Coming Full Circle: Kicking & Screaming…
HCM Director of Development Rick White recently returned from a trip to Haiti. This is the story of his relationship with the ministry.
Our love for Haitian Christian Ministries, the Pillatre Christian School and the Students began a long, long time ago. My wife Susie and I first met HCM at Eastview Christian Church in Normal, IL in 1987. It was suggested then that we consider supporting the school children at Pillatre School through the Student Sponsorship Program. Susie was sold from the very beginning on the need to provide for these children. We learned children who are in school would receive one hot meal a day and if they don’t attend school, maybe they will eat once every three days and the "meal" would be a mango. It took some "kicking and screaming" on my part for me to finally get it and understand the need for my involvement in this wonderful ministry.
I think my kicking and screaming began in 1987. It was Easter Sunday I was at church with my wife Susie at Eastview. I was pulled into a conversation she was having with some "first-time" short term Missionaries who has just returned from Haiti. Something was going on with them that she wanted to be a part of, and I began to kick and scream! Not me I thought, I am climbing the corporate ladder at Sears and that is my life’s focus! Susie understood from the beginning what God was doing, but I didn’t get it!
Fast forward a year later, "I am going to Haiti in November," she (my wife) said without any reservation. I lovingly shared, "that won’t work because November is an important time in retail," (remember that ladder climb,) "and I can’t be interrupted!" I checked with my boss, knowing that I would not be able to go and therefore Susie, my wife couldn’t go! I couldn’t believe it but my boss said yes, travel! Now what do I do? I told Susie I would go only if I could clear it with the brass.
I must tell you, I have not been the same since after our very first short-term Mission Trip to Haitian Christian Ministries. Pastor Emmanuel Laguerre, his wonderful wife Prisca and their three children, Patrick, Judith and Julie have had a pronounced affect not only on Susie’s life but my life and CAREER as well!
On our way back to Illinois from Haiti on that 1988 trip, I felt the Lord stirring my nest about serving Him in a larger fashion at some point in my life but I had absolutely no clue as to what and where. In 1988 all I knew in the way of Mission trips was to Haiti and surely he wouldn’t choose that place for me.
For the next 25 years, I continued to climb some retail corporate ladders, participated in some additional short-term trips mostly with my wife and in 1994 was working for a retail company and found myself in a position I had dreamed about for years; the store Manager for a very large electronics retailer. In those same 25 years, Susie’s love for the children and the Ministry at Pillatre continued to grow and become more intense. Each year we would go, Susie would be the Medical Team leader and on numerous occasions, she along with 2 to 3 other Nurses would see more than 500 patients, often under the mango tree at Pillatre. She can tell you story after story how God spoke to her, stirred her heart, prompted her to encourage me to engage in the ministry in Haiti as we continued to support more and more students at Pillatre Christian School. One morning before we were to leave for work, I saw a tear in her eye. I said, "What’s going on?" "I was just thinking about Manno, Prisca and Haiti." she said. Just then our phone rang; it was Manno who was in Missouri traveling to a city to speak and just wanted to call. I could go on.
Then it happened again, God called this time and with that call, He began to stir my nest again. I had begun my dream job in March 1994, and by October, 16, 1994, the stirring of God had moved me to my first Vocational Ministry position with a church in Carmel, Indiana. For the next 20 years, we were allowed to introduce HCM to three churches and hundreds of individuals, all who became partners with HCM. We led 8 trips to Haiti, traveled to 16 additional countries, and continued to ponder, "Is this what God wants me to do?" We continued to support several dozens of students and to experience Ministry in several other positions with churches and para-church organizations. All the while I was still searching. However, I was no longer kicking and screaming, but was trying to pay attention to God and His calling on my life. The entire time these changes were taking place, my wife Susie was praying for God to grab my heart and to help me to focus on what was important in my life. I am confident, without those prayers from her, the changes would not have happened. What a prayer warrior she is. She continues to keep me lifted up with her petitions to God.
In 2014, the President of the Board of Haitian Christian Ministries and I sat down and talked about the needs of a growing Haitian Ministry. Several months later, the Board called me to be the Director of Development for HCM. I really felt I had come full circle in my thinking and in my heart from the very first time I traveled to Haiti in November, 1988. Maybe this time, I really was working in His dream job for me.
In 1988 I said yes, I will go and do what God would have me do while in Haiti. Little did I know then my vocational Ministry excursions would bring me to a position with HCM.
Susie and I have just returned from Pillatre on Thursday, April 7th, 2016 and noted all of the changes that have taken place in Haiti, at Pillatre, at Lory, with the Laguerre family, with the children, and in the town of Cap Haitian, Haiti. We also remarked about the changes that have taken place in Rick and Susie White. We are so blessed and would not have traded any of this for anything else. No more kicking and screaming for me, just praying and praising the Lord.
Now it’s your turn to see what God will do in your heart! Stop kicking, screaming and squirming, God loves you and He has a plan for your life! Is He calling you? Pick up His call! Perhaps it will begin in you, as you start to sponsor a Pillatre Christian School Student.