Photos in a Briefcase – Milton Jones

The first child in poverty that I ever helped was in Haiti.

It wasn’t through CRF but through a man who sat on an airplane. Before boarding my flight, I noticed a rather unusual man in the airport. He looked afraid to fly, fidgety, and the kind of guy who might enter all of my personal space on the flight. I hate to admit it, but I was hoping that he wouldn’t sit beside me.

Of course, he did.

I didn’t know where he was from but knew it wasn’t the U.S. He just couldn’t speak English very well. His name was Bethonne. When I didn’t understand what he was talking about, he opened up his briefcase and sat it in my lap. It was full of photographs of little orphans in Haiti who had no help.

The heartache of the pictures and the stories that went with them translated well even though I didn’t speak Creole. Bethonne had my money, my heart, and my future pledge to help orphans in Haiti before I got off the plane.

I supported Bethonne’s ministry for a short time until I learned that he wasn’t getting the money I was sending. Because of corruption in the government, somehow his funds kept getting intercepted. I was trying so hard, but things weren’t working out. I decided to try another route with a different organization. This time the money got there but not much of it. I just had to find a way to help orphans.

And that’s when Barbie found Christian Relief Fund. CRF really got the money there and over 90% of it got to the child.

I wanted to help. But I needed help to help. And I finally found my help.

As I stood over a crowd of hundreds and hundreds of destitute children in Haiti recently, I thought of that commitment that I had made decades ago. Even though the money never got to Bethonne, I think he would have been pleased. These children were more than photographs in a briefcase. They were breathing, singing, hugging, eating, and learning at a great school that CRF supports.

I couldn’t believe how healthy some of them looked when they appeared so sickly and malnourished such a short time ago.

I enjoyed observing these children through the eyes of my good friend Eric Dahl. He supports and sponsors many of these very children. Not only does he personally support them, but he also encourages others to do so. I loved looking at him standing face to face with the very children he was saving.

Not too long ago these children were pictures that I had set out before him. With his big heart, Eric responded to the stories. But there still is a difference when you get to see them in real life.

Some other organizations won’t let you meet your sponsored child. I’m sure they have good reasons. But at CRF we want you to meet your child if you can make the opportunity. There is nothing else like it.

One of my other great friends told me how much he trusted me and how much he believed in the integrity of CRF. But he said that there was always that little skepticism in the back of his head that wondered if it was all true. But when he went to Africa and saw the children, the already committed supporter became an even greater advocate than ever before.

You know what I mean, don’t you? You can believe without seeing. The Bible calls that faith. But even with faith in God, we still long for the day when we will see Him. And it is kind of like that with these children. It is nice when a believer can see.

Yes, the children we support are real. We work hard to teach them, get them clean water and tell them about Jesus. And we are always finding more children who need our help. We take pictures of these kids, and I run around the country with their pictures in my briefcase. I guess it has come full circle, hasn’t it? Thanks Bethonne. Were you an angel?

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