Thursday, May 24, 2018

Finding Ways to Help

Greetings to you all.  Very sorry for the silence over the past couple of weeks.  I'm sure you all know how busy life gets at times.  I (Jenny) was busy in Canada with family things.  And the HOH was busy with school, then a holiday from school, the arrival of the boat from Miami and many useful and needed items, and now back to school again!  One special moment was that our boys who are away at University were able to come home for the weekend.  What a wonderful time everyone had reconnecting and just being family.
 Here's a group of them going on a picnic together.

A quick update on Oliana:  she had a pretty good week last week.  She started to get some strength back.  She was able to move around and participate in a few activities, she was even able to attend our Sunday church service.  But yesterday she took another down turn and is back in bed.  She's unable to keep food down and is back on IVs.  We continue to pray for strength and healing for her and comfort and strength for those giving her care.  As you can imagine, the constant up and downs gets discouraging for everyone -- especially for Oliana.  Thank you for your continued prayers for her.

Bringing hope in all it's wonderful forms to the children and youth who come through our doors is what the House of Hope is all about.  Over the years, many people have partnered with us to help us do just that. These past few months though we've been so blessed by 2 young ladies who found 2 very unique ways to raise funds to help us in this endeavor.  I wanted to share their stories with you...

Emma Rodriguez -- Miami, FL

You might remember hearing her name before.  Emma has spent time at the HOH over the past 4 summers.  She is currently a pre-med student at Dartmouth, a study she chose to go into after her involvement with one of our little boys who needs a lot of medical care.  So, one has to wonder, just what is a 2nd year university student going to do to raise funds to help the HOH?  
Why IronMan Texas, of course!
Yes, in the midst of all those bobbing heads out there in the water, you'll find one Emma Rodriguez. 
 After much training and disicipline, this amazing young lady swam for 2.5 miles,
 biked for 112 miles 
and then ran for 26.2 miles.  And she did it all in 14.5 hours!

Why would someone subject themselves to such a feat?  For Emma it was to raise funds to help the HOH.  We are so proud of what she accomplished and so grateful for her kind heart and spirit that loves our kids so much and desires to help us bring them hope in any way that she can.  And she's not finished -- she's already gearing up for her next IronMan in 2019.

Elizabeth Curtis -- White Cloud, MI
 
Elizabeth comes from a long line of HOH partners.  Her church has supported the HOH since its beginning in 1956.  Her grandmother spent many years rolling bandages and shipping them to us.  Many thousands of children were blessed by her giving over the years.
In spite of facing some very difficult medical needs herself, Elizabeth decided to find her way to help the HOH.  Hot Chocolate was her way.  Elizabeth made hot chocolate and sold it to her school mates.  The proceeds from her endeavors were given to us to help us bring hope to the children in our care.  I was blessed to get to spend a bit of time with Elizabeth on my recent trip to the Michigan.  She is an incredibly kind and caring young lady who thinks of others in need even though she herself is struggling with needs of her own.  We appreciate very much the work Elizabeth put into this and her kind heart that gave to us so we can bring hope to the kids in our care.  
 
While these are by no means the only 2 who have found unique ways to help us out over the years we just wanted to share some recent ones with you. Over the years others have come up with various ways to help us out:
  • Several young people have done clothing and supply drives at their schools for special needs that we have.  
  • Others have taken up special offerings in VBS or Sunday School programs.  
  • One church has a "Slipper Sunday" where everyone gets to come in slippers and donates to help us buy shoes for our kids.  
  • Another church has a special "Children's Offering" every Sunday where their kids collect and bring change each Sunday to give towards food purchases for our kids.  
There are so many ways to help out and we are grateful for all who do.  If this inspires you to come up with an idea of how to help us raise the funds we need to bring this hope, please let us know!

Together, we bring hope.  And if you question whether it's working, just take a look at this face,
it says it all...
Thank you for your part!

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Too Cute for Words

Many thanks for all your prayers for Oliana and the HOH and for your words of encouragement.  She continues to hang in there.  She is not getting any worse, but also not much improvement either.  At least she is conscious and able to talk.  But her blood sugar continues to spike and she is too weak to even sit up.  We appreciate your continued prayer, support and encouragement.

As an encouragement to you we wanted to share this picture of our 5 babies
They are all doing so well and we are so thankful for the chance to give them love and care for them.

I (Jenny) am back from my trip through the mid-west of the USA.  I am so thankful for my friends who lent me their car so I could have such an incredible time visiting many of our friends and supporters.  Thank you too for your prayers for my safety as I was traveling around. Here are some tidbits about my trip:
  • I drove a total of 68 hours over the past 3 week.
  • I stayed in 7 different homes who so kindly opened their doors to me and showered me with hospitality.
  • I was able to speak in 4 different churches and share all that God is doing at the HOH and in the lives of our crazy big family.  
  • I started my trip by driving into a big snowstorm in Minnesota 
  • I had to cancel one trip to see some partners in Northern Wisconsin because we were snowed in!
  • Driving in and around Chicago is just nuts!
  • Saw the last bits of snow in Western Michigan -- even watched a snowman melt before my eyes!
  • Tasted the best apple cider at the Yates Cider Mill in Michigan.
  • Saw the greenest fields and grass in Indiana.
  • Got my car loaded and bursting at the seems with new hand-made clothes for the kids in Indiana.
  • Was blessed with help packing and shipping said clothes in Illinois.
  • Drove through severe weather (thunderstorms and hail warnings) through Illinois. 
  • Saw the beautiful sun on my way back through Minnesota and North Dakota.
  • Arrived back in Manitoba to weather in the 80's!
  • All along my route I connected with people who encouraged me so much and it was a blessing to meet with and spend time with each one of you. 
We were reminded again of what an incredible team of partners we have in this special ministry.  I was also able to make some new contacts on this trip and we'd ask you to pray that some of those contacts might be the start of some new financial partnerships to help us with the needs of the HOH.  

While on my trip I highlighted 3 specific needs with some prayer bookmarks.  I'll share them with you all as well so you can be in prayer for the provision of these needs.  One was for a monthly need, one a yearly need and the last one is an immediate one-time need.  I'll share them one at a time over the next few blogs.  Here is the immediate one-time need (it is front & back of a bookmark):
Thank you for the many ways you are part of our lives, ministry and family.  We hope you all have a wonderful week.  We will let you know on any changes as far as Oliana is concerned.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Update on Oliana

Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for Oliana.  Sometime in the middle of the night she regained consciousness and started to talk.  This was not something we expected to happen given that she wasn't conscious or responsive in any way for most of the day yesterday.  Her blood sugar is still on a roller coaster and the doctors are trying to get it under control again.  We appreciate your prayers and would ask you to continue to pray for Oliana as well as everyone at the HOH giving her care.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Prayer Needed

This is just a quick note to ask for prayer for Oliana.  She has been going through a rough time physically for the past little while, but today she took a definite negative turn.  She is now completely unresponsive and the doctors have told us there is little else they can do and it seems unlikely she will make it through this time.  We would ask you to please pray for Oliana.  Pray for Linda, the doctors and everyone involved in giving her care.  Pray for her family as well as they have been fighting for her health since she was a little girl.  Pray for God to bring peace during these difficult moments.  Pray that the medical staff would have wisdom in knowing how to care for her.  She is a young lady with a very strong faith in Jesus and for that we are thankful.  She has been part of our family for 16 years now.  It is difficult on everyone.  The HOH has stopped all activity this afternoon and is holding a prayer time for her.  We'd appreciate it if you had a moment to do the same.  Thank you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

"They keep coming"

When I asked almost 4 year old Mits what he thought of our new month old twin girls, his response was, "They just keep coming, every year!".  His eyes were wide with astonishment.  For the first few years of his life, he was the only long-term baby we had.  Now, as he says -- they keep coming!  
Here he is enjoying a look with Linda:
 We are so thankful for the arrival of baby supplies and 
baby clothes from friends in South Florida.  
Talk about Perfect Timing!
Nothing quite like holding twins!
As always, we appreciate your prayers and support in so many ways that allows us to bring hope to the many in our care.  We'd ask you to please pray for Jenny as she will be traveling over the next 3 weeks to visit supporters, make new contacts and do some fund raising for the HOH.

She will be driving through the states of:  North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.  She has contacted many of you throughout these states, but if you were missed and would like to try and see her please feel free to get in touch with her at:  houseofhopehaiti1@gmail.com. Because she will be traveling, it is likely that the blog will not be updated very much over the next few weeks.  We will catch up with you afterwards though!  Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Lots of surprises!

We hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend.  We did at the House of Hope and it was a busy with with lots of things happening that we wanted to share with you.

The surprises started off with the arrival of 1 month old orphaned twins Lovena and Lovenide:
 
This brings our baby count up to 5!  
There are times we go without any babies, so 5 brings a whole lot of life to the HOH.

Later in the week, malnourished 8 month Lovensky arrived with his mom. 
 
 They will be with a couple of weeks until Lovensky gets healthy again.

An extra surprise was a box of goodies from a friend in Miami -- 
shoes, milk & candy just in time for Easter!!
Another surprise was some mosquito netting from another friend in Miami
 
 On Good Friday Linda planned some crafts for the kids to do:
Coloring Mosaic Crosses:
 
 
And making Cross Necklaces
 
Then some boys from our local community showed up Linda asked them to join in
Later that evening, everyone watched a movie about the life of Jesus
Sunday was a great time remembering the Resurrection of Jesus
 and the life all of those who believe on Him now have.

The start of the week brought more surprises...
Clothes and supplies from friends in Quebec, Canada
 
And an even better surprise from them...
A special chair for Widson -- Look how happy he is!  
We know this chair will help him a lot and enable him to enjoy more activities with us.

Another Friend in Miami sent clothes for the younger kids and Babies:
 
 
 

Then, a Colleague from the Far-West of Haiti brought us a wonderful surprise:
 A new type of stove to cook food on.
It is specially designed to use very little wood, maximize the heat and really cut down cooking times.  Finding fuel to cook food is always a struggle for us, but we do have an abundance of small twigs and branches that fall off our trees daily.  To be able to cook food with these bits of wood is an incredible gift!

So, you can see we've had a lot of Good News this weekend.  We are so blessed by the many people who put their gifts and abilities together to help us give hope to the children and youth in our care.  Thank you so much for your part!  We wish you all a wonderful week full of your own surprises!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Vacation!

Spring break has begun!  Our kids are busy getting back into their Rubber Band game.  They have made up this game, kinda like marbles -- only rubber bands are easier to come by in our corner of the world.  The end goal is to collect as many rubber bands as you can -- taking them back and forth from each other as you win or lose the game. 
Here you can see the boys playing -- the rubber bands are on the ground on the lower right hand side of the picture, but they aren't easy to see.  

Here Ivinsky, Mits and Mike show off their collection!
 The sign of a good Rubber Band player!

It's nice they get such joy out of something so small and easy to get to them. They have the week off of school and will be enjoying some down time with their friends. 

We do have a few new faces once again.  The first is a family group:
Nineteen year old Manouchka and her 2 children were a family in crisis.  Manouchka was burned by hot water in her home.  Her family then dropped her off at the hospital with her 2 children and left her without anyone to care for her or the children.  

Touched by her need for some time to heal and someone to help her care for the children, Linda opened our home to her in order to give her a chance to get back on her feet.  It is an unusual story for us, but it is a proactive move on our part.  Without proper care this young mother would not be able to heal properly to care for her children.  The children would have become more and more malnourished and eventually brought to the HOH in worse condition.  This way we can help them all get back on their feet and also share the love of Jesus with them.  Pray for them as they have this time of healing at the House of Hope.

Another little boy could use your prayers as well.  8-year old DestinĂ© just arrived at the HOH.  I think his picture speaks  volumes...
  Such sadness, it just rips at your heart. 

Please pray for Linda and the other kids and staff at the HOH as we seek to help DestinĂ© in every way possible.  He is in such need of love, care and healing.  Pray for wisdom in dealing with him, figuring out his medical needs and helping with the emotional and spiritual ones as well.

Many thanks for each of you and your various ways of supporting this special ministry.  We hope you have a wonderful week.  We look forward to celebrating Easter this coming weekend.  We have an evening community event planned at the HOH on Good Friday.   Then we will have a special Easter service on Sunday celebrating the resurrection of our wonderful Savior.  May you all have a great time remembering Jesus and all He did for us at this special time of the year as well.