Thursday, June 18, 2009

HOH Kids - 1: Very big fish - 0

School is quickly coming to an end. To celebrate we decided to take the kids to the beach. A man we know here in La Pointe has a beach on his property about 2 miles down the road, and he told us we could bring the kids down anytime we wanted, so we decided to take him up on the offer. After playing a quick game of "how many kids can you fit in the back of a Land Cruiser", we arrived at the location ready for a great day at the beach.

Pretty much the moment we arrived it started raining, and it kept raining for the whole next week! So much for me thinking I wasn't going to get wet at the beach. The kids and Linda were not going to let a little rain deter them, however, and they had a great time playing in the water. It did get a bit cold though with the rain coming down, and several had come to complain that they were freezing. We told them to try running around a bit to warm up when God sent us some entertainment that made everyone a whole lot warmer.

Somehow the word "Shark", screamed out by several kids while you are at the beach seems to get your blood going. We scanned the waters to try and see what they saw, and sure enough down the beach a little ways we could see a dorsal fin sticking out of the water, swimming uncomfortably close to the water's edge. I didn't know we had sharks in our waters around here, and it turns out it wasn't really a shark, but we didn't hesitate to get all the kids out of the water as quickly as we could.

In my "American/Canadian" mindset I'm thinking, ok that's it, no more kids in the water until this thing goes away...silly me, what was I thinking. Everyone else in the HOH was thinking, "Yeah, there's supper!". And as if set up by a synchronized timer all the older kids took off running down the beach towards where the "big fish" was swimming. My mind went off again, 'this isn't good, someone is going to get hurt', but their minds were pretty fixed on supper. Armed with nothing but rocks the kids lined up on the shoreline and started using the rocks to scare the fish onto the beach. Soon after a few well aimed rocks stunned fish, they jumped in the water, wrestled around with it, and soon had the fish in their custody. Who would have thought that? Here you can see the mob coming back down the beach rejoicing at their catch. (The group in the bottom left hand corner of the picture are carrying the fish. )

And just what was their catch?

It was a 5 foot swordfish type was amazing. Fishermen from the area started showing up, and were totally in awe. They'd seen the fish show up there for days, and had been trying to catch it, but hadn't been successful. They kept saying how we must be very blessed people for God to give us such a gift. Of course, then they suggested that we probably would be wise to share that blessing with everyone else in the area!

Our friend Mithou got a machete, and boy let me tell you, what a woman! She just cleaned that fish right up, while at the same time Linda and her kept watching the crowd that was rapidly expanding, trying to keep up with who in the crowd we needed to give some of the fish to. By the time we got the fish all cleaned, the crowd was so thick we could hardly see our kids, and everyone wanted a piece of the fish. So in the end we had to call our beach day over, so we could get at least part of the spoils back home with us.

It was a great experience, and made for a really great day. When we got home we had the chance to cut up the fish, and many people both at the HOH and in our surrounding community were able to eat off of the meat we got from the fish. It really was a blessing and a gift from God, and people in the area are still are talking about it!

There have been quite a few other events that have happened in our local community during the past couple of weeks, that clearly remind us that we live in a fallen world, and have helped us remember our responsibility to be witnesses of light to this needy place. One incident that affected us greatly happened to the family of one of the boys who attends our Bible club. His father was killed in a fight, and then in retribution a mob attacked, tortured and killed the man who killed him. It all happened one evening here in our little town, and as the streets where dangerous our yard started filling up with neighbors and friends trying to find a calm place. Many young people from the community showed up, and as we listened to the mob raging on the road, everyone started sharing their own opinion about what was happening. This gave Linda and I the chance to talk to many of them about what God opinion was about all of this, and more specifically what he says about taking revenge. This talk led to a lot of other topics, and in the midst of a very terrible event we were able to share God's truth with a lot of young people from this area.

So we ask that you continue to pray for us as we seek to use every opportunity we get to share God's truth with those we come in contact with. Pray as we start to prepare the "Peacemaker" course for the young men in the community. 25 of the HOH young people have offered to help me teach this course, so we are revamping it so that they can do some of the lessons and teaching. We are looking forward to what God is going to do in the lives of the young people as they learn these Biblical principles for dealing with conflict, very fitting in light of what happened.

We do appreciate your prayers and support very much, and have one other specific prayer request we'd like to share with you our partners in ministry. We've had some trouble with money we were supposed to have received at the bank, and the end result is that we are extremely low on funds right now. It is very good for us to have our faith stretched to really depend on our Heavenly Father to take care of all of our needs (like he provided supper from the beach). But we'd ask that you pray for us and ask Him to do just that...provide for our needs, and also grow our faith as we wait on Him. Thank you for partnering with us in this way! And God bless...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Moms and the Wii

This past weekend was Mother's Day here in Haiti, and as usual, our kids had a great time celebrating it. At least half of the kids here have lost their moms, so maybe that's what makes it such an emotionally charged Sunday morning service as the kids sing with all their might all the official "Mother's Day" songs. Linda and I are always humbled as they pour out their love on us for being their "fill-in" moms, and we both received a picture frame and a plaque as a Mother's Day gift, as well as a very yummy special afternoon meal. It really was a special day together here with our "improvised" family. Sorry I was too busy enjoying it to take any pictures.

Last week we celebrated the "home-going" of a former House of Hope mom & employee. Mme Merzilien passed away at an age I can't even imagine reaching, she was 105 years old! She worked for almost 30 years here at the HOH taking care of children in need, and one of her daughters followed her in this work and for many years as well. She has numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren who live in our village, one grandchild is a good friend of ours. She is known for being a joyful, caring lady, and while we know she is much better off now, she will be missed greatly.

Well, I guess it was bound to happen at some time, but in the past couple of weeks something new was introduced here at the HOH. A youth group from a church in Alberta, Canada decided they wanted to raise money to purchase a Wii for the HOH. They worked on it for a couple of months, and we just recently received it. So we are now part of the Wii players of the world. I can't tell you how much fun the kids have had with this game. Their two favorites so far are boxing and motorcycle racing, not that they actually get much of a chance to actually have a favorite. With over 100 people vying for a chance to play, and only 2 people playing at a time, it takes quite a while before your chance comes around again! We've only pulled it out twice, because I, as the official "Wii Coach/Referee" only have so much is quite an exhausting task! But as you can see in the picture of Baslet & Chedlyn, the kids are having a blast with it, and so we say a big thank you to the youths in Canada who thought of getting this gift for us.

If you should pop by the HOH during the evenings these days, you'll probably feel like you've entered into a three-ring circus. While our actual numbers have gone down to around 90 kids, many other kids from our community are preparing for their final exams. Because we have electricity, they come here to study, and it can get quite crazy around here after a while. But if you remember from the last blog, everyone starts writing exams soon, and the government exams will start towards the end of June, so please keep praying for them to work hard, study well, and be examples as they write their exams.

I learned during the last Boys Club we had with the community boys that 6 of them have come to know Jesus as their Savior since the club started! What a joy it was to hear that and watch them stand up to give testimony to that during the last club of the season. We look forward to studying the Peacemaker series with them during the month of August.

I am studying an online course throughout the month of June. It's called "Foundations and Principles of Holistic Ministry" through the Chalmer Center for Economic Development. So far I've learned a lot, and have been able to keep up with the work load (it only started two days ago), in spite of faces like this popping out of my desk every now and again! It's amazing I get anything done at all!

We continue to have our family devotions in the evenings, and lately have started sharing with each other how the Bible was "alive" for us in any given day. Our hope is to encourage them to read their Bibles on a daily basis, and look for ways it impacts their lives and the lives of those around them. Pray for growth in all of our lives as we seek to become more like Jesus, and then seek to witness Him to those around us.

We continue to appreciate your prayers and support very much, and are so thankful for so many people holding us up before our Father. He is so patient and kind, and He cares for us so completely. Thanks for your part in this ministry.