A big hello to everyone. Where oh where does the time go? It doesn't seem possible that so much time has passed since my last update. We've had some good moments and some tough ones, but through it all we've been blessed by the faithfulness of our God. These past few weeks in our church services we've been encouraged as we've looked at how God always keeps His promises. Last week we went through some of the promises he's made us in his Word, and it was a very encouraging time. What a blessing to know He is able to, and will do what He promises.
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.