When Jackson Ismorin founded the Maranatha House Orphanage, his goal was to provide for the poorest children in the area. To give them a safe place to live, where they could have access to food and hope for a better future.
Jackson had a BIG vision for the orphanage and the children who lived there. He wanted more than to just feed them, more than just to clothe them, more than just to provide the basics. He wanted it to be a legitimate organization, recognized by the government. One that not only helped kids survive, but THRIVE. He wanted to be a beacon for his village. One where kids were not institutionalized, but empowered. He wanted Maranatha House to live up to its name, "Our Lord is Coming," by being the hands and feet of Jesus. He wanted it to serve the community, and be apart of the community. Not one that is set apart by the resources inside, but one that built up Titanyen by sharing itself.
And while he had big goals, he was also patient on the Lord to provide.
The Lord has been patiently providing ever since.
All in his timing.
When I first met Jackson, in 2011, I knew his heart was pure. He desired to be the hands and feet for his community. When he tragically died on July 13, 2013, Ncompass made a commitment to Jackson and his organization, that we would see his vision through to the best of our ability.
Shortly after his death, we learned that the official registration of the orphanage had expired back in 2011. The costs associated with accreditation and registration were too high, and the need to feed and support the basics for the children were of more importance. Jackson knew this process needed to happen, but the needs at the time were too great to justify it. I understood Jackson's choice for not pursing legal registration. I probably would have done the same if we were in his shoes.
But, we believed that if we were to pursue Jackson's vision that the Lord had given him, we needed to think BIG. We needed to see beyond the needs of today, and consider the future.
The risks associated with not having accreditation and registration could cost us the ability to operate at all. So while we actively pushed and chased after a better life (meeting the basics and aiming for more) for our kids, for the whole community, and for the organization, we knew we needed to pursue this as well.
As of yesterday, six years after the first accreditation expired, we are now a legal organization in the eyes of the Haitian government and in the eyes of IBERS (Institut du Bien-Etre Social et de Recherches [Department of Human Services]).
We have been inspected, critiqued, and made better because of this process.
When Maranatha House was previously certified, the requirements were very minimal. Jackson was able to gain approval with what he had.
However, after the earth quake in January of 2010, with the influx of foreign aid, and with the world's eye on the broken orphanage system in Haiti, IBERS rightfully raised their standards.
And the requirements were steep. We had a lot to do to make our organization better for our kids, and in the process, better for the community. And it all took time.
Anyone who has gone through accreditation in the US (at a school or medical facility) know's how hard it is.
It requires you to do things that seem ridiculous.
It requires you to spend time, money, resources, blood, sweat, and tears to push your organization to the next level.
It makes you better.
It makes you fix problems you didn't see.
It equips you to face challenges head on in the future.
It sets you apart.
While this accreditation process has been a thorn in my side for the last 4 years, it has pushed us to become the organization that Jackson dreamed of. While we still have a lot to do, we in a better place today - one where we can build up our staff and kids to be the beacon for their community.
If you think of the Maranatha House as a person, in 2011, it had a vision and a dream, but he was weak. It took six years of rehab, development, and healing for him to become strong again. And now, he's stronger and healthier than he ever was. It's time for this person to reach beyond his doors and help those in his own village. He is strong enough now to reach back into his community and start lifting it up. Together, we had to strengthen his body and spirit, before he could serve his community well.
It is only fitting, that 4 years and one day after his death, we received the official papers from IBESR.
God's timing is funny like that.