Friday, January 22, 2016

Into the New Year we go...

Where on earth does time go by?  December and this part of January have just been a whirlwind for us all.  Thank you for your patience in hearing from us.  The month of December saw our kids writing exams and then getting off for Christmas break.  In the midst of all of that came many drums, totes and boxes from the US with all kinds of goodies in them. 

These supplies are such a huge blessing to us.  Finding and affording these things for as many people as we have in our house would be so much harder if our friends and partners didn't help us out with these things.  Thank you to everyone involved.

Among those things that arrived were the Christmas presents.  While they didn't make it here in time for Christmas, they did arrive before the kids had to go back to school.  The extra days of waiting only made everyone more excited to get the gift bags and dig in to find out what they got...
As you can see... smiles all around, it was a fun evening for everyone and they were thrilled with their gifts.  A great big thanks to our friends at Grace Baptist Church for once again sending down gifts for each of the kids.  There were others who sent in some items as well; from chocolate to toys and food.  We appreciated all the efforts made to make it a special time for the kids.  Thank you!

The New Year seemed to bring with it a new virus that hit the HOH in early January and is still making the rounds.  It is called Zika and while perhaps not as bad as some of the viruses we've faced, it is annoying and makes you feel pretty bad.  This week Linda is among the fallen and she'd appreciate your prayers as she tries to get over it.

Here's a quick up date on Jamesley.  He received the medicine he needed to treat his Hemophilia.  So far, we have seen marked improvement, his leg has healed up nicely and he's even able to take a few steps around the house. 
To help him and the other kids we have who are wheelchair bound, we received a gift of some snazzy new wheelchairs.  These chairs enable them to get around at the HOH and also to go out into the community for school each day.  We are very grateful to everyone who played a part in getting these for us.

We hope you all have had a good start to this new year and we look forward to continuing to bring the Hope of Jesus to the children and young people in our care.  Please continue to pray for our students as they work hard to have a successful year.  Pray for our continuing financial needs.  Pray for wisdom for Linda, Jenny and the young leaders.  Be on the watch for terribly overdue HOH Newsletter to come out in the weeks ahead that tells you more about these leaders...

Monday, November 30, 2015

Getting ready for Christmas

Christmas is a special time at the HOH.  For some of the kids, they've never celebrated it before and they get all kinds of stories from the kids who have experienced it already.  We love to make it a big and exciting time!  It's the time of year we get the chance to give them all kinds of new experiences from decorating the house to giving each one gifts to call their own and special meals all together as a family with our staff.  But even more exciting is the chance tell them the great news of Jesus through the Christmas story.  They learn the songs and story and have the chance to put together a program to share with the local community.  As you can imagine these are busy days at the HOH!

This week we were able to purchase some paint to give the house a nice face-lift.  It's been a while since we've been able to paint the entire building and it was really starting to look run down.  Thanks to some special gifts from supporters we are able to do it this year.  No sooner did we get the paint then the boys started on the work...
 Rosnel helps with scraping off the peeling paint

 Evelte's job was washing walls and doors

Junior (and others in the background) sanded down the walls.

Today the actual painting was supposed to get started.  Meanwhile those with a more creative talent went to work on some wall art...

 Dieunel (pink shirt) & Reginald (blue shorts) supervise the creative corner

The final product is the name House of Hope on the right and a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. on the left.  The quote says, "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."  Then there is the verse, Mathew 5:9.

Once the painting project is finished the Christmas decorations will start to go up.  But the kids don't have to wait for the decorations to start getting a twinge of excitement for what is to come.  The gifts and other things for the season have started to arrive.  Our friends in Miami completed a shopping list with many items on it that we will need for the special party and meals.  Among those items were some nice new hand-sewn clothes from some ladies in Indiana.  As you can see by the smiles on their faces -- they loved the new clothes and with them the anticipation for what is to come is just building.

Once again Grace Baptist Church in York, PA has put together Christmas bags for each of our kids as well as our staff.  The totes filled with these gifts arrived in Miami last week and will be on their way to Haiti soon.  A big thank you to everyone who put so much work into helping us make Christmas a special time for the kids.  For some of them, this might be the only one they ever celebrate, we want it to be filled with happy memories.

Some things to keep in your prayers in the midst of all this activity at the HOH are:
  • Davens once again got sick with some disturbing symptoms (he's in the above picture on the far right).  Our pediatrician referred him to Port-au-Prince for some tests to see if they can figure out what's wrong with him. His mom took him to PAP to see a doctor a couple of weeks ago and unfortunately we have not heard back from them since then.  We are waiting and hoping to hear something soon.
  • Jamesley's medicine should arrive in Haiti this week.  We are so excited for him to start his treatment.  Wouldn't it be so great if he could be healing and even walking in time for Christmas?  Keep him in your prayers.
  • The kids will all have exams soon to finish out this trimester of school.  Linda tells me they are working hard and hope to come out with some good marks.  Pray for them as they study over these next few weeks.
  • In the middle of all of this activity is Linda.  She's incredible at keeping things running.  Pray for her health and strength.  Also pray for the young leaders helping her:  Jn Daniel (finances), Junior (communications), Iverlande (Kitchen), Mirlène and Agate (child-care). 
As we head into December we hope you are all doing well in your respective places.  We want you to know how much we appreciate your support in so many different ways.  Thank you for the part you play in this special place of hope!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Here we are!!

It is my Achilles Heel of updating the blog.  So much is going on and I always think, I should wait until this is figured out before I write.  Then something else comes up and I wait again.  Then eventually I realize if I don't just write I'll never get around to it because life just keeps on moving.

The past few months have been extremely busy for us on both sides of the ocean.  Linda has been busy keeping things going on the Haiti side, and I have been busy working things out on this side.  Together with some incredible longtime partners and some brand new ones we've managed to  achieve a lot.

First of all, some news on Davens.  Since that day he stopped having seizures, he's been fine.  There's no medical explanation, we are just so thankful for your prayers on his behalf.  Linda says he's back to the energetic and fun little boy he was.  Thank you all for your prayers and concerns for him.
Here he is on the right with his best buddy Wendjy

Another big medical issue we've been dealing with is figuring out what is wrong with Jamesley's leg and getting him the help he needs.  Our friends in Miami were extremely instrumental in helping us find a diagnosis and solution for his needs.  While in Haiti, we were pretty sure the initial diagnosis of bone cancer was false.  A radiologist in Miami looked at his x-rays for us and confirmed what we thought, it was not cancer, but rather a result of his hemophilia.  Had it just been Linda and I, we might have stopped at this point and just allowed his treatment to continue as it has been in the past. 

But one of the ladies in Miami continued to search for help for him.  We knew what new treatment he needed, but the cost was huge and there was no way we could handle that.  She searched until she found and got in contact with LA Kelley Communications, a group that works with educating people about Hemophilia and helping people with the necessary treatments.  They've already provided treatment for another child in Haiti with hemophilia, and they quickly told us they'd help us with Jamesley as long as we could get him tested to find out what type of hemophilia he had.

This might not sound too complicated.  But.... there is not lab in Haiti that can do the test!  This meant either Jamesley had to travel somewhere to get this done, or we had to get a sample of his blood to a lab that could do it.  Each option had so many logistics it was hard to see how they could be worked out.  And if we had to do it on our own, there was no way it could have happened.

One funny thing about Haiti is that when you are there sometimes 5 miles down the road can seem like it is as far away as Africa.  But, when you start working together with others it's amazing how much can be accomplished.  The LA Kelley people started by contacting a medical network they had connections with in Haiti, they contacted some others who contacted others who ended up communicating with a mission just 5 miles up the road from us.  We've known them for a long time and worked with them before but weren't aware they could help us at this moment and wouldn't have thought to bring them in on it.

In the end, after many e-mails back and forth they enabled us to get his blood sample to Miami where it was tested.  The results -- while bad in the sense that it confirmed he does indeed have hemophilia, were good in that we are able to treat it to improve his health and hopefully heal his leg and allow him to walk again.  We are now in the process of getting the medicines to another group traveling to Haiti in early December, and then we look forward to posting pictures of him walking and participating in things he can only sit and watch for now! 

Linda tells me Jamesley is doing incredibly well.  You can just imagine being told you had cancer and were going to die soon, to finding out so many people are putting their resources together to figure out that you don't.  And then going even further to hear that they are also helping you receive an expensive treatment you never could afford on you own.  He is one happy boy!

And so our days pass by taking care of issues like this that arise.  The encouraging thing to both Linda and myself is the incredible team of people we have helping us with everything from figuring out logistics for medical needs, to purchasing and shipping in items we need, to giving financial help, to praying for everything we need to make all this happen.  We are so blessed to have this team of people helping us bring hope to the children and youth in our care.  Thank you so much for your part.

I talked to Linda today and asked her for some prayer requests to post for you, here's her list...

  • Give thanks and praise for the spiritual growth and maturity happening among those at the HOH.  She says they continue to grow closer together and grow in unity as they help each other make things work.  It has taken away so much of the daily stress for her, and she's happy to be able to focus on the things she needs to take care of.
  • Pray for our students studying this school year.  They just finished mid-term exams and will write again in mid-December.  Some of the young adults:  Dieuny, Obed, Fafane, Dada and Manno will be re-writing their grade 13 exams that they failed to pass last summer.  This will happen in December as well. 
  • We continue to have financial needs in the funds we owe our partnering hospital.  Our monthly support has increased this year and we are so thankful for that, we have slowly been able to pay back some of our debt, but still have a long way to go.  Pray for God's provision in this area.
  • A couple of our other kids have some medical issues that have come up.  John-Wisly has always had trouble with his foot since losing part of it as a small child.  Lately it has become infected again and is requiring a lot of care.  Iverlande has sickle cell anemia and has struggled with a bone infection in her leg for many years.  It had healed and wasn't causing trouble for quite some time now, but has recently flared up again and she is having to receive treatment as well.   We've also had numerous new children come in with severe malnutrition.  Pray for wisdom for our nurses and doctors as they treat all of our kids.
  • Haiti has just been through elections and are awaiting the results.  These tend to be very uncertain days as far as security goes in the country, so she asked for pray for protection our kids who are out and about over the next few days and weeks as the results are announced and then a run-off election is held.
Once again, thank you for the many ways you help us bring hope to the children of Haiti.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Update on Davens

Hi Everyone, just wanted to give you a quick update on Davens.  Thank you so much for praying for him today.  Late this morning the seizures stopped and he fell asleep.  He slept for the rest of the day and then woke up this evening, hungry.  Last I talked to Linda today he was busy eating!!  The doctors are not sure what caused the seizures and what happens next, but we appreciate your prayers for him very much.  We'll be watching him closely and trust God for whatever is ahead for him.

The rains have slowed down as have the winds and things seemed much better this evening than this morning.  They are busy having a small going away party for Ernst who will be leaving the HOH to study in a place outside of Port-au-Prince.

Thanks again -- we appreciate your support very much.

Prayer Needed

Just a quick post to ask for prayer for one thing that is weighing heavy on everyone at the HOH at this time, and one other thing that is just making life harder....

Davens is an incredible 5 year old little boy who has been at the HOH for quite some time now.  He has so much energy and is so much fun.  He loves to make people laugh, and you just can't be around him and not be affected by his joyful spirit. You can see him here in the blue shirt.  The other little boy is Wendjy his best buddy at the HOH.  They are pictured here with Samantha and Heather two of the young ladies who were at the HOH this past summer.

Davens has not been feeling well for the past few days, and this morning started having seizures and our Pediatrician, Dr. Vilton, cannot get them to stop no matter what she does.  As you can imagine the entire house is affected by this, especially Linda who is doing all she can to assist the medical staff and take care of him.  Here's the picture Linda sent me this morning:


With the numbers of kids who go through the HOH each year, these kinds of situations happen all too often, but they never get easier, especially on Linda.  Please hold them up in your prayers this morning:
  • Pray for wisdom for the doctors, they have such limited resources to work with, much depends on their training and just common sense medical skills.
  • Pray for strength, courage and wisdom for Linda and the other kids and staff at the HOH who care for Davens and hurt as he is hurting.
  • Pray for healing for his little body and that the doctors would be able to figure out what is wrong and what to do.
All this is happening while the hurricanes are going through the area.  Since yesterday the heavy hard tropical rains have not stopped, along with heavy winds.  Since life is mostly lived outside at the HOH, and our buildings are quite open -- it makes for tough living and working conditions.  Pray for patience and strength as they deal with this inconvenience along with the tough situation with Davens.  Linda has requested your prayers, and I know it will mean a lot to her. Thanks so much.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Catching up through pictures



Greetings to you all after a long period of silence!!  It's crazy how the weeks fly by and I just don't seem to get to everything that I have on my "to do" list.  I want to share a bit of our time in Haiti with you.  We had just a wonderful time at the HOH and I was so excited to see how well things are going there.  Linda and the young leaders are just doing a great job and it was evident that God is working in the hearts of these children and youth.  The thing that touched my heart the most was their eagerness to hear God's Word and learn from the lessons we had prepared.

They were so excited about the studies, they encouraged their friends to come as well.  Our group of 60 HOH kids grew to almost double that number by the time the week was over. 

We had a great time of learning during our camp week and we all look forward to learning more together throughout the year.  Our theme this year was "Jesus, My Only Hope" and Hebrews 6:19-20 was our theme verse.

As you'll remember I was going down to the HOH with 3 young ladies from Canada, here we are at the start of our trip.

 They were a great group of girls, they put up with a lot of inconveniences along the way; yet their attitudes were so positive.  They went willing to do whatever to help and they certainly achieved this.  Here are some of the activities they helped out with...

Jenna worked extremely hard on decorating wedding cakes the very day we arrived.  The results were incredible!  Everyone at the wedding was surprised and asked where they could get such nice looking cakes!

Heather spent many hours trying to determine just how many children she could hold at any one given time.  She's very talented at this..



Meanwhile Samantha showed of her one-on-one skills giving incredibly fun swing rides...


 All three of these young ladies joined into Camp week by each joining one of the three teams who were competing against each other during the week.  They did many things I'm sure seemed crazy to them, like dressing up in weird costumes and outfits for no apparent reason...




They were great sports though and had a lot of fun and laughs along the way.  One of their main goals was to build meaningful relationships with the kids there and this time was a great way for them to do that.

 We were happy to meet up with two other groups of people while we were at the HOH.  The Lewis family was there from England.  They are great friends and we had such a wonderful time with them.  Then we also had our friends from Miami Shores Presbyterian Church down for the week of camp as well.  They were a great help, same as last year.  They brought down the  colorful and much loved t-shirts and helped with various crafts as well.  They also were great at holding the little ones during our sessions and making sure they were loved and cared for!

Here are some of the activities we did…

Decorating and styling the t-shirts is always a hit with our kids.


We also had the kids make up anchors out of wire to remind them of Jesus the firm anchor in our lives.  Then they made bracelets and attached the anchors to them. 
 Here is Jamesley working on his anchor…

Rose Nirva and Kateleen show off their finished product…

Fridson works on his coloring pages…

Every afternoon we played games with the kids as well. 
This day was the wild and crazy game  of pop the balloon…

Together with singing, learning Bible verses, studying God’s Word together, skits, programs and many other things we had a wonderful Camp 2015 and are already looking forward to next year!

For me, it was just a great time to be back home, I had so much fun with my girls Lala & Nanni; who, by the way, are almost as tall as I am now.

They were also flower girls in Estephanie’s wedding and they were beautiful!

Meanwhile, Linda and I were the proud moms…

Here are some other things we were able to accomplish while there:
·         Linda and I were able to spend quite a bit of time talking and planning for the future of the HOH. We are both pleased with the way things are progressing and we are excited to see what God will continue to do in the lives of our kids and at the HOH. 
·         I was able to meet with our pediatrician about a number of difficult cases we have at the HOH right now.  We talked a lot about Jamesley and his diagnosis of bone cancer.  After much debating with numerous doctors in Haiti we are not sure that the diagnosis was correct.  With help from our friends in Miami, we are trying to get a better diagnosis.  Haiti is a complex place at the best of times, and something like this makes it even more so.  Your prayers are greatly appreciated for wisdom for all involved and we’d just love it if he really doesn’t have cancer!

Here are a few other prayer requests to keep in mind:
  • School starts up next week and Linda and the other leaders have much to do to prepare our 40 + students for the new school year. 
  • Three of our adult “kids” have finished their schooling and will be leaving the HOH by the end of this month.  Ricardo will be living with his brother in La Pointe while helping work at his shop.  He will also continue to help Linda by running errands for her as she needs it.  Rosemène is making plans on where she will live, but will continue to work as a Nurse’s Aide at the HOH.   Dada also will work for the HOH as an aide, and will move to live with family. Please pray for these three as they take the next steps in their lives.
  • Ernst, one of our young leaders has been accepted into a University outside of Port-au-Prince.  We are excited to see where God is taking him into his future – but we will miss him greatly at the HOH.
  • Finances are still and always a need – please pray for more resources to help the children who come into our home. 
  • We recently received 4 extremely malnourished babies; pray for them and their moms as they receive care together.

We appreciate each of you and the part you play in this ministry.  We are blessed to have such a great team working with us to bring the Hope of Jesus to the Children of Haiti.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Busy Summer Days

One of the fun parts about summer at the HOH is all the visitors who come by for a week or two to help out, play with the kids and just be supportive in any way they can.  It is always a fun time for the kids and an encouragement for Linda and the staff.

Back towards the end of June the HOH was pleased to have our friends from the Hands of Hope organization in the UK come by.  They have supported the HOH in many ways over the years but the one link we have with them that means the most to both of us is a young man -- their son named Alex...

He was an extremely sick 9 month old boy, who had recently lost his mom and been abandoned by his dad, when he made his appearance at the HOH.  Our friends from England were visiting when he first came on the scene.  God spoke to their hearts about this precious life, and soon they were knee deep in adoption plans and regulations.  It was an terribly long and exhausting almost 6 year process as they waded through all the legal work to be done to make Alex (or Kev — for those of you who might remember him from the late 90’s) a part of their family.

Alex has grown into an incredible young man who just recently was baptized. He has finished his A levels in the UK and will be starting a 3 year degree in Product Design at Swansea University in the fall.  It was a proud moment for his Mom and Dad as they wrote the following to us:  “He has developed into a fine young man and we are really very proud of him but we never forget that he had a great start with you and Linda; the best start that he could have wished for I reckon, (despite his family circumstances) and we believe you should be every bit as proud of him as we are. He has a really firm faith in God and he's really looking forward to our trip to Haiti.” 

 Alex giving his testimony during his baptismal service 

Their visit to the HOH was a great time of catching up and relationship building between Alex and the kids.  He made an effort to re-learn some of his Creole and in exchange he taught our boys to play rugby!  While this story is a unique one in that we don't often do adoptions out of the HOH, we are thankful that was an option for the Brooke family.  We wanted to share this story with you to encourage you and your partnership with us in this special ministry.  Since 1956 the HOH has been changing lives just like Alex’s and we couldn't do this in this way if it wasn’t for the support that you give us in so many ways.  Thank you for your part!

Now for some updates and ways you can pray for us in the weeks ahead.

  • Oliana is doing much better.  They seem to have gotten a handle on the delicate balance between her diet and her insulin.  Thank you so much for your prayers on her behalf.
  • Jamesley has had some relief from the pain in his leg lately as the doctors decided to open it up and release some of the pressure.  I've had a chance to talk to him, encourage him, and am looking forward to seeing him.  Linda and the kids continue to support and care for him as he struggles with his bone cancer.  Please continue to pray for Jamesley and all involved in his care.  
  • The time has finally come for me (Jenny) to head back down to Haiti and spend a couple of weeks at the HOH.  We have lots of things planned for my time back there.  Two of our young ladies; Estephanie (who is still at the HOH), and Jumalia (who was previously at the HOH) are both getting married.  Estephanie's wedding is the day after I arrive, and Jumalia's is the day after that.  It's going to be a hectic couple of days, but we are looking forward to this special time for these girls very much.  
  • Then we have our week of Camp planned for the kids.  I've spent countless hours preparing Bible lessons that are around the theme, "Jesus, Our Only Hope" this year.  Our friends from Miami Shores Presbyterian Church will be meeting us down there to help out with this special week for the kids.  There are many activities planned and we hope that it is an encouraging time as well as one of much learning for our kids of all ages.
  • I am bringing down 3 young ladies from Canada with me on this trip.  They will be helping with the camp week as well as doing various other projects with the kids during our time there.  Jenna, Heather and Samantha are very excited about their trip and would love for you to pray for them as they seek to love, encourage and learn from the kids and staff at the HOH. 
We appreciate you all and are so thankful for the ways you stand with us as we bring hope to the children, youth and young adults in our care.  I know I won't have time to update the blog while we are in Haiti, so have a great couple of weeks!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Good News...and Bad

We appreciate your prayers for Oliana very much.  She has gone through some tough weeks and ended up falling into really bad malnutrition.  But she seems to have pulled through, and Linda told me yesterday she is starting to get much better.  You can see in her recent picture that she is still struggling, but it is a much better picture than just a couple of weeks ago...
Thank you so much for holding her up in your prayers and for the encouraging messages you sent to her.

Unfortunately, this good news comes with some very bad news about one of our other kids.  Jamesley has been at the HOH for the past 5 years.  He has had a really tough life.  His dad passed away a number of years ago leaving his mom with quite a few young children to try and raise on her own.  It was a life of hand to mouth existence; difficult enough for children with no major medical needs, but Jamesley didn't fall into that category.  As a hemophiliac, his medical needs were more than his mom could handle with all the other children.  In desperation, she brought Jamesley to us.  

It has been a constant struggle over the past years to keep Jamesley healthy.  As a kid, he wants to play and be like other kids, but his body is so fragile, just a small bump and he could be in pain for weeks.  So, when he fell down last week and his leg swelled up, no one worried too much about it at first.  Just as a precaution, our pediatrician had an x-ray taken and the results changed life forever for 18 year old Jamesley.  


The doctors found out he has very advanced bone cancer.  They are convinced it is extremely far along, and do not give him very long to live.  There isn't a lot that can be done for cancer at this stage in Haiti and nothing that can be done in our little corner of Haiti. 

You can imagine the shock and pain this has caused everyone at the HOH.  Linda is beside herself and struggling to know how to handle all of this and help him through this difficult time. We are thankful that he is a believer and knows and trusts the One who made him.

They could all use your prayers.  The kids I mentioned in the previous blog as well as Linda will start their final government exams on Monday, and the stress of this has made it even more difficult to prepare for that.  

We appreciate the many ways you support us -- thank you for holding us up in the midst of this new difficulty.  
  • Pray that Linda and the other kids at the HOH would have the courage and wisdom to minister to, comfort and bring peace to Jamesley as he faces the days ahead.  
  • Pray for Jamesley to be able to trust in His Maker and be fully aware that God is with him as he goes through this time of sorrow.  
  • Pray for wisdom for the doctors and nurses as they bring what care they are able to try and minimize the pain and suffering.  
  • Pray for those who will be writing exams this week, that they will be able to concentrate in spite of all of this going on at home.