I can hear her before I see her. Her sweet voice echoes softly off of the walls as she walks down the steps, rounds the corner, and greets me with a smile and a hug. This is not an uncommon occurrence; Jeffmina’s beautiful singing voice floats around the halls and rooms of the Greta Home and Academy on a daily basis.
Her voice was one of the first things I noticed about her when I arrived in Haiti. It wasn’t only how she sounded but also the conviction with which she sang that stuck with me. She was not merely singing words; she was praising her Savior with her entire heart and soul.
Jeffmina is 14 years old with a bright, wide smile and a hearty laugh. She’s easy to talk to and gives confident and mature answers to any questions I ask. Her relationship with Jesus began in 2012 when she received a Samaritan’s Purse booklet, The Greatest Gift, from her Operation Christmas Child shoebox.
Jeffmina read the book and started to understand that Jesus was important to her personally. However, it was not until one of the Greta Home staff members, Pastor Kenol, began having a Bible study with the children and explained how to have a relationship with Jesus, that she began her walk with the Lord.
“Here at the Greta Home, I am surrounded by good people—God’s people, who are always there to give me good advice,” she said.
She shared with me about how she used to live a different life before the Greta Home and Academy and before she knew Jesus. She said she wore “different clothes and behaved badly,” but now Jesus has brought her “new clothes” and has “showed me the life that I am supposed to lead.”
This is why she says her favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 61 verses 10 and 11: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations” (NKJV).
Jeffmina tells me she loves singing because it brings her joy both physically and spiritually. She animatedly explains that singing makes her feel like “something spiritually is developing within me” and that when she is singing she feels she has “truly been delivered from the evil one.”
I realize that this is exactly what I witness whenever she is singing—a child of God, set free from sin and darkness. Jeffmina’s life is a picture of what it looks like when righteousness and praise “spring up” from the Lord. Because her life is rooted in Christ, the worship naturally pours forth from her heart. She sings with all of the conviction of someone who knows she is living in the freedom of Christ.
When I ask her what her favorite song is, she wrinkles her face in concentration trying to remember the name of it and shrugs when she comes up short. It was a song she heard once on the radio.
She repeats the lines she remembers: “Jesus is my best friend. Once I met Him, I always feel like walking with Him.”
Jeffmina’s voice and walk with Jesus are both indicative of the love and dedication that the staff at the Greta Home and Academy have in raising these children to follow Jesus and impact Haiti armed with the Gospel and the spiritual gifts the Lord has given them. Jeffmina does not yet know what she wants to be when she grows up but has left it in the hands of the Lord.
“God will decide for me in the future,” she said.
I know that wherever the Lord leads her, she will be singing along the way.