First, a look back. We had asked you to pray for Linda & my trip to the US. Thanks so much for praying, we had an incredible trip. In some ways it was the most stressful trip I've ever taken, as I just kept having one problem with my bank after another. I spent so much time on hold on the phone it was crazy! Then when I finally got through to someone, the security questions they asked me were wild. "10 years ago when you opened this account what was the zip code of the bank where you opened it?" (umm, I'm lucky I can remember what country I was in when I opened that account). At one point I had to ask if they were joking...how are people supposed to remember such things? Gone are the days of asking for your mother's maiden name -- at least that I could always remember.
Anyway in the end, this just made things a lot more hectic for us, and I ended up pulling a few all-nighters to get everything done before we headed back to Haiti. Were we ever relieved to finally get on the plane and shut our eyes for a little sleep. What a time to get bumped up to first class! We were grateful for the extra nice place to sit and sleep for a while, but unfortunately Linda was so exhausted she couldn't even wake herself up to enjoy the first class meal.
Our travels took us to Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Penney Farms, Port St. Lucie, and Miami Shores, as we visited with friends, family and supporters. What wonderful visits we had at each of these places. Every time we finished visiting with one group of people Linda and I would drive on to the next, and all we could talk about was how blessed we were to have such incredible supporters behind us as we serve God in this ministry. It was a very encouraging time for both of us as we met and fellowshipped with some people we've known for years, and with others that we just met. Here I am with one of the newest members of our partner team!
We did get a chance to enjoy a bit of down time, particularly in Port St. Lucie when some friends from PA came down to spend a few days with us. Here's Linda enjoying some Friendly's ice cream. All in all, we are thankful for the great trip we had, and even more thankful for the awesome partners God has given us in this ministry.
Meanwhile, back at the HOH they were waiting for our return. Everyone says life is just boring when we aren't there, they say the HOH is actually quiet. We find that hard to believe, however, as we aren't the ones who make noise when we are here. The HOH is never quiet (well maybe in the wee hours of the morning), but that's what they say. And they were so happy to have us return.
We were also ready to get back, and had been congratulating ourselves on planning our trip so well that we'd be getting back right before the weekend. "This way", we smugly said, "we can rest up from our trip, and start the week out fresh."... Yeah, you can laugh. We do occasionally have random thoughts like that, but as you can imagine with over 90 kids in the home, that didn't happen.
We got in late on Thursday afternoon and on Friday afternoon received a visit from some security guard with an arrest warrant for one of our kids! Uh, what was that again, was exactly our response as the guard stood before us (especially since things are supposed to be so "quiet" at the HOH when we are gone!). Well, after many phone calls and the weekend spent learning the ins and outs of the judicial system of Haiti. In the end, we learned that the warrant wasn't legal, neither was the security guard (good thing we didn't let him take the boy with him!!). The whole issue was over a traffic accident the kids had gotten into; that wasn't their fault and we were able to settle the situation by the time the weekend was over. So this was our welcome back to Haiti weekend!
We celebrated three birthdays this past weekend -- Manno, Lovedine, and Nani all have the same birth date. It's hard to believe that Nani is now 3, here's a picture of both her and Lovedine (who turned 9).
The kids, with St. Germain at the lead, are busy decorating the house for Christmas. This is their favorite time of the year, and the house looks so festive. We are able to use the things my sister and brother in law made for us last year, including the homemade Christmas tree and the stockings. Here's a glimpse of what it looks like...
Now, two weeks after getting back, life is pretty much back to normal. School, studies, Bible lessons, and all these good things. The house is full, there were numerous new kids who came during our absence, and we are still having trouble calling all of them by name (it's harder when you have to learn a group of them at one time instead of just one or two).
The weeks ahead include:
- Several groups of visitors breezing through the HOH, none staying for very long, but we are looking forward to the visits.
- The kids will be writing exams again before school lets out for a bit of a holiday over Christmas and New Year.
- We plan on taking a trip over to Bayeaux, near where the new property for Hope Village is. We will be taking all the kids who eventually will be moving over there with us so they can see the land, and start to familiarize themselves with the people and area. We are also planning on holding a Bible club with the children of the area while we are visiting.
- Both the HOH young people and our Saturday club boys are taking a seminar offered by the Haitian Red Cross on HIV/AIDS. They've completed about half the seminar already and will be completing the rest in the weeks ahead.
Thanks for your support and your patience. I do hope the next update doesn't take so long to get out to you! God bless...