A Living Sanctuary: Building a Refuge for Haitians at Jacob’s Ladder

In the chapels of Mustard Seed Communities, residents, staff members, and caregivers gather to celebrate Mass and sing hymns in unity. One hymn that everyone at MSC Jamaica can sing by heart is called “Lord Prepare Me:”

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for You

In our pursuit of this compassionate ethos, we’ve constructed a sanctuary — a village named Ephesus designed for 59 vulnerable children from Haiti. This sanctuary stands as a sign of our unwavering commitment to embody the compassionate spirit of Jesus. Here, within these welcoming walls of Ephesus Village, children find solace, protection, and opportunities to flourish, regardless of the challenges they may face.

Last month, these 59 children with disabilities and their 13 caregivers courageously left their home in Haiti, forced to flee increasing violence. On March 21, the children moved into Ephesus Village, the brand-new “living sanctuary” at Jacob’s Ladder, MSC’s home in Moneague, Jamaica. This creation of this refuge has been a partnership between MSC and HaitiChildren, the nonprofit organization that has sheltered and cared for these children in Haiti for most of their lives. 

Ephesus Village, which contains cottages, restrooms, a kitchen, dining area, and play area, is the result of many hardworking hands. Volunteers and staff from Jamaica and the United States worked overtime to ensure that the Village was prepared and safe for the arrivals from Haiti. Its transformation from a building site to a home could not have happened without the skill and talents offered from a place of volunteers’ compassion and generosity.

Construction of Ephesus Village paused during the 2020 pandemic, but quickly the project was finished for the arrival of the children from Haiti.


Residents of Jacob’s Ladder welcomed the new residents from Haiti with warmth and joy.

In the weeks leading up to March 21, teams set their minds on completing Ephesus Village. One team of building volunteers from Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish in Maryland made the Village’s sewer and water fully operational, built a community room, installed facilities in bathrooms, added doors, tiled front porches, and painted in just one week! 

The bathroom transformed from an empty space to a finished space in just one week.
A kitchen and common area in Ephesus Village now is used by the residents from Haiti.
Builders from Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish Team spent the week in March working around the clock to bring Ephesus Village up to shape.

Ephesus Village is another testament to the power of community and compassion — when many hands engage in a mission to bring healing and care to vulnerable individuals, miracles happen! Just as Jesus’ love knows no bounds, our sanctuary opens its doors wide, offering the vulnerable a refuge where they can thrive and grow in a safe and nurturing environment.

Thank you, Lord, for guiding our hands in building this sanctuary!