From Montana to St. Louis to Fayetteville, Arkansas – this is the story of a loving, hardworking, and determined Christian family’s odyssey from prosperity to homelessness to finding peace.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams. (Psalm 23)
The first thing you notice about Kelvin and Angela Haynes is they are a team, like God intended for marriage to be. They’ve worked together in the restaurant business for over 10 years, with him as the BBQ Master and her taking care of everything else. They are raising 4 beautiful, smart, and active children – with Mikah the oldest daughter being as sharp and lively as any child I’ve met, and their youngest son, Malachi being a kind, gentle, and precocious Down Syndrome boy.
Together they made it through the difficult times with Malachi’s diagnosis, realizing that he is a precious gift from God. A gift to all he meets – and one that reveals what unconditional love and trust look like -and an opportunity for them to grow closer to God and to one another in caring for him.
Their strong faith in Christ is the next thing that is evident. They love the Lord and want to honor Him in all that they do. Kelvin has been to theology school and is deeply versed in the Bible, and seeks to be all that God created him to be. Angela is caring and supportive of her family, with a deep trust that God is at work for the good in all they are going through.
The Haynes family pulled up to Genesis Church back in May, homeless and exhausted and with everything they could bring with them in their truck and trailer – and a car full of kids with pent up energy. We’d met at Central’s Community Meals, and had invited them to meet and pray with us to seek God’s provision and guidance for their new start.
The kids rolled out, hugging me, and running for our playground. Mom and Dad held hands with me as we prayed “Lord, give this family the strength, faith, and courage to get through these difficult times.” As they told me their story of having a business owner shut the doors on their livelihood and of moving to Fayetteville to be near family and the Veteran’s Administration, I could sense that their combination of faith, hard work, and trust in God’s plan was going to help them make it.
Like a lot of us, they were just a few lost paychecks away from being in real financial trouble – and it takes time for the VA Housing programs to go into effect and for decent jobs to be found. So, with a generous donation from a church member and funds from our housing budget, we set all 5 of them up in a cramped motel room until everything came into place.
I credit their strong faith in a God who loves and provides for His children, and belief in a Heavenly Father who still works miracles for their situation to have improved so rapidly. They’ve found jobs at the Southern Food Company where they are once again a restaurant team, and the VA has provided them with free housing in an amazing 3-bedroom townhome…all within 6 weeks!!
The story of their journey to becoming a whole family with a peaceful home isn’t complete yet, as they are facing one of the toughest tests any parent could. Knowing that it would take a few weeks to get everything together in Fayetteville, they had friends back home who were kind enough to keep their 7-month-old baby girl while they relocated.
We’ve worked with the church that they attended in St. Louis to get baby Mercy back, but their friends are doing the unthinkable and trying to take her away from them in court. It’s beyond belief, but I can see where their friends are thinking that the Haynes were unfit as poor homeless parents to raise their child – but that was in the brief past, and we are trusting that God will bring her back to them soon.
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead (Philippians 3:13)
Even with the nightmare that the court proceedings and continual trips to St. Louis have been, they have been faithful to worship at Genesis, to give back financially and by volunteering, and God has a plan and purpose for their lives.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)
Lord, we are so thankful that you brought the Haynes family to us to love and provide for as you always do the same for us. We appreciate Kelvin’s service to our country, for the VA’s care of homeless veterans, and for their job opportunities. Bless them as they build a home, provide for all their needs, and draw them all together as a family once again. We trust that you are their strength, their Savior, and their hope and future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Local Outreach Coordinator