Rick Alford and his family lived comfortable lives devoted to God. They enjoyed the perks of their successful business – private schools for the kids and a condo on the beach, far from the cold winters of their home in Columbus, Ohio. They faithfully gave to the church.
In 1998, Rick left the cold winter again, not for vacation but for a missions trip to Kenya with a group from his church, Potter’s House. He was deeply impacted by the hungry kids he encountered on the streets. That day, God told him that if he would allow Him, He would use Rick to help children around the world.
Out of this moment Destiny Village was born.
There has long been an emphasis on missions at Potter’s House; it is in the culture of the church. It is no surprise, then, that soon after returning from Kenya, Pastor Tim Oldfield and Rick traveled to Haiti to learn about starting an orphanage.
“For years our church has been involved in giving to others to help them in their missionary effort, but this would be something which we owned and were responsible for, a hands on ministry,” Rick said.
The next year, they purchased land and began to build.
Today, Destiny Village is the home of 52 children in Pierre Payen, Haiti. Rick Alford is the executive director.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, a situation only worsened by the devastating earthquake in 2010. Many citizens of this beautiful island live in poverty unimaginable to most people in first world countries.
In this atmosphere of desperation, Destiny Village brings hope. They believe that if they can change a child, they can change a nation.
Rick said, “We have been able, through so many people’s generosity, to have a large outreach ministry that goes far beyond the orphanage.”
This outreach includes the aid of two other orphanages which otherwise would have no financial support. Destiny Village provides them with food biweekly, and helps with shoes, clothes, and money to run their school.
They also provide the local village with food, water, and clothes as they are able.
One of the biggest outreaches of the ministry is Christmas in July. Last year, Potter’s House collected almost 2,000 backpacks filled with toys and hygiene supplies to send to the children in Pierre Payen. Rick explained that this is the first gift many of the children have ever received.
It is remarkable all that has been done for the Kingdom of God because of a man and a church stepping out in obedience to His calling.
“As you give unto the poor, you are lending unto the Lord, knowing they can never pay you back, but trusting that the one who knows and sees all surely will,” Rick said. “I encourage every person to do something – anything – to make a difference in the world. Step out of your comfort zone and see what God can do through you. You may be amazed.”
Photo credits: Destiny Village