Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Some Newcomers from PAP!!

After weeks of trying to help some kids from PAP, we received two in our home this week. I can't even begin to tell you how excited we all are about this. And with these two, the door has cracked opened and we hope to receive others in the weeks ahead.

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

We are here!

10, I didn't mean for it to be so long before you heard from me. Nothing really in particular has been keeping us busy; we've just been trying to get things back into a more normal routine. We were able to start up some of our Bible Studies this past week, and will hopefully have them all up and running by next week. One of them I'm really excited about, as the older youth here are going to help Linda and I teach "God's Plan for the Family" to the next level of kids under them. We also have about 10 boys from our local community who want to participate as well, so we are very excited about these lessons starting up. We were supposed to start early Jan. But well, you know that didn't happen!

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 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

A "Timid" Start to School

The rumors were flowing the end of last week that school would start up again this week. But no one, including the directors or teachers of our kids school, wanted to actually go on record as to declaring that such a thing should or would happen. In the end, a few classes in a few schools are slowly starting up again. The kids are doing more sitting and waiting for teachers to show up than actually having class, but they seem happy to have somewhere to go, and something resembling "normal" back to their lives. They've been off school for almost 2 months now (they had just returned for one day after Christmas break before the earthquake). The general feeling is that next week school should begin in full force in our area, but that this week things would happen "timidly".

We had a very good weekend together here at the HOH. The kids spent most of the day Friday and Saturday playing games up in the campground behind the hospital (still located on the same property as us). The older kids did the planning and footwork for making this a reality, and boy was I grateful. I had 2 days of almost total peace and quiet in the house (if you can imagine that), and I got so much work done! You can see Judith (holding the red balloon) here with the older kids enjoying a game of Uno with the other kids.

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.