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Krista Parada was eight years old when she asked Jesus to come into her heart.
“I remember watching tears of joy come down my mother’s face when I told her I wanted to make this decision. By God’s grace, I have always had a heart after the Lord. I grew up in the church and served the Lord for most of my childhood. My father was a pastor and he and my mother always encouraged their children to go to church and learn God’s Word. Though there were times where I wandered a bit, I never wandered too far and I am committed now to serving God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength and have been since I was twenty years old.”
At twenty-two years old Krista can remember sitting at home working on her computer. It would be one of the first times God would bring Haiti to mind.
“I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was discouraged and asking God what He wanted with my life. I saw a random picture of these beautiful children with the most genuine smiles! I found out the picture was of children from Haiti. I had never heard of Haiti and I immediately thought it must be a place in Africa. I was compelled to do some more research and at the same time God led me to Isaiah 49. From that day forward I started to pray for Haiti and would literally pray part of Isaiah 49 over the country. After about six months of praying, I began to ask the Lord if He would be willing to send me to this country that had captured my heart. That prayer would last for seven years!”
Krista would schedule random trips to visit Haiti throughout that seven-year period, but every single one of them ended up being cancelled for one reason or another.
“I was discouraged at times, but continued to believe that God would keep His promise to send me to this country I had grown to love even before I had ever set my foot on Haitian soil!”
Finally, Krista was able to come to Haiti, as a part of a short term IMPACT195 missions team arriving on Christmas Day in 2011.
“God remained faithful to His promise to bring me to this land and I got one of the best Christmas presents I have ever been given from my Heavenly Father. I was on Haitian soil at last!”
Krista would eventually move to Haiti for long-term work and has since fallen in love with the people of Jeremie. They have become like family to her and she is soon to wed a Haitian man early this summer.
“I adore my family here in Haiti. I am always amazed that God has a way of connecting people from different parts of the world and truly uniting their hearts. In all honesty, some days here are so challenging and others are so refreshing. It is different being one of the only white people in a community. I am used to blending in, but I definitely stick out here. Not a day goes by, that I don't get stopped by someone who pleads with me to help them in their desperate situation. As a white person I can be viewed as ‘a way out’ so to speak. That aspect can be challenging sometimes. But, I have made some incredible friends here that I have grown very close to. And, I see God move here every single day. It's amazing to watch God work among those who are so desperate. James 2:5 is a scripture I now cherish. ‘Has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him.’ And the children here are a special blessing…the children follow me everywhere. It's been sweet to spend time sharing Bible stories with them and getting to learn their language through their mouths.”
Krista’s schedule is full with ministry for every opportune time.
“I am currently working as a 'house mom' and first grade teacher for a boarding school here in Jeremie. We have ten children...six girls and four boys…ranging in age from five to thirteen years old. The children live here at the boarding school Monday through Friday and spend the weekends with their families. During the week, I am responsible for the six girls’ daily care. I wake them up at 5:30AM every morning so we can start braiding each little lady’s hair! Then we worship and pray, begin one of our two daily bible studies and make sure their homework is complete. While the older children are at school, I also teach our four first graders a homeschool curriculum in English. It has been so incredible to watch children, who came to the school unable to read or write, now writing in complete sentences and reading in two different languages! I have found so much joy in teaching!”
A typical schedule for Krista starts at the crack of dawn. Most often she wakes up at 4:30AM to have a quiet time with the Lord before the children wake up. She then wakes the girls up at 5:30AM. 5:50 – 6:30AM is her boarding school staff prayer time followed by worship and prayer at 6:30AM with the children. Breakfast is served and the older children have to be out the door by 7:20AM. Krista has “free” time from 7:30AM – 11:00AM to which she usually spends time with her fiancé, goes for a visit to the local hospital or takes care of any personal errands. At 11:00AM her first grade class begins. School ends at 1:30PM and the older children return home about 2:00PM. Homework starts from 2:30PM – 4:00PM. The remainder of the afternoon is spent playing games, doing work projects and spending time together as a family.
“It's an incredibly full day, everyday, and as soon as my head hits the pillow, I fall asleep every night quite easily. But, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. It's amazing to watch the children come alive as we study God's Word! We had seven of our children accept Christ as their Savior too. It was entirely their own decision! Last month an IMPACT195 short-term team came to visit and were able to share the Gospel with them!”
Krista also loves making hospital visits and building relationships with patients and their families. The ROCK Children’s Home is also one of her favorite places to visit where she helps to care for the new babies that have arrived.
“I love spending time in town too, getting to know more and more about the Haitian culture. Sometimes I walk through the neighborhoods just to see what God is doing there. I am also planning my wedding…”
Krista has been blessed to see fruit from her labor.
“God is working miracles here daily. I cannot even begin to explain the pain and devastation that I have seen with my eyes, but also the beauty and grace that has come out of every single one of the situations I have been brought into.”
About two months ago, Krista met a darling four-year-old little girl named Dafka.
“When I came through the doors of the hospital, the doctor, who has become one of my close friends, ran up to me and said, ‘I am so glad to see you.’ I learned that I had come at just the right time and that Dafka desperately needed oxygen or she would die that night. My doctor friend shared with me that her family could not afford it and asked me if I would be willing to pay for it. I went over to the little girl and saw her chest heaving up and down. She could barely open her eyes. When she saw me, her eyes got wide and she reached for my hand. I prayed for her and put my arms around her mother, letting her know that God was in control of this situation with her little girl. I went to the bank and took out the money for the oxygen tank and returned to the hospital to give it to the doctor, because I did not want the mom to know that I had been the one to buy it. The next day, I went back to check on Dafka. She was sitting up! Just the day before she was so close to death. It was amazing! And within seven days, Dafka was well enough to go home! The doctor told me that she had a hole in her lungs, but it had mysteriously disappeared. He was amazed at how she had gained strength so quickly! I still keep in touch with her family and have seen Dafka blossom and gain all of her spunk and energy back since that day!”
When asked how we could pray for Krista, she responded with wanting prayer for courage, strength and discernment.
“Daily I am faced with desperate situations-and it's not easy to say no, but sometimes I have to. I pray daily for God to give me wisdom and discernment to help propel people closer to Him. I don’t want them to look to me as a provider, but to look unto Jesus! Please also pray for my upcoming wedding and marriage. We want our wedding day and our lives to be a testimony of God's faithfulness and grace. Pray that God's favor would be upon us as we move to work for a new mission together. And please pray for this nation, that God's Word would continue to go forth in boldness and that especially the children would hear it, accept it and walk in it. I want to see God raise up a generation of young Haitians who love Him with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength.”
To support Krista and her efforts as a Rock Ambassador to Haiti, log on towww.mogiv.com/rockmissions/kristaparada