Friday, February 27, 2009

Time for an update!

A great big tropical hello to everyone! These have been beautiful days, not too hot, not too cool; a mix of rain and sun, vacation from school, and much activity here at the HOH. Our numbers got up to a whopping 98 this week, two have since returned to their homes, and another has come, so we are now sitting at 97 kids! I don't think I need to say it, but I will anyway, it's a bit wild and crazy around here!
Most of the kids coming in have severe malnutrition like Jameson who just arrived today. It's sad but with all the nutrition programs being run throughout Haiti today, they only want to treat the ones with severe malnutrition. That means that when children like Jameson come to the hospitals or clinics to be treated before they are gravely ill, they are sent away with no nutritional help at all. Two to three weeks later they are severely malnourished and on the verge of death, and that's when we get them at the HOH. We usually find out quickly which way they are going to go, and in all reality they don't spend a lot of time here. It usually only takes a couple of weeks of treatment for them to be healthy again, and for most of the children we receive that is the way things turn out. For the few who don't make it, they are only at the HOH for a matter of days, if even that before they pass away. It is a frustrating reality these days, and while we wish it wasn't so, we are so thankful that we are here to receive these little ones in their time of need. We are even more thankful for all of you who enable us to give them hope.

We have had a very busy month of February, full of activity. We've had visitors or teams every day, except for 4, during this month. We enjoyed the team from East Stroudsburg, PA. They were a great encouragement to us, and helped with numerous projects around the HOH and especially at the hospital. Of course it was great having our good friend Bonita and her family here for a few days, and also the men from Wisconsin with Doug Anderson. The few days they were here were days of great encouragement for us, and we appreciated the times of sharing and prayer we were able to have together.

One of our dogs gave birth to 8 puppies, adding greatly to the general population of the HOH. Thankfully many people in our area wanted the pups and we were able to get rid of them quite quickly, but before they found homes the pups endured many hours being "loved" by the kids here at the HOH. No one "loved" them more than Nani, she was constantly carrying them around, and amazingly they never seemed to mind.

The young people of the HOH planned a Valentines party for the evening of the 14th. We enjoyed a nice evening playing games, and just spending time with each other. It was nice that it was Ernst' birthday that day too...we love reasons to have a party around here!

Our friends from Simcoe, ON have been here for a week now. They always bring a lot of excitement to the HOH, as I'm writing this update they are teaching the kids to play floor hockey in our hallway! They've brought an activity for every day including sewing projects, a number of the girls have learned to sew cloth diapers for us to use. Other fun things they've been doing with the kids is hand painting, face painting (see Jn Mary's lovely face in the picture!) lots of toys and fun games. Since the kids have been on vacation from school it's been great having activities to keep them busy, and let them enjoy themselves. The Simcoe crew hasn't only brought along fun and games, they've also brought some good times of learning and fellowship. Last night their team leader, Wally, spoke to the kids in our family devotions. He talked about how they are lights in our community here in Haiti, and how they needed to shine brightly for the glory of God. To illustrate his point he passed out flashlights to each of us, and turned off the lights and turned on the flashlights and sang "This little light of mine". It was a special time of remembering how we are to be lights to those around us, and it was great time of fellowship with our friends from Canada!

The reason the kids have been off school is because it's "Carnival" week here in Haiti. For two days this past week we opened up the HOH to the kids in the community to come and have some "fun days", we set things up almost like fair, there was games, movies, music, food and lots of fun. At times there were well over 100 people here at a time (not counting our 98!). All of the boys who are involved in our Saturday Bible club were here (you can see them playing dominoes in this picture), as well as a number of employees from the hospital, and other people from our community. Everyone was able to find something to enjoy themselves, and we were proud of our young people for their hard work in pulling off these fun days. Once again St. Germain did the bulk of the planning and organizing for the day, he really has a talent for these types of things.

In spite of all the other ativity, I've been able to get a few office/administrative type things accomplished, the biggest of which was a new prayer card for the HOH. It only took me about 40 tries to get the picture that we wanted, mostly because my subject (Lala, who will turn 4 in a month, can you believe it!) has really turned into quite the little ham (this is one of the pictures we had to scrap as she struck this pose right as I clicked the picture!). I did finally get one we liked however, but you'll have to wait to see the finished product...

I'm hoping to get a prayer letter written in the next couple of days, and also a new presentation as I'll be speaking at a missions conference at the Miami Shores Presbyterian Church during the weekend of March 5-8th. So you can keep me in your prayers as I try to get a lot done, in the midst of some already very busy days.

There's lots more I could write about, like Max who turned 1, learned to stand and then promptly broke his leg all within a few days of each other!

Or, Altagrace, who after more than 4 years of sitting in a wheelchair unable to use her legs has actually starting to walk using a walker...who would have thought this day would ever come? You'll be hearing more about this in the future!

But they've taken the power, the hockey game is winding down, and our afternoon meal is really starting to smell good, so I best get moving. It's been fun going through a recap of life here over the past few weeks with you though...

We'd appreciate your prayers as we continue to grow, shine and reflect Christ to those around us. Please pray for all the travel that's coming up over the next week and a bit, the team taht's here will be leaving, another group of visitors will be coming, then I'm leaving for Miami. I'll be back in Haiti on the 10th of March, Lord willing. Pray for a good time at the mission's conference, and if any of you live in that area and want to come and hear the presentation, and visit with me, please contact the church for more details. Pray too that God, who is faithful, would supply all of our needs during these days as we receive more and more kids needing our help.

One last thing. Some of you have written questions or requests in the comment option on this blog. The only problem with that is that it doesn't give me a way to get back in touch with you, so if you'd like to write me an e-mail asking your questions feel free to do so at:

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Off and running in the New Year...

It hardly seems like a new year anymore. The way this year is flying by it'll be over before we know it!

The new year started for us with full schedule of visitors and visiting teams. The whole months of January and February were and are completely occupied with visitors, including every single day of the month of February! I'm not sure what it takes to become an official travel agent/tour guide but if hours put into making travel arrangements count for anything I must be close! We do enjoy these teams and visitors however, and look forward to the ones still on their way here.

The team from Snohomish, WA was here for two weeks starting mid January. As usual, they fixed tons of things around the HOH and also the hospital and various campuses. We so appreciate these guys who come back every year, and work so hard to get everything in fixed and in order again. They always find things to fix, usually things I didn't even know needed it! This year we were able to take a trip with them out to Bayeaux (outside of Cap Haitian) where Linda's mom lives. It was an interesting trip, as it was the first for me to go by motor boat around parts of the North coast where the road isn't passable. Going there wasn't so bad, but coming back the waves were huge, and the captain not quite as good, and most everyone got a good case of sea sickness! We were all quite happy to get our feet on solid ground again.

A week and a half later I turned around and went back out again, this time with our friend Jeb. We decided to drive out there on this trip, and about 7 hours later weren't too sure which was worse...I mean we only went about 40 miles up the coast, as a crow flies. Unfortunately, we couldn't take the crow's was either: an hour and a half in a bumpy car over terrible roads followed by an hour in a boat over wavy waters followed by a 10 minute hike then another hour and a half over completely horrible, never before seen so terrible roads; or 7 hours bumping along over terrible roads driving about 100 miles just to get to the town about 40 miles away. I've come to believe that helicopters area a great thing...I guess I don't need to say how sore and tired we were, but they were good trips, and it was good catching up with Linda's family again.

This week we look forward to a group from E. Stroudsburg, PA (they are traveling here as I write). They will be working on a number of projects at the hospital, and also spending time with our kids here at the HOH for a week. Then our good friend Bonita and her family will pop in for a quick visit, followed by a quick visit from Pastor Doug Anderson and some friends. Hopefully I'll get a chance to update you all before the next group comes after that.

Things have been going well at the HOH. We had a bit of a lull in the numbers of children moving through here, allowing us to catch our breath, and catch up on everyone's name. When they are coming and going so quickly it's hard to keep up with everyone! We currently have a total of 91 kids and young people here, most of those being admitted continue to have severe malnutrition. One little six year old girl, Fredeline came in late December swollen from head to toe with a protein deficient form of malnutrition (first picture) - KWASH. Now just over a month later she is doing incredibly well and almost doesn't even look like the same girl (2nd picture). She is a little giggle box, who loves being here and playing with the other children. Her family is amazed at her recovery, and spoke to our staff members about it. They said they would now give testimony that God was here in the House of Hope. They said, "We visited so many witchdoctors, doctors, churches and hospitals with Fredeline, none of them were able to help us. But here, God healed our little girl." This story is repeated countless times over and over again at the HOH, and not everyone gets it, but are we sure glad when they do, because it really is all about Him. God is here and He is working, to Him be all the glory!

What a joy and privilege it is to be God's hands and feet, bringing hope to these precious children. We certainly couldn't do it without all of your help, praying for us and supporting us in the many ways you do. So thank you for helping God's glory be known, in this little corner of the world.

Here are some prayer requests for the next little while (see I do have high hopes of updating you again before too long!):
  • Some of our students didn't do too good on their first semester of school this year. We had a very serious and stern talk with them over the weekend, and they all have renewed their intentions to study hard and get better grades. Pray for them to be faithful in this part of their lives and to make the effort to study hard, and learn the things they need to.
  • Pray for all the traveling of our visitors to and from the HOH. Many are coming and going, so pray that all the logistics would work out, and that they would have safety as they travel here.
  • Pray for the various Bible Studies we continue to do with our young people, the children, and they 60 or so boys from out in the neighborhood. It is really hard for me to find the time to make up all the various Bible Study materials, so pray that when I do find the time that I would be able to use it wisely and be able to stay on task to get the lessons prepared. Pray that God's Word would continue to transform our lives, and to make us more like Jesus every day.
  • The economic troubles all over have affected us here as well. Pray that God would continue to provide for all of our needs, and that He would give us wisdom as to how we can better use the resources He has already given us.
Thanks again for your various means of support. God bless you all.

Monday, February 02, 2009

An update is coming soon...I promise!!

Thanks for your interest in making a donation to the House of Hope. All the information you need in order to do so can be found at . Go to their giving page, and then choose the method you'd like to use. God bless, and keep watching, an update is on the way!