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From Haiti to San Diego

Christiana’s Full Circles Missions Moment and Judeline’s Family Resilience 

by Christiana Lawrence, Family Services Program Manager World Relief SoCal //

In 2010, following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Christiana Lawrence, now the Family Services Program Manager at World Relief Southern California, embarked on a mission trip as a high school student with her church to serve at an orphanage in Haiti. Canyon Springs Church in San Diego established a partnership with the orphanage, organizing regular service projects and initiating a sponsorship program to support the children’s education. This experience ignited Christiana’s passion for international work, leading her to pursue a MA in Intercultural Studies and eventually join World Relief. 

Haiti has long grappled with a complex humanitarian crisis stemming from centuries of oppression, political instability, economic challenges, and food insecurity, exacerbated by frequent natural disasters. Canyon Springs Church responded by actively supporting the orphanage, sending teams to serve and provide assistance. 

During her initial trip to Haiti, Christiana met Judeline, a young Haitian woman working as a social worker and child advocate at the orphanage. Unfortunately, Judeline and her husband became victims of a kidnapping, prompting them to flee to the Dominican Republic with their two young sons for safety. Tragically, Judeline’s husband passed away due to medical complications while they were in the Dominican Republic. 

In September 2023, Judeline and her sons arrived in San Diego, where they were warmly welcomed by friends from Canyon Springs Church, who had previously served at the orphanage. The community rallied around Judeline’s family, assisting them with settling in, including enrolling them in a school where Christiana’s mother taught. 

Judeline and her sons became Christiana’s first Haitian clients through World Relief’s Case Management Program. With support from Christiana and World Relief, they obtained essential services such as CalFresh, MediCal, CalWorks, and mental health services. Additionally, Judeline enrolled in English classes at a local community college. 

Currently, Judeline is working on obtaining her work permit and has started translating for World Relief’s new Haitian clients as they adjust to life in the US. Despite the challenges, Judeline and her boys are thriving and recently celebrated their first American holiday. 

Join us in supporting World Relief‘s continued efforts to provide vital assistance and resources to the Haitian community in San Diego. Your contribution can make a lasting impact on families like Judeline’s as they rebuild their lives in a new country. Donate now to be a part of this mission of compassion and hope. 

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