I mentioned 14 year old Dorothy in our last blog. She is not doing well at all. She is extremely sick with TB and as you can see by her picture extremely sad. She refuses to eat or take the medication that she needs
Friday, January 13, 2017
Christmas is such a special time at the House of Hope. The house is all decorated and the kids are all excited. Those who have been here for previous Christmas times tell their most grandiose stories to the newcomers who in turn get equally excited.
This year was no different as the decorations went up, the songs started to be sung and taught to the new arrivals. Throughout the house impromptu singing sessions would break out into Christmas songs always within earshot of Linda. She would respond with her usual response, "I know, I know, you are just singing for your gifts", at which point the kids would run away laughing the kind of laughing that comes from deep within the gut and explodes all over the place. The little game never seems to get tiring -- for the kids at least.
So, as can be expected all eyes were on the boat bringing in the gifts this year. We had assurances from the shipping company that they would arrive in time for Christmas, but started to doubt as Christmas morning arrived and the gifts were nowhere to be found.
No problem, this is Haiti -- we are flexible. With great gusto Linda and the kids threw themselves into preparing a lovely meal to be shared by the HOH kids, staff, friends and some neighbors. We don't often get to eat all together as a whole family, so this is always a special meal and everyone helped to put it together...
It takes a lot of work to get a special meal prepared for as big a family as we have. Then, in the middle of all the meal preparation came a call -- the gifts were ready to be picked up! You can sure believe some of the boys dropped everything they were doing, grabbed the vehicle and went to pick up the gifts...
Even though they waited until the next couple of days to go through everything and organize the gifts, it was well worth the wait and allowed Christmas to be stretched out for even more days.
The gifts once again came from a supporting church in York, PA with some staff gifts and big Christmas cloth gift bags came from our church in Simcoe, Ontario Canada. Some friends in Texas helped us with some extra funds to use for the Christmas meal, and others in Colorado sent some new Christmas decorations for this year. Our friends in Miami made sure everything got to us, as well as purchased and sent in food and other items we needed. We are so blessed to have a such a wide and varied support team that allows us to have such a special time for our kids. Thank you to each one of you who played a part.
The best part of our Christmas Season is being able to share the true meaning of the season with our kids. The hope that Jesus brought to us all when he came so long ago means a lot to our kids who come from extremely hopeless situations. We received 2 new arrivals over the holiday season and everyone at the HOH now has a chance to share this message with them.
They've asked me to ask you to pray for them as they share God's love with Dorothy and Saskie. Saskie is a little 2 year old girl suffering from extreme malnutrition; she is at the HOH with her mother. Dorothy is 14 and is having a particularly difficult time being at the HOH. She is in such terrible physical condition Linda is not comfortable even taking a picture to show us. She has been suffering from TB for quite some time and has just now come for medical care. She needs daily medication but refuses to take it. Our staff, and the other kids are doing all they can to care for her. Many of them remember how hard the first few weeks at the HOH can be, especially when you are feeling so very sick. Please pray for patience for all those giving her care and that they would be able to show her the love and hope that come from life with Jesus.
We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and we look forward to another year sharing life with all of you, our friends and partners. A Happy New Year to you all!
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
It's not often I get to write an update at a time when all seems to be calm at the House of Hope. I do realize that "calm" is probably a very relative term. Calm in some of your houses will likely look very different than "calm" in a house full of 100+ bodies at any given time! But, calm is how things feel at the HOH at this moment, and it feels good. It reminds us of how many things we have to be thankful for. Here are a few that have encouraged us and we hope it encourages you as well:
- After a fairly rough virus went through the house over the past couple of weeks, it's nice to have everyone in good health. We continue to pray for Lyse as she still needs blood transfusion every couple of weeks. But, a pediatric friend in Quebec is running some tests on her blood and we hope for a more complete diagnosis soon.
- The boat arrived last week bringing some new Christmas decorations and also some Christmas gifts for our staff. The Christmas gifts for the kids from our partnering church in Pennsylvania are presently on the boat and if all goes well should arrive before Christmas. These things have everyone excited about Christmas. Here's some pictures of the decorations...
Here are some wreaths they made out of old Christmas cards...
- We have been receiving numerous financial gifts that have helped us pay back over half of the money that we owed to our partnering hospital. This is a big relief for us to see that number getting lower instead of higher and we are so thankful to all who have helped us out in this way. We also have been receiving more monthly gifts that will help us not get back in debt so badly in the future. Thanks also to those of you who have been praying with us about this need. We ask that you continue pray as we try to finish off this debt in the New Year.
- Our kids have almost completed this semester of school. They are in the process of writing their exams, and should be done in the next week or so -- just in time for Christmas vacation. They work hard and study hard and certainly appreciate your prayers for them in this area.
- We just love this time of the year. It creates such excitement and fun for our kids. But the real reason it is such a special time for us is because it's about Jesus. That he became one of us, one that we can relate with very much at the HOH -- a poor baby. And that he lived and died and rose again to save us and give us life -- this is our true Hope. What greater reason is there to celebrate?
We want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas in your corner of the world. Thanks for reaching out and touching ours.
Friday, November 11, 2016
Greetings to you all from a wet, soggy House of Hope. Almost since the hurricane went through, there has been constant storms and rain showers go through our area of Haiti. While for us it has been mostly annoying dealing with constant damp and muddy conditions, for many others it has caused flooding and destruction of property and more loss of life.
Nannie trying to stay dry on her way to school during the rain.
As a result of one of these storms, we lost one of the lovely trees in our yard. We are very grateful that it fell in a direction that was away from our buildings and didn't cause a lot damage, but we did have to cut the rest of it down. It took a couple of days work to get it all cut up and moved off our yard. Thankfully, we were able to make charcoal out of it and will be able to use it for cooking for a while.
The boys working on clearing out the fallen tree
Another project the kids and Linda have been working on is updating our kitchen. We were blessed by a gift from a partner, who visited us last year, to be used to update the kitchen. This project includes getting new propane cooking burners...
And new tiles on the floor and part of the walls...
and paint on the walls...
We still have to find and purchase stainless steel counters and tables to be used for food prep and the kitchen project will be finished. This is something we've wanted to do for a really long time and we are so thankful to the people who put money towards us accomplishing this project.
As you can imagine, there are so many logistical details that go into running a ministry like the House of Hope and we cherish each and every supporter that helps us in many different ways. After many days of waiting for the rain to slow down so the boat could be unloaded we finally were able to receive a shipment of food to fill up our pantry...
These food shipments come to us from our friends in Miami and are such a blessing to us. Lately, they have had trouble raising enough funds to send in full shipments of food, so we make do with what they are able to send and purchase the rest ourselves in Haiti. If anyone would be interested in directly helping them supply this food shipment for us, we could link you with their organization to help in this area.
This food shipment came in just in time to help us receive a few new children into our home. The first of these children is a young girl named Chanika. She has Tuberculosis in her stomach and will need care at the House of Hope for at least the next 9 months to a year to receive treatment and become healthy again...
Several young children have come with severe malnutrition and skin infections. These children remain at the House of Hope along with a family member who helps us care for them. They will only stay a few weeks, up to a month until the child is healthy again. We have a constant rotation of these small children in our home.
Another important addition this past week is 4 month old John Kerry (it is a boy, in spite of the pink outfit!)...
The reason John Kerry's admittance to the House of Hope is so important is because of his parents. Both of his parents are significantly intellectually challenged. There is very little if any help for people with these disabilities in our area of Haiti and John's mom knows nothing of taking care of a small baby. We are happy to be able to provide them with a safe place to stay while Linda and our staff take time to show and teach her how to care for her child.
We love being able to provide hope in all of it's forms for those in need around us. Thank you so much for your part in helping us do this.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Greetings to you all from the House of Hope. Linda and the kids asked me to thank you specifically for your prayers for us over the past few weeks. They are all doing well, the kids are in school and life seems pretty much back to normal. The only fallout for us from the big hurricane that went through has been receiving more children into our home. We've already received about half a dozen from the affected areas out west of us and we anticipate that going up even further in the next few weeks.
Thank you too for your prayers as I traveled out to see some of our partners out in Western Canada. We made it there and back safely in spite of having to drive through a pretty bad storm and counting semi-trailers stuck in the ditch part of the way along. It was a bit of stressful driving -- but we made it and had a great time with our friends out there.
An exciting story that came out of this trip is that while speaking at our partnering church in Banff on Sunday morning I shared the story of Lyse and our desire to find someone who could help us with her case. Banff is a tourist town and they often have visitors from all over the world in their church services. In the service that morning was a family from another area of Canada They had family visiting from Brazil and they brought them to see this beautiful area of Canada. So, turns out the father of the family just happens to be a pediatric doctor in a children's hospital here in Canada! He offered to do what he could to help us with Lyse's case. He has all her information and is seeking some answers with the other doctors in their hospital. We are so grateful that our Heavenly Father cares so much about each of us that he coordinated all these events so that we would cross paths! Keep praying for wisdom for the doctors and that we could get some definitive answers for Lyse.
On the same note of exciting news, we are so grateful for everyone who has sent in extra financial support for us over these past few weeks. We have been able to make 2 significant payments on what we owe to the hospital and while we still have some debt left, we are feeling much better about it than before and are hopeful that the rest will come in as this year is coming to an end. Our next prayer request would then be that we would be able to get some more partners to support us on a monthly basis so we don't go back into debt to them in the future.
We have some prayer requests to share with you for the days and weeks ahead:
- Linda had a fall last night and injured her foot. She had x-rays today and the doctor said it wasn't broken, but it is swollen and painful. Please pray for quick and total healing for her.
- There is a medical team visiting our partnering hospital this week and another one heading there next week. The team that is currently there will be doing skin grafts on one of our little girls at the House of Hope this coming Friday. Five year old Neisha has been in our home for a little over a month now and she came with significant burns across her stomach. We are grateful that this team has the tools and skills to do these grafts for her, and we ask you to pray for them as they do the work and for Neisha that she would heal nicely and that this would really help her.
A big thank you to everyone who has given and prayed for us -- you are such a blessing to us!
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
Good Morning Everyone. First of all, very sorry I didn't get to write an update yesterday, I was not home all day. I did keep in touch with Linda and the kids throughout the past couple of days to make sure all was OK. They are doing fine.
We are located on the North coast of Haiti, so not in the area where the hurricane hit directly and where it seems there is much more damage. I haven't heard anything about if there is damage in our general area, but I do know the HOH and all our kids are safe. The had lots of wind and rain through the day yesterday; what scared them the most was how dark it got throughout the day. Now it is calm but still raining off and on.
Thank you so much for your prayers on their behalf, and please continue to pray for Haiti and those who now have to start cleaning up and helping those most affected.
I'll update when I can, but I am heading out on a road trip today to visit with a supporting church in Alberta, Canada, to visit family and to attend the funeral of a friend of ours who passed away suddenly this past week. While the HOH is dealing with rain, I'm preparing to drive through our first snow storm of the season! So, I could use your prayers as well.
Thanks so much for all the messages of concern and assurances of your prayers.
Monday, September 19, 2016
We appreciate the response we've had from you our supporters to our call for help. We have had numerous donations made, as well as some promises of help and continued prayers for which we are so thankful. We will be able to make a payment on our debt and hopefully continue to pay off more in the months to come. Please continue to keep our projects in your prayers.
Before I give you a bit more of an update on my trip down to Haiti -- which I promised but haven't had a chance to do yet -- I wanted to give you a bit of an update on our "grand" babies. Fafane and Jeremiah are doing really well. Unfortunately Fafane's father-in-law passed away last week, so with the rejoicing of a new baby in the family came a time of mourning the passing of the child's grandfather. You could keep that family in your prayers as well.
Lyse continues to hang in there. She continues to have her blood count monitored and receives transfusions as necessary. We heard back from one set of doctors in Miami that they were not able to help us with her case at this time. We are not sure if that means, nothing can be done to help her, or that they are just not able to get involved in her case. Our friends in Miami are still checking into this, so we remain hopeful and ask for your continued prayers for her as well.
Now, for some more pictures from my trip down to the HOH... VBS (we call it camp in Haiti) as always was a special time for all of us. We had the 60 HOH kids there and before we knew it, they were joined by about 100 of their friends and fellow students from our local community. We were glad to have them come, but it did get a bit crowded and chaotic as we just don't have enough space for that many people. But everyone just moved over a little bit and it really was a great time to be together and studying God's Word and how it applies to our lives today. The theme this year was Jesus makes me a 10 out of 10. Here are some pictures...
The three different "teams" sitting in the shade during lesson times.
But, as with all things -- summer holidays has come to an end, and now the kids are into the school year. This is the first year for Kateleen and Davidson... They were excited on their first day.
Here are some others on their way...
And here is a picture of the two girls who were adopted by the Haitian family in Port-au-Prince as they head off for their start in school as well...
Once again, we thank you for the part you play in changing the lives and futures of these precious ones in our care. We appreciate your continued prayers and support in whatever way you are able to help us out. We hope you all have a great week... until next time....