|Mission trip as a teenager leads to Floyd County couple serving in Haiti full time|
The Northwest Haiti Christian Mission is a long way in distance and culture from Floyd County Indiana.
But Dustin and Alex Klink have adjusted to the much different life they grew up living in Southern Indiana.
The couple recently shared some of their story at the Merci Barn in Memphis.
The journey really began when Alex, who was part of the Northside Christian Church youth program, went on a mission trip to Haiti.
“When they first started talking about the trip I felt God pulling at my heart and a week before the deposit was due I decided to join the team,” she said. “At that time Northside was traveling to Haiti with NWHCM, Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, where we currently work.
“I felt as if God was calling me to be involved in mission work on a deeper level and continued traveling to Haiti throughout high school and college. I fell in love with Haiti and the people and strived to find a way to be more involved than a two-week trip once a year. That first trip changed my life but I didn’t realize how much it would impact my future at the time.”
Dustin and Alex met on the way to a church conference. They stayed in contact with one another and then when Alex returned home to continue his college at IUS they became good friends.
That friendship led to a dating relationship and eventually a marriage. They will celebrate their fourth anniversary in November.
The pull toward Haiti continued in Alex’s life, but she wasn’t sure what that looked like.
The details didn’t matter to Dustin as he was willing to support her 100 percent.
“The following year Dustin joined the team and traveled to Haiti for the first time,” Alex said. “As we grew closer to each other it was obvious that we shared the same passion for Haiti and the children we had encountered. When he proposed we both saw Haiti in our future and began talking to NWHCM about how we could become more involved. The option we felt lead to, was actually working in the field and being involved on a day to day basis.”
They are home this summer for a number of reasons, Dustin said.
“We have traveled back to Indiana this summer to strengthen ourselves spiritually, physically and mentally,” he said. “While home we have set up our annual Christmas drive, Presents with a Passport. This is our way of ensuring that each child in our care receives a gift for Christmas.”
The Klinks normally spend eight months out of the year in Haiti with trips home in May and November for the holidays.
The couple serves as orphanage advocates.
They are the American directors of the orphange in St. Louis Du Nord, Haiti.
“We are responsible for facilitating orphanage activities with mission teams as well as the day to day activities which include education, devotions and tutoring,” Alex said. “As well, we are primarily responsible for connecting sponsors and their sponsor child(ren), we do so by helping people form relationships with the kids in our care.”
Dustin said an important aspect of what they do in Haiti is educational.
“Early in our trips to Haiti we noticed a need for the children to receive tutoring,” he said. “With the financial assistance of The River Church located in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a local Non-Profit, Tek4Kids we were able to open a tutoring center as well as a data research center for the children in our care.
“After-school tutoring is offered on a daily basis. Not only does the tutoring center allow further educational assistance, it also employs two Haitian assistants.”
At times the couple is responsible for as many as 90 kids.
“It’s hectic having so many children in our care,” Dustin said. “However, every day is different some days we have a multitude of joys and other days there are trials to work through. But with each child comes a unique personality and that’s what makes it all worth it for me.”
Alex agreed. She said it seems like when she needs a rest the most, that’s when God comes through with something to give her a lift.
“Some days it’s hard having so many kids and some days you just want to take a break,” Alex said. “But every day I find joy in something one or more of my kids have done or accomplished. I wouldn’t change being their ‘mom’ for anything! I love to watch each of their personalities and each of their talents grow just as they do.”
To become more involved in a child’s life people are invited to sponsor a child through the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission.
Each child is supported (through sponsorship) by a family tree of up to ten people sponsoring at $30 or more a month.
Each child is fully sponsored at $300 a month.
The Klinks encourage you to gather your friends, relatives, coworkers or church groups and consider growing a family tree together.
Once you sponsor a child you will gain access to an exclusive facebook group highlighting the sponsored child four times a year.
Sponsors will also have access to the orphanage page that is updated every other week. It’s an easy and effective way to stay connected, to see the difference made in these kids’ lives.
“Everything we do couldn’t be done without sponsorship,” Dustin said. “The children in our care as well as the two of us are sponsored monthly. For a child to be fully sponsored, it takes $300 a month. This includes cost for schooling and uniforms, medical attention, 3 meals a day and any personal items that are needed such as toiletries and clothing. We have broken each one down into what we call family trees. Which mainly means each child can have 10 sponsors at $30 per month. To get involved you may email us or log on to www.nwhcm.org for more information.”
Another way Dustin said people can help is by planning a mission trip to the campus. He said there are many opportunities to get involved in the ministry.
“Not only do we house 90+ orphans we also have a special needs home as well as an elder’s home,” he said. “We also have two medical O.R.s, a weekly medical clinic, and a nutrition program. One of the more unique ministries on our campus is our birthing center. This is one of the few places in our region where women can come to receive prenatal meds as well as deliver their babies.
“When teams are wanting to dedicate time to the orphanage we are the ones they speak with to organize events and activities. Some teams do vacation bible school, plan a talent show or organize a sports camp. There are many options on how to get involved and how to make an impact on each child’s life.”