Confession #58: Jetro’s Story of Hope
They are all wise in their own way, our teens at Emmaus House. But I have always thought that Jetro stood tall above the rest of them. This is funny, considering he is shorter than most of our boys at the home. For real though, he is 18 and carries wisdom within him that is not only beautiful but also inspiring.
Unlike most of our teenagers, Jetro didn’t move to the orphanage as a small child. Instead, he was twelve, going on thirteen, when his extended family made the decision for him to move.
Also unlike most of our teenagers, Jetro has twelve years of memories growing up with his family. Although his father passed away before he was born, Jetro grew up surrounded by the loving care of his mom, sister, aunt, cousins, and other extended family.
“My life was not difficult,” he remembers. “My aunt worked and she could provide for us. We also had an uncle who could help finance us.” Jetro also recalls a lot of memories of his mom. “My mom was someone who was quiet and who always respected people. I took both of those traits from her,” he said.
Eventually, when he was ten, his mom became ill and passed away. Shortly after, his aunt also got sick and their ability to survive as a family became a challenge. “Our money went away and my possibilities were decreasing.” Jetro recalls. “After my mom died, my aunt was helping me out. It was really good, but I knew I was a strain on her and it was hurting our relationship.”
The decision for Jetro to move to the orphanage was a difficult one. “My family never wanted our own people to grow up in an orphanage, but we weren’t working and we were struggling. We tried our best but we needed help.” Jetro said. At the time, Jetro was attending the community school located on the orphanage grounds. After the orphanage director heard of his situation, Jetro was invited to move into the orphanage. “Although my family was sad, they were happy and relieved when I moved because they felt that I would finally get the chance I deserved. I could finish school and have the hope of finding a job, “ he said.
Listening to Jetro’s story, how his family tried so hard to stay together, and how in the end he came to the orphanage- not necessarily because he was an orphan (although he was)- but because there they believed he could find hope made me wonder: 1) How wonderful his family must be 2) How many children have moved into orphanages looking for hope and have they necessarily found it? 3) Did Jetro find what he was looking for?
So I asked him.
For Jetro, he said he loved his life at the orphanage. He said he has a lot of happy memories from his time there. When he would visit his family, he would see their situation getting worse. When I asked him how that made him feel he replied, “I knew I should be a good kid in the orphanage so I could become a good man. I needed to help myself and lend my family a hand someday because they once helped me so much.”
As he got older, however, he began to realize that an orphanage is not for mature people, but instead a place for kids without parents. “It is not really good if you just count on people to help you with everything all the time,” Jetro said. And so as he matured into an older teenager, he began to realize the value in preparing for his future.
Preparing for his future- because he didn’t want to rely on others his whole life.
So wise, my Jetro.
Being so wise and all, I asked him what advise he would give to young boys in Haiti- specifically boys growing up in an orphanage. He said, “I would tell them to study and to focus on their education. It is a blessing that they are going to school and they should not waste that time.”
Education is very important to Jetro. In the 11th grade, Jetro is very committed to his studies. And although he loves school and does extremely well, he dreams of the day when he can help contribute to the education system in Haiti.
“What Haiti needs the most is a new education system,” he said. “Haiti likes to follow the rest of the world when it comes to fashion, music, and other things that are not important. But we don’t follow the world on the most important thing, which is education. And I want to try and make an improvement in that.”
More than anything though, Jetro dreams of being in a position where he can help others in the same way that people have helped him all his life. “I want to help people that are in need, because it has been a long time that people have been helping me. So now I want to help others,” he said.
Whether that is working to better improve the Haitian education system or taking care of his family who once took care of him as a child, Jetro knows that serving others is what God has called him to do.
There have been so many times in Jetro’s life when God has answered his prayers and led him to a better place. Confident in God’s provision for his life Jetro said, “Almost every time I pray to God about something, it happens. For example, before I became a part of the orphanage I lived an unbalanced life. I prayed to God about it and He led me there.” Because of his faith, Jetro knows without a doubt God has plans for his future and as long as he stays faithful and in prayer, God will lead him once again.
God has been leading Jetro all his life, and Jetro has been a faithful follower. Watching him grow into a mature, young man with hopes of helping his family and reforming Haiti’s education system keeps me in awe everyday. How did Jetro turn out the way he did? So wise, so noble, and so faithful to his Creator? I think it all goes back to Jeremiah 29:11– to the verse painted on the living room wall of Emmaus House. God has had plans for Jetro since the day he was born- plans to not harm him but to give him a hope and a future.
I am truly honored to know Jetro and I am praying that God will use Jetro in BIG ways to help this country. I also pray that Emmaus House can be a stepping-stone into his future- a place for him to prepare for the greater things yet to come. If you would like to be a part of Jetro’s journey, he is still in need of partial sponsorship. Sponsoring Jetro would help provide for his food and medical needs, education, as well as his weekly salary based on our Level System program. But more than financial support, Jetro could use people rooting him on and praying specifically for him on a daily basis.
Like I said, I believe that God is preparing Jetro to do BIG things. Who wants to join him on his journey?
For more information on sponsoring Jetro or another young adult at Emmaus House, go HERE for more information.