It was an early call time, but no one seemed to notice. The only thing on the travelers' minds was getting to their destination. Technically, Lubbock, Texas is home to Sandi Turner but over the years, she's left small pieces of her heart in the Republic of Haiti.
After a long journey, 2087.6 miles long to be exact, the group landed in Port Au Prince, the capital city which was devastated by a massive earthquake in 2010. However, that wasn't their final destination. The group was headed an hour and a half north to the town of Montrouis.
Just off the bustling, bumpy main road in Montrouis is New Vision Ministries, home to 15 orphaned or abandoned children.
"It's like a mother coming home to her babies. You're just ready to see them. I have my kids at home, my husband at home, but this is something different. A separate family. And until you experience it, it's kind of hard to describe," Turner said.
This trip marks number 5 for Turner, who fell in love with the Haitian people during her first trip with another Lubbock organization.
"I had never expected it at all and after a day or two I knew it was a lifelong long love for me," Turner said.
Inspired and desperately wanting to do more, Sandi started her own non-profit in 2009 and called it "Sondra's Song", after a child who instantly stole her heart.
"It's named Sondra's Song, because I want to sing their stories. Not literally, but there's a melody," Turner said.
The organization now sponsors many of these children at New Vision and Turner says Sondra's Song is committed to helping them and helping Haiti.
"As New Vision continues to grow, they want to build and we want to be apart of that," Turner said.
On this trip, Turner brought along her 9-year-old son Jake who had heard all the stories but is finally experiencing it first hand. Also in tow was Tanya Russell, a Lubbock nurse practitioner who's life was forever changed on her first trip 3 years ago.
"I just thought, how could we ever change all of this? It's just so overwhelming. It just feels so different to be here in Haiti. It's so natural. You're not rushing around," Russell said.
Over the next 5 days, the only real agenda for this group is making the children smile and showing their love, all the way from Lubbock.
Later in the week, you will hear more about New Vision Ministries, the orphanage that Sondra's Song supports. Recently, donations have declined and they are in desperate need of specific supplies that are listed below. They also need general donations, so if you're interested in helping out, you can do so at sondrassong.org
New Vision Ministry Needs List
Home Construction Program
Our Children's Home
Student sponsors – there are kids who went to school the first semester assuming they would eventually be sponsored. The teacher wouldn't let them return to class after Christmas. So it's not too late to get some re-enrolled.
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