Hand in Hand Ministries
In November of 1994, Hand in Hand Ministries co-founder Wayne Fowler visited Kingston, Jamaica, and his experiences there forever transformed his life. Taking a short holiday from his teaching job, he traveled to Kingston to visit an orphanage for handicapped and abandoned children. It was his first trip out of the United States, and it not only changed the way he looked at himself but his country and the world. It was not only the children and the condition of the orphanage that greatly affected him, it was the tens of thousands of children and families living in hovels made of zinc, cardboard and found pieces of wood that wouldn’t pass for a doghouse in the United States.
Wayne and his brother, the Rev. Joseph Fowler, began helping in small ways until January 1997 when he led a group of 29 people to Kingston to do construction and medical work. Several weeks after the group returned, they had a potluck dinner where they shared stories and photos of their trip, and 75 or 80 people showed up. People who’d made the trip were so excited that they’d brought their spouses, family and friends to share in their experience.
In many ways, that was the birth of Hand in Hand Ministries.
Fowler left teaching and on July 1, 1997 began working full time to serve the poor in Central America and the Caribbean. Hand in Hand Ministries was subsequently incorporated in August of 1999.