FRANKLIN, TN – This year, the Hands & Feet Project celebrated its 15th anniversary. The project was born in a most unusual place – the back of a tour bus. Mark Stuart and Max McGinnis, co-founders of the Christian rock group, Audio Adrenaline, had been discussing what the group could do to become the hands and feet of Jesus after the positive fab reaction to their song, “Hands and Feet.”
Max’s parents had been missionaries to Haiti, so Max was intimately familiar with the country. He understood first-hand the extreme poverty that has plagued the island country for generations.
He reasoned that the abundance of short-term mission trips made by local churches and other faith-based organizations may have actually contributed to an unintended consequence of allowing the nation to become dependent on others. They wanted to provide something sustainable that would ultimately offer jobs to the children after they transitioned out of mentoring
It was a great idea on paper, but the first two problems right from the beginning. First, who would oversee the ministry on the ground in Haiti? As you already know, they didn’t have to look too far to find a couple of people with just the right kind of hearts and experience – Max’s mom and dad. The impact of their work is verified in that 70 percent of the orphans cared for in the Hands & Feet Children’s Villages have come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.
The second obstacle envisioned a point down the road in the then distant future. What good does it do to care for and groom children and teach them how to live and how to make a living in a country where jobs are few and far between?
“Under the guidance of Haiti’s Child Social Services, we provide holistic, residential care for children in crisis by building and operating Children’s Villages with multiple family-style homes lead by Haitian House Mothers. By utilizing our resources, relationships, and our American and Haitian staff, we strive to create a circle of care around each child with the intent of giving every boy and girl the chance to reach their God-given potential.
[Then], we utilize our platform to help create sustainable and dignified jobs to push against the poverty-driven child abandonment and child slavery cycles. We believe the best orphan care strategy starts with a fight to keep families together.”
Their solution to the latter was to find ways to create jobs for the children transitioning out of orphan care. Hands & Feet has developed several avenues that lead to productive employment. Only divine inspiration could have led the team to build a resort-style retreat.
IKONDO is an upscale hosting facility that serves the missions-tourism initiative while being a generator for job creation. IKONDO “hosts traditional missional experiences while providing more upscale hospitality and touristic excursions.”
In their own words,” It’s our hope that we not only create jobs through mission-tourism, but a more dignified and equitable exchange between our passionate guests and our Haitian hosts.”
Audio Adrenaline friend and Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow, had this to say after visiting Hands & Feet in Haiti:
“The Tim Tebow Foundation has been blessed to come alongside the Hands and Feet Project in caring for Haiti’s orphaned children. Being on the ground in Haiti and witnessing the way they operate, it’s evident Hands and Feet is committed to bringing Faith, Hope, and Love to some amazing kids and families in need.”
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Source: The Hands & Feet Project, Official Website
Image Source: Screenshot from YouTube video