Responding to their needs since 2005

About Evergreen4Kids

Mission

To provide responsible aid to children through education, feeding and clothing programs with Christian values.

Vision

To see children’s basic needs met, food, clean water, medical care and education of the children through programs with Christian values.

Strategy

To mobilize resources from churches, clubs, organizations and individuals, making possible the mission.

Non-Profit Information

Non-profit registry #276265-97. Evergreen Ministries is a Federal 501(c)3 non-profit. Employer ID #20-252-4553.

History

Introducing Gerson

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Gerson Mendez Mella was 4 months old and weighed just 8 lbs when I first met him. Gerson was born into generational poverty with a cleft lip and pallet. He was unable to nurse because of the opening in the roof of his mouth. His parents were and are unemployed and live in a two room wooden house with no clean water, no toilet, and sporadic electricity. (about 2 hours a day) Consequently there was no formula for the baby and no medical help.

 

gerson first bottle.jpgI was on a medical mission trip to the Dominican when Gerson was brought to the clinic. The doctor was able to perform surgery on Gerson's lip only. Without the proper equipment available the repair of the cleft pallet would have to wait until the next mission trip in Oct 2005. We would bring the necessary equipment with us on that trip. In the mean time bottles and formula were provided for him. To put things in perspective, to purchase a plastic baby bottle in the Dominican costs $3.00. A lot of money for a Dominican family. We can buy the exact same bottle here in the USA for $1.00.

 

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Gerson grew healthier but was still plagued with allergies and illnesses. One week before the medical team was to arrive in the Dominican for the second time, Gerson passed away. He died of cardiac arrest due to dehydration caused by diarrhea. He was 13 months old. This is the last picture taken of him just the week before he died. When I received the call I was devastated. It just seems so unfair that people die because they do not have clean drinking water. I thought of all the times I leave the facuet running while I pour my coffee in the morning. Taking for granted the gift that I've been given. I know when I flick a switch, the lights will come on, I know when I turn the heat on I will be warm, I don't fear even drinking from the hose in the yard. I was born in the United States and with all the problems we have I know I am blessed to have been born here. It was a gift I never really appreciated until the moment I realized the joyfully anticipated trip back to the Dominican would be a heart breaking trip.

 

 

A sad story, but God’s way of touching hearts and putting wheels in motion. After arriving in the Dominican, visiting Gerson’s unmarked grave, praying and crying with the family. I went back to my hotel room asking the Lord, WHY? I soon I realized this tragedy was all part of His plan for Habanero and Gerson's short life would have a huge impact on the village. A year earlier God had put together a tiny baby and a woman with a heart for children and called them both into His service. Through this heart breaking experience Evergreen Ministries was born.

 

 

During October 2005 I spent many days at the village trying to access the situation in the village to try and understand their needs. The village has no church, no school, no clinic. Nothing but destitute people with no work and no hope. Children that run around all day with no structure and nothing to do. Prostitution, alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Unemployed and uneducated parents that spend their days figuring out where they are going to get dinner. Of course corruption and crime is everywhere. I remember at one point I started judging these people wondering why they didn't do more to help themselves. But then I realized that before I judged these people I had to ask myself what would I do and who would I be if I had been born into the same situation.

 

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A few months before Gerson's death I had unexpectedly received a sum of money. When I received the money I knew it was a gift from God and that I would spend it in his service. At the time I just didn’t know how, where or for what purpose the money might be used. While in the Dominican with a heavy heart the vision became perfectly clear and all the doors were opened. The villagers offered land to build a community facility. The men and women were willing to work for lunch and whatever pesos could be given. Gerson’s death united this village to work together for a better future. A church was already being constructed by a group of missionaries from Costa Rica, so our focus was on building a school with a small clinic. After careful consideration and prayer, I decided to walk out in faith and we began construction in December of 2005.

 

lunch.jpgAll the doors were opened, all the people and skills needed were provided. The construction went very smoothly. It was an example of His faithfullness to us. He put all the pieces of the puzzle together. The building was completed the end of August 2006. A feeding program has begun - feeding 60 - 100 children every day. They are fed once a day consisting of fresh bread, meat and cheese sandwich and as much milk as they can drink! They love it and it is a joy to watch them eat. They all eat the same way, cheese first, meat second and then thirdly dip the bread in the milk. The children are also taught how to use a toilet as they have none at home. The community comes for relief and aid when sick. We have a room designated as a clinic. We pray each day and there is always opportunity to learn about the Lord.

 

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As the construction was moving forward, I always felt the building would be turned over to an existing agency. I had stepped out in faith and did what I thought I'd been called to do, which was to use the gift I'd received by furthering God's kingdom and those in need. Discussions progressed with several different NGO's (non-government organizations). However, due to lack of funds no one could take on another building. So it seems that I am supposed to stay involved for awhile longer. The USA Board of Directors is hard at work developing an infrastructure that will sustain the organization once I've reached the other side! I don't worry, I pray, I trust everything will work out according to His wonderful plans.

 

Love from your sister in Christ, Brenda Backes, Founder, Evergreen Ministries.