I (Julie) was sent to Port Au Prince, Haiti in 2011 to shoot photography and video for a missions trip. When I got there, I immediately fell in love with the country. But - I also fell in love with the trip leader/translator! Fanfan was the most inspiring man of God I had ever met. The way he loved everyone: the trip members, the people he worked with, the orphans, the widows, the sick, the elderly and especially God, was almost hard to believe. But....then I heard him pray. And later, after I caught a glimpse of him in the corner of a room, praying for a little girl with HIV, I said "God, I want to marry that guy". Little did I know that after Fanfan and I had spent 3 days together, he also prayed for me saying, "God, I wish that you could give me that girl." God put us on each other's hearts and we knew there was something special about one another.
Being born and raised in Port au Prince, Fanfan has seen poverty at it's worst. He has experienced severe need and suffered deeply, but never lost sight of his Creator and the promise for a "hope and a future". (Jer 29:11).
As we got to know each other, we realized we had the same dreams for ministry: to start an organization that helped the Haitian people go forward. But above all, to share hope, love and compassion through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
After Fanfan and I got married in Port Au Prince in 2012, we moved to Cap Haitien, where we fell in love with the people, the area and the potential for ministry.
There was SO much need right in front of us. Yet, we felt so helpless, not having means to help people in a lasting way. I even remember Fanfan telling me he was feeling physically sick every time someone approached him with such need, and not being able to do anything about it. We were desperate to help. We started fasting and praying about the opportunity to start our own ministry and asking God to let us know when the time was right.
But...what about a name for our ministry?
Vine Elias Larame was born on September 10, 2013. (Yes, that's 10 months after our wedding!) God blessed us with a beautiful boy who was born with a very rare, very complicated medical condition. We have gone from Chicago's Rush University Hospital, to Indianapolis' Riley Children's Hospital, to Cincinnati Children's Hospital and even moved to Baltimore, Maryland for a year to receive care at Johns Hopkins Hospital. While he is doing well and thriving, he has many, many, many years of surgery ahead of him. (With 6 already under his belt at age 3). However, God is just beginning to write the story of Vine's life. He is strong, brave and an inspiration to so many kids and adults.
Johns 15:5 says "I am the Vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in Me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit."
We want our lives, and Vine's life to bear fruit. And while he may not actually be able go to Haiti for a few more years, his namesake will be there, bearing fruit for both the American and Haitian people.
We are thrilled that God has intersected for us His timing with His purpose for our lives. In that place, we know we are in His will. And we are so grateful.
Thanks for coming on this journey with us.
Fanfan Julie and Vine