When One Chapter Ends Another Begins
Larissa has been an integral part of the work of Haitian Christian Outreach for several years. She has served in many ways through internships, coordinating child sponsorships and short-term teams, as well as mentoring and traveling with current interns. We are thrilled for Larissa as she transitions into a full-time focus on her teaching career, but also sad as we will have to say goodbye for now.
Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher and a missionary since before I could remember. And I’ve had the opportunity to do both already at just the age of 24.
At a teen convention in January of 2014, the speaker told us to pray using one word, and being a junior in high school I thought that a one-word prayer wasn’t possible. With that being said, my word was opportunity. I prayed that I would say yes to more opportunities and seek out those opportunities big or small. Something out of my comfort zone because I used to be pretty quiet and still am at times. Fast forward to that summer. I was sitting at my camp’s pool talking to Mandy, our lifeguard and I unpromptedly (or so I thought) told her “Let me know if you’re ever going on another mission trip because I want to go.” It just so happened that she was going to Haiti in a month and an open slot had opened up that morning. My passport arrived days before the trip and I was on my way to a place I now call my Haitian home.
I went on my second trip to Haiti in 2016 where I became interested in becoming a summer intern. My team, the US Director at the time, and Crysta, one of the interns kept bringing it up and encouraging me to apply for the internship. I was the lead summer intern with HCO in 2017 and 2018. There the Haitians truly became family. Many call me daughter or cousin and then “fight” over whom I call mom. Those two summers brought some of the most difficult moments of my life, but at the same time they brought my favorite memories and friendships, and have truly had such an impact on who I am today. In January of 2019, my senior year of college, I “officially” joined the HCO team as the Child Sponsorship Coordinator and in 2020 became Short-term Trip Coordinator. I have truly loved having a part in literally all aspects of HCO.
Those that went with me in 2014 and 2016 saw me as the shy girl who was clumsy and a picky eater. Team members that came in the summers of 2017 and 2018 may have seen me as the calm and laid back one, and had no idea the craziness going on behind the scenes. They may remember going on tarantula hunts or standing on the back of the land cruiser as it was my favorite spot to ride or serving and laughing alongside me. VBS weeks tended to be my favorite weeks. Did I mention I was a teacher? I love to have fun and joke around, while also having deep conversations. I like to lead by example and be a servant leader. I’m one who is terrified of ants but was the first bug/rat exterminator to be called day or night. To my HCO team I may be described as the color-coding queen, that I never miss an opportunity to talk about my experiences in Haiti, and one that can get quite wordy if you haven’t been able to tell from this blog.
There have been so many special moments in my life that my time with HCO will be given credit to. My favorites moments in Haiti have to be once the Peredo campus has calmed down for the night. Sitting with Belizare (our night guard) whom I affectionately call Grandpapa in the Gazebo where we would talk, pick on each other, and play casino. Also, time and conversations spent with Jimmy once everyone had gone to sleep where we would talk about everything from silly to deep theological discussions. And of course, seeing what all shenanigans we could get into. Jimmy and I were never successful in painting Grandpapa’s nails while he fell asleep in my collective eight months living on campus. But I’m sure we will get the opportunity to try again another time.
Larissa’s love and passion for our brothers and sisters in Haiti is evident through her time spent on campus building relationships and pouring into the Peredo community. We are so excited to see how God will use her for Kingdom building through education in the U.S.
Thank you Larissa for being a coworker and a teammate in the Lord’s Vineyards. You have been a catalyst for the success of the Child Sponsorship program of HCO. We know you are going to excel in your teaching career. You have all the characteristics of a great leader. Great leaders always make a difference in the Mission of HCO and you are going to be excellent at your new endeavor. Your leadership and presence will be missed in Peredo. God Speed! -RoRo Eustache, Founder
From the time I first met Larissa her passion and heart for Haiti was extremely evident! Her love for God’s people whether in her classroom or in Haiti overflows from the joy that she gets from serving God. Larissa has been a very vital part of our HCO team and while we support her 100% and her future endeavors, we will miss working side-by-side with her! -Megan Schreiber, US Director
We know this is the closing of one chapter but an exciting beginning to another for Larissa! Thank you Larissa for doing something in Haiti that will last!