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Praying for Haiti: Katelyn's Fund focus | Sioux Center News – nwestiowa.com

Windy. Scattered snow flurries and snow showers possible this evening. Becoming clear later. Low near 5F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 30%. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph..
Windy. Scattered snow flurries and snow showers possible this evening. Becoming clear later. Low near 5F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 30%. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.
Updated: December 2, 2022 @ 4:04 pm

Katelyn’s Fund founder and president Sheila De Jong of Sioux Center spends time in God’s Word with children at Vision One orphanage during her last trip there in 2018. Political unrest and the coronavirus pandemic has prevented any of Katelyn’s Fund board members from going to Haiti in recent years.
Haitian children pray before a meal at One Vision orphanage and schools in Haiti, which is fully funded by Sioux Center-based orphan ministry, Katelyn’s Fund.
Katelyn’s Fund, a Sioux Center-based orphan ministry, has reached 10 years supporting One Vision orphanage and schools in Haiti. Inside the One Vision property includes a nurses station and pharmacy, administration office and resources for teachers and staff, extra storage for food, and dormitories.

Katelyn’s Fund founder and president Sheila De Jong of Sioux Center spends time in God’s Word with children at Vision One orphanage during her last trip there in 2018. Political unrest and the coronavirus pandemic has prevented any of Katelyn’s Fund board members from going to Haiti in recent years.
SIOUX CENTER—An estimated 153 million children worldwide are orphans, according to UNICEF statistics.
Peoples Bank in Sioux Center is partnering with a Sioux Center-based orphan ministry working to make a difference in that number, one child at a time, as this year’s second annual Christmas for a Cause supports Katelyn’s Fund.
Christmas for a Cause is a walk-through Christmas light display located at Peoples Bank in Sioux Center. The display is on daily from 5-10 p.m. through Monday, Jan. 2.
While Christmas for a Cause is free, attendees can support Katelyn’s Fund by giving a donation at the event. There are donation envelopes available, a QR code and URL for online donations. There will be a hot chocolate stand for a donation to Katelyn’s Fund. The hot chocolate stand will be open 6-9 p.m. the following dates: Dec. 2-3, 8-10, 16-17, 23 and 30.
“We are so honored that Peoples Bank would choose to partner with Katelyn’s Fund in this way,” said Sheila De Jong, Katelyn’s Fund founder and president. “It brings families and friends together and at the same time helps others in need. Praise Him for the creative ways in which He provides, encourages and brings awareness to the needs of the orphan. We are humbled and affirmed that He is working, we are excited for many in our community to take part in the fun and walk with others in need as they walk through the lights. May He uses the work of their hands, generosity of their hearts, to not only shine lights in the display, but even more so, show that Jesus is the light of the world.”
Katelyn’s Fund began in 2005 with the focus of helping bring orphan awareness to others, providing emotional and prayer support to families and assist Christian families with the high costs of adoptions.
The organization is also 10 years into supporting One Vision orphanage and schools located in the small village of Thoman, about an hour and a half north of the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince. The 40-acre site includes boys and girls dormitories, a primary school of prekindergarten through grade six and secondary school through grade 13. There’s also a water tower and well.
With the dormitories, primary school, water tower and well located within a 5-acre portion of the land that’s walled off, the approximately 80 students and staff on the complex remain safe from direct gang violence. Such violence has plagued the nation for years but ramped up in the past year as they fight to control more territory in the wake of the July 2021 assassination of Haiti President Jovenel Moïse.
Haitian children pray before a meal at One Vision orphanage and schools in Haiti, which is fully funded by Sioux Center-based orphan ministry, Katelyn’s Fund.
“What they’re feeling most is the economic impact,” Vermeer said. “Katelyn’s Fund is solely responsible for One Vision finances.”
As a lay ministry, Katelyn’s Fund is managed by volunteers so that all money raised or donated to the organization goes directly into a grant or orphanage support.
About half the ministry’s $23,000 monthly budget for One Vision goes toward food needs, which equates to three meals a day for everyone. Other expenses include maintenance, fuel, salaries and some school materials.
Vermeer said for many years the food costs were about $10,000; then throughout the past couple of years it’s increased to $12,000 — all of which would cover food costs for 30-35 days. Within the past two weeks, however, Vermeer received a call from One Vision’s director saying food prices have skyrocketed. That $12,000 now covers 12-15 days worth of food.
“Our board is facing choices,” Vermeer said. “Do we escalate what we’re able to send, which puts a burden on our ministry? Do we reduce the number of grants we give out each month supporting adoption?”
Katelyn’s Fund awards three $8,000 grants a month to those seeking adoption.
“We’d rather not cut because those grants also make a huge impact on families and children’s lives,” Vermeer said. “Here at Katelyn’s Fund, our focus was and still is ‘making a difference one child at a time.’ Those grants truly do that, make a difference one child at a time.”
According to De Jong, praying about what support for unadopted orphans could look like is what led the Katelyn’s Fund board to partner with Dr. Francisco Noel and One Vision.
The board met Noel after a trip to Haiti in 2011, just months after a major earthquake decimated the country. Noel, who is a medical doctor and native of Haiti, was out distributing water and doing health assessments when he came upon an orphanage housed in a nightclub that had collapsed.
“Here’s this medical professional doing outreach but not involved in orphan care,” De Jong said. “We are this orphan ministry that has a lot of knowledge and skills in that, but we’re not on the ground in an impoverished country, walking alongside families in that way. The Lord put us together in partnership, which started in March of 2012, and it’s been such a blessing.”
Katelyn’s Fund, a Sioux Center-based orphan ministry, has reached 10 years supporting One Vision orphanage and schools in Haiti. Inside the One Vision property includes a nurses station and pharmacy, administration office and resources for teachers and staff, extra storage for food, and dormitories.
The board as learned much about Haiti and continues to educate others as well. The Caribbean country shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic to its east. Historically poor and politically unstable, it’s still recovering from a 2010 earthquake.
“This morning I asked my wife if she had lunch plans and that was just one of the times in this day that we plan on eating,” Vermeer said. “Katelyn’s Fund has been fortunate to continue to supply consistent meals for the children and staff at One Vision, but others in the country may get only one meal every two days in some cases.
“This morning, too, I started my vehicle that was full of gas because I just filled it on Saturday. They don’t know if and when gas will be available, and when it is available, how much, if any, they will be able to afford to buy.
“Also, I drove through our city with no concern of making it across safely from one end to the other. They wonder what roads will be blocked, if it is safe to travel at the risk of their lives, and likely how much they will have to pay to cross through a city if they have an emergency like going to a hospital.
“We have so many first world problems that we argue and bicker over, and the third world problems bring me perspective on what is really important, and what I have daily to be thankful for in our country. This gives me and us a burden of responsibility to steward all that we are privileged in our country and those who sacrificed to make these privileges possible.”
Staying aware of what’s happening outside the community, county, state and nation aids that focus.
“When we have that awareness, we can be advocates for those who are less fortunate than us and help how we can, forgetting about our own desires and putting others in front of us,” Vermeer said. “It says in Proverbs 31:8-9, ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy.’”
“As a ministry, we continue to seek wisdom in best ways to meet the tremendous needs before us,” De Jong said. “The need for wisdom and discernment has always been something that we ask for from the Lord, as the needs have always been so great, so many needs of children, so many families applying, so many needs of children waiting, so much need in Haiti. This has continued to keep us close to Him, asking Him for direction and what to do, just as King Jeshpoathfat was surrounded and didn’t know what to do. He said, I am going to keep my eyes on the Lord. That is our goal as well, not to make decisions out of feelings or fear but in His leading — He is greater than all the need, He is a defender of the weak and a Father to the fatherless. We continue to trust that in ways only He can, He will make a way for those He loves.”
Board members also remind themselves and their supports that the work being done is not a sprint but a marathon.
“I have a tendency to want to ‘fix it,’ then move on, but we are in a marathon that has not quickly changed in the past, nor will it likely quickly change in the future, outside of the work of God changing it overnight which He can do,” Vermeer said. “That being said, reminding ourselves not to get discouraged with what feels like a little, but being faithful with the little, making a difference in the life of even just one child or one person is well worth running the race. Then passing on our care and compassion to the next generation coming up behind us, training them by example, what it means to run the good race, pressing on toward the goal.”
MORE WAYS TO HELP
During the Christmas season and beyond, there are several ways the community can support Katelyn’s Fund. Sheila De Jong, Katelyn’s Fund founder and president, shared these four main areas:
1. Pray that God will provide what is needed for His children, that He will keep children safe, that He will stir hearts and families will open up their homes to those needing a safe place, that He will stop the violence, abuse and trauma, that He will provide food and fuel, and that ultimately He will be known and draw His children close, giving security amid the chaos and joy in salvation, even in great suffering.
2. Become a monthly donor. One Vision orphanage welcomed 18 new children in the past six months. A monthly donor helps bring a child into a family and helps provide food to sustain the orphanage. Contact teresa@katelynsfund.org to learn more about this option.
3. Engage/share by joining Katelyn’s Fund on social media to learn more, to engage, to spread awareness to others. This is free and helps to bring more awareness. To learn more about the ministry and opportunities visit Katelynsfund.org.
4. Enjoy the Christmas for a Cause with family and friends and be blessed with the lights put up by Peoples’ Bank.
This is the first in a three-part series connecting with local individuals and organizations impacted by the turmoil in Haiti.
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