Our TeamWe invite you to join us as we grow and fill the world with love and grace
Dedra Key works in the details. She oversees the sponsored children program, ensuring their benefits are delivered as well as sending updates and correspondences to sponsors. Dedra coordinates the diet for the children and oversees the moringa project which is incorporated into the meals. She also nurses children and neighbors back to health and takes them to the local clinic when their needs are greater than she can handle. Dedra teaches Bible stories at the schools and other classes in the community. She is in charge of clothing and other donations we receive. Dedra has overseen the building of new homes for three families in need. She works in all areas and things God lays on their hearts.
My name is Dedra Key. I was born and raised in a Christian family in north Georgia. I accepted Christ in 1989, yet it wasn’t until 2002 that I fell in love with Christ and developed a personal relationship with him. With this fire in my heart for the Lord, I became active in my church.
In December 2007, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Haiti. My father had previously been, therefore, I had seen pictures and heard stories of the need and poverty. I expected to go and share the gospel, bless others, and change their little piece of the world. Truth be told, I was the one that was blessed. My life was forever changed by people and a community that gripped my heart. Photos and stories that I had seen did not accurately portray what I experienced, smelled, saw, and felt. These people were not living. They were existing at best. I returned to the states with a different perspective on life and the desire to help Haiti. I often returned to Haiti with groups of missionaries working with a foreign missionary already established in Haiti.
In January 2010, when the tragic earthquake hit Haiti, I returned once again. This is the time God truly began calling me to work in Haiti and to a purpose greater than myself. In February 2013, I made a very difficult decision out of obedience to this calling to leave my family and all I had known. I began a journey with Jesus and continue to trust Him each step of the way.
Today, I am blessed to serve with our team of teachers and volunteers with over 400 children in three schools. We give thanks to God first and foremost and are grateful for the support from friends, family and family in Christ whose support makes serving full time on the mission field possible. I never imagined working in a fourth world country or living so far from my family. Yet, I’ve learned that we must submit to God’s plans not our own or others’ plans for our lives. Living in the center of God’s will, I have found true joy.
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Our team of 16 teachers are the heart of our ministry. They work hard daily teaching from 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Our teachers are our greatest asset and vital to our children’s education and hope for a brighter future. They provide half hour of Bible in the morning followed by secular education. Each of our teachers go beyond the call of duty any time it is asked of them when we have special activities or missionary groups. Two of our teachers were among the first students to attend our schools. They have come full circle! Average Haitian salary is $40.00 per month. Our teachers earn between $85.00 – $100.00 per month. For their role in educating our children and the next generation, we feel this is inadequate. However, they accept and teach with love and grace abounding.
Our team of volunteers are the core of behind the scenes. This team consists of 12 women and men who work in many areas of the ministry. Three of them work relentlessly cooking for our near 400 children and often street kids. Two men are our runners you might say. They drive Dedra everywhere on their motos as well as deliver food/water from the main school to the four village schools. They often run to make purchases for construction needs and make food runs when we have missionary groups. If we need to take children to the clinic, they are our guys! Jhony works with the moringa garden and loves to assist in all that he can. The remainder of our volunteers work serving food, washing dishes, washing babies and soiled uniforms from “potty accidents”, helping with sponsored children activities, construction, lifting, fetching water, keeping our schools clean and our missionary/founder safe. When we have missionaries they work dusk til beyond dark and always with a servant spirit. This crew is extraordinary and like our teachers, have jewels in their eternal crowns! All of our teachers and volunteers are paid and understand their offering depends on donations we receive and what we have to offer. We are blessed to have them on team Jesus and as the backbone of Love and Grace Ministry, Inc.