My name is Stephanie Bradshaw for those who don’t know me. I now live in Littleton MA with a family of 8, but I grew up in Haiti.
Growing up in Haiti was difficult in many ways. Many of the kids in Haiti are not able to go to school. In Haiti, I grew up in a family that has 7 kids, and we were all able to go to school.
For fun in Haiti, I would jump rope, play rock games and play marble games, even though the marble games were usually for boys.
When I was 7 or 8, my dad left my family. My mom at that time was an alcoholic. My older siblings brought me, my younger sister and younger brother to an orphanage. A local Pastor ran the orphanage. When we went to the orphanage, there were maybe 20 other kids there. The Pastor knew our family, and saw that we needed someplace to go, so he allowed us to come live at the orphanage.
In Haiti, the food is really good, but most people cannot afford to eat. Many schools in Haiti offer a meal. That meal is probably the only meal the children eat that day.
In the orphanage, there was a woman named Martha who shared the gospel with me. She shared the Bible, and how God loves me, sent his one and only son to die for me. I asked God to forgive me and I became a follower of Jesus that knew how to love and share and forgive. I accepted Christ into my life because I’m a sinner and I cannot live a better way without God in my life. My attitude began to change when I received Christ with all my heart.
In December 2009, I was baptized. In January 2010 there was a big earthquake in Haiti. It was very scary. The day it happened, I had arrived home from school, and I would usually take a nap, but instead I was pacing around. Then the house shook. I quickly left the orphanage. Outside, I saw people leaving their homes screaming and holding their heads. I didn’t know what had happened until the ground shook again.
Martha had been cooking, and the gas stove moved towards her. Praise God it didn’t explode, and she got out safely. Everyone got out safely, except for one of the babies who had fallen under the bed. When one of the grownups went to find him, he was still asleep and was okay. By the grace of God, we were all safe.
After the earthquake, all the kids from the orphanage lived in tents outside for many months, while the aftershocks continued. It was after the earthquake that I met my new family. I now have 5 more siblings and two pets and rooms to share with them.
Since coming to America, my life has changed in many ways. I have so many ideas of what I want to become. Starting a new school here has been very different and challenging. The goal of graduation has been a struggle. I am thankful for the opportunity of a good education, and for teachers who have been very helpful throughout my difficulties. I’m grateful for my family who have been and are still helping me, even though things don’t always go the way they’re supposed to.
This past summer, I worked at Camp Spofford. It was a great experience. I met many friends, and grew much closer to God. He has given me opportunities where I can help others. When I graduate, I would like to have a job where I can change the lives of others. I also pray that I can help my family back in Haiti.
I will leave you with this verse 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Please come and talk to me with any questions you may have.