The Story of How Kelby’s Kids was Born
When I was little, I admired the many people in our church who were involved in serving in Haiti.
I was drawn to the idea of doing the same someday. Yet, most of the missions work they were doing involved construction or installation of water wells, and those things didn’t seem to strike a chord with me as a way I could get involved.
As I got older and pursued medical and firefighting training, I knew I still had a desire to work in Haiti, but it moved into the background of my life. (*See below for the prequel story of how the EMS ministry began.)
Then, in 2003, I decided to take advantage of an opportunity to go to Haiti. Not to build a home or dig a well, but to hold babies!
The plan was simple, we would be holding orphan babies and loving on them for a little while. Initially, it was emotionally overwhelming. But by the time we we needed to head back to America, I was unquestionably hooked! This was it! It’s how I was going to serve in Haiti!
It was amazing to see that there were so many new ways to serve I feel that a light had been turned on and I’d been shown I can serve using my own gifts — my skills and experience in emergency medicine.
But it gets better … I found there is another gift that I could use in Haiti.
I don’t have any children of my own, but I love kids! I’ve been blessed to work with kids at summer camps in Michigan for nearly 20 years. And in Haiti, I found my love for holding babies went much deeper and was a bigger blessing than I could ever have imagined.
Fast forward over a decade later and I have many firsthand experiences of how a child’s life can literally be saved simply by holding them, and loving them — gently demonstrating them God’s love.
People have asked me if it would be a better use of time and money if they should just send resources to Haiti to feed and clothe kids. Respectively, the answer is “no.” Sometimes it takes more than food, clothes, shelter, and medicine to keep a child alive — and to show them who Jesus is. By holding them.
After 10 trips to Haiti I am excited to be transitioning to full-time work there under the ministry of Kelby’s Kids!
In addition to expanding my ministry to kids at summer camps in Michigan, I’ll be helping to feed starving children through distributing food, dressing little girls in pillowcase dresses, finding beds for little boys in orphanages, and providing medical treatment to relieve their pain and suffering.
And most importantly, through all these things, I’ll be working to be the hands and feet of Jesus — and showing His love to the least of these.
*How EMS Became EMS
Shortly after starting my career in emergency medical services, I sensed I’d been blessed with a gift. I felt I was excelling and advancing in my work due to a special blessing from the Lord. And since He had given me such a gift, I felt I needed to give it back to Him by using it for His glory.
In the early 90s I started to work with youth group trips and at youth events in Michigan.
In 1994, I was on medical staff for the International Youth Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado. My amazing experiences there were the catalyst for me to pursue ministry in a more official capacity.
Before I knew it, I’d established my own ministry outreach! And I gave it a name.
EMS. The popular acronym stands for “Emergency Medical Services.” But I wanted my kind of EMS to stand for something different — “Enabled for Ministry and Service.”
A Bible verse — I Peter 4:10 — confirmed my calling. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
My form was EMS.
I began saving up my vacation time from my full-time job and startedvolunteering at camp.
In 1997 I found myself at another International Youth Conference in Colorado. 3,700 students were in attendance.
On the second night of the event, catastrophe broke out when a flood hit the area! If it was not for the Lord’s protection and timing we could have had hundreds of fatalities. (We nearly lost one student while we were rushing him to the hospital. The student was having an asthma attack and local 911 emergency services were swamped and were unable to help.)
Sadly, there ended up being several fatalities within the city of Fort Collins. And the flood caused over a $250,000,000 in damage to the conference campus alone.
That event led me to strengthen my resolve to do everything I could do to provide the best possible medical care to those I was serving.
Transitioning my volunteer ministry of EMS into the full-time ministry of Kelby’s Kids is a bit unnerving. But I feel God’s blessing in this transition and am excited to be a part of His transformative work in the lives of Michigan kids and Haiti kids. Kelby’s Kids.