By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
A local ministry went international when one member of the New Horizons United Methodist Church left a Scripture-inscribed wooden coin cross at an area orchard in an effort to spread the gospel. Jude Sochacki, owner of Apple of His Eye Orchard, called the church and asked if they could spare any more to distribute in Haiti.
“We are always seeking more ways to spread the Word around the world to those who don’t know about the saving grace of Jesus,” said Roger Tatum, leader of the radical hospitality team at the church. “We responded by giving her 200 to convert into necklaces and other gifts for the children to counter the culture of voodooism.”
Jude’s niece, Marisa Sochacki of Battle Creek, Mich., regularly visits an orphanage in Haiti. After her first journey, she established a nonprofit organization to sponsor the housed 30 to 40 girls so they can attend school. After that goal was achieved, she pushed to do more.
“Two Haitian ladies with no reliable source of income were taking in these orphans,” said Marisa. “And a lot of kids spend a lot of time in the orphanage even if they don’t live there. They only had a one-story building and it would flood every time it rained. We helped them put on a second story.”
Traveling to the orphanage a couple of times a year, Sochacki tries to create special times for the children through Christmas parties and group birthday parties. By bringing toys and small gifts, Marisa provides them with something to treasure. Necklaces provided by New Horizons were also left with community members she encountered.
“I wanted to go with Marisa on her last trip, but had gone to Haiti in May and didn’t have the finances,” said Jude, member of the Middletown Church of the Nazarene. “If you’ve gone, the need there just breaks your heart. She’s just 24 and that’s a lot to take in when you’re that young. When people here are in need, somewhere, some way, they can get help. The people there are forgotten. People don’t understand until they go.”
Now the orphanage has a second piece of land that was donated. Marisa’s nonprofit agency is looking forward to developing the land and creating two orphanages.
“I’ve been surprised with everything we’ve been able to do,” said Marisa. “On the way back from the first visit, we were poor college students and didn’t know how we could get that accomplished. I have learned to dream big. The magnitude of everything we’ve been able to do is crazy.”