By Troy Livesay – Director, Heartline Ministries
Happy Father’s Day from Haiti! We wish you and your families the best on this day set aside to honor the dads in our lives.
Heartline’s mission is to support and help Haitian families thrive, and we believe fathers are a crucially important piece of making that possible. As such, we are continually working to encourage and provide opportunities for fathers to remain actively involved in their families.
Absent and uninvolved dads are a great challenge in our community. We’ve found that job creation and employment are the best approach to combating this significant issue. The dignity of a job is often the difference in keeping a family together. Currently, Heartline is able to employ more than 70 Haitians.
When I think about examples of great fathers in Haiti, Auguste Sylvestre immediately comes to mind.
Sylvestre joined us as an accountant in the office when he was about to finish his University degree and has now worked for Heartline for more than four years. He is an incredible asset to our ministry, and was recently promoted to Operations Manager.
Heartline would not be where we are today without Sylvestre. He is extremely organized, curious, and detail-oriented. Regarding his promotion, he says “Part of my job with the new position is to work to improve quality, productivity, efficiency, and to provide inspired leadership for the organization.” I have no doubt that he will be successful.
Sylvestre is not only a dedicated employee, he is also a wonderful father.
His son, Owen, just turned one year old on June 14th! “I have a handsome little boy. His full name is Owen-Khalil Nesmon Sylvestre. I love him a lot and always make sure I spend time with my son – hugging him, holding him, and playing with him. He is a very energetic boy. I have great dreams for my son.”
In order to build a brighter future for his family and country, Sylvestre is currently studying online to achieve an MBA degree. He works diligently despite the many challenges that come with living in Haiti – such as lack of regular electricity, unreliable internet service, and roadblocks from political protesting (just to name a few).
Sylvestre perseveres by focusing on what motivates him. “Remember, I am living in a difficult country where things are extremely hard. But helping others and empowering people is what motivates me the most, it doesn’t matter whether it is a colleague, friend, or relative.”
When things get tough, Sylvestre’s son brings him joy and encouragement. “The best part of being a dad is each night when I get home from work, my son runs from his mom to come to meet me. No matter how bad a day I’ve had, his reception always makes me feel better! I also love whenever my son falls asleep on my chest, and when he is sad and comes to me to console him.”
As a new dad, Sylvestre had to make some changes to his life and schedule. “No matter how much you love spending time with your new addition, you have to make time for it. You may have to wake up 30 minutes earlier for work, or partner up with your wife to help each other grab a few breaks. Designating regular time for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s essential to being a focused dad.”
Working side by side with Sylvestre and watching him become a husband and father has been a great encouragement to me and all of the other men and dads around.
I consider being a father to be one of the most important responsibilities and ‘mission fields’ in my life. It is a great challenge and privilege to serve in Haiti and work with other dads trying to make a difference by investing in our families.
We often encourage each other to stay strong and keep on striving in the face of many struggles by saying ‘kenbe fo’ – and that’s my message to all of the other dads out there this Father’s Day – “hold strong.” Your families need you.