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!