Piercing the Darkness
The Nikkel family in 2007
Many people don’t know this, but I was not the first employee of Many Hands for Haiti. That distinction belongs to Jared and Stacey Nikkel. Jared and Stacey were the first ones to take the leap of faith, to move their young family down to Pignon, Haiti, and to serve the Lord in incredibly hard circumstances. There is no Many Hands for Haiti without Jared and Stacey.
“Then, a sword appeared, and the tip of the sword pierced the darkness, causing, for the first time, the darkness to be broken.”
Jared and Stacey went on the first mission trip Catie and I led in June 2007. Before signing up for the mission trip, there was a man from Haiti who came to Third Church to play the drums and spoke about Haiti. Both Jared and Stacey felt something stir in their soul and agreed to go on the mission trip that summer for their 10 year anniversary. During that trip, this stirring grew stronger and upon returning to the U.S., asked to meet to discuss what this could mean in greater detail. During these conversations, we explored the need to have someone full-time in Haiti, to help the short-term mission teams and bring financial accountability to the in-country projects. Before making this decision, a group of family and friends committed to
As I sat and visualized, I saw darkness. It was thick, black, and very dark. Then, a sword appeared, and the tip of the sword pierced the darkness, causing, for the first time, the darkness to be broken. But, this sword did not plunge all the way into the darkness. It could only break the darkness with its tip, but soon other swords came behind it and started to plunge into the darkness. It is a visual I will never forget.
“Without them swinging the sword of truth, Many Hands doesn’t become what it is today.”
John the Baptist was a fascinating man and played a special role
Similar to John the Baptist, the Nikkels paid dearly in fulfilling their two-year commitment to pierce the darkness in Haiti. It was an incredibly difficult two years, with conflicts from Haitian partners, the 2010 devastating earthquake, a failed adoption attempt, and not enough support from the Many Hands for Haiti organization for a couple dealing with this level of daily conflict. The leading edge of a sword is the first to get worn down, and it needs protection and to be re-sharpened before making another swing. We didn’t do a good enough job
I can say now with certainty, the vision given in 2007 is being fulfilled in 2018. Jared and Stacey were the
Jared and Stacey with their Iowa Cured Meat Championships awards.
Many Hands for Haiti stands on the shoulders of Jared and Stacey Nikkel, who were the first to step out in faith and pierce the darkness in Haiti. Their perseverance in serving during those two years was admirable and showed us the level of commitment needed for long-term change. Upon returning home, Jared and Stacey bought a meat-locker business in Sully, IA. After a few years of running the business, a fire burned down the entire business. The insurance on the building wasn’t enough to rebuild an
Become Love in Action for children like Kerlin
Many Hands stands on the shoulders of Tim and Lucia Van Maanen, whose sacrificial “I’m with you” spirit forever set our organization on God’s path.
Many Hands for Haiti stands on the shoulders of Pastor Francois Romelus, who is our angel on earth, gently guiding us with wisdom, courage, and love.
Many Hands for Haiti stands on the shoulders of Karmen Brown, who shows us how to love others with the love of Jesus.