Gladys

Resilient faith, hopeful strength in Haiti during COVID-19

“The biggest weapon we have against COVID-19 is prayer. We have an opportunity to care, to love, to use our God-given abilities for His glory. That’s where I’m standing. That’s what I am fighting for.” These are the words of Gladys Thomas, Founder and CEO of Cross International’s ministry partner Foundation for the Children of Haiti, which is home to Hope Hospital, two orphanages, three schools, and a technical academy. 

Logistically, things look different at the foundation these days. With COVID-19 impacting Haiti, Hope Hospital, which was built with generosity from Cross donors, made the hard decision to close their outpatient clinic–its main source of income–in an attempt to keep people safe. 

What has remained constant is Gladys’ optimism and spirit to answer God’s call to serve His children. 
Every night, Gladys sits at her sewing machine making cloth masks and washable gowns for the hospital staff. She knows Haiti can’t rely on government assistance, and she considers each handmade mask she passes out on the street a direct gift from God. 

With schools closed, Gladys and her team are working hard on a platform that allows students to learn online and maintain a schedule. An internet connection is hard to come by in the area, so they’re using every iPad, phone, and hotspot they can find to offer limited learning opportunities.

Gladys continues to encourage her teachers, students, and parents with words of hope and innovative solutions. 
“We may have to take some steps back in our learning, but we will eventually come back better. We may feel like we are in the pit, but there is pressure under that pit that will propel us forward, higher,” she says. 

The orphanage houses 111 children, some very young, and others with severe disabilities. The 32 staff members remain on campus to care for the children’s needs. On the limited occasion staff has to leave campus to go to the market, they practice strict hygiene–from wearing masks and gloves to using hand-washing stations and taking showers before reentering the orphanage. As of now, there is enough food for the children through the end of May.

Gladys tells her staff that God’s plan is not for us to suffer but for us to prosper. This, too, shall pass.
Gladys embodies Cross International’s spirit and mission to continue to transform the circumstances of vulnerable children around the world for the glory of Jesus. We’re helping our ministry partners adapt to each new challenge, but we can’t do it alone. Please consider joining us in giving today to help us meet their unprecedented needs.

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