Friday, May 15, 2015

Hope

Many have said over the years that the House of Hope is aptly named.  If there is one thing we have in abundance it is hope.  The need of hope comes in all shapes and sizes crammed into the bodies, hearts and minds of the precious lives God brings through our doors.   This past week, the arrival of 18 year old Lethnie reminded us of the importance of hope and the privilege we have to bring it to the children and youth of Haiti.    

Perhaps the reason Lethnie’s arrival brought so much reflection on our part is because her story mirrors the HOH Director Linda’s in many ways.  A young girl paralyzed by Tuberculosis of the spine (Pott’s disease).  An already bleak future became exponentially more so with the news that she will likely never walk again.  If anyone needed hope at this point in her life – it’s Lethnie.  



Who better to help her walk through these dark days than someone who has been there before? Linda knows the physical, emotional and mental pain that Lethnie is going through.  She has felt the feelings of hopelessness and fear of what lies ahead and has learned not only to survive but to thrive in spite of it all.  We know God didn’t make a mistake bringing Lethnie to our home – here she has someone to walk this road with her who has been down it before.  

One big difference sets Lethnie’s story apart from Linda’s.  When Linda came to the HOH she was in need of every kind of hope available and it was here she found the source of true hope – Jesus.  Linda would be the first to admit she couldn’t give any kind of lasting hope to the kids on her own.  It is Jesus and the hope that He brings, through the forgiveness of sins and the gift of life, that gives her the strength to lavish all forms of hope on to the children in her care.  

Thankfully, Lethnie came to the HOH already having this hope that comes through faith in Jesus.  Perhaps the beautiful smile on her face gives that away.  It is our hope that Lethnie learns more about this One who is the hope giver while she is with us.  We hope that she learns about how precious and valuable she is no matter what disabilities she might have.  We hope she gains confidence in her abilities to bring glory to God with her life no matter what challenges she faces in the future.  We hope she develops the tools she’ll need to pass on hope to those who come in contact with her.  We also hope she will walk one day – we’ve seen it happen before.  After all, this is the House of Hope!

Thank you so much for your partnerships in so many different ways that allows us to bring the hope that is needed to our little corner of Haiti.

Friday, March 13, 2015

OOPS

I am sorry, I got the pictures of the girls dresses mixed up.  This particular batch came from our friends in Simcoe, Ontario Canada.  We received "Pillowcase" dresses from both locations.  Our girls just love wearing them -- it's hard to get the some of the girls to wear other things!  They are just so comfortable and cool in the hot weather.  So thank you so much to all the ladies in Manitoba and Ontario who lovingly sew these dresses for us.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Doing much better

Wow!  The difference prayer and a few days of healing makes!  Oliana is feeling much better.  Her sugar levels started to drop earlier this week, and she was even able to give us a bit of a smile today...
Thank you so much for your prayers.  Continue to pray that the doctors will have the wisdom to know what needs to be done for her in the long term. 

I was chatting with the kids the other day, and my cute little Siliana (Nanni) asked me to ask you to pray for her.  All the kids are starting to write their mid-term exams this coming week.  And if you remember, she has such trouble with school.  So... please pray for her and all the other kids.
From L to R:  Valandjina, Dieula, Micah, Ivinsky, Siliana in their school uniforms.

We receive so many kinds of help from all kinds of people from all over the place!  Lately we were blessed to receive some more "Pillow Case Dresses" from some of our supporters here in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.  Here are some pictures of the girls modeling them...


Thank you everyone for all the different kinds of way you are part of the this ministry.  Blessings to you all!!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Urgent Prayer Needed

She has come so far, but this week her health has taken a huge turn for the worse.  Oliana has been at the HOH since 2002.  When she came to us, her parents had already purchased her casket and clothes to bury her in; the HOH was her last hope.  The pictures of her condition when she first arrived are too disturbing to post them online, but here is one of her soon into her recovery...
After much research our pediatrician realized Oliana was suffering from Celiac disease.  After months on a strict diet, she made an amazing recovery.   After a time of fairly good health, Oliana once again became sick.  After many tests and a trip to Port-au-Prince to see a specialist it was determined that her pancreas had been badly scarred during the critical period of her illness, she was now diabetic.  Over the next few years we struggled to regulate her diet and insulin needs, but for the most part she was able to flourish in spite of her health issues.  Here is a picture of her birthday party in August of 2011...
In the past couple of years, however, she has had her ups and downs.  Last week she hit a tough spot, and her sugar levels spiked extremely high.  Now a week later they have not been able to get this under control, and the doctors are no longer sure what else they can do for her.  This picture was taken this evening...
As you can imagine, this is extremely difficult on everyone.  Oliana is such a beautiful young lady, she tirelessly helps anyone and everyone at the HOH.  She is one of Linda's biggest helpers for her personal needs.  Everyone feels so helpless now at this time of her need.  She has found the Spiritual hope of Life in Jesus since being at the HOH and for that we are very thankful.   But she once again is in need of physical healing and hope.  We are asking that you pray for her and for all of those caring for her at this time.  Pray for wisdom for the doctors as they give her medical care, pray for Linda and the other HOH kids as they minister to her physical needs at this time.  Pray for courage and strength for Oliana to not lose heart during this difficult time, and pray for God to be glorified through all who are playing a part in this.  Pray also for her family members, some of them are not believers. 

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!