"YOUR ASSISTANCE HELPED ME KEEP MY FAITH!"
Life in Haiti is rarely easy, but for Madeleine Randiche those few years seemed like paradise. She was happily married and had two beautiful children. Her husband, Reader Vladimir, was an active member of the Orthodox Mission in Haiti. He introduced not only Madeleine to Russian Orthodoxy, but catechized scores of believers. In the 11 years that the couple were members of the mission, more and more people started to rely on her husband for teaching, instructing catechumens, doing reader services for the local parish when the two priests – leaders of the mission – were unavailable, traveling to other parishes.
“He showed me how to live the fullness of the faith, and through God’s love many miracles were done within our marriage and family,” said Madeleine.
Despite difficult life circumstances, periodic lack of work, and shortage of funds, the Randiche family was a very happy one. They were a fortunate family, with a beloved parish and a tight-knit community.
On January 12, 2010, their happiness came to a crashing halt. In the early morning of that fateful day, Reader Vladimir headed out as usual to earn his pay. The children were preparing for school, while Madeleine prepared breakfast. Suddenly the whole house was violently shaken, smoke masked their sight; she screamed and called for the children, but nothing could be heard but a terrible roar.
“I still remember that day as if it were yesterday. Within thirty five seconds everything changed. My children were safe, but I couldn’t find my husband. I searched for him for two months, sifting through the rubble of the school with a foul odor coming from a large container of corpses. I spent my time turning the corpses to see if I could locate my husband so I could recover his body. When my children realized they lost their father, it was not easy for them.”
Madeleine now had the care of four children on her shoulders: her own and two nieces, who lost their parents in the earthquake. There was sense waiting for help from anyone – the majority of the country lay in extreme poverty.
Circumstances changed in March 2010, when she began receiving aid from the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR as part of the Haiti Orthodox Family Relief Program.
“I do not know what I would have done without this support. I am no longer afraid that my children will be expelled from school due to debts. I can take care of my children and my nieces, and myself. Your assistance helped me keep my faith.”
Like many other members of the mission, Madeleine is working hard to keep bread on her table and a roof over their heads. Unlike them, being a widow of a clergy member, she doesn’t have to worry about being thrown out on the street for the inability to pay for shelter. Others, however, are not so lucky. Two years after the earthquake, many of our mission members still live in tents, rely on their neighbors for help with the simplest needs like clothes and water, and often go hungry.
"We would like to work and be able to support our own needs, but we live in a country where unemployment is very high. Finding work is not easy, and even if you do work, you earn so little,” said Madeleine.
When you go to bed tonight, say a prayer for Madeleine and the four children she is bringing up. She is able to take care of her family because people like you – through your consistent, loving support – make it possible for the Fund for Assistance to provide much needed help and be a voice for the people much of society has forgotten, whose need for aid continues long after the disaster.
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