Cambrie sat on my lap, wide eyed with excitement. “The most special thing we got for Christmas this year was our very own candy and our own gum!”

Michael and Bekah Blakley and their four girls, Ashlyn, 8, Sydney, 6, Acacia and Cambrie, both 5, have just moved to Haiti.

Though born and raised in Washington State, Michael began working in the security systems industry in Southern California after college. Eventually after returning to Washington State he and Bekah married and started their family. While there Michael owned and operated his own security system company designing and installing alarm systems, surveillance cameras and electronic card access systems for seven years. Eventually he and Bekah moved their family to Nashville where he worked for a large security systems company for over three years.

In 2016 they both began to feel a stirring to do something completely different and the idea of serving somewhere internationally began to come into focus. Bekah has four siblings adopted from Haiti so as they began considering their options, Haiti began to take center stage in their minds. Screen printing had been a hobby of Michael’s and the desire to do something with it as a social enterprise began weighing on him.  As they looked for opportunities in Haiti they connected with Papillon. He and Bekah came for an exploratory trip in June of 2017. As conversations continued and Papillon’s need for an in country operations manager became more and more apparent we reached out to them asked if they would consider coming down to work with us. We wanted Michael to join the team. After praying and considering what that meant for their young family, they determined they would take the challenge and move to Haiti. So on March 13, 2018 the Blakleys arrived on Haitian soil and began their life in Haiti.

Michael will be working as the Director of Operations in Haiti. He will also be developing our screen printing department as we look to expand our production capacity. For a number of years, Papillon has been growing in ways that we didn’t expect. With that growth has come the need for improved systems and processes. So when we connected with Michael and discovered his extensive business experience, as well as his screen printing background we knew it would be a perfect match.

There will be so much to learn and process as they continue to make the transition but Michael has come with lots of great ideas, extensive experience in the areas where we need to grow and an eagerness to lead Papillon into greater growth and with a wider impact.

As Cambrie and I sat and talked Friday night, I asked her how she liked living in a Haiti. She said she liked it. She also told me that for Christmas, their ‘BIGGEST’ present was finding out they were moving to Haiti. That’s also when she told me her ‘FAVORITE’ present was her own candy and gum.

Seems like a pretty great Christmas!

We’re so excited to have the Blakleys here with us and know they will make a great addition to the family. So we’d love to hear from you- give Michael and Bekah some love and a great big welcome to the Papillon family!

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