Just after the earthquake shook the country of Haiti several years ago, I felt called to work in the relief effort there. In preparation for my first trip, my daughter, who at the time was only fourteen, wanted to go along.
Uncertain of the conditions there, I discouraged her and said let's see about you going with me on a future trip. After a day or so, I could tell that she was really burdened for the children there who lived in difficult conditions before the disaster and even more horrible surroundings afterwards. So, I challenged her to think of ways she could help them, even if she could not physically be there.
She decided to design a coloring book for the children. Together we developed her idea and with the help of friends, clients, and contacts from all over America, she was able to go. Not literally, but before I left for the trip, we published and printed a book entitled, "A Coloring Book of Hope, For The Children of Haiti."
On my initial trip we took 1000 copies along with a box of crayons for each child. The books were distributed at orphanages, churches and sometimes one-on-one to children we met on the street. But the story does not end there. On subsequent trips we took more. And later that same year, Rachel, my daughter, author and compiler of the book, went with me and two other friends to Haiti. There, in real time, she was able to put the books in the hands of children. At some orphanages, she was able with the help of an interpreter, to sit down surrounded by children that were clinging to her, and read and color with them.
You see, in her book she added more than just pictures. She included the real story of hope. The story of encouragement to children in a desparate place and time. Even at fourteen she thought to share the good news to children who really need to know.
Since the coloring book was first published, we have reprinted a couple of times because of the demand. You see, we took thousands ourselves on our trips to Haiti. However, hundreds and even thousands have gone with other groups who went there as well. The reality is that even more need to go.
As the world has focused on so much more since the earthquake the people of Haiti remain a people in need of help. They remain a people in search of Hope. We, at Coates and Associates, Inc., and my family remain burdened to share the good news with them and help as many as we can have a chance at life.
We are excited to announce that with the help of Clarissa Hancock, our friend, we have just finished a reprint of the book in Spanish. We also hope to complete the work in Creole later this spring. Even as we speak, we are preparing to reprint thousands more in Spanish to carry with us on our next trip there later this year.
But here is even more exciting news, groups who are traveling to other countries in need have contacted us and asked, how can we take some of these books with us to other countries where Spanish is the primary language. So were are seeking to help them as well.
And the best news, children who are in what seems hopeless situations are being encouraged and introduced to HOPE!
I invite you to join us in this effort. If you would like to come with us to Haiti, contact us and let us tell you of our plans. If you would like to help us take these books to the children there, contact us to find out how to sponsor the books. One dollar can change a life forever. Isn't that fantastic? If you would like to encourage the people of Haiti, first pray for them and then seek ways to get involved in the work there.
You can see of some of our work from a couple of years ago on a Facebook page that admittedly needs some updating by simply looking up the page Coloring For Haiti on Facebook. What a joy it would be for us to have you get involved with us in our work in this most challenged spot in the world just a couple of hours off the coast of America.