the land. From the majestic mountains, to the clear blue skies, to the enormous palm trees, to the wide expanse of the ocean. It is just beautiful. I also fell in love with 180 orphans that I hold so near and dear to my heart. I have also made very close friends with some Haitians, to the point where we even call each other “family”. My life was forever changed after that first trip.
Since that first trip in 2016 I have tried to visit Haiti at least three times a year. I have been fortunate to have taken my three oldest children with me, and have also been able to go with my husband, Heath. We actually led an FCA group together to Haiti in December 2017. We also now sponsor three children. We continue to sponsor Rose, as well as twin 4-year-old boys, LeLe and LiLi. All three are very much a part of the DeYoung family.
When I am not working on letters of communication between sponsor and child, or collecting much-needed items for our friends in Haiti, or working on the next Sunday School lesson I will teach for Rivenson at Junior Church, I am a “stay-at-home” mother of 5 who coaches Youth Swim Team year-round and also coaches Youth Triathletes in the summer. I love volunteering for GoServ Global within child sponsorship and it has been a joy for me to see how many children are sponsored and the wonderful letters and gifts that are sent between child and sponsor. So, thank you to all the sponsors who make my job such a joy!
I have known Ken DeYoung for over 35 years. When he told my wife and I what he was doing in Haiti, we quickly agreed to support a girl at the Consolation Center. We count Taina as another grandchild. After taking on sponsorship I was invited to lunch with Ken and Terry Baxter. After listening to them tell me about the ministry for an hour, I assumed they were goingto ask me for a check. When Terry finally took a breath and I could interrupt, I asked them why I was at the meeting. Terry told me they wanted me to quit my job and become development director for the ministry. After praying with my wife, I decided that I would keep my job (as a territory manager for a Fortune 100 company) and use my “windshield” time to do as much as possible to help the ministry. Originally, I was development director until the job grew too large to handle part-time. After Mary Graham was hired, I continued to work with her in the development area. I am now transitioning into a new role. I have been asked to work on developing the structure for a foundation as a branch of the ministry. Then I will be involved in the foundation as we seek to involve large donors in the ministry.
How has your involvement with GoServ Global impacted or changed your life?The best answer to this question is to tell you my wife’s reaction when she went to Haiti and met the little girl we sponsor for the first time. After sitting with her for 10 minutes, my wife looked at me and said, “Now how am I supposed to leave this country?”There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about the ministry (mostly the kids). Knowing the horror they have experienced drives me to do what I can to make it better. God has taken the selfish nature I have and stamped the faces of boys and girls over it. And I thank God that He did.
Gene and his wife, Joanne, live in Cleghorn, Iowa. The couple has 4 children and 9 grandchildren.
Joel and Kris Dekkers of Fairmont, MN have been friends with Ken and Jill DeYoung for years and after learning of their passion for Haiti, they decided to take a trip with them.
“It was a life changer for us!” shared Kris. “Seeing what little that they have in Haiti and the joy in their hearts because of what the Lord is doing for them through GoServ Global made us want to be involved with this organization. GoServ has been the hands and feet of Christ and has given those kids hope.”
Joel agrees and says the biggest impact serving with GoServ Global has been the opportunity to spend time with the orphans. “It’s an honor to be a part of their lives.”
Since 2014, Joel and Kris have led numerous mission trips to Haiti and their church, Bethel E-Free, is a great supporter of GoServ Global.
Nearly 20 years ago we had the privilege to host Terry Baxter and his family. Since then the Baxters have become like family to us. When Terry & Ken founded GoServ Global, we attended an introduction event and I remember sitting at the table all excited about the missions and using the Safe T Home® in other countries. I could see myself being involved in that part of the ministry.
On our way home, Kevin shared with me that he would like to be a part of the Domestic Disaster Relief ministry. I had been praying for years that Kevin and I would be able to serve God in a ministry together and if it was through the Domestic Disaster ministry, then count me in.
“We love helping those in desperate need and showing them the love of Christ through our help,” shares Sherri. “We feel so blessed being able to be the hands and feet of Christ.”
Kevin & Sherri have 4 children. Kevin has been a self-employed general contractor for more than 25 years and Sherri gets to help him whenever possible.
My first trip with GoServ Global was to Haiti to help with the dental clinic. To be honest, when I first heard of the trip I wasn’t interested. I had heard stories and saw photos from the many trips before, but if it hadn’t been for the Lord revealing a path there for me, I never would have gone. But somehow in a matter of weeks, HE had made it so clear, it was like there was never a doubt in my heart or mind.
The people of Haiti are strong and resilient. They don’t need ME, they need the power of the Lord. If I can help bring that in some way or another, then He has done good through me. I don’t offer anything special, other than being able to tell the story through images and video with the occasional fix-it project mixed it. Their story is what brings me back. I still think God has a bigger plan for me and Haiti, but he isn’t quite ready to show me. (That or I am not quite ready to admit it)
I run a small marketing/digital media business out of Ventura, IA. Much of my job has me traveling around the country/world shooting photos and video for aviation clients. When I do get home, I enjoy spending time flying at the airport (I am a pilot), and relaxing on the lake with my wife, Sarah. Most of all, I enjoy helping to lead worship behind the drum kit at Zion Lutheran Church.