Our History

In 1953, Harry Stanley, a Wesleyan Methodist missionary, moved to Haiti and founded the Haiti Gospel Mission, which started many churches and schools, drilled water wells, and provided medical aid. 

 

Following his death in 1971, Harry’s friend, George Hawthorn, followed in his steps by continuing his work. In the years following, George’s son, John, joined him in the mission field. From 1971-2010, John made over 200 trips between the U.S. and Haiti. Oftentimes, traveling with his wife, Connie, a nurse who sometimes treated up to 100 people a day in the villages.

 

In 2003 following some restructuring of the Haiti Gospel Mission, John stepped away from his position and returned home to work with his own church, Loyal Oaks Community Chapel. Ultimately, LOCC formed a new charitable organization which funded 20 schools throughout Haiti; the Despinos site being one of them. 

 

When John returned to Despinos after being away from the site for many years it had a church and six buildings that had been started but didn’t have any roofs. John was able to buy the land where the chapel, children’s home, and school were situated.  A wall around the land was built, to prevent the village from encroaching on the property and the roofs were completed on the buildings.  According to John, the most kids he ever had at one time at the children’s home was 150. His right-hand man, at the children’s home was Smith Marc “Rosel”, who served as the co-director of the organization until his death in 2016.

 

How Imagine Missions was formed

Shiloh Mountain Trio, traveled and performed at various churches in America. At one of these churches, John Hawthorne heard Shiloh's music and he invited the group to travel with him to Haiti and share their music and testimony with the Haitian people. After a time in prayer about the invitation, they agreed to go and invited their pastor, Scot Caley and any other members of Park Christian Church located in Dennison, Ohio to travel with them. One team member of the group of 15 was Melissa Young, a teacher at Strasburg Schools. As Scot prayed about the trip, he began to feel strongly that God was about to change Melissa's life and that she may  find her life's work in Haiti. Shiloh Mountain Trio and their team instantly fell in love with the children of LOCC and with the Haitian people.

 

In January 2010, the devastating earthquake hit. Two small groups of emergency volunteers from the Park Christian Church traveled to LOCC to repair the sections of the demolished wall and acquire provisions for the orphanage. After the Port Au Prince airport returned to service, another large team of 23 from Park Christian Church deployed to work with the LOCC Family. 

 

Soon after their return, John was in a severe automobile accident in Ohio. His  now diminished health prevented him from returning to Haiti. John approached Melissa and the Park Christian group to take over his work in Haiti. Quickly, this group of believers formed Imagine Missions and filed for 501c3 charitable status. Unfortunately, only a few of LOCC’s supporters continued to support Imagine Missions after John’s departure and we have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the children at LOCC. We have been fortunate to partner with many new supporters and have made great progress along the way.   

 

John once shared: “God directed me to turn the orphanage over to Melissa and her church, which formed Imagine Missions. I know God wanted me in Haiti because doors opened and I just walked through them. Now I feel so at peace with Melissa and her team. God sent them.”

 
How Imagine Missions was formed

Shiloh Mountain Trio,a singing group from Park Christian Church, traveled and performed at various churches in America. At one of these churches, John Hawthorne heard Shiloh's music and he invited Shiloh to travel with him to Haiti and play their music for the Haitian people. They prayed and agreed to go and invited their pastor and any other church members to travel with them. One of the church members who decided to go was Melissa Young. As the pastor prayed about the trip, he began to feel strongly that God was about to change Melissa's life and possibly she might find her life's work in Haiti. Fifteen people went on the trip in 2009, and all fell in love with the children of LOCC orphanage and with the Haitian people.

 

In January 2010, the devastating earthquake hit. Two small groups of emergency volunteers from the church traveled to LOCC to repair the demolished wall and acquire provisions for the orphanage. After the airport returned to service, another large team of 23 from Park Christian Church went down. Soon after their return, John Hawthorn was in a terrible car crash in Ohio. Disabled and prohibited by health from returning to Haiti, John asked Melissa and the Park Christian group to take over his work in Haiti. This group formed Imagine Missions and filed for 501c3 charitable status.

 

Unfortunately, only a few of John's supporters continued with this new group, so Imagine Missions has worked hard to raise money to feed the kids and to give them the care they need. Through much prayer and hard work, contacts have been made and many wonderful people have joined in with this group of people who have given their hearts to this work. John Hawthorn says God directed him to turn the orphanage over to Melissa and her church, which formed Imagine Missions. He says, “I know God wanted me in Haiti because doors opened and I just walked through them. Now I feel so at peace with Melissa and her team. God sent them.”
Learn about the current operations at the orphanage

 

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© 2017 - 2019 by Imagine Missions Orphanage. 

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