Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas festivities are well under way here at the HOH, inspite of the fact that we have not yet received most of the Christmas gifts off the boat. The boat is in, just not unloaded. The kids don't seem to mind, because that just means we'll have to have another party of some kind to pass out the gifts when they actually do arrive, prolonging our festivities, probably into the new year!

This past Sunday was our annual Christmas program. This year the kids and young people, specifically St. Germain were in charge of everything. They worked out a program earlier in the year, were responsible for having rehearsals, and making sure everyone knew their part. Linda and I did absolutely nothing for the program. We were able to sit in the audience, and watch it for the first time with everyone else in attendance. I must say, they did an incredible job, and lest you think that is just me being a bit prejudice, everyone who was here to see the program told us the same thing. There were more than 200 visitors crowded into our home to attend the program, and with a perfect mix of music, poems, humor, skits and messages of the true meaning of Christmas, everyone from the children to the adults was satisfied and encouraged.

Our days have been filled with end of the year school activities like exams, and Christmas parties, as well as having a number of visitors here at the HOH. Our last group of visitors left about a week ago, and now everyone is done with exams, and all the meetings and parties have been attended, and we all feel like we can take a deep breath and relax a bit. We were all in need of some vacation days, and it's been nice to be able to just spend some time together relaxing in the evenings.

Tomorrow for Christmas Day we'll be having the entire HOH family in for a meal, that includes all the staff, kids, and friends from the community. It total we'll be about 200 people, and Linda and the girls are busy preparing for the meal preparations. I'm so glad they are good at cooking for such events, and enjoy doing it.

We really enjoyed having my family here to visit, and they helped us make up a lot of decorations for the HOH for Christmas. My Brother in law made some Christmas trees out of plywood, and the boys learned a lot from working with him. My sister Emmy brought stockings for the kids to decorate, and then to use to decorate the house, it does look very festive, and all the colors and decorations just makes the kids' faces light up!

The day after Christmas I'll be heading back to Port-au-Prince to attend a friend's wedding, then I'll be back up here a couple of days later to help with our New Year's Eve party. So the activity never stops around here!

As we are busy celebrating Christmas in our special ways, we want to send our wishes to you all for an incredible Christmas, and a very joyful New Year. What a privilege it is for us to be able to bring the wonderful story of hope in Jesus, the One who was willing to come to earth as a little baby, to live among us, to die to pay the price for our sins; who rose again, and offers eternal hope to all who believe in Him. This story continues to go out from the House of Hope, and it is our prayer that it brings you all hope as well at this special time of the year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's About Time!

Ok, do I start with an apology or not? Well I feel like I do owe you one, not that I really could have done much to avoid the fact that I haven't updated the blog for over a month now. I can tell you why in three words...BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!!! I've even been too busy to make up and have the Bible studies with the kids, so you know it's been crazy around here, because that's not something I'll give up easily.

Here's some idea of what's been going on, and what's ahead for us...
  • Shortly after having Micah brought to the HOH, we received another newborn baby named Max. He came to the HOH after his mother died giving birth to him. He was only 1/2 day old when we got him, the youngest baby we've ever received. We agreed to keep Max for a couple of months for his dad who didn't know how to care for a newborn baby. Max is HIV positive, but since his mom was receiving treatment already he has a good chance of being negative once we can do a more specific test for him. That can only be done when he is a month and a half old, so we are waiting to do that. In the meantime, we have our hands full keeping up with two small babies, Max and Micah, pictured together in the crib here...
  • Micah was really doing great for most of the past month, then suddenly last week he took a turn for the worse. He was treated for malaria, but is still having trouble getting over it. he had put on about 4 pounds, but now has lost a couple of those. Finally today we were able to take out his IV's and hopefully we are heading in the right direction with him.

  • The family that is adopting Micah has decided to adopt a second little boy as well. Max Travis is from the same general area as Micah, and also recently lost his mom. Max Travis (pictured here together with Micah) is almost 10 months old, and is slowly getting adjusted to life at the HOH. Their adopting mom is coming this coming week to meet them and also to start the paperwork for their adoption to be processed. We pray with them that this process will happen quickly, and that they will be able to take their boys home with them soon.
  • Earlier in November I made a quick day trip to Port-au-Prince to pick up my sister Beth and a friend Heather Patterson. They came down for 2 weeks to help out at the HOH. What a blessing they were to have here, I can't imagine how busy we would have been had they not been here, seeing as I was so busy in spite of all their help. One day during their time here we were able to take a day trip on a sailboat to the island of La Tortue and spend the day at the beach (see picture). We were thankful for the friend who set this day up, and also for a chance to just have some fun together. About 10 kids from the HOH went along as well, so it was a lot of fun for everyone.
  • Also during the first part of November, we received an intern here at the HOH. Britney Mabel, from Lancaster, PA has come to help us out, and to spend time experiencing missions first hand. She will be staying with us until the end of March. She has already been a big help with the babies and in other ways as well. We are happy to have her here to help us out, and hope she has a great time here with us. She's already made friends with a number of the kids here, and they have begun exchanging language lessons, English for Kreyol! We'll see who learns more during the next couple of months!
  • Mid November we received John Berger and Walt Baker here for a visit. Even though it was just for a morning, it was great to have them both here. Walt was the one who first brought me to Haiti back in 1992, so it was so great to have him here at the HOH, and see the work God has allowed me to be part of since returning to Haiti. We had a really good and encouraging visit.
  • I returned to PAP in mid-November to take Beth and Heather back to PAP, and also to attend the going away party for John Berger who left Haiti to take up the position of Vice President of CrossWorld. It was nice to get together with almost all the other CrossWorld missionaries in Haiti, and also some former missionaries who had come back to Haiti and were here at this particular moment (like Darcy Dickerson, and Beth & Duane Browne).
  • That same weekend, I was also able to visit with the Boucher family as well. Then Dr. Boucher, myself and several of our older boys drove back up to La Pointe in a new vehicle we had purchased for the missionaries here. It's been many years since I'd driven up from PAP, and it was quite the 9 hours, especially since all the flooding that has happened in the parts of Haiti we drove through. We couldn't believe it was the same place, it felt like we were driving through a totally different country. It's amazing what flood water can do to totally rearrange a landscape. I regret that I didn't have a camera along to take pictures, especially of the area just north of Gonaives, called Doubedou, it was just unbelievable.
  • Last week we enjoyed a visit from our International Director from CrossWorld, Dwight Lehman. It was great to catch up with him, and news from our home office, as well as have a chance to talk over different ministry issues here.

  • We did manage to continue our Saturday afternoon "Boy's Character Club" several times during the past month. We are now receiving up to 50 boys each Saturday afternoon. Thanks to a special gift from some friends, we are occasionally able to make a meal or a snack to feed them when they come, as many of them come to us hungry, not having anything to eat at their homes. They seem to enjoy coming, and participating in the various activities we've put together. Here's a picture of some of them working on a project.
  • Last weekend we had 3 birthdays here at the HOH. One of them was for Nani. Remember the 1 1/2 pound little baby we received just 2 years ago, not thinking she'd live? Well she's 2 years old now, and as much of a live wire as ever. I call her our own personal hurricane, because wherever she goes, you know she's been there, and she seems to be able to be everywhere at once. She's such a joy to us, and absolutely adores her big "sister" Lala. They are pictured here together the night of the big birthday party (Nani is in front).
  • This coming Friday I'll be heading back to PAP to pick up my older sister Emmy and her husband, as well as my mom who are all coming down to visit the HOH for the first time. We are all very excited to have them coming as they've all been such a big part of the ministry of the HOH since I started working here, and to have them actually come and see everyone is a big deal for us. All week the kids have been painting the house, wanting to make it as fresh and nice as possible. They hoped to get it decorated for Christmas as well, but it looks like our visitors might get to help us do that.
  • Lord willing I'll be heading to PAP the next weekend to visit with the other people who were at the WorldView Center with me this past summer. We hope to meet together and encourage each other in putting into practice the things we've learned. I will also be taking Max and Micah together with their mom, to get a Psychological evaluation done in PAP. I should come back to the HOH on the 9th, and arrive just in time to receive a team from the Fellowship of Frisco in Frisco, TX on the 10th of Dec.
Well, I think I better wrap this up and send it on out to you all. Thank you so much for your patience in hearing from us. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf. Thank the Lord for us for His faithfulness over the past month, and for providing for all of our needs. We continue to receive extremely malnourished children quite regularly, and our numbers have gone back up into the 90's after dipping down to the low 80's for a bit. Thankfully we started receiving food rations from World Vision last month, and they've promised it to us for the next couple of months. We don't know how long we'll receive them, but we are so thankful to have the help to be able to feed all of our kids. Please continue to pray for God's provision, and for wisdom for Linda and I as we seem to face new situations almost every day. We desire to be a light and a witness for Christ to the community around us, as well as bring His love and hope to the needy children He brings into our home. Thank you for your prayers and support that enable us to do that.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Getting back into a routine

We are feeling a lot more settled these days. School started yesterday, and so we are starting to get into a routine during the days. It's back to getting up at 5:30 am to make sure everyone is out the door in time for school.

It was the first day of school ever for 4 of our kids. Baslet, Esther and Chedlyn started in class 1 & 2.

Lala started kindergarten at another school. She was so excited to go, and had no trouble being dropped off. Nani on the other hand was not so happy about being left at home. When this picture was taken she didn't yet realize what was going on, she was just having a lot of fun watching her Lala get dressed up.

This morning, when I said to Lala, "You're going to school today!" She looked at me and said, "um, no", like it was something she could choose to do if she wanted to. She didn't mind when we told her she was going to go every day, though. Nani on the other hand, hid the comb so they couldn't comb Lala's hair, and for the first 15 minutes after Lala left she walked through the whole house looking for her and calling out her name. When she couldn't find her she came to the office and cried. But I guess she'll get used to it.

Things in our area continue to be very difficult economically. Every day we receive people coming to ask us for food, or medicine, or money. It is so hard because we can't possibly help everyone, the need is just too great. We've received 20 kids into the HOH in just a month, we can't even keep up with them all. We now have 97 here, and every day more seem to show up. We are glad we are here to help out those we can, but it feels like a drop in the bucket to what needs there are around us. Pray that we would have wisdom to know who to help, and how.

We have 30 boys from around La Pointe signed up to come to the Character Studies we are going to do with them starting this Saturday. We'd appreciate your continued prayers as we try to reach out to this very needy group of young people. They are quite a formidable bunch when you look at them, but if we don't do something now to help them in developing good Character, this whole area will suffer greatly as they get older and more rebellious. So pray for Linda, St. Germain, Rosnel and myself as we prepare and run the activities on Saturday for these boys.

Our Bible Studies started on Sunday evening with each of the three family groups presenting a song they wrote, from the Proverbs we've been studying this past year. They all did a super job writing the songs, and we are all looking forward to learning and singing the songs as part of our devotions and worship time here at the HOH.

This past week we received a new (to us) 3 week old baby boy named Micah. Micah was born during the string of hurricanes that went through the country of Haiti. His mom died after giving birth, as they were unable to get her to a hospital in time. Micah was a twin, but his sister died a couple of weeks after they were born. A family who are friends of ours heard about his story and decided to adopt Micah into their family. They asked if we'd keep him for the time being, and we were more than happy to help out. So Linda and I are once again trading off nights to care for a small baby. We are happy to have a part in helping this little treasure, and are very thankful we have a lot of helpers around us to help care for this little one. Pray as he's had some health issues that we've been treating, and also pray for the adoption of this little one to go through quickly so he can go and join his family that is waiting for him.

Well, that about brings you up to date on our life. We appreciate your prayers for God's continued provision for all of our needs. And while your praying, Praise Him too, because He is good, all the time! He has shown His faithfulness to us over and over again.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Back home again

Well, here it is, 3 AM, I can't sleep, so I figure it's time to finally get an update out to you all. It's been on my "to do" list since we returned to Haiti, but with so many other things popping up, it seems like updating the blog always gets pushed down on the list.

So many people have written to ask how we are doing after the recent series of hurricanes and storms to pass through our region, and we appreciate the concerns, prayers and encouragement of each one of you. Let me assure you that we are fine here at the HOH, which unfortunately can't be said for a lot of other places in Haiti who were much harder hit than we were. Linda and I were not here for the storms, but the kids said it was a very scary time, the winds and rain were fierce, but in the end we had no damage to the HOH whatsoever. All we can say is "thank you Lord for Your mighty protection".

The only damage done on all of the mission property here at La Pointe, was a few tree branches that fell down. One fell in the area where our vehicle is usually parked, but Ronel had thought ahead and had moved the truck when the winds had started to pick up. Thanks to his quick thinking, we were spared any damage to the vehicle! In anticipation of any other storms that might be heading our way, the maintenance men of the hospital have been cutting off any tree branches that are over the buildings, just in case.

You've been asking if we have food and water, and at the moment we do have both. But with the extensive damage all over the country of Haiti, the roads cut off in many places, thousands of people left without homes or anything at all, and most if not all of the gardens completely wiped out; supplies are becoming scarce and food prices are soaring. Some estimates have said food prices have risen 60% in the past month alone, and we can believe it. Getting anything fresh from the market is increasingly difficult, and staple goods like rice and flour are expensive. Powdered milk can't be found, and the condensed milk we use for our malnourished kids has gone up in price as well (we were only able to get 30 cases for the same price we usually get 45). But we have some for a while, and are thankful to just have it. So the bottom line at this point is, if you can afford it, you can find something to eat...if you can't, you go without, and there's plenty of people around us going without these days. We can see it in the numbers of malnourished children brought to the HOH. Every day there seems to be at least one or two new ones, we have 2 babies in almost all the cribs in our nursery.

As for water, we are still having trouble with our water source, the local hospital. Their pump has problems that they can't seem to fix, so in the 10 days we've been back, we've had running water for a little bit on 2 of them. The rest of the time the kids have been hauling it from wherever we can find it. They are such good sports about it, and when doing it together actually seem to have a good time creating ways to carry as much as they can at a time. We don't know for how long this problem is going to last, but we are much better off than many other people around us, so we'll take it when we get it, and carry it when we don't!

Another issue we are facing is a shortage of diesel fuel. With the roads so badly cut in many places, the fuel trucks can't get to us from Port-au-Prince, and what does make it through is expensive (we've seen it as high as $18 US a gallon in the past couple of weeks, but it has come down considerably if you can find it, I paid $5 last week for some to put in our vehicle). Anyway, we get our electricity from the generators at the hospital, and they've had to shorten the hours they run their generators as their supply of fuel is quickly being used up. We've had to tighten our belts and manage our time more wisely to use the hours of electricity we do get to get as much work done as possible. But again, we are privileged to have this amount considering those around us who go without on a regular basis.

School across Haiti was canceled until October, so we've had the kids here at the HOH every day. We've also become the official "drop in" center for all the boys and young men around our town who have nothing to do. Our yard is constantly full of kids playing basketball, soccer, dominoes, or whatever else they can find to keep themselves busy. While it can get kinda crazy at times, we are happy to provide a safe and healthy environment for them, and hope to start some week-end activities with them during the school year. God has been impressing on our hearts the great spiritual needs of this group of young men, and we hope to be able to use these activities to reach them with the Good New of Jesus in the days ahead. Pray for us as we throw around ideas of how to do this, that we'd be effective ministers of Jesus to this needy group of kids.

So here are some ways you can pray for us:
  • Pray for the country and people of Haiti. We hear of a lot of aid coming in to help people who have lost everything, pray that it would be distributed wisely and fairly, and that there wouldn't be a lot of corruption through the process. Pray that the leaders of the country would use this help wisely for the good of the people and country of Haiti.
  • Pray that in the midst of incredible loss and devastation, God would be glorified, and that God's people would allow Him to use them to bring His message of hope to those who need it. Pray for the comfort of the many people who have lost family members, and pray that many would come to know Jesus during this difficult time.
  • Pray for Linda and I as we are working on the Bible studies for our kids. We hope to start when school starts up, or the beginning of October, whichever comes first!
  • Pray for God's provision of the financial support we need to continue to purchase food and supplies at these high prices.
  • We have a lot of items coming for us on the boat. The boat is anticipating coming into Haiti from Miami in early October, pray that all the items for us would make it here ok, that God would protect them from theft and damage. These items help us out in so many ways.
  • Our friend Jeb is coming down for a couple of days, we look forward to his visit, and already marvel at how God worked out this trip in His perfect timing as Jeb is bringing us some items we really needed. Praise God together with us for His perfect provision.
  • We have been offered help with our staple foods from World Vision. Unfortunately, just when they were going to bring us our first shipment of food, all the hurricanes hit, and we were not able to receive it. We have no idea where this food is now, or if we'll ever see it, but pray that we would, it would be a huge help as we feed around 100 people 3 times a day!
While Linda and I are very happy to be back at the HOH, we had a great trip visiting friends and family in the UK and in the Miami area. We are so blessed to have had the chance to see some of our supporters in their homes and churches, and to have the privilege of sharing God's work at the HOH with many different groups of people. It is always amazing to us how God brings together people from all walks of life, and from many different countries to form a team to minister to the needy children and young people of Haiti. We appreciate your support and prayers so much, and thank God for your partnership in the ministry He has given us.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Travel and Hurricanes

Hi, Linda and are are still in the UK. We've had an incredible time reconnecting with friends and supporters of the HOH, and realizing just how many people here in this country love and support the ministry. God has just overwhelmed us with the encouragement and support of our brothers and sisters here in the UK.

As you can imagine, however, we are saddened by the news of hurricanes hitting Haiti, and our homesickness is even stronger now as we long to be there with our kids. They are doing ok after Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna, but there are two more on the way behind them, so we ask you to pray for them. None of them know yet of any of their direct family members being killed, but many other people were heavily affected all over Haiti.

I am just finding out bits and pieces of information, it seems like Port-de-Paix, the town closest to us was quite flooded, no airplanes are able to get in or out at this point as the airstrip is underwater. Gonaives is underwater as well (that's the major city that was hit back in 2004), that is the land link up to our part of Haiti, so at this point traffic is stopped both via land and air. We just heard that a friend of ours lost 5 family members in that town, if you think of it pray for Esther.

Our mission campus in Port-au-Prince sounds like it was hard hit. With houses loosing their roofs, and one of our missionaries being injured. So please pray for them as well.

I'll update you as I can, but thanks for your prayers on our behalf, and on behalf of Haiti.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We are alive and well!

Greetings from the HOH! I've been back exactly 2 weeks today, and tomorrow I leave for the next chapter of my travels. I think I should start a travel book or something! I can't believe how quickly time flies by. These past two weeks have been filled with activity. Just getting things done that didn't get done while I was gone during the month of July; as well as receiving 20 visitors from England, Canada, the US and Haiti, occupied all my waking hours. The HOH was a hopping place, and I'm sure the kids are going to go through withdrawal when tomorrow all the visitors and Linda and I leave them.

One thing we were able to fit in was a fun day at the beach with almost all of the HOH kids (only those who were too sick to go stayed home). We were well over 70 people in all, squished into a truck and our Land Cruiser! Everyone had a wonderful time, from the oldest to the youngest(Ricardo and Nani are pictured here). The day had been planned completely by St. Germain, who is quickly becoming our Resident Activity Director. Linda and I didn't have to do anything, just go along and enjoy the day, and we sure did do that.

Here are a few snapshots of our fun day:

Of course everyone enjoyed
the beach...

A friend of the HOH lent us his BBQ for the day, and St. Germain and Caleb grilled some great BBQ chicken!


And while it was a really fun day, it was just a fraction of all that's been going's a quick glimpse of some other things to help you see how you can continue to pray for us through this busy summer.
  • We thank God for His protection of two of our boys who hit a lady as they were driving to town on a motor bike. The lady injured her foot, and had a head wound as well, but she admitted it being in the wrong, she tried to cross the road without looking first. God really worked on our behalf as we negotiated with the lady and the authorities in the area, and we were able to bring the lady to our hospital here and make sure she was well taken care of. In the end, the response of our boys immediately after the accident left a huge impression on the people in the area where it happened. When Linda went to the area the next day the people came out to where she was in the car and said, "your boys are so respectful, and well behaved, in spite of all that was going on." Linda was able to share Christ with the people and talk of the difference He can make in our lives. We thank God that in the midst of a bad situation, He received the glory!
  • Of all our students who wrote government standardized exams this summer, only 2 didn't pass. One of those, Mikerlange, was allowed to rewrite his exams, so we haven't received those marks back yet. Stephanie will have to wait until December to rewrite hers. The new school year is right around the corner with classes starting on Sept. 1. We have several of the younger kids starting school for the first time this year (Esther, Lala, Chedlyn and Baslet), and Linda and I won't be here for their first day of school! We will miss being a part of that, but we are so grateful for our the older kids here who take such good care of the younger ones and will help get them through those first days.
  • A number of our older boys were able to attend a camp that was run by the Lemuel Organization. They had a great time of learning from God's Word, and fellowshipping with other Haitian young people, from totally different parts of Haiti. We are grateful for this chance they had, it left a lasting impression on the boys, and I know they will be able to use a lot of what they learned in their every day lives.
  • The price of food and supplies continues to rise here in Haiti. We are constantly receiving extremely malnourished children here at the HOH, and are constantly receiving people coming in to ask us to give them some food to take home to their families. People are hungry, and it's always a challenge to know who and how much to help, and how to best manage our resources for our own kids. With school only weeks away, many families are wondering what they are going to do, as they can't even feed their kids, let alone consider buying uniforms, books, shoes, and paying for their children to attend school.
  • My time studying in the US at the WorldView Center was a really great time of learning. They kept us busy, but it was good as we learned many practical ways to be more effective missionaries in our respective countries. There were around 20 CrossWorld missionaries (working in or heading towards 6 different countries or areas) in attendance, and it was good to get to know them as well. Once things settle down a bit I hope to share more of what I learned with Linda, and see how we can start to put some of the principles into practice here in the ministry at the HOH.
  • Linda and I head out tomorrow to visit our friends and supporters in the UK. We have been preparing for this so long it's hard to believe it's actually time for us to go! We will be speaking in a number of churches and different events during our 3 weeks in the UK, and would appreciate your prayers as we travel, and also as we share about what God is doing in Haiti and specifically at the HOH.
Well this update has been plenty long, if you are still here with me, thanks for persevering, and also for your prayers on our behalf.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So Glad God is in Control!

I've been struggling on how to write this for the past few days, and decided I just need to do it. We are so grateful for all your prayers on Aline's behalf. Despite all of our efforts to find out what was wrong with her, she passed away early on Sunday morning. It is at times like this that we are so glad our Heavenly Father is in control of things, and even though we don't understand everything, we can rest in the fact that He knows and does what is best for us all.

We are also very grateful for the chance we had to have Aline in our home for the past 8 months, and for the chance we had to share the Gospel with her multiple times. In each of our conversations with her about Jesus, Aline assured us that she was a believer, and had accepted Jesus as her Savior. Her life showed the peace and joy that only he can give in the midst of such terrible suffering. She was a joy to have here, she loved to sing praises to the Lord, and knew all the words to the songs we sing with the kids here, we miss her, but know she is much better off now, and that her suffering is over. Please continue to pray for her family, they are not believers and they are sure someone put a curse on their family (this is the second child they've lost in 2 years).

Our trip to the Dominican Republic went really well. Once again we were able to see God in control of everything, as He worked out all the details of this trip. He provided a friend of ours to be able to purchase our flight tickets in Port-au-Prince. Then He worked it out so Darlene Rimer, a CrossWorld missionary, was visiting Santo Domingo the same day we were to arrive. She picked us up at the airport, took us to our hotel, then picked us up the next day to take us to the UK Embassy. She was such a huge help to us, I really don't know what we'd have done without her, as none of us speak any Spanish. Then she set it up for a taxi to take us back to the airport the next day as she needed to return to her home. She is pictured here with Linda, St. Germain and myself.

We had such a fun time. We ate hamburgers and fries at Burger King, and ice cream at Baskin-Robbins! We shopped in their Colonial tourist district, and even got some rest in our nice Hotel. It's amazing the difference it makes when you only have one "kid" with you instead of 40 or 50! You can see St. Germain and Linda sitting in the courtyard of our hotel in this picture.

Of course we had the appointment at the Embassy as well, the real reason for our trip! We were a bit discouraged after the appointment, because it seemed like we had gone through a lot of steps for nothing. All they did was take Linda's fingerprints and picture; no questions, or comments, just fingerprints and a picture! Once we were finished there we came back to Haiti, and sent off the paperwork to the UK Embassy in New York. They told us we'd have to wait 15-20 working days to find out if she got the visa to visit the UK.

Early yesterday morning, I received an e-mail that the Embassy in New York had received her paperwork, and after reviewing them, they thought it would only take 5 days to decide if she'd receive the visa or not. Then yesterday afternoon they wrote back and said they were finished deciding, and that they had granted her a visa! Wow, there's God in control once again! As you can imagine we were very excited, as we've been working on this for months now. So, it feels good to have a positive outcome for all the work we've done. So, be listening to hear about our trip to the UK this coming fall.

Well, school is officially over, and to celebrate, we sent some of our younger kids off on a day trip to a beach not far from the HOH. Vitania, the teacher we hire to teach the younger children planned the day, and supervised the trip for them. They had an incredible time, just playing in the sand, kicking a ball, running around, and a few even went in the ocean. They had an incredible time, as you can see by the smiles on their faces.
Our 6th and 9th grade students are finished writing the government exams, and now the waiting begins for them to find out if they passed or not. If they don't pass, they have to stay in that grade until they can pass the exam. Over the next two weeks, the grades 12 and 13 with write their exams. Unfortunately if they don't pass, they are not allowed to remain in school until they do pass the exams which are given every 6 months or so. So there is a lot more pressure on them to pass their exams, and I know they'll appreciate your prayers.

So, the next week and a half is going to be full of activity as I prepare for my next trip. You'll remember I told you about a seminar I was going to attend in Portland, OR during the month of July. I'd appreciate your prayers as I try and get homework done that they gave us to complete before the seminar. Pray also for safety as I travel, for the HOH and Linda as I'll be gone for 4 whole weeks, again; and also pray that I would learn as much as I can during this month, and that it would be very helpful for our ministry here in Haiti and at the HOH.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On the Road Again!!

These days it seems I'm always updating the blog either just before I leave on a trip, or just after getting back from one. My bags never seem to get fully unpacked, before I have to get them ready for the next trip! Well, the same is true today, I'm rushing to get things done before I head out for the rest of the week...but more on that later.

Our Mother's Day celebration we mentioned in the last update went very well. We prepared a cake, and some party specials like popcorn and candy, and also had a program of songs, poems, and special speeches thanking our staff for their dedication to being "moms" to all of the HOH kids. Thanks to some generous supporters, we were able to give them each a gift as well. They enjoyed the party very much.

Angie's graduation went very well, it was an emotional time, as we found out she was the Valedictorian, she just didn't want us to know before hand so we'd be surprised on graduation day. But in the end, we found out the day before! We were very proud of her and her accomplishments.

The majority of our students are finished with their exams, and with this school year. They are so glad to be on summer vacation! This month, however are the government exams for all of our students in 6th, 9th, 12th and 13th grades, and I"m sure they'll appreciate your prayers on their behalf. Today and tomorrow Dieuny and Pierla are writing the 6th grade exams. Next week Rosemène, Gimalia, Iverlande, and Mikerlange will be writing the 9th grade exams. The week of the 23rd will be Stephanie and Caleb writing the 12th grade. And the last week of June will be Ruben writing the 13th grade exams. Ronel and Phania will also be trying, this summer, to pass their grade 12 exams, they have been unsuccessful so far, so please keep them in your prayers.

My trip to Port-au-Prince to take Aline went very well. Thank you so much for your prayers. God really worked everything out, and we were able to go and come back the same week. She has not been doing well since we've been back, but today she actually looks quite good. So far all the tests we have done have turned up negative, so we are no closer to finding a cause than before, but the test have eliminated certain things we thought could be wrong with her. She might need to go back to PAP to have more tests done if she doesn't improve significantly in the next week or so.

We were able to get our new batteries last week, and now we have more consistent electricity. That has helped us a lot, especially for our students to be able to study for their exams at night. The water continues to be a problem, but not as bad as it was. We generally get water through our system at least once a day, so we are able to fill up containers to last until it comes again.

Last Sunday was International Children's Day, and we were asked by some people in the area to help them prepare a party for some of the local children. In the end there were more than 200 children in attendance. St. Germain and a nurse friend of our, Marie Ange, prepared a program including music, games and contests. Linda and the rest of our young people prepared a full meal for all 200 of them! It was a busy day, but a good one. Linda and I were so proud of our young people who pretty much did everything for this party, and pulled it off without a hitch. They are really growing into responsible young people, who love the Lord and love to serve others. Here are some pictures of the party...

Serving food...

Kid's waiting in line for food...

Yummy! It was worth the wait!

In the midst of other projects, we've been able to make significant progress on getting Linda's visa to visit the UK. The next step in the process involves a trip to the Dominican Republic, as the UK doesn't have an Embassy in Haiti. And thus, our traveling for this week...

Tomorrow morning Linda, St. Germain and I will be heading to the DR. We fly there tomorrow, and have an appointment at the British Embassy on Thursday morning. Lord willing we will return to Haiti on Friday, and will stay a few nights in PAP at our friends the Boucher family. We plan on returning to the HOH on Sunday. We'd appreciate your prayers as we undertake this adventure. God has already prepared so many things along the way, the biggest being that a CrossWorld missionary in the DR offered to pick us up at the airport and get us to a hotel, and then to the Embassy the next day. Since none of us speak Spanish, that is going to be a huge help. We praise God for the way He's prepared things for us so far, and ask you to pray for safety as we travel. Please remember Linda's health in your prayers as well. She caught a virus that's been going around, and is really not feeling well at all. It's difficult for her to travel at any time, so with her being sick, you can imagine how much more difficult it is to travel.

Thank you so much for your support, your encouragement, and your prayers. Please continue to lift us up before the Father, especially asking for His provision for our needs, for growth in our lives, and that we'd be examples of His love to those around us. God bless!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Graduation & Mother's Day

Those two activities are going to keep us very busy this coming weekend. Sunday is Mother's day, here in Haiti, and we plan on having an afternoon party for all of our female staff members, who work hard at being surrogate "mom's" to all of our kids here at the HOH.

Sunday is also the day one of our girls, Angie will be graduating. She has worked hard to be amongst the top of her class, and we are very proud of her. Together with her mom, we are planning a graduation party for Saturday night, and then the graduation on Sunday. In mid July Angie will be traveling to the US to have surgery on her back for scoliosis. We are thankful that God has provided this opportunity for Angie to have this surgery, and know that He will continue to be her strength as she has many months of recovery ahead of her. Please keep Angie in your prayers, as she travels, and stays in the Philadelphia area for her surgery and recovery time.

Somehow the month of May has flown right by, and is almost over. We were happy to receive a fellow CrossWorld missionary from Quebec last week, as he came by to visit the HOH. Then I found out at the end of the week that I was to be in Port-au-Prince for a meeting this week. So, after scrambling a bit to make plans, I did head off to PAP. I was there for two days this week, and was able to at least get some of my Haitian Government paperwork finished. It was good to visit with different missionaries and friends there in Port, but as always, it was so good to get home again.

Some of our technical problems have been fixed. We ended up needing to purchase a new inverter in order to have more electricity in the office and in some other places around the HOH. The old inverter had been fixed so many times, we figured it was time to just let it go and get a new one. Then we had to purchase new batteries to run both of our inverters. We are still working on getting them here to the HOH, they are a little harder to move than the inverter, so hopefully sometime next week we'll have all of our new equipement here, and we'll be ready to have electricity once again at night. It is an important time of the year, as our students are studying hard for exams, so having electricity at nights really helps them be able to study.

We ended most of our Bible studies this past week anticipating all the upcoming exams, and summer activities. We had a good time learning God's Word together this year, and I am already preparing for what we will study this coming fall. Please continue to pray for spiritual growth in our lives, that we'd all be lights in the community where God has places us, and that we'd reflect His love to those around us.

We continue to have trouble with our running water system. While there's not a lot we the HOH can do to fix the current system (which is part of the hospital that we are connected to), we are experiencing the joy of God providing for our needs when we need them.

One day one of our neighbors gave us over 500 gallons of water from their cistern. What a gift that was! It was like a party as everyone got involved in filling up every available bucket and drum. So we are still being reminded of how hard it is for others around us to find their daily water needs, and if we are ever tempted to complain, we just remind each other that we are usually very fortunate to have water readily available when others around us have to go without. We all need practical lessons on gratitude every now and then!

This coming week, God willing, I will be heading back to Port-au-Prince. A number of months ago, we had asked you to pray for Aline, our little 8 year old girl who is having so many medical problems, we just don't know what to do for her. At first, she started to do a little better, but lately, she is just getting worse. The doctors have asked us to take her to PAP to try and get some tests done that can only be done there. As you can imagine, it's is a huge undertaking to do something like this, and I would appreciate your prayers as we try and see several doctors in PAP concerning her case. We have flight reservations for Wednesday afternoon, and hope to see the first doctor on Thursday morning. We are so thankful for our friends the Boucher family who are willing to have us come and stay with them, and willing to get us to/from different appointments. Please pray for peace and calm in PAP as we have a lot of places to go to see the doctors, and some of them are right down town. Pray for safety as we travel, and pray that we would be able to find some results to the tests that we have done. Pray that the doctors would be able to figure out something we can do to help this sweet little girl recover from what is causing her to be so sick.

With all the latest events that have been happening at the HOH I haven't had any time to work on getting any farther with Linda's UK visa. We haven't given up on this, and are actually at a bit of a standstill as we wait for her Passport to be renewed. We'd appreciate your continued prayers for us as we work through this process.

One last prayer request we have for you is for a seminar I plan on attending in Portland, OR this coming July. It is at the WorldView Center, and the goal of the seminar is to help us develop a holistic view of mission work that ties together our abiding in the life of the Lord, our understanding of the people we are sent to, and the tools that can help us better serve as Jesus'
ambassadors. There are a number of us who are serving the Lord here in Haiti who will be attending this seminar this summer, and we'd like you to pray for us, as we seek to learn how to better serve the Lord, and make disciples in the country of Haiti.

Once again, God has provided for our needs in incredible ways these past few weeks, and we thank him for that. Thank you so much for praying for us, for supporting us, and for partnering together with us in this special ministry.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I know this is way overdue! No matter how good my intentions are to update the blog while I'm traveling in the US, it just never seems to happen! I did have a very good trip, a great vacation with family, some profitable HOH shopping time in the US, and a very good retreat with the other CrossWorld Haiti missionaries at the beach outside of Port-au-Prince. It's been quite a few years since I've been to the beaches and I'd forgotten how absolutely beautiful it is. I'm adding a few pictures of the sunset one night, so you can all enjoy it from afar...especially those of you still in colder climates!

It was just beautiful, and we had a very relaxing time; as well as a great time of learning from God's Word together.

You can just imagine, however, that I was more than ready to get back to the HOH. I received a royal welcome, especially from my two special little girls. They were waiting impatiently, and had been asking Linda every 5 minutes since they woke up if Jenny wasn't back yet. Here they are, Lala and Nani, both are doing great. Nani is a little hurricane, somehow managing to be everywhere and into everything at the same time. I could hardly get her to stand still long enough to take the picture! Who wouldn't be excited to get back to these precious little ones?

The HOH has had a tough time of it during my absence. Continually rising food costs, made it hard to make ends meet financially. Added to that constant stress was the breakdown of the water pump at the hospital that is our source of water. In late March the pump broke, and they had to go 9 days without water. Imagine trying to take care of a household of 80+ with no water! But they's amazing what you can do without when push comes to shove! A team came and fixed the pump, but told the hospital it was a very temporary fix. And they were right! The day I arrived, the pump broke again, and we were once again spending huge amounts of our day trying to find water wherever we could. Thankfully it rained for several of those days, so we were able to fix up make-shift rain gutters to catch as much rain as we could to use for bathing and cooking. All evening on Sunday our young people and kids carried water from wherever they could find it in the neighborhood, including a spring of water down by the ocean. Just as we stopped for the night, it started to rain! We had to laugh at the timing! While it was a lot of hard work, it was good for them to be reminded of what most children in Haiti go through everyday to get a bit of water for the household needs.

The hospital was able to connect into the government water pipes that go by the front of our property just yesterday, and since late yesterday afternoon we've finally had some water come through the pipes. The government source is a very iffy source of water, you never know when you'll get it or not, but we hope and pray they'll be able to fix or replace the hospital pump that would enable us to have a more reliable way of receiving water.

There were numerous new admissions while I was away, most notably a new baby boy. Erick was 1 month old but only weighed 4 pounds when they brought him to the HOH. His mom was extremely ill, and she has since passed away. He is doing much better himself and is thriving under the care of our nurses. I realize this is a not a very flattering picture of little Erick, but I can't seem to get a good one of him! He is either crying or sleeping! This will have to suffice until I manage a better one.

Life continues on as "normal" at the HOH these days. The "Our Hope" students are working hard as the end of the school year is fast approaching, and with it final exams. The younger kids are enjoying their school teacher Mlle Vitania, who comes and works with them 4 mornings a week. Our Bible studies have started up again, and we hope to finish "God's plan for the family" before summer vacation. We finished the study on "Who God is" before I left for vacation, so I am busy trying to figure out what our next studies are going to be. I could use your prayers as I consider what to teach our young people next.

We had asked you to pray for the "Peacemaker" seminar that we held with the kids during Easter break. We had a great week of studying the Bible together, and learning methods to put God's principles into practice in our lives. The kids and young people were very attentive, and from my perspective learned a lot. As Linda and I reflect on the past year since we started these seminars, we can see a huge decrease in the number of interpersonal problems among the kids here, so we know they are using the principles they've learned through this series. Thank you for praying!

We are pleased to say that the shipping company that has for years brought supplies to us from Miami is going to continue to function, at least for the present moment. Thank you to all of you who prayed for a solution to this shipping problem that we had. We don't know for how long they will continue, but for now we are thankful that they are willing to do so, and will gratefully receive all we can this way. If you'd like to help out by collecting and shipping things to us via Miami, feel free to get in touch with me and I'll let you know what's needed, and how to send it.

We continue to thank God for his faithful provision for our needs, and ask you to pray that He would continue to do so. Over the next couple of weeks I am going to be working at trying to get a visa for Linda to visit the UK later this year. We'd appreciate your prayers as we navigate this very difficult process, and that it would work out for us to be able to go visit with and report to the many supporters we have in the UK. They have supported this work for so many years, through the Hands of Hope charity, and we've never been able to go visit them. We hope to make it this year!

Once again, thank you for your support, and your prayers on our behalf. Now that things are settling down I hope the next update isn't as long in coming as this one has been!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Our "Better late then Never" Christmas Party

That's right, we finally had it! The kids spent a lot of time debating as to call it a late Christmas party, or an early Easter party. In the end it was a late Christmas, they sang carols, had a great time, and finally received their gifts. They have been a patient bunch, and were all very excited about the toys and gifts that had been sent to them. Phanor's smile pretty much tells it all, there were a lot of smiles around here on Thursday night!

I'm sure you've figured it out by now, Linda and I had a safe trip to and from Port au Prince. We thank God that she received a Visa to visit the US that's good for the next 5 years, so we don't have to go through that hassle again for a while! We had a really nice time staying with our friends the Boucher family, and even had the chance to rest a bit the Saturday we were there. We needed that!

The kids faired well without us, but you can imagine, they were very happy to have us come home on Sunday afternoon. They always say the house is so quiet when we are gone...we can't figure that one out, because they are the ones who make all the noise when we are here!

This round of exams are finished, and the kids have a short vacation from school for Easter. We started our seminar on the Peacemaker series last night, and we'll be studying these principles from the Bible over the next five days. We could really use your prayers: for me as I teach them, and for the 50 or so people here taking the seminar. Pray that God would use His Word to really speak to our hearts, and to help us learn how to resolve conflict in our lives in a Biblical way.

It might be a little while until our next update, as I leave Haiti as soon as the seminar is finished (next Thursday). I'll be in the US for several weeks. I know Linda would appreciate your prayers as she holds the fort down here while I'm gone. She also will be traveling the end of April to attend her cousin's wedding back in her home town. She will be receiving a team of dentist while I am away from March 29-April 6, please pray for her as she will be working hard translating for them, and generally running the clinic.

For those of you who know our kids specifically, Ronel (he was our oldest boy until he moved out on his own 2 years ago, he remains close to the HOH, and continues to help us take care of our maintenance needs), will be getting married on April 12. He is marrying a very nice girl named Wilmide, and would appreciate your prayers for him during this preparation time, and also for his new life together with his wife.

Thank you for praying for Aline, she is doing much better, please continue to pray for her, as well as three other young children who have recently been admitted with severe malnutrition. Their moms are staying here with them.

Here are just a few more pictures of the Christmas party smiles for you to enjoy. Thank you so much for your prayers...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Real Quick

Linda and I are heading out the door to the airport in Port-de-Paix heading for Port-au-Prince. It's been a while since I've written so I wanted to just put out a really quick update. Here are some things that have been keeping us busy these past weeks...
  • We enjoyed having a team here from Calvary Bible church in E. Stroudsburg, PA. They were such a help in doing many jobs here at the HOH and at the hospital. They also had a number of young people on the team this year, and it was great for our young people to spend time with them. Everyone had a great time, and it was a blessing to have them here.
  • After that team left, we were happy to have Jeb and Gail Bland here for several days. It's always a great encouragement for us all to have them visit. They brought us a special gift of a very nice printer, which will be a huge help. Especially as I'll need to print out the student work books for our upcoming Peacemaker lessons.
  • The boat came in, and while they are still having lots of trouble, we are slowly receiving boxes of things that were sent to us months ago. Some of the Christmas gifts have arrived! So perhaps next week we'll get some time to have a small party and pass out the gifts. One gift that was sent was a beautiful red wagon, you can see in this picture the kids are enjoying it immensely. Please pray that we'd be able to receive the rest of the things on the boat without too much difficulty.
  • Praise the Lord! I managed to finish everything on the translation and putting together of the Young Peacemaker lessons, and now I'll spend some time studying it all and getting ready to have the seminar on March 14-19.
  • We were able to get a prayer letter written and put together thanks to many people who put their hands together to help us. Those of you who receive them via snail mail should get them soon, those who get them via e-mail, they'll be on the way as soon as it gets posted on the internet.
  • Aline the little girl we asked you to pray for last time is slowly starting to improve. She got really bad there for a little while, but I think we are at last heading in the right direction. Please continue to pray for her, and for the staff taking care of her, she has special diets and health care needs that require a lot of extra time and attention.
  • Our students are right in the middle of exams. Everyone is studying hard trying to improve their marks, so we would really appreciate your prayers on their behalf.
  • As I mentioned before Linda and I are heading to PAP for the weekend. Linda has an appointment at the US Embassy to renew her US visa so she can travel. We are slowly working through all the steps we need to take in order for her and I to be able to travel this coming summer. We'd appreciate your prayers as we travel, and that all would go well at the appointment. Pray too for the HOH in our absence.
Well, that about sums up our lives lately. It has been hectic, but we have accomplished a lot. We appreciate your prayers for us...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pure Joy!

Greetings to all of you! Thank you so much for your prayers for us during Carnival week. We had a great time receiving young people (and even some adults) from the local community into our home for a time to relax, have fun, and see Jesus in us. (you can see a group of them in our classroom enjoying a movie). All of our kids and young people worked very hard, and also had a good time themselves. It was a great chance for them to serve others around them, and see how much they could accomplish in a day when they all work together! We were struck by the incredible need there is for someone to work with these young people in our community, and our heads are already working to see in what way we can be a part of that. Pray for us as we seek ways to influence these young people for Christ.

The past few days have been at the same time difficult and encouraging. Encouraging because in the midst of difficulties we can see God working in the hearts and lives of our young people. Difficult because our adversary is working just as hard to get them to make bad choices in their lives, and some of them have and are choosing bad over good. Please pray for us as we seek wisdom to deal with the different situations that arise every day, and also for patience as we deal with some tough choices they have made.

I've been memorizing James 1 lately, it's kinda perfect for right now..."consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." There sure are many kinds of trials, and we appreciate your prayers as we face some of them these days. We do consider it pure joy to be here serving the Lord in this special place. And we are so thankful for God's working in each of our lives, as we seek to know Him better.

Health wise the kids are doing pretty good, we have not had any new admissions lately. We do have one little girl we'd ask you to pray about. Aline is an eight year old girl who has been at the HOH for a number of months now, but has not made any progress. She came in extremely malnourished, and is still in that state, despite all that has been done to try and help her. This week the Dr. decided to try and see if she has Celiac disease, and she has been put on a very restricted diet as a last ditch effort to try and bring her around. She is just the sweetest little thing in the world, and so patiently accepts all her health troubles, without ever complaining. Please pray for her and for her health.

Please also continue to pray for the Peacemaker lessons I am getting ready to teach in March. I have finished the translation, Linda has almost finished typing them, and I am now working getting the lessons ready to teach, and for the workbook the kids will have as I teach.

We appreciate you and your prayers on our behalf. Continue to pray for God's provision of all of our needs, and praise Him with us for His daily provision. In our family devotions at night, one of things the kids always thank God for is the fact that they were able to eat during the day, when they know so many around them didn't have that opportunity. It sure makes you thankful for every little thing you have. There is an incredible hunger/famine going through parts of Haiti, we are indeed blessed to have what we need every day. Thank you for praying for us and supporting us in this way. God bless you all.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

We are still here!

The past few weeks have been packed full of activity. For two weeks we enjoyed having a group of 9 people here from the Seattle area (and one from Il.). They come every year, and as always, were so helpful during their time here. They come with the intention of fixing as much as they can, and making our lives much more bearable during the rest of the year. They certainly fulfilled that once again this year. The fixed many leaking roofs, and other problems we had during the rain. The put in all the electricity in the new building, and helped with many computer networking and internet problems. And also fixed up our vehicles for another year of rough muddy roads! I'm sure there's much more they did, that I've forgotten to write down!

Things are going well here at the house. We are thanking God so much for the full time nurses that have made Linda and my jobs so much easier. Especially as we had some extremely ill children be admitted during the past couple of weeks. Most of them are doing much better, some have returned home, unfortunately, one little girl passed away after several days of much struggling here at the HOH.

While I have told some people this news already, we are pleased to announce that Ciliana (the 1.8 pound preemie we've received back in December 2006) finally tested negative for HIV! Praise the Lord with us. We've had so much fun rejoicing with her. Everyone who comes by the HOH has to pick her up and dance with her in their arms. She had no idea what was going on, but she sure enjoyed the attention. It almost feels like she does realize something has happened because since that day, she has really had a spurt in her growth and development! You can see her here starting to take her first steps unassisted! We praise God for her, and are so thrilled to have her as a part of our lives. We can't wait to see what He is going to do with her in the future! But for now, we are enjoying the little changes that happen every day.

This coming week our students have a week of vacation as it is Haiti's Carnival week. They have been busy planning two days of fun for the young people in our town. We did this last year and it was well received, so we plan on doing it again this year. There isn't much for young people to do when they are on vacation from school, and so many just end up getting into trouble. We hope to use this as a method to reach out to them, have a chance to share Jesus with them, and also to allow them some time to relax and have fun. St. Germain, our resident event coordinator, is spearheading this event, and it will take place Feb. 3-4. That gives us the whole weekend to prepare for it, and from what I hear we are going to need every bit of it!

We have started up our Bible studies again, after having stopped them over the Christmas holidays. It's been good to be back into studying the Word together again. It is exciting to see God working in the hearts of our young people, calling them to present themselves as "living sacrifices". Please keep them in your prayers. There are so many temptations and bad influences around them. Pray that they'd be open to the Lord's working in their lives, and willing to be different from their peers, in order to allow His working to be displayed in their lives.

Linda has had a bit of trouble with her health again, and it's becoming more and more evident that she has diabetes, she is on a very low dose of medication, and seems to be doing better than she was. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors, and willingness on her part to keep up with a healthier diet and with the medication

God has heard your prayers concerning the need for more financial support for the HOH. While we have received an increase over the past few months in support coming in, we still need more, and ask you to please continue to pray for Him to supply the things that we need.

We would also ask you to pray concerning the shipping of things into Haiti. The shipping company we've used over the years is threatening to close up shop. I talked to the owner last week, and he told me he might rethink his decision to close down, if all goes well on this next boat load that he is bringing in. He wants to come into Haiti the beginning of Feb. So, I'd ask that you pray that all goes well, and that this shipping company would not shut down. It is such a vital link for us to receive donated supplies, most particularly clothes for the kids. We can't even begin to process what it will mean for us if we have to start looking for clothing to buy here in Haiti, the time and cost involved in that will be huge. So please pray with us, that the shipping company will still make runs, and if not that God would open up other options for us to receive the things we need to make the HOH run.

One last request I'd like to share at this time, is for me as I am trying to finish up translating, and preparing the second half of the Young Peacemaker's course. Last year over Spring break we taught the first half to the young people and children here at the HOH, and the principles they learned in the course have been life changing for them. This year we hope to finish the rest of the course. The only problem is that I'm finding it very difficult to find the time needed to translate and prepare the lessons. The date is set for the 14th to the 19th of March, so please pray that I would be wise in how I spend my time, and also that I would have a clear mind and health to do the work, and have it done in time for the seminar mid-March. In preparation for the second half of the course, the young people themselves are doing revisions of last year's lessons each night during our family devotions. It's interesting to re-hear the course, but this time from their perspective.

Thank you so much for holding us up in your prayers. You are an important part of this ministry, and we thank God for each and every one of you.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Home Again

Happy New Year to all of you! The years just seem to fly right on by, and if the first week and a half of this on is any indication of how fast this one will go by, we are in for a major roller-coaster ride!

Well I know some of you are itching for news on how our trip went, and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I'd take you on a bit of a picture essay of our trip. We left of Friday morning at 4 AM, or I should say we were packed and ready to go, but the driver for the kid's vehicle didn't show up until 5. We arrived at Linda's families village at around 3 so it took about 10 hours to go the approximately 100 mile distance between the HOH and her village.

7 of us including Lala, Nani, Oliana, Linda and I rode in Linda's vehicle. We took the drive much slower than the other vehicle that had all the other kids. We also got stopped by the police for not having the correct paperwork, which was the correct paperwork for our section of Haiti, but when we went over into their section they wanted different paperwork. So we spent some time at the local jail getting it all sorted out! The kid's vehicle as it turned out didn't have any paperwork at all...and they went right through the police screening! Go figure!

The kids rode on the back of a truck. Needless to say their trip was much rougher than ours, with all the sun, rain, mud, dust, suitcases, food, hard benches, squished in like sardines...but they sure had a great time! A friend of ours found the truck for us, and convinced the driver to take us there and back for a very reasonable fee, half of what other people were asking us, so we thank God for working it out for us that way. It was very nice for them to all be able to travel in one vehicle.

We were welcomed into Bayeux, Linda's village with open arms. We (all 35 of us) stayed at her mom's home. Where she already had a number of grandchildren and relatives staying for the holidays, some days we were close to 50, but in true Haitian fashion, there was always room for everyone, especially if you didn't mind where you slept for the night! With so many people in each room, it was sometimes difficult to get everyone to quiet down and sleep at night, but it was great for bonding together, which was one of the biggest blessings that came out of our trip. Even though they all live here at the HOH in a similar setting, there was just something about being in a different place that just caused relationships to grow deeper, and everyone was able to get to know each other better. It was amazing to experience the hospitality of the entire village as family members and non relatives alike brought us sugar cane, grapefruit, coconuts, and sweet oranges by the wheelbarrow full. They also gave us home grown rice (yummy!) and several goats were also provided for special meals. We were all made to feel right at home.We had the chance to spend a day at the beach (which just happens to be a beautiful part of Linda's families property located a few miles outside of the main village!), and it was really a lot a fun...

Thanks to St. Germain, Lala learned not to be scared of the big waves.

She also helped some of the older kids bury Jn Daniel in the sand.

Nani decided she preferred shade to sun, and sand to big waves!

The boys took a trip one day into Cap Haitian, the closest city to where we were. They enjoyed seeing some different sites there, such as National monuments, and town squares.

Meanwhile the girls got to some really fun things too, like...
cooking the food

and, washing the sheets and clothes in the local river!

Of course there were a few inconvenient things that happened on the trip like... running out of gas (and yes we know for all you diesel mechanics out there that is a very bad thing to do),

and getting the car stuck in the river!

Of course it wasn't too much fun for the kids driving through very cold weather through the mountains on the way home either. I pulled out my thermometer to see just how cold it was, and it was all of 72°F (or around 22° C). I guess it's all relative to what you are used to, I was surprisingly very cold myself! Since we are usually in the mid 80's to mid 90's most of the year, that dip into the 70's was quite a shock to our systems!

All in all, however it was a really great trip, and we are so thankful for God's provision for us to be able to make it together. Some of these kids had never been on a vacation of any kind before, so it was a really neat experience for them.

Now it's back to work, however. The students are all back in school, our Bible studies have started again, and we are looking forward to a number of visitors and visiting teams over the next few weeks. Things went smoothly here at the HOH in our absence, and in spite of several very stressful times since being back, we are working our way through them, and thank God for his faithfulness towards us.

Thank you so much for your prayers for us. Please continue to pray for the sick children we have here, as well as for God's provision for our needs, both financially, and materially. Pray also for each of our spiritual growth as we daily have opportunities to live out our faith in a very dark environment. Blessings on you all!