Milande's Wedding: A child sponsorship comes full circle

by Allison Hurtado, staff writer
One by One Haiti

In 2005 Tim Hvidsten was on his way back to Haiti to meet with 6-year-old Rudia Joseph, the girl he sponsored, and to do some construction at Melchizedek Baptist School. While on that trip he met a dozen of the top high school students. Eleven were boys, and there was one girl, Milande Berson. Her shoes were too small. Tim says the dad in him wanted to get her new shoes, so he did. Looking back, Tim realizes this was a heart decision, not a logical one. He left that trip with a new girl to sponsor: Milande.

Milande’s life hasn’t been easy. She had been abandoned by her father and, as a toddler, was left in a field in the care of a goat. Seriously. Her mother was unstable, and Milande had been passed around to cousins and aunts. With Tim’s sponsorship, she was able to attend school. As he left Haiti in 2005, he told Milande she now had an American father and a Heavenly Father. Throughout the years, Tim and his family have visited Haiti a few times to see her and have communicated through letters.

While Milande went through school, she still faced hardships. She dated a man who, Tim says promised her the world, and she gave birth to a little girl. Milande then started her own business but was robbed. She has had to start her life over and over again. 

“It was important through these trials that Milande knew someone cared about her,” Tim said. “Life is really tough in Haiti and a lot different than we know.”

Milande met a Christian man and, after becoming engaged, scheduled her wedding so that Tim and his wife, Cheryll, as well as a few other team members, could attend. As the Hvidstens were planning their trip, Cheryll realized Milande may not have a wedding dress. They messaged a student to ask, and as it turned out, Milande did not.

A week before they were due to fly to Haiti, Cheryll shared the request for a used dress on Epiphany Station’s Facebook page. Epiphany is a Converge church in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.

“Cheryll got five dresses. It was a God thing,” Tim said. “We had a little, beat up suitcase and packed it full of wedding dresses. One of the women who gave her dress said she had always wanted to bring it to Haiti, but never had the chance. Milande wound up fitting perfectly in that dress.” And she wore it at her wedding.

The Hvidstens attended, and left the other four dresses with Milande. She can now start a wedding rental business to help earn money for her new family. 

Children in Haiti grow up with so many challenges. This is why a sponsor can change the life of a child, director of One by One Haiti Pam Putman says.

“The care of a sponsor can make a significant difference. Certainly with the aid for schooling, but also because a loving, compassionate sponsor helps communicate the reality of God’s love,” Putman said.

Learn more about how to sponsor a child here.

    Point - September 2018

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