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.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

An Update and some prayer requests

Many thanks for your prayers for Oliana. Getting the insulin dose regulated has proved extremely difficult and she is starting to fall into malnutrition as they try to regulate her diet.  To say the least, she is a very difficult case and everyone involved could use your continued prayers for her recovery and health.  We will keep you up to date as we are able to.

We wanted to share some pictures with you so you can see some of what is going on at the HOH these days...

 Mango season has arrived and
Mits isn't quite sure what to do with his bounty...


The HOH was thrilled to receive
Dr. Grace Eckhoff the first week of June.
Grace grew up in our village of La Pointe with
her parents who were our doctors.
To have her come back as a doctor herself
 was a neat experience. 
Here you can see her chatting with
an old friend at the HOH;
when she was younger she would come every
afternoon to spend time with the kids.

Dr. Grace came to the HOH together with a friend
and long time supporter Dr. Brenda Morris. 
This wasn't Dr. Brenda's first trip down to Haiti,
but it was the first one for her daughters.
Here are Michelle, Addie and Lilly
enjoying some time with the HOH kids...


The School year is quickly coming to an end for our students and they are busy studying for their exams.  They'd really appreciate your prayers as they try to finish the school year well.  The government of Haiti has changed the number of official exams the students have to take throughout High School.  Previously, they had official exams at the Grade 6, 9, 12 and 13 years.  They have now eliminated the exams for Grades 6 & 12.  So, you can imagine this has brought great joy to all of our students who were in those classes this year. 

The students we do have who are writing these extremely difficult exams are:  Desimène in Grade 9, and:  Linda, Rosemène, Toto, Dieuny and Obed in Grade 13.  Linda also asked prayer for a number of other students from our local community who come and study with her every day in preparation for the exams.  

Jenny is busy preparing for her trip down to the HOH the end of July.  She will be bringing down three young ladies from Canada, and they will be meeting up with a team from Miami Shores Presb. Church while down there.  They plan to host a week of Day Camp with lessons, games and all kinds of fun activities.  Please pray for Jenny as she works on preparing the lessons amid her many other responsibilities.  Pray also for all the logistics of travel and for safety and health for these teams as they spend time at the HOH and build relationships with the HOH family.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

News on Oliana

Oliana made it to Port-au-Prince ok and was able to see the specialist.  It was so good that we were able to get her down there this week because that specialist is leaving Haiti for a while, and we would have missed him.  She had many tests done and the doctor in the end has decided to change her insulin dose.  He also gave her some advice on how to better take care of herself with her many medical conditions.  Other than that, he did not find anything else wrong with her.

We are so thankful there isn't anything more serious going on with her.  Please pray for Oliana and for our local doctors as they implement these changes and work to get her back on the road to health over the next few weeks. She will be flying back to the HOH this coming Saturday.

Thank you so much for your prayers on her behalf. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Oliana

We were able to get Oliana to Port-au-Prince yesterday.  We had a team of doctors come up to work at the hospital and the HOH and they allowed us to use the return portion of their charter flight to fly her to PAP.  Thank you Drs. Brenda & Grace!


Oliana is not doing well at all, and tomorrow morning she will see a diabetic specialist.  So please pray that they are able to help her out and that they would have the wisdom they need to see what is going on in her body.  She is staying with some friends of ours, the Boucher family, and Mrs. Boucher will be taking her to the doctor in the morning.  We are very grateful for their help and support whenever we have needs like this come up.

We'll let you know as we find out more. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Prayer Needed Again

Oliana is once again not doing well at all.  The doctors just don't know what to do for her anymore.  They told us this is not a good sign that she does well for a couple of weeks and then plummets downhill so quickly like this.  Each time her low seems to get worse and it's harder for her to pull out of it.  They really would like us to send her to Port-au-Prince where she could have some more advanced testing done than we can find in our area of Haiti.  Linda is trying to work out these details, but it is not easy.  Just transporting a sick person there is a challenge.  So, please keep Oliana and everyone trying to help her out in your prayers. Thank you so much.

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.