He Really Does Care

Happy New Year!  That’s a nice thought.  Hopefully 2022 will be a happy year.  Most likely it will have its share of good times and hurting times.  Maybe this poem will help when the hurts come.

When a child is hurt, most grownups are too,
It hurts most of us when they are blue.
We seem to have a special place deep down inside
That really goes out to them when they’ve been hurt and cried.
God is our Father through thin and through thick
But sometimes we wonder if he cares when we’re sick.
Sometimes we wonder if he’s even aware
That our life has become burdened with this huge load of care.
We pray and we pray and we believe that he hears
And then we say, “Father, don’t you see all my tears?
Why do I deserve to suffer like this?
Haven’t I been good?  Don’t I deserve bliss?”
Yes, God knows what happens to us every single day,
But beyond knowing he loves us in an unfathomable way.
For us, his children, he wants only good,
But lives don’t always go as he wishes they would.
Life will definitely bring you good times and bad,
When you are hurting your Father is sad.
Don’t look for answers that aren’t there to be found,
Trust God completely, you’ll be safe and be sound.

Photo by Bianca Berndt on Unsplash

December Haiti Updates

As the work in Haiti continues, the challenges will also continue. We ask everyone to continue in prayer for Haiti, especially the following areas.

Ministry Opportunity: The Estes Church of Christ is seeking a married couple to serve as houseparents at Sonlight Children’s Home in Port au Prince, Haiti. Primary responsibilities include providing daily care and spiritual nurturing of children ranging in age from infancy to teenage. Interested persons may requires more information or provide a resume and letter of application by email (info@esteschurch.org) or by postal mail (P.O. Box 191, Henderson, TN 38340).

Update on JoJo: Despite reports we received several weeks ago that JoJo (Jonathan, the four-year-old that was abducted at the time of Roberta’s death) was alive and that his location had been revealed, authorities have not yet been able to find him. Please continue to pray for JoJo’s safety and recovery.
Coordination: During this time of recovery, there are many needs and many who want to help. In order to be good stewards and to avoid conflicting efforts, if you receive a request for help or if you would like to offer aid to the children and workers and Sonlight, please contact the Estes congregation so that we may serve as a hub of information and coordination.


Food for Orphanages & Books for School

As part of Roberta’s work in Haiti, she coordinates the purchase and delivery of food each month to three different orphanages. There are 80 children at the Kardeh orphanage, 60 children at the Lilivois orphanage, and 35 children at Fara’s orphanage who receive meals because of this work. Funds are given by the Beltline Church of Christ in Decatur, Alabama, to provide the food for these deliveries.


Kardeh Orphanage


Lilivois Orphanage 


Fara’s Orphanage

The feeding of these children is in addition to the feeding that Roberta oversees for children at the Nutrition Center. This year the number of children being fed the Nutrition Center at Roberta’s home has risen to 180!

Many of the children who attend the Nutrition Center also have the opportunity to have their tuition, uniform, and book fees paid so that they can attend school. The funds for this Education Program are collected and managed by the Estes Church. Pictured below are the books that have been purchased for the children this year. The children from the Sonlight Children’s Home and the Nutrition Center help to sort all the books and put them into individual book bags. Each child will then get a book bag ready to go for school!


Sorting school books!

There is a lot of great work going on in Haiti. Please remember Roberta and all these children in your prayers. If you’d like to get involved with any of these projects or become a sponsor, please email haitimissions@esteschurch.com and we will be glad to answer any questions!

Greater Than Zero


Here is the new set of teachers for the school at the Santo Church of Christ. The school has been reorganized this year with new staff, a new director, and a new school board. Classes range from kindergarten through high school, and courses include French, Spanish, algebra, biology, chemistry, and Bible. Most of the children sponsored in our Nutrition Center also attend this school.


The photo above shows some very hard-working, dedicated educators. When you sponsor a child through the Estes Education Program in Haiti, some of that money is used to pay these teachers’ salaries. Sponsorship touches many different lives, and it creates many ripples that will have positive effects long into the future!

You don’t have to be a mathematician to understand that any positive number is greater than zero. Many times when people explain why they don’t give to a cause or sponsor a child they say, “I can’t afford to give very much, and the little I could give won’t make a difference.” This is just not true. Giving nothing is the thing that won’t make a difference, but giving something, even a small amount, can be used by God. A quote from author and blogger Sarah Mackenzie helps illustrate this point further. She writes, “God is not asking me to feed the five thousand. He just wants me to bring my basket of loaves and fish and lay them at His feet.”

What small gift can you bring to lay at His feet today? Can you commit to $20 a month? $10? Imagine if three people who were previously giving $0/month each decided to give $10/month. Together they have given what amounts to a full Nutrition Center sponsorship to feed a child for a month.  That’s 2 hot meals a day for a child who might not otherwise be fed all because some people decided that a small amount was better than zero! Can one of those people be you?

Come partner with Estes to be a part of this work. We are so much better when we work together. There is a great need right now to help support several programs in Haiti. We want all the children who are currently in the Nutrition and Education program to be able to continue. You can be a part of making sure that happens.

You can start right now. Just click the link below and enter any amount you choose. You can select to make it a recurring monthly gift so that you don’t have to worry about writing a check each month. These funds go to Estes and will be used for the program in Haiti that has the greatest need. Don’t let hesitation about having a small gift stop you from offering it today.

If we can help in any way or answer questions you may have, please email haitimissions@esteschurch.com


Get to know Michemana Blaise!

Tomorrow hundreds of new students will be arriving on campus at Freed-Hardeman University. Among them will be FHU’s newest Haitian student, Michemana Blaise.

Michemana has lived for the past ten years with Roberta Edwards at the Sonlight Children’s Home in Haiti. She is Roberta’s foster child, but she refers to Roberta as “mom.” While at Freed, Michemana plans to major in biochemistry, and her long-term goal is to continue her education after graduation to become a physician assistant.

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Michemana with Roberta

At just 20 years old, Michemana is mature, intelligent, and seems wise beyond her years. Her goal is to focus very hard on her studies, and one of her main worries about the upcoming school year is fast-talking professors. When asked a question, she replies thoughtfully and quietly, but is very firm and clear in what she says. She is someone that is easy to be around and you immediately want to be her friend. Although she says she is very friendly, she admits that she won’t always take the first step to reach out her hand to someone new because she is shy.

As of now, she is waiting to decide on joining any groups or social clubs until she sees how well she can keep up with her classes. Some people have encouraged her to join a singing group because she loves to sing. Another activity she enjoys is teaching children. Michemana often helped teach the younger children at Sonlight Children’s Home, and she also taught the young children’s Bible class at church as well. Teaching is something she really enjoys because she loves how little children have such excitement about learning.

One reason that Michemana is confident in her desire to go into the medical field is that she has translated for many years for the medical mission teams that travel to Haiti. She has learned so much from that process, and she says that she loves when those teams come. Another reason for her interest in medicine is that many people come to Roberta’s home when they need medical help, and Michemana has learned that she has a natural gift for helping in that way. She enjoys attending to people and has learned a lot from those experiences.  Her goal is return to Haiti as a PA to put her skills to use where they are very much needed.

Michemana seems to be adjusting to life in Henderson pretty well. She says that Henderson is not as busy and does not have as many people in the streets as she is used to and that is a big change. She also struggles with . . . air conditioning! When I went to visit, she was wrapped up in a fleece blanket like those of us in Tennessee might use at an outdoor sporting event in December. She says she is just not used to the cold air, and she is a bit worried about the upcoming winter.

If you have the opportunity, take the time to get to know this very brave, smart, and beautiful young woman from Haiti. She would appreciate encouragement, friendship, and maybe a jacket. 🙂  While Michemana may be shy, if you take the first step and reach out to her, you’ll be so glad you did!

Haiti Newsletter

If you have not already checked out the Estes Haiti page, please take a minute to read about the work Estes supports in Haiti and ways you can get involved. You can set up automatic monthly payments to sponsor a child to go to school and to receive two hot meals a day at the Nutrition Center. You can also contribute to Roberta Edwards’ salary or simply mark your donation to be used for the area of greatest need. The work that Roberta does in Haiti makes a difference to so many people, including a large number of children. Your support is necessary to help these good works continue. If you have any questions about sponsorship, making a donation to one of the programs, or you would like more information for your home congregation, send an email to haitimissions@esteschurch.com

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You can also catch up on some of the things happening in Haiti and updates from the Son Light Children’s Home by viewing the latest newsletter here.

Finally, if you would like to hear the latest report from the Estes Mission Team that travelled to Haiti in March, you can listen to Jesse Robertson’s report of that work below.

Experiences in Haiti

Today featured on the blog is Estes member Cindi Cotton, who recently returned from Haiti on one of many mission trips she has made there. Her love and dedication to Haiti are evident.  In the signature line of Cindi’s emails, she has this: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”–Colossians 3:23-24. She embodies this verse so very well. She is a faithful, dedicated Christian who truly works with a servant’s heart “as for the Lord.” Take a moment to enjoy reading about her personal experiences in Haiti.

When we hear “Haiti,” we often think of extreme poverty. We think of heat. We think of people in great need of the basic necessities, such as clean water, nutritious food, stable housing, education and employment. These things are all true, but there is more to Haiti than what they need. There are fellow Christians working tirelessly to bring others to Christ.

My first trip to Haiti was in 2009, and it was overwhelming at every level. Physically, it was HOT. An additional challenge was 24 women using one restroom in the guesthouse! Mentally and emotionally it was equally overwhelming. The sights, sounds, and smells of another culture can be new and exciting, but still very different from our culture and therefore unsettling. Walking through a street and taking care not to step in sewage can make one grateful to say the least. By far the most overwhelming factor for me is the spiritual one. Meeting fellow Christians who don’t share my language is indeed challenging, but the love for God and for worshipping together knows no such boundary. Often at a worship service I would recognize a tune and be able to sing along in English. Being able to teach ladies’ Bible classes is always a special time. I like to make the class as interactive as possible, and I’m never disappointed and always encouraged when I ask questions. The ladies know the scripture!

On this most recent trip, I asked the ladies to share scriptures that give them comfort and strength during trials. I was not surprised that we had many of the same “favorite” passages.

My first trip was in 2009, so I’ve been able to see Haiti before and after the devastation caused by the earthquake in 2010. It’s encouraging to see church buildings, schools, and homes that were built with funds from so many compassionate Christians. Although it is sad that it took a destructive tragedy to bring much needed assistance, it is proof that there are always blessings in the toughest of times. Many souls have obeyed the gospel because they were shown compassion in the months following the earthquake.

On my first trip, Lana Pirtle and I met a preacher’s wife. Her name is Bernadette Saint-Hubert Felix. Her husband has been the minister at the Varreux church for many years. This is in the Citi Soleil area of Port Au Prince, one of the more impoverished areas. This couple has four beautiful daughters, and both parents and two of the daughters work in a school in addition to their work with the church. When we met that first year, we talked with the aid of a translator, of the same things people here talk about—our families, our jobs and such. More importantly, we talked of our love for the Bible and for fellow Christians. Commitments to remember one another in prayer were made.

Needless to say, when I heard of the earthquake, in addition to thinking of Roberta Edwards and the children at Sonlight Children’s Home, my first thoughts were of this precious family.


We went to Haiti in 2010 about ten weeks after the earthquake. I was hoping daily to see my sweet friend. Because of the devastation, we did not leave the guesthouse. Clinics were held on the grounds of the guesthouse each day, and people from area churches were brought in daily. When the day came that Sister Bernadette came to the clinic, I was overjoyed just knowing that she and her family were alive and unhurt. We hugged and shed tears of joy. Later that week she came back to the guesthouse along with one of her daughters who spoke some English. The daughter explained that her mother had a gift for me. It was a bag containing mangoes and red delicious apples. You probably know that mangoes grow all over Haiti, but apples do not grow in that warm climate. I was touched deeply by this gift. I know that this gift wasn’t like the gifts we give here in America. Of course we give gifts out of love, but we rarely give much thought to the cost of the gift. In other words, we share out of our excess. I know enough about her circumstances to know that this gift probably meant that other basic needs were not being met. I remember telling her that this would be the most delicious apple I ever ate, and it was.

This year I was blessed to teach ladies class at the Varreux church for the first time. We talked about what the Bible teaches about how we face trials, and how we can grow our faith during difficult times. As we shared scripture that have helped us, I shared one that is especially meaningful to me. Psalm 16:8 says “I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” Each lady in the class got this scripture in Creole to use as a reminder of our lesson. After the class, I was able to give a special gift to my friend. I had cross stitched this verse in Creole and English and framed it for her. I told her I was making one for myself so that we would both have one to remind of one another.


A few days later, we had clinic at this same church. The Felix family live in a house that is on the same property, and their home is where we went we needed to use the restroom. Sister Bernadette proudly showed me that my needlework was on display in her home, and insisted that we have our picture taken together. When I asked about how her work as a teacher was progressing, Sister Bernadette told me that none of them had been paid in over seven months. This broke my heart. She humbly said, “I’m praying that we will get paid next month.” I told her I would pray for that as well, but this was weighing heavy on my heart. How many of us would keep going to work for seven months when we are not being paid? Keep in mind that FOUR of the family members work at the same school. I talked with Roberta, who said that she had sent rice and beans to them to help. We talked about what could be done. With help from generous Christians, funds are being sent to Roberta to help this precious family. Please keep them and all who do the Lord’s work in Haiti in your prayers. I’ve been blessed beyond measure to make trips to Haiti, and the friendship with a Christian sister has been by far my richest blessing.

The trips I participate in are medical mission trips, and this is a vital work. Many of the persons who come to the clinic will not receive any medical treatment any other time. They are grateful for medications. They are grateful for reading glasses, and some even will receive their first pair of eyeglasses. I usually work with our optometrist, Dr. Rachel Wyatt, and when she gets the correct lens setting, it’s a joy to see a person’s smile when they see clearly, probably for the first time in their life.


They are grateful for the nurses, nurse practitioners, and all the medical and pharmacy staff. I think they are mostly grateful for the compassion that we are able to convey. We may not speak the same language, but a gentle touch, a smile, and a hug can make Jesus real in a way that doesn’t need words. We don’t know which of the 2100+ people who came through this year’s clinics may come to know Jesus because of our trip. Seeing a medical professional and being given personal attention and receiving needed medications can lead to discussions about the Great Physician. Helping a person to see more clearly can lead to discussions about seeing more clearly what the Bible teaches.

As you can imagine, those of us who make these trips receive so much more than we give! I’ve been given the gift of new friends in a beautiful country, and as we talked on the most recent trip, Sister Bernadette and I agreed that there will come a day in heaven where there will be no language barriers. This is indeed our greatest blessing!


Sonlight Children’s Home Repairs

The following is a letter from Widlord Thomas. Widlord is one of the finest young men you could hope to know. He is loved by the Estes church family and by many others in the U.S. who had the privilege of getting to know him during his time here. Please continue to remember the work in Haiti in your prayers and consider joining alongside Widlord and Roberta by financially supporting the work needed at the Sonlight Children’s Home.


January 27, 2015

Dear Brethren,

My name is Widlord Thomas, and I was raised by my foster mom, Roberta Edwards, a missionary in Haiti. She has been working in Haiti for 19 years. She has done a lot of work in Haiti with the help of God. By the grace of God I was able to go to the US and to college, and I received a BA in theology at Freed Hardeman University on December 12, 2014. I returned to Haiti on January 7, 2015.

Upon my arrival to Sonlight Children’s Home, the home that I grew up in, I noticed that the house and the vehicles needed some serious work. The house needs some paint work, and some plumbing repairs. Because of the plumbing issues, the water is seeping through the wall and causing the paint to come off the walls and ceiling.

All the cars have some problems, but several of them are not working at all. Having unreliable cars that are breaking down in the street is a problem, especially for Mom. Also, when groups come down to do mission work, it is hard to transport them to and from their destination. I know it is hard to maintain a car in Haiti, but the cars can be in better condition than they are now. We need to repair them to a working state.



It is hard to find out how much it will cost in Haiti to do all the repairs that are needed, but after I did my own evaluation, and see all the things that are needed, I concluded that it would take close to $20,000. I understand that money does not come easy, so we can work on these problems little by little. Rather than sending a group down with a limited amount of time, and paying plane tickets to do these repairs, I believe it will be better to find capable Haitians to do these works.

In closing, I would like to say thank you for reading this letter and for considering the needs that we have in the work in Haiti. If you would like to donate toward this good cause, to facilitate the work of God, please do so. If you have any question contact me at widlordthomas@hotmail.com or Dr. Jesse Robertson at jrobertson@fhu.edu.

Your donation may be earmarked “Repairs at Sonlight Children’s Home” and sent directly to Estes church of Christ at:

Estes Church of Christ

P. O. Box 191

Henderson, TN 38340



Widlord Thomas


Is Sponsorship for You?

Roberta Edwards works tirelessly to help children in Haiti. Through her work she helps to feed children in the Santo Nutrition Center. Those children receive two hot meals a day, five days a week. Those same children are sponsored through the Education Program to have their school tuition, books, and uniform paid for as well. It is vitally important that we continue to find sponsors who will commit to monthly donations to support these programs. Without monthly sponsorships, these children would not be able to continue to go to school or receive the much needed food.

As we are getting into a new year, maybe it is time for you to consider taking on a monthly sponsorship. Our current greatest need is the Education Program. You can sponsor a child’s educational expenses for $35 a month. Those donations can be mailed monthly to the Estes church of Christ or you can set up a recurring automatic donation through our website by clicking here. One time yearly donations are also great. If you are interested or have any questions about sponsorships, please email haitimissions@esteschurch.com and we will be glad to help you get started.

This month we would like to spotlight one of the children who is in the nutrition and education program. Her story is below. If you’d like to make a difference to a child like this, please consider a monthly sponsorship so that this good work can continue for many years to come, and no child will have to be turned away.

From Roberta:

LeeAnn Stuart of Kennett, MO was a part of our Estes medical team last year. She saw one of the children in our nutrition center named Kerlineda Domec. She is 13 years old and had a serious heart defect. Lee Ann left Haiti and never forgot this little girl. She worked and notified the Haiti Cardiac Alliance, which works with the Caridiac Team from Health City in the Caymen Islands.  

One of the hardest problems is the logistics of followup with heart patients and getting them to appointments after identifying the patient’s needs. We were able to help facilitate communication with the medical personnel and Kerlineda and her mom. In October last year, Kerlineda was flown by private plane to the Caymen Islands, where she had a heart catheterization to correct moderate to severe pulmonic stenosis.

After her three week stay in the Caymen Islands, Kerlineda is back in Santo and going to school. She is happy, healthy and so thankful to God for her recovery. Thank you LeeAnn for your love, care and tenacity to make this happen!

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Photo of Kerlineda’s mom and Kerlineda after surgery

Christmas Gifts for Haiti

In 1998, Roberta started the children’s home when she took in two orphaned boys to live with her.  It has grown over the years and she now has 22 children.   When asked, Roberta strongly proclaims that she does not have an orphanage.
“Our home is a place of love, security and spiritual growth.  We work together to maintain, manage and protect our home.  The older children look out for the younger children.  Everyone has chores and by the time a young person leaves our home, we hope that he/she has life skills and core values necessary to be a successful, productive Christian in today’s world.  We participate in family Bible studies twice a day.  In the mornings we read a chapter in the book of Proverbs and then everyone has to discuss a verse or verses that are particularly important to them.  The evening Bible studies are led by the young men in our home and vary in topic and variety.
The children are home schooled using a popular curriculum from the states.  The children are then tutored in French and Spanish languages.  When a child leaves here, they are exposed to four languages.  Not all children go to college but we do try to help those that want to to go to trade school.
The older children take turns managing the nutrition center for several months at a time.  We have one daughter that does the purchasing of fresh food weekly while another child actually divides and provides necessary items for the cooking in the nutrition center daily.
The children work together to manage our tilapia farm, chicken project where we provide eggs for small business owners and  a needed protein source for the children’s home and the nutrition center.  We have just begun a rabbit project that after 1 year has finally begun to show some promise.  Our rabbits have produced 22 babies in the last three weeks.  We hope to fill yet another protein source for the children’s home and nutrition center.”
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This Christmas you can help support Roberta’s work in Haiti where, among other things, she manages the Children’s Home and the Nutrition Center.  At the Nutrition Center children are fed hot meals everyday when many children in Haiti may only eat a couple of times a week if they are lucky.  These children that come to the nutrition center are also sponsored through the Education Program so they can go to school as well.  Roberta’s work is so important.  You can be a part of this work by choosing from the gifts below.  When you give one of these gifts, you can honor a friend or loved one for Christmas.  They will receive a card detailing the gift you have given in their name.  All you need to do is to include this information when you complete your purchase.  This year, give a gift that matters and will make a difference to a child in need.

$25 – One pair of tennis shoes for a child in the children’s home

$25 – School books for one child      

$25- Eggs for the children’s home for one month                 

$50 – 5 days of milk for all the children at the children’s home                                       

$50 – One 50lb. bag of beans for the nutrition center

$50 – 5 Bibles

$50- 5 Laying hens for the egg selling project


When you click below you will be able to complete your purchase.  Include in the notes the specific gift you are choosing, your name/address and the honoree’s name/address.  If you’d like to have the card sent directly to you so that you can present it as a gift, just specify that as well.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email – haitimissions@esteschurch.com or call the Estes Church at 731-989-7990.