We’re excited to share this firsthand account of a sponsor meeting their child with you. Casey Coston is a longtime child sponsor and a campus minister at Ole Miss University.

Do you know why I wanted to travel to the small village of Benjamin, Haiti? I have another daughter there! Let me explain.

Benjamin is only 40 miles from Cap Haitien, a large city on the northern coast of Haiti, but it takes at least 4 hours to drive there due to very rough roads. This year it took 7 hours.

The scenery is breathtaking. The jungle is dense. And the rivers are wide. While the trip is always tough, this year it was even worse. At one point, we had to stop because the road was washed out from all the rain. Several dump trucks were stuck ahead of us.

Finally, a backhoe was able to push the dump trucks out of the mud. Then it was our turn. Our team got out of the truck and walked along the side of the road as our fearless Haitian leader Moise stepped on the gas, slinging mud as he made his way past us like a monster truck rally! It was crazy. Everything went okay for a while—with our translators periodically shouting “Hold on!” as we went slipping and sliding along the road—but eventually we got really, really stuck. Haitians and Americans spent an hour trying to get the truck unstuck.

The ladies on our team got out and walked on ahead. Word of our predicament had reached the village of Benjamin, so now the little kids were running to find us and greet us as older kids were joining in the battle to get the truck unstuck.

As kids passed me I started walking ahead to find the ladies of our group. And it was then that I saw her—a tall, 15-year-old teenager named Chedna St. Louis! She was healthy and gave me a small smile. I hugged her and said “‘Good afternoon” in Creole. She is my oldest daughter thanks to CRF. My wife Tracey and I started sponsoring Chedna after our 2012 trip to Haiti and I met her for the first time in 2013.

Chedna and I walked the rest of the way to Benjamin together. The scenery was beautiful, but the walk was difficult due to the heat and carrying our backpacks over 5 miles! Chedna offered to carry my backpack part of the way. She even carried one of our team’s 5 gallon water bottles on her head part of the way! When we made it to Benjamin, I gave her a couple of wrap bracelets that Tracey had made as gifts.

It is truly special and sacred to meet your child in person. To see Chedna thriving and growing, healthy and happy, makes my $35/month sponsorship the best investment I can think of because she knows Jesus and will have a great opportunity to make Haiti a better place for her people. Every muddy mile was worth it to be reunited with my oldest daughter!