Thursday, December 20, 2007

Party Fun!!

It was simple and low key, not a normal thing for our Christmas parties here at the HOH. We usually invite people from the neighborhood, and put on a program for them, but this year we just couldn't pull it off. So we just had a family party, and it was actually really nice. No pressure or stress, everyone had a good time, as you can see by Blandjina's smiling face (her smile is so big it almost doesn't look like a smile, but it is, trust me!). Just thought you might like to see these pictures of our party last night.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

I think the only thing busier than having 40+ kids in school, is having them home on school vacation! That's what has been keeping us busy these past few weeks, as the kids have been finishing up their exams and starting their Christmas vacation. We've had numerous new children being added to our ranks as well, so that helps fill in those rare empty spaces of time when we have nothing to do!

We thank you for your prayers for the two children who were extremely sick, Brianna and Alexandro. Brianna is doing much better, although it appears she will have some long term health problems, due to her very severe case of TB. Unfortunately Alexandro was not able to recover, and just a few days after I wrote, he passed away. It was difficult for us, as we were unable to reach his family, and in the end had to do the burial ourselves. We always dislike this part of the work, but know that God knows best when it comes to matters of life and death.

We did not have any success with our rabbits either. All 7 of the babies died shortly after their birth. If anyone has any knowledge on raising and keeping rabbits alive, we'd love to hear about it!

A good bit of my time lately has been spent trying to figure out the new system the government has put on us receiving things from Miami via the shipping company we've always used. They really want to shut our wharf down completely here in Port-de Paix, but are still allowing boats to unload for the moment. So we've been trying to comply with all the new regulations, and trying to get all the right paperwork in order that they want in order for us to receive the many boxes of supplies we have on the boat. I was at first, optimistic that I could do all of this before Christmas, in order to have the presents here and unpacked in time for the kids to have during their vacation, but it is becoming increasing evident that that will not happen! Nothing happens quickly in Haiti! We are thankful for the boxes we have been able to receive (some contained soccer uniforms and equipment, from friends in Portage La Prairie, MB Canada, that made our kids very happy, you can seem them trying out the gear in this picture here), and for the prayers of so many of you as I've been going through this process. God indeed made the customs officials look favorably on us, and so far we have paid far less than others have had to pay to receive things for the kids.

Our shipping company that we have used for years has now informed us that they will be shutting down their operations, as they are unable to make any money with all the new regulations with the customs in Haiti. This is indeed sad news for us, as we have always been blessed to be able to receive donated clothes and supplies for the HOH. We don't know what God has planned for us to receive these much needed items in the future, but we do know we can trust Him to give us everything we need to do His work with the needy children here at the HOH. Please pray with us as we seek out options, and watch eagerly to see just what God is going to do to supply our needs in the future. If you are among those who have been sending us supplies over the years, please do not send any more items to our shipping address. Feel free to check with me from time to time to see if anything has changed, and if we have a new way to receive things.

Tonight we are having a small Christmas party with the younger children. It won't be anything big, as we haven't received the gifts yet, and don't expect to until the New Year now. On Friday morning Linda and I and about 30 of the "Our Hope" kids are heading off for a vacation/retreat to a small town outside of Cap Haitian. This is the area where Linda is from, and it's been a while since she's been back to visit her family. They are all very excited to be receiving this group from the House of Hope, and have been planning and saving for it for a long time. We are looking forward to the chance to visit, and a chance to grow closer as we spend some quality time together. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel, and also for those staying back here to hold down the fort, our staff, and the rest of the HOH kids.

We send you all very Merry Christmas greetings and wish you a very happy New Year. God bless, and we'll be back with you in 2008! Thanks so much for your prayers and support.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

At last an update!

Greetings to everyone! First of all, I know this update is way overdue. I had great plans of updating you all even while I was in the US, but it just didn’t happen.

I had a great trip, starting with a visit to some friends and family in Philadelphia, then a conference in New Jersey, spoke at a church for the HOH and spent some time of rest and of course shopping at my sister’s in Texas. In all it was a very productive and restful time for me, but as usual, I was more than ready to get back and see everyone at the HOH.

At least two little girls really missed me too, and I received a great welcome home reception when I got back last week. Lala spent about an hour telling me she loved me every 5 minutes! And Ciliana (Nani) wouldn’t let me put her down for the rest of the day, nor would she allow anyone to take her out of my arms. They are both growing and doing very well as you can see in their picture.

There were quite a few children who had left the HOH when I got back, and about 9 others who had come during my absence. Most of them are small children with malnutrition, some are here with their mothers. Two in particular, Brianna and Alexandro are extremely ill, and the doctor feels she has done everything she can for them. Please keep these two little ones in your prayers.

When I arrived back at the HOH I found quite a few changes. The kids had painted the house, and it looks very nice, they also had put up all the Christmas decorations, so it looks very festive as well. Another change had to do with our animal population… While I was gone, some friends gave our kids 2 rabbits to keep. Those of you who know rabbits know 2 rabbits (a male and female) don’t remain 2 for very long, and last night they multiplied as Pom Pom gave birth to 7 little rabbits. This is a new experience for almost everyone here, so it’s very exciting!

Owen is doing much better, he seems to have come through his difficult time of depression, and he is once again smiling and happy. I bought a toy guitar for him while I was in the US. It was something he had said at one time that he really wanted, so we thought it might make him happy to have it, and sure enough, as you can see here in the picture, he was overjoyed, and has spent many hours playing it! Thank you for your prayers on his behalf.

Tomorrow we are receiving a work group from Fellowship of Frisco in Frisco, TX. They will be with us for 5 days, and will be helping us work on the ongoing building project. It is almost finished, and we hope to finish most of what is left of the construction part of that building. It will be nice to have it finished. Please pray for safety in travel, and that all the logistics we’ve planned will work out ok.

The new nurse we hired in October is doing incredibly well, and we are so thankful to God for bringing her here. She has a real servant spirit, and really cares about the kids here and about the ministry in general.

Our students are almost at exam writing time again. Ronel and Phania will be re-writing their Grade 12 exams that they didn’t pass at the end of the school year last year. They could really use your prayers that they would succeed.

We appreciate your support in holding us up in prayer, and ask that you continue to pray for our monthly financial needs, as well as for growth in the lives of our kids and young people.