Wow, COTP is really different!  It’s great.  It’s so many things we’d dreamed about…but it’s different.  

This was the sentiment of a COTP partner who recently re-engaged COTP after several years of being less connected.  My instant response was a bit of disagreement, the core things about COTP are mostly the same.  But then it hit me:  COTP is constantly changing because we are committed to the work of transformation.  

We talk a lot about transformation on the individual level.  We share about how COTP walks alongside individual children and families through the process of life transformation.  It is messy.  Rarely is it quick.  Though we use programs and formulas, each situation is different and requires human relationship and unique attention.  God is ultimately the one who drives and controls this transformation.  Often, He chooses to use us in a process that is slow and steady.  We often don’t realize how far we’ve come until we look back at the person we used to be and realize how much we’ve been transformed.

It’s not just happening at the individual level.  Children of the Promise is transforming as well.  We realize that COTP is a collection of broken people in need of transformation.  As an organization, we need to engage that messy, slow and steady process of transformation as well.  We make mistakes, and we try to learn and grow.  We listen, even when it’s hard, and we try to get better.  We pray and ask God for direction. We lay plans and work to carry them out in an uncertain world.  And then, we look back and praise God for the ways He is bringing transformation.  

If you have not visited our campus recently, here is where I believe you’d see transformation: 

On-campus Care:  For nearly 20 years, the core of COTP was caring for babies and children on our campus, providing transitional care for children while they waited to be placed in their forever family.  During that time, we typically had 40 to 50 children in our care, and our numbers were as high as 70 at one point.  Today, we have 19 children in our care.  This is a testament to the ways that God is transforming communities and families in Northern Haiti.  International NGO’s and Haitian leaders have worked hard to strengthen families and grow community capacity to support at-risk situations.  

We are proud of the role COTP’s Family Strengthening Programs have played in supporting this change.  We are even prouder to be a part of a collaborative effort in Northern Haiti to work for the good of Haitian families!  We are proud that our efforts to ask hard questions and humbly work on behalf of Haitian families has led to National change in Haiti.  If you visit our campus or read our updates, you’ll see this shift.  We have less kids in our care.  More families are staying together.  The need is changing, and so are our efforts and plans.  

It is important to note that there are still children who need to be admitted to our campus, and there will always be a need for this type of intervention.  COTP will continue to do this work as long as there is a need and we are able.  However, we can also celebrate the transformation in this area, which means more children are remaining with their biological families WHILE pursuing the promise God has placed on their lives.

Education at the leading edge:  For most of COTP’s history, we’ve engaged education in Haiti in some way, shape or form.  Our primary work has often been the work of intervention in crisis:  with infants, children and families.  However, our mindset has always been oriented to developing and empowering families and communities.  This mindset will always lead to interactions with and investment in education.  Education is the key that unlocks opportunities, growth and futures.  It is proactive, rather than reactive.  It is a community and cultural building block.  

Another transformation of COTP is the shift of our primary focus to the proactive, specifically toward education through our school:  Institution Chrétienne Enfants de la Promesse (ICEP).  The school has been around as long as COTP has been in existence, and has had a few different names (Coeur de Dieu, Lagossette Christian School).  The school is important to our community, and historically has been a pretty typical Haitian school.

When we took over the school, many of you wondered why we chose to take on another thing.  Some of you asked if we were trying to do too much.  These were valid questions, and no doubt this shift has come with a lot of challenges.  However, my response has often been that COTP is committed to doing one thing in Haiti, sharing the promise God has placed on each life in Northern Haiti.  However, we do this one thing in a variety of ways depending on how the needs change.  

Our intention was never to simply operate another school in Haiti.  We knew that over time COTP’s vision would transform this school, in the same way it had transformed the model of care and our family strengthening efforts.  We believe that this transformation would create a new and powerful support for at-risk families in our community.  In November, the COTP Board stood amidst the ICEP student body in the heart of COTP’s campus.  They saw transformation, as a community of individuals came together to build their futures regardless of disabilities or differences.  

ICEP isn’t a new thing for COTP so much as it is the next phase in the transformation of our ministry.  In the past, nearly all of our intervention work was done by a community.  Those who were in crisis or in need left their communities to come to COTP for support.  At ICEP, students and families receive support IN COMMUNITY.  We believe what is being accomplished at ICEP is not only helping at-risk families, but will also bring lasting transformation to communities in Haiti for generations to come.

Thank you for joining us in transformation!  It’s not easy.  It’s not often quick.  But we believe it is bringing positive and lasting change to the people of Haiti, and beyond!