Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It's a New Year

Actually we are already almost a month into the New Year!  How did that happen?  It's been an interesting and different month for all of us since we wrote last, here's some news to help you keep up with us.

Most of the kids finished their exams before the Christmas holidays from school.  A few, however, had their exams canceled at the last minute and rescheduled for after the holidays -- No fun!  But as of the end of last week they are all finished these mid-year exams and are now into the next term of the school year. 

Because of the school schedule and the arrival of our Christmas gifts from our supporting churches in York, PA and Simcoe, ON Canada; the kids didn't receive their gifts until Jan. 2.  It didn't matter to them, they were just so thrilled for the gifts they received this year as you can see in Merla's picture here. 
I always find it so interesting when I ask them to hold up their favorite thing -- it's always the candy!!  Not that they don't enjoy the other things -- but, that's what they grab!

It was Mits' very first Christmas, and it looks pretty satisfied too...


We are so grateful for those of you who work so hard to make Christmas a special time for our kids.  There are many steps and people involved in order to make sure all of our kids, youth and staff receive something.  Thank you so much for your part.

Both Linda and I were able to take some time to be with our respective families over the holidays.  Linda spend a week with her family in the Cap Haitian area of Haiti.  My sisters traveled here to Manitoba and spend a week with us here in the crazy cold!  It was good for us to have some time off and to spend time with our families.

Coming up in February, Linda will be traveling to Miami.  I will be traveling down to meet with her for a few days.  It was the best way we could work it out for us to be able to get some time together to do some planning and shopping for the kids.  It will also be a good time for Linda to get rested and rejuvenated.  We also hope to see some of our supporters from that area while we are down there.  This will be the first time Linda has traveled on her own to leave Haiti.  Please keep her in your prayers, she is a bit nervous, but I am so proud of her for taking this big and important step. 

I will also be traveling out west the first week of March.  I am hoping to be able to connect with supporters in the Calgary, Banff and Edmonton areas.  If you've not heard from me yet about this... I'll be getting in touch with you.  I'd love to meet up with as many of you as possible in these areas. 

Thank you so much for your prayers for our financial needs.  We received some very generous gifts over the past months and are going to be able to pay off half of our debt as soon as the funds are cleared.  That is a big relief for us, and we'd ask you to Praise God with us for those who responded to our need by helping us out.  Please continue to pray for the rest of the debt, that we'd be able to pay that off as well, and also for the monthly financial needs we have.  We are praying that we would have enough come in each month so that we do not fall behind again. 

We hope you all have had a good start to the new year, and we wish you grace and peace from our Heavenly Father throughout the events of this upcoming year.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Exam week

Greetings to you all!  The school term is coming to an end and our students are busy studying hard for their exams.  It's going to be a tough week ahead, with some of them only finishing on the 22nd.  They have asked for your prayers as they study and write these exams.
Not sure if you remember Siliana (Nanni) or not.  She came to the HOH 8 years ago as a tiny baby weighing less than 2 pounds.  She is on the far left in the above picture wearing her school uniform.  We continue to be blessed by her life, and amazed at how well she is doing after such a rough start to life.  School has never been easy for Nanni, and she very specifically asked us to pray for her as she writes exams this week.  She is in the 2nd Grade.  So please remember her and all of our other students in your prayers.  Ivinsky (in the middle of the picture), John Wisly, and Chedlyn also find school very difficult and would appreciate your prayers for them.

Please keep our financial needs in your prayers as well.  We thank God for those who have answered our call to help us with paying off our debt.  Please pray for others to come alongside of us to help as well, and for an increase in monthly donations.    We appreciate each of you and hope you have a great week!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

We are Here!!

My apologies for the long time in between posts.  Lots going on, which isn't a good excuse at all, but it's all I've got!  To be a good Canadian I feel I should start with a bit on the weather.  Here in Manitoba we've had some white stuff falling for the past two weeks, and with wind chills of -17, well, I think it's safe to say winter has arrived.  And truly, I have nothing good to say about that -- except maybe, at least it's not mud.  At the HOH, it's been raining -- hard for the past couple of weeks.  It makes life very difficult, especially for the kids trying to get to/from school.  One of our kids posted this photo this week showing just how hard it can be...
Whether trying to get there, or trying to get home... these students had to wait quite some time for the water levels to go down so they could get across.  This really isn't a river, it's our main road.  The only way they can walk to get to school.  I think I'd be tempted to just stay home -- call it a "snow day", or in this case a "mud day".  But kudos for them for trying to get there!

For the most part, things are going well at the HOH.  The kids are working hard at school, as is Linda.  They had their mid-term exams over the past couple of weeks, and are now busy preparing for the end of term exams coming up in a couple of weeks.  So far we have gotten results back from some of the younger kids.  Several of them are having a tough time, nothing new for them, but tough nonetheless.  We were impressed to see that they passed the mid-terms, which we were not really counting on!  Please keep Ivinsky, Siliana, Chedlyn and John Wisly in your prayers as they struggle to learn in an education system that leaves no room or help for kids with learning disabilities. 

We've had some changes in the Young Leadership program.  We are so thankful for the young men who have stepped forward to help Linda and learn to be leaders at the HOH.  Over the summer one of them told us he no longer wanted to be in that position.  Saingermain stepped down as a leader in August.  Since we always wanted it to be something they did because they wanted to, we had no problem with that.  A couple of months after that he decided to leave the HOH altogether and move back with his extended family in Port-de-Paix.  This was a bit harder to take, as he has not finished his schooling, but he is an adult and we respected his decision to do this.  

You can imagine the closer the day came for him to go, the harder it was on everyone.  He has been at the HOH for 14 years!  That's a long time, and he was such an vibrant part of life at the HOH. The good thing is that he is not far away, and has promised to come back and help with some of the projects and events he has helped with over the years.  Please keep him in your prayers as he steps out and heads down a new road in life.
At the HOH some good has already come from his leaving.  His absence left holes needing to be filled of things he's been responsible for.  Amazingly, new kids stepped in and are now doing the things he used to do. They never saw the need to do it before because he was doing them.  Now, at seeing the need they have stepped up -- that is beautiful to see.

Taking his place in helping me get pictures from the HOH and keeping up with the everyday activities is a young man named Junior.  He is in middle of the back row of this picture.  This is Linda with the three young leaders helping her out...
Junior came to the HOH after losing his home and his mom in the earthquake in 2010.  He has grown a lot over the past 4.5 years with us, and we are so thankful for his willingness to step up and help out.  Pray for him as he takes on more roles, and for the whole team as they seek to work together to share the hope of Jesus with the children and youth in our care.

Wanted to give you a small update on our little baby Mits.  He is doing great.  He has so many moms and dads, he could hardly not be doing well! 
His #1 mom though is 9 year old Dieula.  She's an old-experienced hand at being a mom since she's been doing it since she was about 2!  She has had so many "children" at the HOH we couldn't even count them anymore.  By the time the children turn 2 she's ready for another one; but never forgets which ones are hers -- even the ones who have returned to their homes.  Her loving on Mits has not been without positive outcomes on his behalf.  Just look at how much he's grown.  
This is a drawing of him done by Ruben Jean, our student who is in his final year of a fine arts university program.  You can certainly see how Mits has put on weight and is doing really well.

We are so grateful to each of you who helps us in one way or another to bring hope to those brought to our home.  We'd ask you to continue to pray for us as we are facing a financial crisis that we would really like to get taken care of.  We've written about it in various places, and have asked people to consider helping us out with this need.  Pray with us for this need.  We know God will provide through whatever means He desires.  Pray that our faith would be strengthened as we trust in Him to act on our behalf at this time.

One last thing I'd like you to keep in mind and pray for.  I will be having a table at a local craft show this coming Saturday here in Portage la Prairie at the Westpark School Gym.  It's from 9 - 2.  Some friends from the Sommerfeld Hutterite Colony are donating crafts, and I am making up packets of Christmas cards and other greeting cards out of drawings our kids have done.   We are doing this as a way to make some money for the HOH and the financial needs there.  It's the first time I have personally done this, I know others of our supporters have raised support for us in this way.  If you are in the area, please stop by and pick up some Christmas gifts from us!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Our latest News

Hello our dear friends!  the last couple of weeks saw the end of Summer vacation for our kids.  The kids ended the holidays with a big championship soccer tournament.  Here you can see Linda with the winning team...

Some of our young men also had the opportunity to spend some time learning to do various art projects.  Ruben, one of our students has been taking Fine Arts at a Christian University in another area of Haiti.  He is going into his last year this year, and he took some time over the past weeks to pass on some of the things he has learned to our eager young men.  Here is some of their work...


Ruben is the second from the Left

And now school has begun.  Linda passed her exam after the re-write and so did Dieuny and Rosemène.  You can imagine their relief, and they are now all in the last grade of High School.  They will have another government exam at the end of this year, so they could still use your prayers as they have already started to study for it.  The rest of those who did not pass will have to re-take the same test next year and try to pass again. As you can imagine it does get quite discouraging for those who have been at it a long time.  Keep them in your prayers as well.

We have just put out a Newsletter.  We are going to post it here as well so if you didn't get it in your e-mail, you will be able to take a look at it here.  It's full of news, prayer requests and ways to help.  One prayer request to add to it is that I will be traveling to South America this coming week to a conference with our partnering organization Extreme Response.  I'm looking forward to learning lots, and getting ideas from the other partners who will be representing many different works throughout the Americas.   Appreciate your prayers.   Enjoy the letter, and if you'd rather have it delivered to your inbox, just let us know and we'll add your e-mail address to the list.


Thursday, September 04, 2014

Video

Hi Everyone,  just wanted to share this video with you.  The group from Miami that came down to the HOH made up a video of their time there.  We thought you might like to see it too.  So enjoy...



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mits

As promised, here is a better picture of Mits, our new little baby.

I'm told he now almost weighs 4 pounds.  When he first arrived he was just under 2 pounds!  So, he's heading the right way.  Pray for Nurse Dada who is giving him constant care.  And for the others as they lend a hand here and there.  He will be at the HOH at least until he is much healthier.  He has a Grandmother who will take him once he's there, but for now he is in the best place for healing.  Thank you for praying for him and our staff, and thank you more for giving so we have the resources to help this precious child.

Linda, Dieuny, St. Germain, Rosemène, Jn Daniel, and Manno are all re-writing their government exams this week.  Please pray for them -- this is tough, some have as many as 8 subjects to re-write. 

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Go Go Go!!!

That's how my time at the HOH went.  From the time I touched the ground until I left again it was a constant stream of activity.  And it was such a good time.  I was so excited to see all the things that took place in my absence, and how well things are running.  The team from Miami Shores was incredible, the VBS was a super great time, and reconnecting with the kids was the icing on the cake! 

I took lots of pictures and want to share my time there with you with a bit of a photo diary... hope you enjoy.  If you get a bit bored, scroll down for some current information, needs and prayer requests for the HOH.  That means this will be a bit long -- sorry for that, but I do realize it has been a while too!

These were the smiling, excited, jumping up and down faces that greeted me at the bus station.
I had two full, bursting at the seams suitcases, these home-made dresses, that the girls are modeling, were part of what I brought in.  A big thanks to all the ladies here in Manitoba who made them.
The team from Miami Shores Presbyterian Church arrived a few days after I did.  They brought fun stuff for VBS, but the biggest hit was the T-shirts with our Bible Study theme printed on them.  This team was just awesome with our kids, and some great relationships were formed.  We look forward to continuing and building on these in the future.  Already members of the team are helping me with various jobs that make my task of efficiently helping the HOH much easier -- what a blessing!
 
For the VBS week we split the kids up into three groups.  At times we had over 120 kids in attendance as neighborhood kids heard about what was going on and decided to drop in to participate.  


  It was a great week of:
Bible Lessons
  Songs
 
 and Skits
  All teaching the lessons of God's incredible Grace, and our identity in Christ because of it.  They learned each day about how they are loved, forgiven, accepted, have value, security and liberty in Christ.
Each afternoon we had games of all kinds with the kids.  They competed with their various teams to earn as many points as possible.  We also had quizzes each day and evening based on the lessons the day before.
 
 
 
 
This was the winning team, their prize a Canadian flag, donated by a friend of mine here in Portage.
As you can imagine it was an exhausting week for all involved!
A big thank you to everyone who had a part in my trip down to Haiti and in making the VBS possible.  Many different people donated supplies and funds to make all of this possible and it really was a great time.  One young man from our neighborhood stood up after the VBS and said that some difficult times in his family had caused him to really start having some bad thoughts about God.  The lessons he learned at the VBS helped him realize how much God loves him and is standing with him through the difficult times.  He went home a changed young man.  So, thanks for your part!

Now for some updates.  We have received the results of the Government exams that our students wrote.  We had just a few who were successful, most did not pass which sounds terrible, but the pass rates of the schools where our students attend were between 6 and 31%, so you can see these are not easy exams.  

A few of them did not fail by much and so have a chance to re-write the exams on the 25th of Aug.  Linda falls into this category as well as Dieuny, Saingermain and Rosemène.  You could keep them in your prayers as they study to try and prepare for these exams.  As for school, we are not sure when it is going to start up this year.  They have to wait for these exams to get finished before they can do that, so we imagine it will be a late start again this year.  

We are so grateful for the church in Oklahoma who purchased our school shoes for this coming year.  Now we are in need of some other people collecting and sending down some of the other school supplies we need.  If anyone out there is interested in getting a few school supplies collected up and sent down to Miami, please get in touch with me and I'll let you know exactly what's needed and how you can get these to us.  The e-mail to connect with me about this is;  houseofhope1@hotmail.com

We appreciate your prayers, financial support and all the other ways you give to us so we can help the children, youth and young adults God brings to our home.  Thank you for all the ways you help out.  Here are some prayer requests to keep in mind for the weeks ahead:

  1. Continue to pray for health for our staff and kids.  The fever that went through in the spring has calmed down for now in our area, but the long term effects are still hanging on.  Linda is having a very difficult time with her left wrist.  The pain is so strong sometimes she is unable to do anything with her hand at all.  Others of the kids and staff have other joints that are affected.  They'd appreciate your prayers for complete healing especially with the coming school year approaching.
  2. Pray for those re-writing the Government exams on the 25th.  Pray for good times of studying, for the ability to retain the information and for a good week of writing the exams.  Linda has to re-write only 3 subjects, some of our young people have up to 8 subjects -- that's tough!
  3. Pray for the financial needs we have.  Our over-all monthly donations have definitely been higher, but we do have some debt to pay off from our local hospital, and we have the school year looming ahead of us.  We will have to pay approximately $250 US for tuition, school books and uniforms for each child we have in school.  If you or anyone you know would like to help us with the 40+ students we will send to school this year, please let us know or send a donation to one of our partnering organizations.
  4. Pray that God would continue to use the lessons the HOH learned through our VBS .  Pray that they would grow in their knowledge of Him and allow Him to work out these things in their lives.
  5. We were blessed to have a tiny little 17 day old boy named Mits brought to the HOH. 
    I don't have any really good pictures of him yet, but you can see him here with Linda.  As you can imagine everyone is thrilled to have another baby, and so far he is doing very well.  Pray for all involved in his care and pray for his continued improvement in health.  He reminds us of our tiny little Nannie who came to the HOH tiny at 15 days as well.  She is now almost 8 years old and is on the far left of the first picture of this blog.  We hope and pray for the same recovery for tiny Mits.
Blessings to you all, thanks for the prayers and support.  Until next time...