Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not quite like I planned it...

Well, some times in life you just never know what's going to hit you next.  I am writing you from Texas.  Yep, I have left Haiti already... I wasn't supposed to or I should really say, I hadn't planned to leave so quickly, but things don't always go as planned...

As you know from my last blog update, I was having a lot of trouble with my allergies.  Well, all through this time I was having some trouble with my eyes, particularly my right eye.  Suddenly last weekend things took a sharp turn for the worse.  Starting Thursday night and through Saturday, I couldn't open my eye for very long, I would go hours without being able to open either eye due to the sharp pain and spasms in my right eye.  The doctors at our hospital, and the leaders of our mission decided I should head for the US immediately instead of waiting until my planned travel date next week.  You can imagine the rush of trying to get things together for me to leave, all the while me not being able to open my eyes for very long to see what I'm doing!  But I had lots of help, and everything that needed to be done was done. 

God worked out all the travel arrangements perfectly, and provided people to help me all along the way.  I flew to Port-au-Prince Sunday morning, and by Sunday night I was able to open my eyes without any trouble, but was really bothered by light and still had quite a bit of pain.  I traveled to Texas on Monday, and by the time I arrived here I was already doing much better.  On Tuesday, I saw my eye doctor who told me I have an eye disorder that isn't serious, but can be extremely painful if my eyes get too dry, as I found out! I didn't even know I had anything wrong with my eyes....I've never ever had a bit of problem with them before.

The treatment for the disorder doesn't seem to be to difficult, so I should hopefully be able to take care if it in the future.  To everyone who knew about these events while they were happening, thanks so much for your prayers and help in so many ways.  To those who didn't know, so sorry I couldn't tell you about it, but I couldn't see well enough to update the blog!  So, in the end I will be in the US a week longer than I had planned.  Once again feel free to call me if you wish to chat at all.  E-mail me at jenny,reitz@crossworld.org to get the phone numbers where I am at if you'd like to do that.  They are the same numbers as other trips, so if you have them already you can use them.

  • Please remember Linda and the kids during this time.  It was very difficult for them to go through this, and now I will be gone for a longer period of time.
  • Much work will fall on Linda, so pray for her to be able to handle all that will come up.  
  • The kids are writing exams before their Christmas vacation so pray that they'll be able to concentrate and do a good job. 
  • We have several work teams coming to the HOH right after I get back on the 31st, so pray as we still work out logistical details and have these teams come in.
  • Continue to pray for God's provision of al of our needs, and thank Him for the way He has done so throughout this year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This time it wasn't so gentle...

Yes, the reminder was much stronger yesterday when I opened mom's e-mail...I could imagine her wanting to ask me, what's up with you, this needs to be a priority.  And she has every reason to say such things, because one thing I got over and over again on my recent trip to the US was how important it is for me to update more often.  My answer to everyone is:  Yes, I am going to try ... as soon as I get back.  And then I got back, and before I could get through the stack of work on my desk, and the many e-mails in my inbox I got sick, and can't seem to get over it.  It's my same old woes all over again, I am allergic to Haiti -- ok, well something in Haiti -- although I am exploring the possibility that perhaps it is actually SOMEONE in Haiti that I am allergic to, but everyone I say that to says, "hey, you had this problem before you knew me!" and they are correct, so I should perhaps scratch that idea.  In any case, I am pumping 5 different allergy medications into my body, but so far I am just struggling everyday.  So, I guess you can imagine that only what is most urgent seems to get done these days. 

This afternoon I have determined that the blog is urgent, so I'm laying on my bed and typing to you all in between fits of coughing.  Oh please don't feel too bad for me I really am not suffering at all.  The weather is cool, there's Christmas music playing, I'm being catered to and I get all kinds of teas brought to me (there's a tea in Haiti for everything.  I'm pretty sure I've been through the entire list and some of them twice -- thankfully I like tea so even this isn't a hardship).  So are you ready to do some catching up?  Here goes...

Our trip to the US was wonderful.  Linda and I had such a blessed time visiting Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma.  We were able to take part in their mission's conference and it was just a wonderful time.  It was so nice to meet new friends, and reconnect with those we knew already.  We had so much fun with their kids during the evening sessions with them, and were blessed with many many pairs of shoes.  Those shoes actually made it here to Haiti today!  As I write Linda is down in the office opening up the boxes and distributing shoes to everyone.  Thanks so much FBC, and thanks for a great time at your conference.

We then spent 10 days in Texas at my sister's place.  We were able to rest a bit there and were also able to visit some of our supporters and friends in the area.  We visited our good friends at Centennial Church (formerly Fellowship of Frisco), and had a wonderful time there one Sunday morning.  We were blessed by friends there who printed new prayer cards and brochures for ideas on how to help the HOH.  We'll be sending them around to our mailing list eventually and if anyone needs or wants copies of these to pass around to friends, please drop me an e-mail to let me know.

Then came 10 days in Florida.  These were not a rest in any way, but they were good days.  We visited with friends and family, and we shopped.  There are just some things that we need that we cannot purchase here in Haiti.  What a blessing it is to have a place in Florida to stay, shop and pack up things to send into Haiti and friends there who help us get them on the boat at the right time and here into Haiti.  We are hoping to receive the items we sent next week sometime. 

And that brings us back to Haiti -- and we are going to stay put for a while right?  Well, not exactly...that would make life just a bit too easy.  I will be traveling twice more before the end of the year.  This coming weekend I will be heading to Port-au-Prince to meet with the other CrossWorld lady missionaries in Haiti for a retreat.  We will be spending time with each other, resting, sharing and studying the Bible together.  We are looking forward to the time together as we don't really get to spend that much time with each other.  I'll be back the end of next week and will be preparing things for my departure again as I will be heading back to Texas to spend Christmas with my family there.  It's been quite a few years since I've been with them for Christmas, and thanks to some gifts from some very kind friends I will be able to do that this year.  My mom is so excited she's already counting down the days! 

Now, on to the kids -- just how are they doing?  Well, they are so busy into school.  This year seems way busier than other years. Everyone seems to be needing to study more, and there is just much less free time for everyone than before.  We haven't even been able to start up our Bible studies, and have just kept up with our family devotion times in the evenings because everyone's schedules are so full.  Linda really felt the stress of this trying to return to school, and then missing a month while we were traveling (our trip was planned before she decided to return to school). Also, her diabetes was really hard to keep under control with all that was going on and in the end, after a valiant effort she had to make the choice to stop school.  She really wanted to try and continue, but with the kids all having heavier schedules this year there was no way she could continue.  So, she is now back at the HOH with me in the mornings, and we are attempting to get back on top of things that had kinda fallen by the wayside.

We had quite a few new kids come to the HOH while we were gone.  One little 9 year old boy Kerly came just before we left.  He was quite sick then, but has just gotten worse over the past few weeks.  They are not sure what his problem is, but he almost died last night.  We were able to get a blood transfusion for him today and he really seemed to pick up after that, so please pray that he would continue to progress and that the doctors would know what to do for him.

To conclude, here's some prayer & praise requests:
  • Please remember Linda and the kids here while I'm gone on my different trips.
  • Pray for the kids with their heavy school schedules, exams for this semester will start soon.
  • Pray for the salvation of several of the new kids who do not know Jesus.  One 8 year old little girl came crying into the office the other day after having seen the children's version of the Jesus film.  I asked her what was wrong and she cried out between sobs, "They nailed Jesus to the cross!".  It was a special time to share the Good News with her, and watch the stirrings start in her heart.  Please be in prayer for Schnaida.
  • Pray for me as I look at the new year and what studies to do with the kids.  We'll be starting them back up in January, Lord willing, so pray that I'll be able to work out the details to doing that.
  • One last thing, please pray for God's provision of our needs.  These have been tough months, we are doing all we can to cut costs and use our resources wisely.  Pray for continued wisdom in these areas.
That is it for now -- this got longer than I thought it would.  I will try and update with some pictures before I leave for the states in mid-December.  Blessings to you all...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Gentle Reminder...

Yes, that's what I received from my mom about a month ago, gently reminding me that it had been a month since I'd updated the blog. It was very nice of her to remind me, not because I really needed the reminder (I knew it'd been a month), but it was just nice to know she cared about it enough to remind me. I was determined the next day to sit down and update the blog...I really was...I had such good intentions, but as the days started to once again fill up with the tyranny of the urgent, well the blog got pushed back again and again.

Now, today I am up against a different deadline. In two days, Linda and I leave for the US for a month. If I don't update now... I won't get a chance to for another month. And I just couldn't do that to you all. So here goes...

Just what has been keeping us so busy?

Well, to keep up with some of the themes from the last posting; the chicken pox hit us pretty good this time through. Up until last week we still had kids coming down with it; and older kids at that. Even some of our 20 somethings came down with it. We finally are getting a break from that, and hopefully we've seen the last of it for a while. We are so thankful that no one was too seriously sick, just miserable for the days they were down. But in the end everyone has successfully pulled through.

Another thing that has consumed much of my time these past few weeks has been the start of school. We have 51 kids/youth in school this year... Yep you read that right, 51... in 14 different schools and universities. So, I probably don't really need to tell you it takes quite a bit of effort on everyone's part to make sure everyone is in the right place, at the right time, with the right uniform, the correct books and their bill paid. Add to that the fact that Linda is also attending one of these schools this year and has to be at school in her place at 7am every morning...well, you get the picture, right? Here's a picture of 4 of our youngest kids in their uniforms. They were so excited on the first day of school!!

So, is anyone wondering how our little Loveson is doing? You aren't going to believe these next pictures. First is one taken several weeks ago. He's doing much better, but still has the white hair and discolored skin showing his severe malnutrition. He is eating "Kenèps" a favorite fruit among our kids here. Our own kenèp trees gave an abundance of fruit this year, much to the delight of young and old alike.

Loveson would have loved to update the blog for me like he did a while ago, but he has been much too busy with school himself here at the HOH. And much, much too busy sporting his new look...complete with totally black hair, and a more normal skin tone...Yep! An incredible difference. It is so exciting to see him doing so well. Thank you so much for your support that enables us to bring hope to these kids. We couldn't have done it without everyone doing their part. Thanks for yours!

Here are a few prayer requests to keep in mind for us over the next few weeks:
  • Linda and my travels -- We will be in Oklahoma, Texas and Florida over the next four weeks. Pray for safety, some rest, and a productive time sharing the ministry of the HOH in various locations.
  • The kids as we are gone -- Especially pray for St. Germain and Phania who are pretty much in charge when we go away. Pray for wisdom for everyone to make wise choices while we are gone, and to take care of each other well.
  • School -- Everyone is studying (including Linda and myself). So we all need to give our studies the time and effort necessary to do well. And have understanding as we learn new things.
  • God's provision -- Praise Him for the way He's provided for us already. We have received numerous food and other shipments from Miami over the past few months that have helped us out so much. Our actual donations are still very low these days, but so far we have not gone without anything we have needed. So we praise God for that, and ask that you pray for His continued provision for the ministry.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chicken Pox - School - Irene

So, if you were picking out what comes next for us here at the House of Hope, just what would you pick? Sometimes I wish we actually could have a choice on what came next -- sort of like a multiple choice, would you like this, this or this. But then again, perhaps that wouldn't be so fun after all, especially if all them were hard and difficult choices (remember the choices God gave David as his punishment for counting the people when he wasn't told to).

Well, if we had a choice, we probably wouldn't have chosen Chicken Pox so quickly after our run in with Cholera; but that's what we got. We always are looking for the positive in things, so here's the big positive at least up to today -- only one of the kids has it! Yep, that seems almost too good to be true in a house of over 80 kids; but that's where it stands. So, we'll see if it stays there or if more kids get it. So, anyone curious as to who was the lucky kid? None other than my own little Nani...yep, and I just don't need much of an excuse to put her picture on the blog...so, once again, here she is...not with the pox...I couldn't do that to her! But you can just imagine her with spots all over her little body. For her it has been a total adventure, she had to give us a running commentary of every spot that shows up. "Oh look, there's one...Oh! and here's another one". She almost made you feel like you were the one missing out on all these spots...

School was approaching rather quickly. We were starting to feel the rush of needing to organize and get uniforms and books in order, and of course the thought of paying for all the entrance fees was also in the forefront of our minds. This week the Haitian government decided to postpone school for another month. Yes, this is not an unusual event n Haiti Well, this for us was an excellent turn of events. Having another month to get all of our ducks lined up in a row -- or kids as it would be around here, is such a great relief for us. This year we have a special student going to school. Linda has decided to return to school to try and finish her High School diploma. She has several tough years of study ahead of her, but we are proud of her for taking this step. For being a model citizen and huge help to many in our community, she was offered a full scholarship at the local high school, and will be in the same class as some of our kids -- how's that for having your mom go to school with you!

This does have one small drawback to it...we now have to keep the kids occupied here at the house for an extra month. We have learned;

that you can only make kids take a nap for so long...
And sticking the remains of Tati Jen's labels on your face is actually very fun, but only for so long...

And while talent shows are extremely fun to prepare for and put on, you really only can stand on your head for so long as well.
So, we will continue to seek out other activities to keep the kids happy, healthy and growing in all areas of life.

As I am writing this, we are in the process of getting pummeled by rain from Hurricane Irene. It hasn't been too bad as far as wind goes, but we are getting a lot of rain, and the homes in our area which are closest to the ocean have received damage. I will try and get out and about tomorrow to see just how much damaged was caused. As always we appreciate your prayers for us as we face the different things that come our way.

We'd ask you to continue to pray for our needs. Donations have been low, and yet the prices of things (especially food) continues to rise with every crisis we face. Almost all of the main foods we can find to purchase in our area of Haiti come from Miami. By the time we get ahold of them down here they are at least 3 times the price one would pay in Miami. For being one of the poorest countries, it is unbelievably expensive to keep food on the table down here. One way a church in Miami has decided to help us with this is by purchasing food directly in Miami and shipping it down to us on the boats. They have been doing this since after the earthquake, and have continued up until now. They had been using their own donated funds to make these purchases up until now, but are now running low and are not able to purchase for us as they did before. I know there might be people who are interested in helping us directly with sending gifts to this church so they can purchase food to send directly to us. If this is of interest to you, please contact me directly at: jenny.reitz@crossworld.org and I will give you more information on how you can do this.

In any case, we appreciate you, our faithful supporters for your prayers, your financial help and your encouragement along the way. Life in Haiti is certainly a roller-coaster ride, and like any good roller-coaster it's so much more fun with a lot of friends to enjoy it with you. So thanks for being part of what's going on here...we appreciate you all.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Cholera? Where?

The difference between this week and last week is unbelievable. It's like we've been transported to an identical village some place else over night. As fast as the outbreak occurred; so it ended. Yesterday the hospital didn't have more than 20 people in the cholera wards, and we haven't had any more sick kids here at the HOH at all. We are so thankful that it is over, and we are able to catch up on our work, sleep and health.

Through this ordeal, the hospital was given a Cholera Treatment Center, I'm putting up some pictures so you can see it, it looks really good -- and the best thing about it at the moment is that it is empty!! But it is there in case another outbreak should occur.

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With life returning to normal, we've been able to allow the "Our Hope" kids to go back to their home communities and families for a short visit. Pray with us that these young people would be a light for the Lord to their families and friends as they spend some time with them.

Next week, Monday, I will be taking 4 people (3 of our kids and a friend from PAP) to the eye clinic being held in a neighboring town. They have many specialists coming from the US, and all 4 of these people have pretty serious eye conditions. Please pray that we'll be able to get each of them the help they need, and that all would work out well.

Again, many thanks for your prayers and giving over the past week and a bit. God bless you, and please continue to pray that we would point others to Christ as we minister to the needs around us.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

All are well

Greetings from a healthy House of Hope! Our cholera room is empty, and the rest of the house full of healthy people, for which we are extremely thankful. Many thanks for your prayers, it has been a roller coaster week for us and we appreciate you all holding us up in prayer and support.

Just wanted to tell you a story of a very dear pastor friend of ours. Pastor Emerable is 79 years old and came down with Cholera last week. He is one of our biggest fans, and supporters here in Haiti. He is the most amazing man I've ever known. He just shines forth the love of Jesus everywhere he goes, and lives a life of a servant to his fellow man. He spends his days hiking the mountains behind us and the neighboring town looking for people in need. It's not that he has a lot to give them. He himself is a stick thin man with almost no worldly possessions at all. He just knows how to help people. Bring them to the hospital if they are sick, bring them to the House of Hope if they are sick children, and share the love of Jesus with everyone.

We couldn't even begin to count the number of children he has brought to the HOH over the years, even hiking over 4 hours one way just to find them and bring them to our home. And once they are here, he doesn't ever forget them, he comes back at least once every two weeks to visit them and make sure they are ok. He is just an wonderful man.

Cholera took out a huge toll on his body though, by Wed. of this week, he was over the cholera, but his heart had been damaged. His family didn't want him to die in the hospital, so they asked me to drive him part way to his home. It was one of the saddest moment of my life. When they first put him in our vehicle, he was lying on his stretcher in the fetal position, skeleton thin and mostly unresponsive. When we reached our destination I went and took his hand; he grabbed mine. With a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye he said, "I sure do love you guys". I assured him of our love as well, and even more important the love of his wonderful Heavenly Father. It was such a beautiful, yet sad moment, as I was sure I'd never see this man again -- until we met up in Heaven one day.

Well, God had other plans. His family called us yesterday to tell us, he is doing extremely well, able to sit up, and even walk with some help. We never expected that and feel like it was just a gift from God at this moment. So I wanted to share it with you as well. Pray for Pastor Emerable, and for his family (his son is still recovering in a hospital in the south of Haiti from his Gillian-barre syndrome that he got after his run in with Cholera).

We had some visitors here from our supporting churches in Miami this past week; they left this morning. Now we are headed to the airport to pick up some dear friends and supporters from England today.

May you all have a blessed weekend, and I'll try to connect with you all again next week.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

two more sick ones

Today wasn't quite so good. The hospital census went up a bit more, and two of our middle age kids came down sick as well. We aren't sure it's cholera, but we aren't taking any chances either. They are both doing considerably better than they were last night. The original 3 sick ones here at the HOH are all doing fine and have been released from the cholera room.

I've been put on antibiotics for an infection, and am without fever and feeling better today.

Thanks for your prayers for us, and please keep them up. God bless...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A better day

We are still doing ok as far as the cholera goes here at the HOH. We've managed so far to keep the others healthy -- thanks to your prayers and a great big miracle from our Heavenly Father! This evening one little boy has some diarrhea, so we are watching him closely to see if it turns into something more serious.

The hospital is doing better as well, they were able to release about 170 patients yesterday, reducing the numbers in the yard significantly. They also were able to get more tents set up, so it is looking much less like a horror from the civil war area down there. Again, thanks for your prayers.

I have been in bed most of the day with a high fever and generally feeling ill. None of my symptoms are cholera, so don't worry. I've been going full blast for several weeks now, and I think my body is telling me to slow down a bit. So, I've been resting most of the day.

Please continue to bring our needs before our loving and faithful Father. We have full confidence that He will provide for all of our needs. We were blessed by a group of Haitians from a Miami church today who came and brought some supplies to the HOH, and also spent time singing with our kids, they had a really nice time. They will be holding a evangelistic crusade in our town this week, so that will be a good and encouraging thing for the townspeople who have been through a really tough week.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Doing ok

So far there are no new cases here at the HOH. The 3 who had it are doing much better and were able to get off their IV fluids today. They are eating and keeping the food down, and in general are doing much better. They are preparing themselves for a barrage of teasing once they get declared healed and let out of the cholera room!

It is the start of a long battle for us, however, as our Doctor friend told us that once a person has had Cholera he is still able to infect others and re-infect himself for a period of 6 months. So we are busy pushing the rules to proper hygiene and food preparation techniques. Please continue to pray for us that we all will be wise in how we handle ourselves and be able to maintain a cholera free home. It is a lot harder than it sounds when you are dealing with over 100 people all in one home!Please remember our three nursing students: Phania, Dada, and Stephanie. They are all three volunteering their services down at the hospital. They are working long hours and helping with all kinds of patient needs. Pray for their safety, stamina and health.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cholera at the HOH

In spite of our best efforts to keep it out of our home, cholera hit 3 of our family last night. It started with one and quite quickly moved to 3. We were bracing ourselves for more this morning, but so far today, these three are the only ones with it. They are all doing ok, we caught it quick enough, but it is definitely making life a bit more stressful. We've isolated a room in the house for all with Cholera, and are attempting to contain it as much as possible. Please continue to pray for us during this time.

The hospital is absolutely unbelievable. I was gone throughout the weekend and just got back this afternoon. I was overwhelmed by the masses of people spread throughout the hospital grounds. There just aren't words to describe it. They do have several different groups there helping them out with different things, and seem to be doing ok at the moment for supplies.

We were able to get a stock of IV fluids and clorox thanks to our colleagues in PAP. Many have asked if it is just in our area or all over Haiti, it does seem to be just in our area from what I can tell. I was traveling on the weekend and didn't see it in other places.

Many others have asked what they can do to help, and my response is: Pray, and if you are able to help us financially, that will help us meet the needs of the house at this time. Thank you all, I'll try and update regularly for the time being, so I might not always get the chance to send out an e-mail with the updates. Blessings on you all, thanks so much for praying, and for your encouraging messages.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Updates

I'm really busy as you can imagine, but my friend Jeb has described the situation here much better than I. So please feel free to take a look at his blog: http://doorofhopehaiti.blogspot.com/ . Please keep praying, the situation seems to just get more serious as we go along. It's so hard to know what's the right decision to make on some situations. So thanks for praying.

URGENT PRAYER NEEDED!!!

We are posting this blog update to ask you to pray urgently on our behalf. Cholera has returned to our area of Haiti, many times worse than it every was before. Our hospital yard is completely full of patients. Here's a picture, but honestly no picture can do justice to the unbelievable amount of people in the hospital yard. They are having trouble keeping count but it has been over 200 new patients a day for the past 2 days.There is a constant stream of people flowing in, and already there have been more than 15 deaths in the past 2 days. It is really bad, and we just need your prayers for the hospital, the staff, and for us. We are working very hard to keep it out of our home, but it isn't easy and we really feel the need at this time for you to stand behind us in prayer. We are trying to get the supplies we need in case it does hit our home. We already cannot get Clorox here in the markets around us, we have sent off for our colleagues in PAP to see if they can help get us some. They are also getting IV solutions for us and non-sterile gloves. I might be driving down to pick them up in the coming days, at that seems to be the best solution at this point to get the items here. Please just pray for us....that we'd find what we need, that we'd have stamina we need, and that financially God would provide what we need to get through these days. Blessings and many thanks. Jenny

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A whole new me!

Well, here I am again. This is my third chance to write to you, and boy am I excited to show you my picture this time. I am doing so well, if I should say so myself. The TB treatment is really doing the trick, and I am feeling so healthy. Here I am doing my absolutely most favorite activity -- eating!!! Fortunately for me eating is very good for me right now, so I am doing as much of it as I can. You'll be able to see in this picture and some of the others that my skin pigment is smoothing out, the swelling is almost completely gone from my hands and feet, and I am just overall much healthier. The boys cut off my white hair, so I lost my "Father Christmas" nickname along with the hair. My new nickname is "Ti Blan", which literally means "little white".

Well, this has been another very busy month...which is why it has taken me more than a month to update you all on what's been going on. As you know the kids are almost all on summer vacation now. All except for Manno who is in his last days of writing his final year exams. All the other kids have finished their government exams, and now have to go through the stress of waiting for the results. I was able to take part in more activities this month, so are you up for some pictures to help you see what's been going on? I hope so, because I have a lot this month...

The first major event since we last talked was Tati Jen's birthday. Boy was that a big day, because it was a big birthday....but she won't let me tell you which one it was...you'll have to figure that one out on your own.
Anyway, we had a big party, and good food, and Birthday cake and presents, and singing and music and jokes and laughing. It was a good evening (actually I'm just telling you what they told me because I actually fell asleep before the whole thing started!).

The next big event was Lala and Ivinsky's graduation...from Kindergarten!! Yep, after 3 hard years of pre-school, they are now full fledge students. Lala even graduated with honors, coming in third in her class for her grades. We had a nice party for them after the graduation...boy was that fun, we had cookies and candy and juice. And we sang songs, and listened to music and showed off our dancing skills. They sure do know how to have fun around here!

After that came another graduation, this time it was a group of pastors who were graduating from Bible School. Tati Da was asked to be the "God-mother" of the graduating class, which is a really big deal here, and a big honor. She looked beautiful, so I just have to share her picture with you...Then came the really big occasion that happens every July here in our town. That is the big July conference, where over 5,000 people come from all over Haiti to spend a week in meetings. They have Bible studies, kids meetings, Praise and worship sessions. It is absolutely mayhem around here with that many people added to our village. Here' how it looked from around here...A few days before the conference started they older kids braided all the little girl's hair, and put beads on the braids...
It was such a big job, even the boys helped out. And the results were just great...The girls looked so good, I was quite proud to walk with them over to the campground where the kids' meetings. Every morning at 9 am and every afternoon we all dressed up for the occasion and headed out... We had to take our own benches to sit on, because by the time we got there all the seats were already taken up by other kids. But thanks to our older boys, we always had seats because they carried the benches over for us. Here I am sitting on one...We were thankful for the chance to sit, but boy was it crowded and hot! As you can see we weren't the only kids there...
In fact, we were only about 40 kids in the midst of 2,000 kids who came every day for the conference!!!
It was so much fun!! We sang and danced, and learned verses and our theme this year was "My eyes are fixed on Jesus". To learn the theme we learned a little chant to say, "My eyes are fixed on Jesus, his eyes are fixed on Jesus, our eyes are fixed on Jesus, and you? Are your eyes fixed on Jesus?" To learn the Bible lessons, we divided up into smaller groups, this was my small group...
Can you see me? Didn't think so. Here I am...
You can see I found the Bible lessons very interesting. It was all so much fun and I'm so thankful I got to be a part of the conference this year.

So that pretty much brings us up to date. The next few weeks are going to be so busy. We have a team coming in from Pennsylvania with our friend Jeb Bland. They are coming in to take care of us kids, while the older kids and Tati Da and Tati Jen hold a retreat for the House of Hope staff. Tati Jen is driving down on Friday to Port-au-Prince to pick the team up and bring them back here on Saturday. Then, all next week is the Staff Retreat.

They have the retreat every 2 years to give the staff a break, and to make them feel special and appreciated for all their hard work during the years. They take such good care of us, and it's our way to say thank you back to them. So pray for us over the next couple of weeks, it's going to be crazy busy around here, with lots of comings and goings. Pray for safety in travel, for good health, for good times in God's Word as our local pastor comes and shares with our staff and for just a great time of being together. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures to show you the next time I update.

Please continue to pray for God to provide for our needs at the HOH. Giving is still really low, and it is an added stress on Tati Da and Tati Jen. I know they trust God to provide for all of our needs, so please pray that He would do so. They almost cancelled the staff retreat, but are trying to do it anyway with what we have. So pray that God would open His storehouses and send us what we need to continue this special ministry. Til next time...Loveson

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

It's me again!

Hi Everyone! It's been over a month since I've written you. Boy have things been busy around here. I wanted to take this chance to show you my new picture. If you have a keen eye, you'll be able to see I am doing much better. My face isn't as puffy, my hair is growing back (the kids here can even make it stand in a Mohawk after I've finished washing it!), and I'm starting to get my normal color back. At first the doctor thought I had Celiac disease, so they put me on a diet that I did not like at all. I couldn't eat anything fun at all...no bread, no macaroni, no fried dough...boy was that hard.

In the end they decided that was not my problem, so they allowed me to start eating all that stuff again. I was so happy, I started eating as much as I could of all that stuff, just in case they changed their minds and made me stop again. So, what did they find out that has made me start to get healthy again? Well, in a last ditch effort to help me in some way, the Dr. here put me on treatment for TB, and that was exactly what I needed. I've been on treatment for about 2 weeks now, and the difference is incredible. I feel so much better, my body isn't swollen anymore, my hands and feet are healing up. I can walk, dance and I have made it my personal responsibility to make everyone in the house as happy as I can. Nicknames are very important here at the HOH, and over the past few weeks I have earned the nickname "Father Christmas", or literally "Uncle Christmas" (Tonton Noel). I'm not sure why, but I don't mind...it makes me feel very much a part of things here.

I'm very happy to be healing up, because there have been so many activities these past few weeks that I haven't been able to participate in because I was too sick. I'm going to share them with you anyway, you'll have to excuse me though for not giving you a first hand report on everything. To make sure you won't miss out on any of the news, I hired some extra help.

Carly and Micah are in on everything around here. They don't miss anything. So you can rest assured, that even though I wasn't personally at all of the following events, the news is true and accurate because my help was there and told me all about it...
We had a really nice girl here from France, her name is Lucille and she spent 2 weeks at our house. She could really speak French well, and I was so excited to be able to practice my French with her. Some of the other kids were too embarrassed to speak French with her, but not me; I boldly spouted out French whenever she was close enough to hear me. I think she liked it, because it always made her (and everyone else) laugh. Anyway, we really had a great time with Lucille here, and we were sad to see her go.

May 18th is a big celebration day here in Haiti. It is Flag Day, and we sure do like to celebrate it. The different schools in the area always hold parades with special marches and dances. And a whole bunch of people in the community open up stands and sell all kinds of good things for people to eat. This year some of the older kids from the HOH opened up their own stand, and sold BBQ chicken, fried plantain bananas, candied popcorn and lots of things to drink...

They worked hard and did a really good job from what I hear. Honestly, all I remember about that day was that the house was really dull and quiet, because almost everyone was at the celebration! There was another day the house was really quiet as well. One Saturday Tati Da and Tati Jen took everyone (well almost everyone, I had to stay home because my feet were too swollen) to the beach. Boy did Micah and Carly ever have stories to tell when they got back home that night. They played in the sand, ate sandwiches and then BBQ chicken. And they got to swim in the ocean. Carly loved the ocean, and Micah didn't. When I questioned him about it, all he could tell me was that the ocean was scared of him. (I really think it was the other way around). Here are a few pictures they shared with me of the day...
Rose Carline and Valandjina enjoy sandwiches and juice.

Once again St. Germain ran the BBQ. Well, he pretty much planned out the whole day. He's really good at that kind of thing.

Here the kids are waiting in line for the food.

They had a lot of fun swimming and doing tricks in the water. I can't wait until I can go. When I'm completely better, I'm going to beg Tati Da and Tati Jen to take me to the beach too. I'm pretty sure they'll do it.

So, that brings us to a last bit of news. We've received 4 new girls into the house, and it's about time too. We've had boys for so long, it was really nice to finally get some girls in.

All 4 of them are sick with different things, but 2 of them are malnourished like me. It will be good to see them get healthy again. Their names are Noëldine, Marianne, Lanka and Genide. It'd be nice if you could pray for them that they would get well, and also that they would learn about Jesus while they are here. We have many occasions to hear about Jesus here at the HOH. We have Church and Sunday School on Sundays, and Bible studies and family devotions during the week. So pray that if they aren't already in God's family that they would soon be.

Once again, thank you for your help that allows kids like me and these other girls to be here at the House of Hope. None of us thought we had any hope before we came here, and now we know that we do. Please continue to help and pray that others will do so as well. As you can imagine, things have been really tight the past little while. So I'd ask you to pray for God to give us everything that we need to take care of everyone in our large family. Pray also for the kids who are in school, they all will be writing exams soon. And Tati Jen has to travel to Port-au-Prince for a week next week, so pray for her as well. And pray for Tati Da while Tati Jen is gone, it is always hard to run the place alone (you can be sure I will help her out though). Thank you very much, and God bless.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

News from Loveson

Hi! My name is Loveson, and I am 6 years old. I just recently showed up here at the House of Hope, but this is my 3rd trip here in my lifetime, so I'm pretty up on how things run around here. Let me let you in on a few things I've learned over the years and some other news...

It's very important to know who these two ladies are. They are "Tati Da" and "Tati Jen", it doesn't really matter which is which. Some of the children here can't ever keep it straight, so they just respond to both names. I've never had a problem telling them apart though, Tati Da wears glasses and Tati Jen doesn't. It can't get much easier than that. Anyway, these are the people to know around here, they have all kinds of ways to make you feel loved and wanted. For instance, they love to hear me sing and they ask me to do it all the time. I have learned though, that if I hesitate for a few minutes and don't sing right away when they ask me, they are likely to offer me something, like a piece of candy if I sing...so I usually hold out for as long as I can. But it is difficult, because I just love to sing. And every song that comes out of my mouth is a song of praise to God. I just love singing for Him. You should stop by sometime to hear me!

There are so many things to do here at the HOH, some days I just don't know what to do with myself. For instance, they have this really fun animal farm out back we love to go and watch the different animals. They have chickens, turkeys, ducks, and now they've added...

Yep, two rabbits have joined our family (and from what I understand we will likely have more before too long). Do you have any idea how fun it is to watch rabbits hop around? Some of the other kids here (not me, I would never do this) love to do things to make them hop, like throwing little stones and things...but they are learning this is not a good thing to do.

Another very fun thing to do is swim in the swimming pool. It is really starting to get hot during the days, and it is so nice to swim in the cool water. They put in soap, and it makes all these bubbles, and then we just all end up getting a bath at the same time. It is so much more fun than just taking a bath. I wish we could do it everyday, but we are having some trouble with our water system, so we can only do it occasionally. This is Daphno enjoying himself, and as you can see....
everyone gets a chance. I do need to mention to Tati Da/Jen that it might be a good thing to get a slightly bigger pool next time, because I have trouble doing my flips underwater when it's so crowded.
Two weeks ago the house got very quiet as a number of the older kids and Tati Jen went to Port-de-Paix for the "Capping" ceremony of three of the girls. I have no idea what a capping ceremony is, but all I know is that when the three girls left here; they didn't have anything on their heads, and when they came back they all three had these white caps on their heads. So I think that means they they are nurses now, or something like that; and I think that is really neat, because we always need nurses around here to take care of the sick kids like me.

We received a bunch of boxes at the HOH these past few weeks. And some of the boxes had soccer uniforms and balls in them! Because the kids here were off school for Easter vacation they had so much fun with all that stuff. I didn't get to play because I'm still a bit too sick for that rough stuff, but it was a lot of fun watching them. Some of the older kids even got to play in a tournament with their schools. For the finals it ended up being between two of the schools the HOH kids attend. Boy did they every fight with each other over who was going to win. It didn't really matter to me who won, I just had a lot of fun shouting and dancing with the winners when it was all over.
The older kids here held a concert over Easter weekend. It was a really great time. They opened it up for kids and young people in the community to come and sing for Jesus. I just sat and enjoyed all the songs. When this boy sang it was really special because his randmother (who is the one who takes care of him) is dying of cancer. She is in this little room not too far from the HOH. We all go to see her during the days and sing for her; and Tati Da likes to read the Bible to her. Well, this little boy sang a song called "Jesus is Alive". It meant a lot for him to sing like that knowing how hard things are for him right now.

Well, that's about all I have to tell you except for this; we pray for you all very often. Every time we have our family devotions we pray for you and ask God to protect you, to guide you and to provide for you. We really appreciate the way you give to the HOH so kids like me can be in a great place like this. I learn so many things here, especially about God and how He loved us so much to send His Son to die for us. Thank you for making it possible for me to be here; now if you'll excuse me I need to go for a very important meeting...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's about time!

I can't put it off any longer. I kept telling myself I didn't have anything new to write, but that's mostly because everything I should have written about before has already passed. For instance, I didn't tell you in the last update that I was taking a trip to the US. I had a reason for that, I told myself that I would have time to update you again before I left, and I would write about it then. Well, I was wrong...

The days leading up to my trip were hectic, and I never did get around to writing about it on the blog. So, I told myself that I would have time while I was in the US to at least write and say I was there. Well, wrong again. From the moment I touched down in Miami, until I returned to Haiti 10 days later, I never stopped long enough to even catch my breath. Those of you who know me are probably saying by now, "Jenny, that's how it always goes, why would this trip be any different", and you are right. I should know that by now, but I always have that bit of optimism that I'll just find the time.

My 10 days in FL was busy, but it was also a very good time. I was able to spend a week purchasing items that we needed for the HOH. A lot of what I purchased was getting us ready for the upcoming summer season and a lot of the plans we have, especially for our biennial Staff Retreat. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our purchases on a boat. It was supposed to have arrived already, but, well, such is life in our little country. Anyway, this was a really great time; I was blessed by some very generous supporters who gave me a wonderful place to stay, shop, pack things up and then move on.

The later part of my time in the US was actually the reason I went in the first place. I was blessed once again to participate in the mission conference of Miami Shores Presbyterian Church. This time I also spoke at Central Presbyterian Church. Through the weekend I spent with these 2 churches I had the opportunity to share what God is doing at the HOH 8 times.

The conference ended Sunday night and I returned to Haiti early Monday morning. By Monday afternoon I was knee deep into baking pizza's for our kids annual "Recreation" days. Each year during the "Mardi Gras" festival break in Haiti our kids hold these fun days to attract the kids and youth from our local community. It is through these fun days we start building relationships with the youth, and eventually many of them begin attending our Bible studies and clubs. There was a great turn out again this year, and all who were involved in the planning and preparation are breathing a sigh of relief that it's over for another year :) (especially the pizza maker).

Most of last week I spent sick, crawling from bed to do what was absolutely essential, and then crawling back again. My only explanation is that I must have caught a virus from my very kind friends in Miami, and thus I gained a few "sick days" in my schedule, or you would have had this update last week! I am feeling better now, still dealing with a few health issues, but hopefully will get everything squared away this week.

In the meantime, our students are busy with exams, our Bible studies are getting underway again, and we are preparing to have a team come in from PA next week.

The second round of the Haitian presidential elections went by peacefully this past Sunday. All of our kids who were able to went out and cast their vote. We are now waiting for the results. We pray that goes by peacefully as well.

One of our former staff ladies is dying of breast cancer. There is nothing that can be done for her, and her days are full of suffering. We are doing what we can to help her during this very difficult time, but we'd just ask you to pray for Mme Sonel.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support over this past month and a half. Hopefully, the next update won't be so long in coming.

Monday, February 07, 2011

A month load of Greetings...

My apologies for not updating sooner....lets see, what has been keeping us busy. Well, there's been school and homework; Bible studies and clubs; as well as community service work projects and shipments of supplies from North America. Here are some photo highlights of our past month...

Nani passed her first ever reading homework assignment. Might not sound like a big deal. But for a young girl who can't sit still for 2 seconds, we congratulated ourselves even more than her :).

Lala lost her first tooth, followed very quickly by her second. She considers herself the most heroic person in the world for having gone through this extremely traumatic experience.


We received Christmas gifts for the kids...Grace Baptist Church in York, PA once again provided a lovely box full of wonderful gifts for each of our kids. Some other families also sent gifts to their "Long Distance Loving" kids...In the end, everyone here had a nice sack full of gifts and clothes.



Miami Shores Presbyterian Church blessed us with two shipments on the boats this past month. The first was a wonderful assortment of toys for our smaller kids to play with. If you are wondering what the kids thought about that, I think the pictures tell it all...


They also purchased food supplies for us in Miami, and shipped them to us on the boat. They have been doing this regularly, with the help of our friend Renel Noel since the earthquake last year, and it has been such an incredible help to us...


Our friends from Snohomish, WA came once again to help us with several projects. It was good to see them and have a chance to catch up on things with them. Jeb with Doors of Hope also made a visit here, and was a great encouragement to us as always. We have been blessed over and over again as we've seen God's incredible provision as we care for these children and young people He has given us. Thank you for your part in supporting us in so many different ways.

I was sent a devotional on 1 Chronicles 29:11,"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name." It seemed like a very fitting verse as we face multiple uncertainties around us at this time. What a comfort to know we are children of the One who is control of it all, and we can trust in Him for what lies ahead.