Friday, November 26, 2010
This does not mean we've not been affected by the outbreak... More and more family members of the HOH kids have died. Some can't even keep track of the numbers. This week one of the "Our Hope" kids, John Wisly lost his mom, and another little girl's mom died from AIDS. So two of our kids who weren't orphans before, now are. Linda has lost 3 members of her family so far, and others have gotten it but have recovered. We continue to assist the hospital wherever we can, mostly helping the international organization (Medical Teams International) who is there helping them. It's not much, but it is what we can do.
Food prices continue to go up, here are two examples to help you understand this: A gallon of Clorox that just a month ago cost around $4 now costs almost $7 US. A sack of sugar was just over $30 US when this all started, it now costs $64 US. You can just imagine how difficult this is for us as we have so many mouths to feed. In an effort to cut costs we have started to cut down on the number of meals we make in a day, same as we did after the earthquake. It always amazes me how the Haitians can just tighten that belt another notch tighter every time things get worse--and still have a good spirit about them as they are doing it.
And we have plenty of that good spirit about us these days. One benefit to having such a large family is that it'd be almost impossible for everyone to get down in the dumps at the same time, so there's always someone to pick up the others who are down. We have seen God sustain us through hard times in the past, and know He will do the same this time. We have had to cancel our trip to the new property that we were going to take with the kids over Christmas break (we canceled it last year too -- someday we'll make it). I am actually kinda glad about that, we can use a break that is just a break, not trying to ferry 50 kids across 100 miles of road that would take us at least 10 hours to drive.
So, in an attempt to encourage you all...here's what brought us great joy this week:
Remember this little girl? She is here dressed in her school uniform with the birthday hat they made for her. Think back 4 years ago...Nani turned 4 this past week. Yep, the little tiny Siliana, who we didn't think would live (just in case you don't remember I've added a picture of her at 2 weeks old). Well, she is thriving, and is our constant joy. She is loved by all, and honestly who could imagine life without her bubbly spirit and constant boosts of energy? It's hard to stay discouraged with her running around all over the place.
We thank God for His protection of Phania and another friend of ours who were both involved in motorcycle accidents this past week. They have to take little motorcycle taxi rides to school each day in Port-de-Paix. Both had minor injuries, but nothing too serious, and we are thankful.
So, please stay encouraged...and keep praying for our requests. For protection from the epidemic around us, for wisdom in using the resources that God has already provided for us, and for His continued provision of our needs during these tough days. Blessings on you...
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Unicef is supposed to be helping our hospital build a tent complex on another part of the yard to open up more space for even more patients in the future. We are helping in whatever way we can, but are mostly occupied with keeping the HOH safe and healthy. So far, thank the Lord, we have had no cases here. We are prepared, however, thanks to our co-workers in PAP who shipped us IV supplies yesterday. We keep getting news from the kids' and Linda's family; some more have died and others are infected. The days are long, people are tired and getting discouraged. We are grateful for your prayers.
Just a reminder, if you leave a comment on the blog and ask a question but don't leave an e-mail address, I cannot respond to you. Write to me instead at: email@example.com . Thanks
Saturday, November 13, 2010
So far we are doing ok at the HOH, thanks for your prayers. Continue to pray for the hospital staff, especially the nurses, they are all working so hard. Pray also for those mourning the ones they love. We just got news of the first death from Linda's family this afternoon. Others have lost more family members as well. so we really appreciate your prayers.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Yesterday we had a scare as one of the boys who spends every waking hour here at the HOH. He started with symptoms of Cholera late yesterday afternoon. In the end, he does not have it, but it has definitely gotten us concerned. We feel that it will be a miracle if we manage to keep it out of the HOH family.
We are daily getting reports from the HOH kids families back out in the villages, there are many people dying. One of our girls has lost 6 family members in the past couple of days. Another one has lost 3. Please pray for our kids as they here this news, it is very difficult for them.
We have tightened down our yard, our gates are being locked 24/7, and everyone coming in or passing through must wash hands and shoes with Clorox water. We are keeping our elementary age kids home from school for the next little while. We are continuing with the precautions on the preparation of food and drinking water.
We really need your prayers for protection, prayers for wisdom, and prayers for God's provision of our needs (which by the way, He has been working on in the past few days, thanks for praying with us since my last update). Every time a crisis hits prices of everything go up, this time is no different. We have added expenses of trying to keep our kids safe, and also of food prices rising. So, if anyone wishes to help us out with the added financial needs, just follow the instructions at the top left of this blog.
Thank you all for your prayers and concerns, I will try and update more often, provided I can get on the internet. You don't need to necessarily wait for an e-mail to check, because I might not be able to get e-mails out telling you I've updated the blog.
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
Linda and I returned to the HOH on Oct. 22. We both had a very good trip to our respective families, and in spite of being busy where we were, we both felt like we returned to Haiti a bit more refreshed than when we left. It was very good to see those of you we were able to see while we were there.
It has taken us a while to get things back in order here. The kids did a great job of keeping the house going while we were gone. They get better at it each time we leave. But there's always a back log of things needing to be done whenever we get back. That is the biggest part of what has kept us busy during the past couple of weeks. Along with that has been the start of school, and with it all of our Bible studies and programs here at the HOH. Add to the mix that my Master's course also started up again, and I think you can get a glimpse of what has kept us busy.
We got back to Haiti just around the time for the cholera epidemic to get started. It's taken several weeks to get up our way, but it has hit around here with a force the past few days. Our partner hospital is over run with patients, and they are having to put them outside on the porch as more and more show up. The staff is working hard, they were able to find some help from a foreign organization today, and so they have some added hands to help them out. We are offering our help whenever we can, but our main occupation has been keeping our own kids safe and healthy. We've put as many precautions into place as we are able to, and appreciate your prayers on our behalf as we deal with the latest trial to hit Haiti this year. This has included buying lots of Clorox to clean our house even more than we normally do, keeping the kids as clean as possible, keeping our gates locked more than usual and putting clorox in all of our drinking water. It's taken us some time to get used to the taste of clorox in all of our juices and teas, but better that then the alternative of getting cholera from the water.
Today we've been waiting the arrival of Tomas the Hurricane. School has been canceled, both yesterday and today. We've had a lot of rain, but not a lot of wind which we were expecting. According to the internet it's going over our area right now, but so far all is well the eye is out over the water and here it's just overcast and fairly calm. So, we thank God for letting it pass by so calmly -- at least for us. We had a team scheduled to fly in today from the US. Unfortunately they had to cancel their trip due to the impending hurricane. This same team had to cancel their original trip into Haiti back in Feb. after the earthquake; so, you can imagine the frustration they are feeling. Please pray that they'll be able to reschedule soon and be able to complete their trip here.
Some things to pray for:
- Continued protection from the weather, and from the cholera epidemic right outside our front door.
- We still are running on the old generator (praise God it keeps on going), and the team that had to cancel was the one that was going to finish installing the new one. So pray that they'll be able to get back soon.
- Praise God that our water situation is much better, and we don't have the hassle of carrying our water at this point in time.
- For the kids as they've started the school year, that they'd study and also be able to understand what they are learning.
- For God's provision for all of our needs. We were so grateful once again to Miami Shores Presbyterian Church for sending us sacks of food to help us through. We are grateful as well to each church and individual who has given of themselves in one way or another to help us have what we need to continue to serve here. These past few months we've really had to tighten our belts, with extra mouths to feed and added trials to manage. Please pray that God would provide what we need, and that we would be faithful to use it all in a way that pleases him.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The summer events have pretty much ended. The games are finished, and out of the 70 + kids who were involved, there was one who came out on top as the winner...a young boy from the community named Shilder. In fact, the only HOH kid who came in the top 4 was Jean Mary, coming in at 3rd place! The same thing happened with the basketball tournament. The HOH team made it into the finals, but we lost the game in the last 4 minutes, when the lights went out and it was too dark to continue. At least it gives us a good excuse as to why we lost the game. Don't tell them I said this, but we'd have lost anyway!!! We all know that winning isn't the most important thing though, right?
To put an end to summer type activities, we decided to have a beach day. So last Saturday we loaded about 80 kids (all the HOH kids except for the babies and smallest toddlers plus a few extra community kids) into the back of a big truck and headed down the road to the town of St. Louis. We had a great day playing in the sand, swimming in the ocean, and eating BBQ chicken! Here are some pictures of our day...
The very full truck loaded with kids ready to hit the beach.
Kudos to Chèf St. Germain, the food was great. Actually, he planned and pulled off the entire day -- I'm almost out of job here :)!!Happy faces...I'm pretty sure they enjoyed themselves.
On Sept. 7th we celebrated Linda's birthday. She unfortunately was quite sick with the virus that was passing through the house at the time, taking down many victims with it. We all enjoyed her party very much -- she, not so much, but she still looked beautiful! Because we don't have enough space inside we planned it for outside, in spite of the fact that a hurricane was passing by our general area. Thankfully the rain stayed away until almost the end, and when it started to pour down it was a good thing because it broke the party up quickly, and also helped us clean things up!
There's been so much going on these days, it'd be impossible for me to fill you in on all the details. One thing we've learned though, is when there start to be a lot of little problems around the house, usually there's a bigger problem just waiting to explode. Sure enough, this time was no different, although it seemed to take a lot more time to brew before exploding this time. We are glad it popped before we left for our trip though! God's timing is perfect!
In the end, 3 of the "Our Hope" kids who have been here for quite some time decided to go back to their homes, or extended families permanently. It'd be impossible to explain all the things that lead up to it, and I know when I tell you who they are, some of you are going to be very disappointed. Just know that every one of them made this choice on their own, and our experience is that when they've decided they want to go back home, there really isn't anything we can do about it. We tried with all of these kids to help them think through the consequences of their choice, but they were insistent. So, Roseline, Rodeline and Donald all returned to their homes this past week. Those of you who know them personally and have more questions, please feel free to write and ask me, I'll do my best to explain.
The thing with being in a country like this is that a bed doesn't stay empty here for very long. We've already filled up their spots with other kids who came to us, some with heart wrenching, unbelievable needs. Our prayer has always been that God would direct which kids come and stay at the HOH, and so we are trusting Him to do just that. It is always hard though, to watch these young people make choices that seem so obviously not good. We know that they have been given a good foundation on which to build their lives, and so we trust them to our loving Heavenly Father to take care of them wherever they are.
Our days are filled up with trying to get everyone ready for school. We have 47 students this year -- that's a lot of uniforms, books, shoes etc... to get ready! We are also getting ready for our trip to the US. This will likely be my last update until, either I do one from the US, or I get back to Haiti. We'd really appreciate your prayers for both of us. Linda will be visiting family, and trying to do some shopping for HOH needs. Pray that she gets a great rest, which she very badly needs. I will be trying to do the same, visiting family and friends, speaking a few times, shopping and resting (oh yeah and attending a conference, and getting my tooth fixed, and seeing the Dr....oh boy doesn't sound very restful :)). Please pray for the kids & the HOH in our absence. No one likes it when we are away...we understand that, but also see the need of getting away every now and again to refresh ourselves. So pray that all goes smoothly, pray for St. Germain, and Phania who will be left in charge along with the staff members.
Blessings on all of you, thank you so much for your prayers for us.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Here's a bit of what's keeping us busy...Most of the kids are back from their time visiting their extended families. There are just a few stragglers left out there, but I imagine they'll be back on the weekend. Most had a good time, a few came back with stories of how grateful they were to be here at the HOH, as life in their home communities is extremely difficult. These trips home are always good for an attitude adjustment for those who need it!
We've received the results back for the grade 6 & 9 exams. So far 3 of the students (Rosnel, Desimene and Rodlin) didn't pass, but the others have all passed and that makes us very happy. We need wisdom as to what to do with Rosnel, as this is his second time to not pass and he cannot continue to take the class in the school where he attended. There are not many other options in our area for him to continue his education. Desimene and Rodlin are both young enough that redoing their classes will not be a problem. Pray for them that they'd really be able to capture the concepts and lessons as they retake them this year.
Angie is back in TX after a great visit here with us for a few weeks. She had a wonderful first year at university last year (even making it on the Dean's List each semester), and is looking forward to her Sophomore year. I am excited to be able to visit her in her school when I visit TX in September/October.
Carl Evens is up from PAP for a few weeks, and we are working with Ruben to try and get him into a Fine Arts program at a Christian University close to Cap Haitian, since his university in PAP never opened up again after the earthquake. We are so excited about the possibilities for him to study in this domain, as he is very artistic.
Our prayer since the earthquake was that God would send us the kids he wanted to have here in our home. Little by little they are trickling in, and while things are not always as they seem at first, we are trusting God to pick and choose those he wants to be here with us. Nicodème is a 15 year old boy who was sent to us through some contacts in PAP this past week. While the true stories of these kids is often hard to come by right off the bat, he was definitely a young man in need of a home. He has fit into life here very well so far, and we look forward to the chance to invest in his life.
These days I am so thankful for the young men of the HOH who we've already invested in over the years, most particularly St. Germain; and now Rosnel and Jospeh as well as they have put their heads together to run some "Game Days" for our kids and the kids of the local community. About 100 kids meet in our yard twice a day for games and fun times. It is so chaotic and there is so much energy out there, I get exhausted just watching it all unfold! Here are some pictures from yesterdays water soaked dodge ball game...These guys are busy soaking the sponge balls they'll use to tag the other team members.
This guy got tagged, and has to sit and wait for the "doctor" to come and free him.
These kids are protecting their "doctor" as he moves to free people. If the "doctor" gets tagged with a wet sponge ball...the game is OVER!
Ok...see what I mean about total chaos? I honestly just have to sit and watch or I'll go insane...I'm so thankful for those boys!!
During the evenings these same boys as well as Ricardo and Wilkens have put together a basketball tournament for 5 different teams from the local community. Each night our yard fills up with spectators, and two teams play their hardest in order to make it to the finals. Thankfully, the old generator is still hanging in there and we are able to light up our basketball court. The HOH team has given themselves the very original name of "Chicago Bulls", and so far are doing pretty good having won all three of their matches so far.
Yes, we are still using the old generator. Paul was able to get things mostly ready for the new generator, but we are still waiting for some parts off the boat in order for him to get it all up and running. The boat came in on the weekend, and has started to unload. It's been painfully slow so far, waiting for proper authorization from PAP, and getting the big stuff off first. So, we are still waiting to see if what he needs actually came on this boat. Then, Lord willing, he'll come back down to finish the installation.
Talking about fixing things...Renel the water man came to fix our water problem this past weekend. We had 3 wonderful days of running water, I actually had a shower (cold, but it's so hot here these days no on wants hot water anyway) 3 nights in a row...that has to be a pretty long standing record! But, it was short lived. I have learned down here to never let my hopes get up too high, and this was one time where that little lesson helped me. I enjoyed the showers without expecting to have one again. And sure enough due to unforeseen problems, we are now worse off then ever before. Not only has the big pump in the well stopped working (he fixed the little pump that will pump just up to the HOH) but both our cisterns are empty, and we are having to rely on the Haitian Government water system which is shaky at best. So...we could use some major prayer here. Renel is planning on coming back in early September to try and get the pump and cisterns back up and running. But until then we just pray that the government water keeps running, and with enough pressure to at least fill up buckets at our lowest point of the house. If not...ok, let's not go there...we'll just pray in faith that this will happen.
Terrence is continuing to improve. He is eating almost normally now, and starting to gain back some of the weight he lost. He is moving his limbs a bit more, and can at least hold his head up for short periods of time, so he's able to sit and watch some of the activities going on around him. We've received some help from a lady in the US who also has this disease, and the doctors here have started him on some meds that will hopefully help him improve even more. Thank you so much for your prayers on his behalf, and please continue to pray for him.
Linda and I will be traveling from Sept. 22 to Oct. 22. Linda will be staying the month in Fort Lauderdale, FL to spend some time with her family, and get some much needed rest. I will be traveling to TX for some of the same, and also will be speaking in a few churches and attending a conference (what was that about rest?). At this point I plan on being in a church in Frisco, TX and in Corsicana, TX. So if you are interested in attending either of these meetings, just let me know and I'll give you the details.
Well, I think that's about it for now. This coming Sunday we are excited to begin a new study in our church services. We will be looking at and studying the names of God over the next months. This past week a group of 7 of our youth helped Linda and I prepare the "Introduction" we'll be doing this coming Sunday. It was fun working with them to plan the service.
Blessings on you all, thank you for your support in so many ways. We couldn't be here doing what we are doing without our team of supporters holding us up.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Linda is busy teaching her CEF course to future Children's Club teachers. It makes for very long days for her, as she starts early and ends in the afternoon, then starts to prepare for the next day. But it is rewarding work as she teaches these future teachers how to share the Good News of Jesus with the children in their churches and neighborhoods.
Our friend, Terrence (I know I said Harry last time, but I don't know what I was thinking -- sorry for the confusion), who has the Myasthenia Gravis is actually starting to do better. He has had a rough couple of weeks, and we weren't sure if he was going to be able to pull through or not. Getting him to Port-au-Prince was no little feat, and when we finally did get him there the Dr.'s said they could do nothing to help him at all. So then we had to work at getting him back up here. He did end up going down to PAP on the plane (after much sweet talking on my part), but we couldn't get them to bring him back up again, so we sent down our car to pick him up. Since coming back to the HOH he's slowly started to regain some movement in his hands and feet. He is able to swallow now, and in the past couple of days has been able to start to chew some soft things. So, we continue to pray and work with him. We hope that this crisis is over and he'll gain back much more movement in the days and weeks ahead.
We enjoyed a visit with our friend Jeb, and were able to talk over a number of things for the new project (Hope Village)...we haven't forgotten about it, it's just slow going! I am heading to PAP next week to speak with some of the men who are helping us with the paperwork there. Please continue to pray that God would work out these details in His own good time, and that we'd have patience in dealing with all the steps we need to work through.
Paul B. is coming down today, Lord willing, and will be installing the new generator for us. It will be so nice to have reliable electricity! Now if I could only get my internet and water to work!! (I should be thankful for one out of three shouldn't I!). Please pray that he is able to find or make do with things that are down here to complete the installation as everything he needs has not arrived in the country yet. Pray for strength and health for him and the guys working with him, and safety as well.
Thanks again for your support in praying for us. I'd appreciate your prayers as I spend the next couple of weeks preparing for the Bible studies that will start up again in the fall. I have a break from my Master's course for the moment, so I'm trying to "get ahead" as much as I can.
Well that's about it, sorry for no pictures this time, I figure if this actually gets posted on the blog as it is without the added pictures it'll be enough of a miracle given the way our internet hasn't been working these days! Blessings on you all...
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Most of the kids are done their exams, only the Grade 13's are still writing this week. Most everyone feels pretty good about them, so now we just have to sit and wait for the results to be given. It's a good exercise of patience for everyone!!
The house is somewhat empty as numerous of the older kids are gone to their various camps and visits to their families. This always puts a bit of extra work on the rest of us who are here, but it's good for them to get away and do stuff like this. It's amazing how much you miss even just one kid out of 95...we really notice when they aren't here.
Today we have a special request to ask of you. In just a few minutes I'll be heading to the airport to take a young man who needs to go to Port-au-Prince (PAP) for medical treatment. He is one of the boys from our boys club, and he is very sick. He has Myasthenia Gravis (I had never heard of it before), and he is in a major crisis right now. His family is extremely poor, his mom and brothers have been mostly abandoned by their father who lives in Miami. Please pray that they can find a doctor in PAP who can help him. Please pray for strength and courage for Harry, as he is suffering a lot (he hasn't been able to swallow anything for almost a week now -- although yesterday he got a sip of water down). Pray for his mom and family who are taking care of him as well, this is a difficult time for them all. He is a really great kid, loves the Lord, and is loved by so many people. Thanks for praying...
We were contacted by the Haitian Child Welfare services this past week and asked to take in some more children who lost their families in the earthquake. We have agreed to do so, and would appreciate your prayers that God would send us the very kids He wants us to add to our family here.
Part of the team from Hands of Hope in the UK is here now, and the rest come in next week. We are looking forward to visits from our friend Jeb, and also Paul Browne, who hopes to come and install our new generator in early August. The generator is actually here, thank you for your prayers, there are a few boxes of stuff left that need to get here in order for him to install it, so please continue to pray that they come. We thank God every day when the back-up generator actually starts up and runs for the day, so we'll be so relieved when the new one is installed (and our appliances will be too, we lost Linda's refrigerator the other day...just one in a series of losses).
Well, I best run and get to the airport. Thanks so much for your prayers and support. God bless...
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I had a great trip through Canada, and saw so many people. I tried to keep a count of the numbers of people who were at the different meetings I spoke at, but stopped somewhere after 1,500. It was really great to see you all, and get a chance to share what God is doing at the HOH, and also have a chance to talk about the future plans of Hope Village. I was able to enjoy a few days of nice spring weather in Canada, but for the most part I followed the cold weather around. In Calgary they even pulled out the snow for me (check out the picture of the tulips with snow)! It’s been a long time since I’ve had that, and I actually enjoyed seeing it.
Of course it was great to get back to the HOH again. The kids had been counting down the days, pretty much since the day I left, and every plane that flew over the HOH in my absence was a cause for rejoicing as they thought I was in it. That’s kinda funny because the plane that flies me in doesn’t actually go over the HOH, but they don’t realize that!
I came back to quite a change of kids at the HOH. We are still right around 95 kids, but numerous ones who were here when I left are gone now, and new ones have replaced them. It’s making me work hard to keep up with all the name changes!!
So, what has been keeping us busy? Here are a quick glimpse…
Exams are the order of the day as far as the kids go. Today the grade 6 government exams started. Desimene, Oliana, Evelte and Sonson are all writing these exams, and would love it if you prayed for them. Next week will be the Grade 9 exams, we have St. Germain, Mirlene, Toto, Rosnel who will be writing that one. Then the week after will be the Grade 12’s, there we have Jn Daniel, Phania, Stephania, Dada, TiBen. Then it will be the Grade 13’s, and there we have Ricardo, Caleb, Lubin, Benton, Ronel. So…lots of studying going on, and lots of stress.
It doesn’t help that World Cup Soccer 2010 is going on at the same time. Life pretty much stops around here when a game is being played, especially a match that involves Brazil. Our kids have set up two different areas for people in the community to come and watch the matches here at the HOH. They are charging them for admission, and then using the money to pay for the fees of getting the matches on the TV. They have quite a little business set up, and as long as Brazil stays in the running, they should bring in a fair bit of money. Once they are out of the running though the revenue will drop considerably! The next big Brazil match is Friday…there’s a break in all the matches today and tomorrow, and our yard seems strangely quiet!
While I was away we had over 200 boxes come in on the boat for the HOH. What a blessing it was to receive all these wonderful supplies. Thanks to each and every one of you who sent us stuff. Much is already being used, and we were able to store the rest to be used in the months ahead.
Tomorrow we will be welcoming a young man from Philadelphia Biblical University who is coming down to spend a 6 week internship with us. Dan is arriving just in time to catch a crazy few weeks of activities around here. There are graduations, end of the year parties, and then the major annual convention of our Haitian mission. We also have numerous visitors and groups heading our way over the next few weeks. We are waiting for Angie to come back from LeTourneau for a few weeks. We are so grateful to a church there that bought her a ticket to come and see us before she goes back to her studies in the fall.
We’re going to wait for things to settle down a bit before we decide what type of activities we are going to have for the kids and the community kids during the summer. Once school is officially over, along with all the extra events we’ll be able to plan a bit better. Some of the kids are heading off to music camp in Limbe, some are heading off to be camp leaders for a local church camp, others are heading to their home communities to visit family and friends. Linda will be teaching her Child Evangelism course for two weeks, and I’m working to complete the first unit of my Masters program…everyone certainly seems to be able to keep busy!
Thanks so much for your support in so many ways. And thanks for your patience in waiting for another update, hopefully the next one won’t be so long in coming. We are grateful for your partnership in this ministry.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
We woke up this morning to both Linda and St. Germain being quite sick, both have been in bed all day. Not a great start for my travels, since it's the two of them who'll be holding down the fort...so please pray for healing for them, and strength in the days ahead. No one is happy that I'm leaving, so pray for the kids as well, they never enjoy Linda or I being gone.
Please pray for safety as I travel, and for health and strength for myself as well. I have a really full and busy 6 weeks ahead of me, so please pray that I'll be able to effectively communicate all that God is doing here at the HOH in all the different places where I'll be. It's not too late to get in touch...e-mail, or call at: 204-857-9370.
Thank you to all of you who hold us up in prayer and support. God is so good to us.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
The latest to arrive from Port-au-Prince (PAP) are three boys (pictured from L to R): Herby, Junior and Reginald. Herby and Junior came first, they both had lost their moms in the earthquake, both of their dads had already died before that day. Herby’s mom was in their house while he went out to carry in water for her to use. In the quake their house collapsed, and his mom was killed underneath it. To make matters worse his best friend Magloire lost his mom too, and was sent off to live in a far off town. (For those of you who don’t know, Magloire is one of the boys who arrived here at the HOH a couple of weeks ago.) Herby mourned the loss of his mom, and didn’t have his best friend there with him. Little did he or Magloire know that God had plans to reunite them here at the HOH! When the boys saw each other here at the HOH they jumped up in the air, they were so excited. It was an incredible moment, and we all were so touched by how God did this special thing for these two young boys who have lost so much.
As for Junior, his mom left him and Reginald his little brother at the house that day and went to sell in the market in downtown PAP. She never came home. They have no idea what happened to her. The boys were separated and sent to temporarily live with different family members. We got connected with Junior through a friend of ours and found out he needed a place to go as the family he was staying with couldn’t keep him any longer. When he arrived at the HOH almost the first words out of his mouth were, “I have a little brother, please can he come here too”. We sent off for Reginald and in a few days they too were reunited here at the HOH.
They are all doing really well here. Sonson, the first boy we had received from PAP, had the hardest time adapting here and we weren’t really sure what he was feeling now about things as more and more kids showed up from PAP. When I went to pick up Reginald at the airport, Sonson rode along to get him. All the boys in the car were having fun pointing out different things in our town to Reginald, and just as we were pulling up to the HOH gate I heard a voice behind me say, “And now you are entering Paradise!”. I had to turn around to make sure I was hearing correctly. Sure enough, it was Sonson — telling us exactly what he was feeling about the HOH now. What a blessing it has been to be able to add these youth to our family here.
Our days have been filled with visitors coming and going. They have fixed many broken things, we have both our cars up and running again, all the lights and computers are working properly again...it’s been a very profitable few weeks. One thing they have not been able to fix is our water situation, and we are not getting water anywhere at the HOH now, except for a few sporadic moments throughout the day. We try to fill up as many containers as possible in those moments, but the kids are back to having to “run” most of our water with their own legs from a cistern in another yard. It definitely is a good source of exercise, but it also adds a lot of extra work to our days.
We currently have a Physical Therapist here working with our kids, they’ve made a lot of progress, especially the ones who were injured in the earthquake. In just 2 weeks, Jenny will be heading off to Canada for 6 weeks. She’ll be in Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario, so if you are in one of those locations and would like to see her, get in touch and we’ll try and work it out (e-mail is the easiest way: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you so much for your support of this ministry. Whether it’s financial support, sending us things or simply praying and encouraging us, we thank God for each one of you…
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I heard him coming all the way down in the hospital, he was yelling and screaming things like “Don’t send me there”, “I’m going to die” and “I’m going to lose my leg” over and over again. The sounds kept getting closer and louder, so we figured he was heading our way. Sure enough, 13 year old Riderson was wheeled into the HOH office in a wheelchair. Of course his yelling and screaming didn’t go over too well with Linda, and in her own special way, she soon had him quieted down.
As we heard his story we found out Riderson has been sick for a long time. An infection in his ankle has only gotten worse, and now has spread to other parts of his body. On top of that, he has a bad case of TB in his glands. Riderson was convinced that someone had put a curse on him and that was the reason for his illness that had taken over his body. He cried and begged his family not to leave him here, he was totally convinced that he would die – immediately – if they left him here.
Well, we are very glad to be able to tell you that Riderson did not die, and has been at the HOH for a week now. You can see by the look on his face now, that he feels very differently about being here. His fears opened up a door for Linda to be able to talk to him about a God who loves him, and who was giving him the chance to find hope for both his body and his soul. Over the first few day here, Riderson sat beside Linda every chance he got, and every chance she got, she shared about Jesus’ love with him. It wasn’t the first time he had heard the Good News of Jesus, but during one of their conversations he expressed a desire to become a child of God. So his healing has begun, and we’d ask you to continue to pray for him as he has a long road of healing ahead of him.
Some more good news this week is that Ronel and his wife Wilmide had their second child. It was another boy, whom they named Roumy, and he was successfully delivered by C-section on March 15. Ronel continues to help us out here at the HOH, as well as working on other small jobs he can find in the area around La Pointe.
We had some really good weeks here at the HOH with our visitors from all over. I especially enjoyed having a “ghost writer” for the blog, but they are all gone now, and we are looking forward to other visitors in the weeks and months ahead. It seems like there’s always someone coming and/or going, sometimes it’s hard for me to keep up! Carl Evens left to go back to Port-au-Prince this week. His university is talking about opening up again, so he’s there to see if any of the classes he needs are going to be offered. He should know more by the weekend. So, we are missing his presence here at the HOH. We know the kids can’t stay here forever, but it’s so nice when they are back “home” for a while.
We are waiting to receive two more boys from PAP who lost their family in the earthquake. A pastor there has been keeping them, but he needs to find a more permanent home for them. We think they will come up here soon, so pray that we’d be able to work out those details. All our other kids from PAP are doing just great. We were really concerned about Carly’s right leg, but this week she’s started to stand on it, and even is attempting to take a few steps, so that’s a great relief. Sonson continues to do exercises with his arm. We are trying to get a Physical Therapist here in the next couple of weeks to help him know what things he should be doing with his arm, and also to hopefully answer some questions on what he can expect in the future due to the permanent damage that has been done. It’s still hard for him to think that he’ll never have normal arm/hand movements back again, but we know in time he’ll work through all of that. Keep praying for him.
Well, I started on a new adventure this week. I’ve been wanting to continue my studies for quite some time now. Last fall I started the application process to begin a Master of Art’s program in Intercultural Leadership. Some of you might recall back in July of 2008 I had attended a seminar out in Portland, OR at the WorldView Center. Well that was the pre-requisite seminar to this Master’s program. I am looking forward to learning a lot about effectively communicating God’s message in the culture and place where He has placed me, and one of the neat things about this program is that I don’t have to travel anywhere to study. It is set up deliberately to be able to be completed in the country where you are ministering, and at the same time it is a group learning experience. So, I am grouped together with a Missionary lady in Hong Kong, and I am looking forward to learning a lot from and with her in the months…and years ahead (it’s set up to take 3 years to complete). You all will be hearing more about it as time goes on, but I’d appreciate your prayers for me as I start this week.
It’s official now, that I will be traveling (Lord willing) to Canada from May 6th to June 17th. My plans at this point are to visit as many of you as I possibly can, but I will be sticking to these three provinces: Manitoba, Alberta, and Southern Ontario. So, if you are in these areas, and want to find out where I’ll be and when, and want to try and connect, please get in touch with me. I wish I could go to more places, but it’s only physically possible to be in just so many places within a 6 week period!
Well, that pretty much brings you up to date with things around here. We continue on with our Bible studies, and school for the kids. They are looking forward to a few days off over the Easter weekend, and are planning to give a special concert for other youth in the area on Good Friday evening. Thanks for your continued prayers and support. God bless…
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
As mentioned, the House of Hope has welcomed two visitors from Canada (Beth Reitz and Heather Patterson) who are staying for a couple of weeks. Beth is Jenny’s “little” sister and Heather is a friend. We are very excited to be back and always feel welcome and loved when we are here.
Canada has not been the only country that has visited the House of Hope. There have also been a few gentlemen from the United States who have come for a few days to take care of some much-needed repairs on vehicles, wiring and plumbing. We really appreciate their help and willingness to keep us up and running! You don’t appreciate how much you rely on things like lights, water and reliable brakes on a vehicle until there are problems.
Life after the earthquake continues to unfold. The House of Hope has begun to receive children who lost their parents in the earthquake and have no relatives who are able to care for them. Two young boys flew up from Port-au-Prince with Beth and Heather last week when they arrived. Magloire (14 years) and Carlo (12 years) are cousins who will be staying at the House of Hope for the foreseeable future. When we first met them at the airport in PAP, they were very afraid and sad. They seemed so small and lost. I’m sure the thought of flying on an airplane with two white women whom they had never met, and leaving all that was familiar to them, was a frightening thing, indeed! We did start to become friends, though, when we gave them a sandwich, a drink and some Cheezies. The boys seemed to enjoy their first ride on an airplane, smiling the entire way, and they have settled in so well at the House of Hope. All of the other children have made them feel welcome and they are already part of the routines and life here. They look happy and confident…very different than the two scared little boys that we met just last week. The House of Hope has made a huge difference in their lives in just a few short days.
Another new arrival to the House of Hope family is little Carly who is 15 months old. Her parents were both killed in the earthquake while she remained buried under the rubble for several hours. A neighbour managed to pull her to safety and get her the care that she needed. Little Carly had 2 broken legs and several cuts and she has spent the last several weeks in a hospital in PAP. Carly arrived at the House of Hope on Sunday and, understandably, she was very unsettled. She must have had a dad who was very involved with her care because, at first, she would go to boys much easier than girls. Once again, the entire HOH family has gone out of their way to make her feel welcome and coax some smiles out of her. Everyone from the older kids to the younger ones can be seen carrying Carly around or offering her toys. 3 days after arriving at the HOH, Carly is much more calm, more settled, less anxious…and the smiles are not so hard to come by. The HOH family is now Carly’s family and, from our perspective, they all take this very seriously and really know how to “be” a family.
While the arrival of more children is a happy event around here, another happy event is the arrival of tubs of supplies. After the earthquake, many people began to send things in anticipation of the increasing needs that were expected. Today 35 bins were opened, sorted and organized and there are approximately 100 more, at least, that have yet to arrive. The water has been too choppy for the bins to be unloaded at the dock, so we are all looking forward to calmer waters.
Every day is so busy around here. We are amazed at how things just get done. Everyone knows their chores…everyone knows the routines…everyone understands that they are all part of one body and when one of them hurts, they all hurt. When one of them is happy, they all share in the joy. Never is this more apparent than during devotions or church services. Every single person has been affected by the earthquake in some way. There has been much sadness, but there is also great joy. When we listen to all of these young people singing at the top of their lungs, we are reminded of how great our God is and how He is worthy to be praised both in the midst of joy and in the midst of sorrow.
Please continue to pray for Jenny and Linda as they minister to these precious little ones in their care. Pray for wisdom in handling the many, many things that happen each day…from dealing with “parenting” issues to water issues and everything in between. Pray for strength…physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Pray that they would be encouraged in loving and caring for these young lives in the name of Jesus.
While there is so much more that could be written about (as I said, a lot goes on around here every day!), those are the high points of the last little while. Keep checking back for Jenny’s amazing updates in the future!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Biterson has been on our hearts for weeks now, ever since we heard his story and were asked to take him at the HOH. It was so good after so much work to finally receive him at the HOH. Sonson (that's his nickname) was at school when the building he was in collapsed in the earthquake. His mom, brother and two cousins were in their home when it also collapsed, they all perished. Sonson was trapped under 2 floors of rubble for 8 hours before someone came along and pulled him out. Of the 43 students that were in his class, he was one of only 3 survivors, the rest all died under the rubble. (I had told some of you 53 before, but he corrected me on that).
Sonson sustained numerous injuries to his arm, shoulder, face and eye. Some of these injuries will have long lasting if not permanent effects on him physically. Almost as evident are the emotional effects this tragedy has had on him personally. He has a long road of healing ahead of him, and we are thankful for the chance to have this time of influence in his life. Pray for all of us as we minister to Sonson. Several of the other kids and youth here have had the chance to sit and share their stories with him in an attempt to encourage and comfort him with the comfort they have found from God. Here's a picture of Joseph sharing his story with Sonson. (Joseph lost most of his famiy, including both parents, and numerous siblings in the floods that swept away his village in 2004. Joseph himself was pulled out of the floodwaters by an older brother and spent that terrible night high in a tree). As 2 Cor. 1:3-4 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassin and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
The second child is a 9 year old girl. She is a family member of a friend of ours, and we have just offered to give her a place to stay for a while while her family gets things sorted out. The family unit in Haiti includes much more than just mom, dad, brothers and sisters...all the extended family are an integral part of it as well. Dieunika's extended family was hit very hard by the earthquake, with many of the aunts and uncles being killed leaving more children than the remaining family members can care for. Dieunika is a lively young lady who in spite of the fact of having just arrived here, already looks and acts like she has lived at the HOH all of her life! She'll stay with us for a while as the family gets themselves settled, and they can get things sorted out for their family.
There are a few more children in the works to bring up to the HOH, and we ask you to please continue to pray with us as God works out the details of the children He wants to be here with us. We praise God for his incredible provision for us these past few weeks. Another load of food from our friends at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church has just arrived, and others generous financial gifts have enabled us to be able to help those around us who are in need. The first load of totes with other supplies should start to arrive sometime next week, as the boat has just left Miami. We are so grateful for all of you who have supported us in so many ways. God bless you all!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
The kids attended school from Monday to Thursday, and now have a few days off (some of them have a few days, others will start again on Monday). Everything is up in the air these days, and seems to change daily -- making me hesitant to say anything about what might or might now happen next week. There are many people with differing views of whether school should start or not, and some places around us have refused to open their schools. So we'll see where that all ends up. Our kids say that their classes are full and overflowing with the students who have come up here from Port-au-Prince. Some even have to get there early or they won't get a place to sit for the day!
The Government of Haiti declared several days of prayer and fasting across Haiti as the one month anniversary of the earthquake came. Yesterday we spent the entire day having prayer & praise meetings with our kids here at the HOH, and today we had meetings throughout the morning. It is always good to get together with our kids and sing and pray, and read the Bible. We had numerous youth from the area join us, as well as patients and families from the hospital who heard the singing and came up to join in. Since the hospital is so close to us, even those patients in the hospital could hear us and were able to participate as well.
Most of our prayers were for Haiti; the government and people...for people to really seek God's face, and turn to Him, not just for a little while, as an emotional response to the catastrophe that took place; not just for these few "official" days...but truly and wholly seek Him. Our prayers followed Micah 6:8, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God". Please pray with us that out of the hard days of this past month, God would raise up men and women as leaders in Haiti who are willing and ready to do as God requires.
Judith, Andrine & Michka continue to heal well here at the HOH. We are looking forward to having someone coming this week to help us know how to better help them work through the emotional and psychological issues they and others are dealing with. Suze had a really rough week, she started with a fever, and then ended up having to go back to the OR for her leg. We are just watching and praying for her, the doctors still aren't sure if the leg is healing sufficiently, or if they are going to need to amputate it higher. She remains in very good spirits, and we appreciate your prayers for her as well.
Our numbers are right around 100 these days, when you add all the mom's who are staying with their malnourished children, and other family members staying to help out the injured girls. Put that together with the 60 + young people from the area who hang out here at different times, and the house is a pretty busy place. Friends who stopped by this last week both asked the same question, "Is it ever quiet around here?". Well, the answer is not often, but it does happen, on rare occasions...like at about 2-3 am, if you are up to hear it...and happen to catch the dogs sleeping and not barking as well!
We are looking forward to a several weeks of visitors starting this coming week. We have three different groups (totaling 5 people) arriving this coming week. 3 of the people are only staying 2-3 days, and the other 2 will be here a week. Then the next week we have 2 more groups (3 people total), one just for a day or two, and the others for a week. Then the week after that is a group of 2 staying for 2 weeks. Getting here is still a big challenge as the commercial airlines are not up and running yet, so it is taking a lot to work out the logistics. We'd appreciate your prayers as we receive these groups, and also that they'd be able to accomplish the things they are coming to do. Also, if you don't hear from us for a bit it's likely because we are a bit busy with all the visitors...
Thank you for your generous support over the past couple of weeks. Thank you for your response to the material and financial needs we have. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. It is wonderful to be in ministry with such great partners as you all! God bless...
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Speaking of Judith, she is doing really great here at the HOH, as are the other girls. They've each got a long road to recovery before them, but it's so great to see their spirits so high. Andrine has started getting up and walking with the help of a walker. Michka is up and around as often as she can be, and Suze got out of bed and came up to the HOH for a visit for the first time today. Please continue to pray for their recovery, both physically and mentally.
We continue to follow what leads we can find on helping take care of some of the children left without people to care for them after the quake. It hasn't been an easy task, but we are slowly making some connections. We hope soon to be able to offer these needy kids a place, whether temporarily until they find their families, or permanently if they have no family. We've had multiple contacts ask us to help out in this way and we get all excited; and then things don't work out. So, please pray with us that in God's perfect timing He'd send us just the kids He wants us to help out. And pray for patience for us :). We'd have preferred to have the kids in our home already!
We continue to have some great times of devotions and praise together as a family. Last night we were really encouraged to watch some of our older boys take the lead in cautioning the other kids from listening to and believing every rumor that comes through our doors. A lot of people are going around scaring everyone to death with rumors of even greater impending doom to the country of Haiti. They encouraged the younger kids to make sure their relationship with God was what it should be, and to trust Him with their lives and future. It was just very encouraging to see them really starting to stand up as leaders, especially spiritual leaders here at the HOH. Three of them: Manno, Carl-Evens and Ronel are part of a group of youth who have decided to hold an evening of open air praise and worship on the streets of our town on Sunday night. So we are all looking forward to that very much.
Once again, a big thank you to each of your for your various ways of support. We are so blessed to have partners such as you working together with us to bring the hope and love of Jesus to those around us.
Friday, January 29, 2010
So what do you do when your focus needs a little adjusting? Music is an important part of life here and for the HOH family nothing gets us back to fixing our eyes on Jesus than some concentrated times of worship together. So that's what we've been doing. And it's been beautiful -- the voices singing in harmony, the music from various intruments, the words coming from deep in our hearts, the tears streaming down faces, the promises read from God's Word, the prayers raising before the throne of our Father. Wish you could be here! And it works, like medicine for our soul...our focus turned off the things around us and once again fixed on our Heavenly Father who knows each of us by name, and holds the universe in His hand.
When our focus is fixed on what it shoudl be, we can't help but see that we are so blessed...we've been overwhelmed the past couple of days by how blessed we are. Let me share some of those blessings with you:
- The medical team lead by Dr. Piepgrass was able to help numerous people with orthopedic injuries. They were a blessing to all of us, and enabled us to have a part in helping those who were suffering in ways we never would have been able to if they hadn't come. God blessed the team by providing a flight for them to return to Cap Haitian, sparing them the body jarring 8 hour return trip overland! Thanks for praying for that.
- Thursday we received sacks and sacks of dry food, and many cans of meat from our friends at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church (see picture). Talk about a blessing...I love the verse Isaiah 65:24..."Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear." This church and our friend Renel were on the ball. Before we could even think about things like possible food shortages in our area due to the earthquake, they had already gone out, bought food and put it on a boat headed for Haiti. We were blessed to receive it yesterday. We are well stocked for the days ahead, and are blessed to be able to help those around us who are in need.
- We also received several hundred pounds of medical supplies yesterday. This will help the hospital as they continue to care for those wounded in the quake, and also help us for the ones we have here with us.
- We are blessed to have so many wonderful supporters like you. The response to our needs has been overwhelming. We thank God for each one of you.
Several days ago we realized she had nothing to eat, and no money to purchase food. We started sending her food down to the hospital, but today found out she has very little period. She needed clothes, toiletry articles -- pretty much everything. She has a very long hospital stay in front of her, and was having a hard time dealing with everything she's been through. In concert with the doctors at the hospital we decided it was best for her to come stay at the HOH during her recovery. Already Michka has a different look on her face. Linda spent the day today getting her settled in here, talking to her, encouraging her, sharing God's love with her. Tonight she made her way to our school room to particpate in our worship time. She joined her voices with those of our kids...eyes closed, tears on her cheeks...medicine for her body & soul.
Please continue to hold Michka, Judith, Andrine and Suze in prayer as they recover from their injuries. Pray for their emotional and mental healing as well as they have so much to deal with. They as well as our other young people who were in PAP have been dealing with a lot of nightmares lately, pray for God's peace for each them, and for wisdom for us as we seek to help them through these days.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Both Andrine and Judith are recovering very nicely, and the doctors say they can go home whenever they are ready to. They both have a several long weeks of recovery before them, so continue to pray for these two young ladies. We've gotten several phone calls today about receiving more wounded and sick from PAP, and hope that this can be worked out. Transportation is the problem, and we hope to be able to establish a site soon where they can airlift some to us, both for the hospital and for the HOH. I spent time on the phone with a Lieutenant from the US army today coming up with proper coordinates to get a helicopter in here, so pray we'll be able to work that out in the coming days so we can help alleviate the needs of the wounded in the hospitals in PAP.
I have spent quite a bit of time working different angles trying to get medical supplies here to the hospital. So far we've had donations from several different locations including the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and Duke University. We were able to work together with some other mission groups in the area, and they helped us get some of this stuff here. It's amazing how many people want to help out.
I have been blessed by you all as well, and those of you who have offered to send us the things in the list I posted. I haven't had a chance to answer all of you who have written with questions just yet, but please be patient, I will answer you all! Also, remember if you post a comment on the blog and have questions, I need an e-mail address where I can answer you.
Because all schools are closed, the HOH is once again a very busy place. We are trying to come up with some things to keep all these kids and young people busy and out of trouble. We are hoping to start implemeting some programs and studies for them in the weeks ahead, especially if school doesn't get started up again any time soon.
Everyone here sends their thanks for your encouragement, your prayers and your support. We appreciate you all very much, and ask for your continued prayers as we minister to those around us who have been through so much these past few weeks. Please remember to pray specifically for Marie Ange who will be returning to PAP tonight. She is going to continue her job as a nurse, as she is greatly needed there at this time. Pray for safety for her, and for courage to take opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus with those she ministers to.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
The car got back from PAP at about 10:30 last night. You can just imagine the excitement here at the HOH when the last of our "kids" finally arrived home. We spent the next couple of hours chatting, and listening to them tell their stories. Carl Evens will be here for the foreseeable future until things settle down and he can get back in to University. Marie Ange will still be working in PAP, and will return next week. But she's happy to be able to have a few days here with us to rest and get back up on her feet.
They were able to bring 5 kids back to join their family here in La Pointe, and also a 16 year old girl named Judith. Judith was at school in PAP when the earthquake hit. She ran, but was knocked to the ground and trapped her leg under a cement wall. She lay there for several hours before people were able to free her. Instead of seeking medical treatment right away, they tried to do what they could to dress and take care of the leg. Now 11 days later, the muscles and nerves in her lower left leg are damaged, and she has lost some of the function in moving her foot. With time and healing we'll be able to see how much function she'll have back. The Dr.'s tell me it's called "Compartment Syndrome"....the "Survivor's injury", and it's a common injury that we are seeing a lot of. Anyway, Judith is going to be staying here at the HOH for a while, as she heals and gets back up on her feet. So pray for her, she's in a lot of pain. Pray that this time she's here with us is just a really positive and helpful time as she heals.
The medical team is working away, they saw around 80 orthopedic cases yesterday; were in the OR until late last night, and have spent the day there today as well. They are really doing great, having to substitute or do without a lot of things they are used to having. Please continue to pray for their health and stamina as they put in some long hours. Also, for our Haitian staff that are assisting them. They plan on having the morning off tomorrow, and then back into the OR tomorrow afternoon. Pray that we can get supplies that they need, and also pray that I'll be able to get a flight for them back to Cap Haitian, so we don't have to drive them back. That will give them a whole extra day here, and will be a big help.
Thanks so much for your support. I know many of you have written me with specific questions on my e-mail, and I will answer you, but it might just take a bit of time as I'm really busy helping the medical team. Here's wishing you all a great weekend...