It’s a story of hope, not only for the millions of hopeless children living on the streets, but for the average person who wonders what kind of difference they can make in the world. The history of Niños de la Luz is a story of inspiration to everyone who has a dream; it tells of a divine passion that God put on a young couple’s heart and how He turned that passion into a reality.
Early in his twenties, Californian Jon Haslett began taking short-term mission trips to the Philippines, helping in medical clinics and assisting a ministry that worked with children living on the streets of Manila. Jon’s heart went out to these children. How could it be possible that children as young as five years old were living on their own in an environment of drugs, prostitution and crime? On each trip, as he would feed and minister to the kids, God would tug a little harder…Who will help these young ones find a way out of their plight?
In 1986, Jon’s mission-mindedness took him to Kenya. There he met his wife, Shannon, who shared the same passion to help needy children in poverty-stricken countries. God added vision to their passion and in 1992, the Hasletts were led to Caracas, Venezuela, a city that wanted to deny the existence of or ignore these “throw-away” children who were thought of as a nuisance, beyond hope, or even criminals. There was only minimal Venezuelan support for a ministry whose purpose was primarily viewed as taking the “trash” away. Starting a ministry like this was not going to be easy, but Jon and Shannon were to learn, in the words of Hudson Taylor, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”
In 1994, the organization Niños de la Luz or Children of the Light, was officially founded. The ministry quickly grew into a collaborated effort between local and international churches. God touched many people’s hearts to become involved in the ministry, and slowly but surely the Venezuelan staff was formed. Now, years later, the ministry has grown throughout Venezuela, spread into the Dominican Republic, and has seen many miracles over the years.
Our boys home in South Sudan is our newest ministry, opening in Juba, the capital city, in January of 2017. We feel so blessed that after years of prayer, God has opened the doors for us to be His hands and feet in a small way to these kids, as our heart for street kids moves beyond the borders of Latin America.The hope we wish to share is that God uses his ordinary, humble servants to accomplish much when we find that passion that He’s put in our hearts and allow Him to bring it to life.