Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas to all of you.  We hope you have a blessed holiday season wherever you may find yourselves.  Ours has been a busy one so far, we are part way through our Christmas program and party schedule with a few more days to go.

The kids got out late for Christmas vacation this year, most of them just finished their exams on Friday.  So they have been enjoying these first few days on vacation.  Yesterday we held our annual Christmas program.  The kids, under the direction of Saingermain, did such a great job.  It was full of songs, skits and full of the message of the gift of Jesus.  There were about 130 guests in attendance, and with our resident count it made it just over 200 people who crowded in our gallery area to enjoy the festivities.  Here's a glimpse of how the day went...
First came the preparation... Snack bags for everyone consisting of a sandwich, cupcake, bag of kettle corn and some candy.
Jenny's "helpers" licking out the icing bowl.
All dressed up... 
Songs from the heart
Dieula delivers a Christmas Poem.  She'll recite it in her school program tomorrow as well.
A fun dance to "Feliz Navidad"

And Finally... the food!  Rose Nirva tries cupcake and sandwich at the same time!

It's always a fun day at the HOH, and our friends and neighbors always enjoy coming as well.  One lady thanked us for giving a clear message of the true gift of Christmas, Jesus who lived so we could also live.

Speaking of gifts... the Christmas gifts from Grace Baptist Church in York, PA have arrived!  The kids are excited and we look forward to handing them out after our family Christmas meal on the 26th.  All of our staff will be here with us to participate in this meal and it's always nice to spend the day together.  Thanks so much Grace Baptist for once again sending our kids these gifts.  

We appreciate those of you who have prayed for our late president's wife and family during their difficult time.  We ask that you continue to hold up this family in prayer during this holiday season, as it will be tough for them.  

We'd also ask you to pray for the financial situation here at the HOH.  We were blessed by those of you who participated in helping us collect funds for our projects over the summer months (be watching for some pictures as we start to receive some of the items you helped us purchase).  We now really need to concentrate on increasing the amount of financial support that comes in on a monthly basis.  For those of you who give regularly, we thank God for you... Please pray with us that God would bring more people alongside of us to help increase this monthly support.  It costs us roughly $200 per child per month here at the HOH.  This includes everything:  food, clothes, schooling, medical care, daily needs.  If you do not do so already, please consider helping us with these costs.  If you'd like to know more details about this, just let us know at .  If you are unable to help us out in this way, please pray with us that God would use others to do so.  Be looking in the coming weeks for news about changes we're making at the HOH due to these financial needs...

Until next time, we'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Continuing in the midst of sadness

I know it's been a bit since we've written. Things have been busy and then they were just sad... and it was hard to know how to write you about it all. 

A little over a week ago, the President of the national mission the House of Hope is part of (the Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Haiti) was taken from his home in Port-au-Prince and brutally murdered.  His wife survived gunshot wounds, but is still recovering in the hospital. 

You can imagine the shock to everyone, and it's hard to talk about anything else these days.  The funeral is supposed to be this coming weekend, being held in various places across Haiti.  We would ask for your prayers on behalf of the Simon family (they have 3 young adult children who are in the US).  Pray also that those investigating this murder would be able to find those responsible and bring them to justice and keep them from doing this to anyone else. 

Here at the HOH things are going ok.  We have two of our young men who have been sick, and I will be taking them to Port-au-Prince this week to see specialists.  Pray for safety for them as they travel, and that they'd be able to find solutions for these health issues. We will also try to attend the funeral of Pastor Simon while we are there.

We appreciate you, your support and prayers very much.  I will try to get a better update written when I get back from PAP.  Blessings... And thanks for praying.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


The past couple of weeks we've had the chance to receive some new stuff at the HOH.  New stuff is always exciting for us, so we wanted to share some of them with you.

First, was the purchase of some new mattresses, thanks to a very generous gift from a supporter.  Half have been delivered to the HOH, and the other half will come in a week or so.  The kids really enjoyed getting them, here's some pictures: 

Another new was new shoes!  We've been blessed twice now by a young lady in the US who grew up in an orphanage herself in Russia.  She has spent time lately collecting shoes and money for shoes for other children in need around the world.  She helped us get new shoes for the kids for school, and now this past week sent us a suitcase full of shoes.  The kids had so much fun trying on the shoes and picking out ones that fit them...

And perhaps the most fun "new" of all was a new swing set sent to us by some new friends in Florida...

I think the smiles say it all.  We love to have new things around here!  So thank you to everyone who has so kindly given to us these past few weeks, and for those who gave to our other projects.  The screens and chairs have been ordered, and in another month or so we'll have even more new things!

Thank you so much for all the ways you support the House of Hope.  We do have some prayer requests we'd ask you to pray about.  Please keep our students in your prayers as they prepare for upcoming exams.  Also specifically pray for Chedlyn and Siliana as they are having difficulty learning to read.  The school system here doesn't allow for help for students who cannot learn just like everyone else, so we are doing the best we can to help them at home.  We could also use your prayers for Dieujuste who is going through a very difficult time right now.  Pray that we will know how best to help him and that he would make some good choices at this time.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Homework coming out of our ears!

We are into the rhythm of school, and believe it or not, some of our students already wish the tune would change!  Almost every day 6 year old Nani asks if there is school tomorrow; and when the weekend comes and we can finally say "no" she is so happy she just erupts into shouts of joy.  I do not think this is a very good sign... as we are only into week 3 of school!!

One thing that gets harder every year as our students get into higher grades is the amount of homework that is sent home with the students.  It is at least an hour's worth of work for the youngest classes and then it just goes up from there.  Another difficult thing is that most of the homework is not stuff that was taught in school, it's new information that they are supposed to pick up at home while you are helping them.  On one hand, the fact that the curriculum hasn't changed much since Linda was a child in school makes it easier for older kids and adults to help the children learn the new material, but for someone like me who didn't actually attend school in Haiti; boy it all seems complicated!

Thankfully we have a number of our youth and some adults in our local community who are willing to help us with the homework load.  I wanted to show you some of these "study groups" to give you a bit of an idea of what our afternoons and evenings are like.  So here are some of the people helping our students in elementary classes:

Linda studies with Dieula

Manno has a whole group of students he looks after.  
From Left: Dieunika, Manno, Baslet, Carlos, Chedlyn 

Our Neighbor Brother David is helping Valandjina and Nani this year.

Herby (in middle) is helping Gachner and Lovedine

They have a lot of proverbs in Haiti, and one of them is similar to our saying, "Many hands make light work".  Sometimes many hands just create a lot of hassle!  But in this case we are thankful for the many hands that help us get through the stacks of homework that come back to the HOH every day.

We have been able to start preparing our Bible Studies and classes to get up and running again.  Brother David is starting a Bible Study in 1 Corinthians with our older youth on Tuesday nights.  Linda and some of our young men will be starting up the Character Clubs with the boys from our local community on Saturdays.  She will also be teaching the Character studies to our younger kids in Sunday School on Sundays.  I am starting to work on translating some books to be used for future studies.

Recently, two of our younger kids expressed a desire to ask Jesus into their hearts.  Linda spent time talking over this decision with both Nani and Micah, and both of them asked Jesus to be their Savior.  As you can imagine this made us all happy and especially as it is two children who have been with us since they were just days old.  Nani will be 7 next month, and Micah is 5.

Thanks everyone for the prayers and support you gave us as we were raising funds for various projects over the summer.  We received enough funds for the first semester of school, funds to replace all the screens in the HOH, and some funds for chairs.   Paint was the least funded project... so we'll hold off on that for a bit.  School for the semester has already been paid.  The screens have been ordered and should be here in a month or so.  We hope to complete the chair money with some other gifts soon to be able to order them as well.  Next on our project list are new mattresses for the babies cribs... we have had these for at least 10 years, and they are really in bad shape.  The only reason they've lasted this long is that our friends from Simcoe made heavy duty mattress covers with rain coat material!  But even these heavy duty covers are coming to an end of their lifespan.  So be praying about this and the paint!

We were blessed with some very generous monthly gifts over the past few months and they've helped us with our finances a lot.  We'd ask you to continue to pray for God's provision of our monthly financial needs.  We appreciate you all and the many ways you support our ministry.  Have a blessed weekend!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Yes, it is!

Some have been wondering if the Rose Nirva seen dancing the Happy Dance below (and also eating the mango) is the same Rose Nirva who almost died of cholera a couple of months back.  The answer is yes!  And isn't she doing great?  Thank you so much for your prayers on her behalf.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Back into full swing

Hello and greetings from the HOH.  I am back in Haiti and slowly getting adjusted to the heat again.  It seems to be hotter than usual and often even the fans don't seem to do anything to help; they just blow hot air around.  At least the name of my apartment is "Windy Inn", so the breeze does help me a bit.  Imagine our kids though sitting in stifling cement school rooms with tiny or no windows! 

Yep, school has officially started, and while this week has been a bit hit or miss, we have been informed that Monday morning things will be going full steam.  The younger kids were excited for the school year to begin, but now that they have done the first week and seen their friends... the excitement seems to be waning a bit!  Oh, we can all remember those school days can't we?

I came back to several positive happenings, so I wanted to share them with you.

Our young leaders together with Linda and our Bible teacher David had put together some Baptismal classes over the summer.  After the studies, there were 9 of our young people who desired to be baptized; so they planned a day at the beach for the entire HOH family.  This would give them a place to have the baptismal service and have a day of fun and relaxation for the kids before school started up again.  As you can imagine I was thrilled that they had planned the baptism and desired to do it together as a HOH family.  Here are some pictures to help you see what the day was like:

All ready to go, and looking very cool!
Everyone got new outfits for the outing
Rose Nirva had no idea why everyone was so excited, but she broke out into her own little excited dance anyway.  It was her first trip to the beach, along with a number of our other little ones, and the day didn't disappoint!

Waiting in line to get in the truck
The Baptismal Service.  Brother David who led the service is on the Left.

The group that got baptized:  Back row from left:  Stevenson, Reginald, Herby.  Front row from left:  Oliana, Jumalia, Iverlande, Evelte, Jamesley, Chedlyn
Next came time to enjoy our new surroundings.  Carly enjoyed burying herself in sand.
Jamesly, Wetsen and Nani built sand castles.
Linda enjoyed a game of dominoes with the boys.
Others played a game of UNO.

But the beach was the all time favorite -- for those who could stand the sun that is!

Even the babies got to relax in the cool ocean breeze.  Manouchka on the right is doing so much better, we posted her picture on our last update right after she got here.  We enjoying having some babies again.

Next to the swimming in the beach the food brought the most joy of the day!  Here was a snack in the morning of bread, peanut butter and juice

 Then in the afternoon we had a big meal of rice and BBQ chicken

 All topped off with some lovely mangoes!

It really was a nice day and no one wanted to go back home...but as all things do, our lovely day came to and end and it was back to reality.

Reality for most was school starting on Monday but for Stephanie it was a little different this year.  After having finished nursing school last year and then doing her internship at our local hospital; Stephanie was hired with a full-time position at our partnering hospital the Beraca Medical Hospital.  We are proud of Stephanie and appreciate her initiative to find a job.  Please pray for her as she enters this new phase of life.

We appreciate your continued prayers for us as well.  We praise God for his provision of the tuition fees for this first semester of school.  Pray for our students as they start their studies again that they'd study hard and have a good school year.  Thanks so much for the various ways you support the work here at the HOH. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New places & faces

Every summer at the HOH, we attempt to have as many of our permanent residents as possible go spend some time with their families.  We have always felt it was important that they remain in contact with their home communities.  So, once school is out for the summer, we start making plans for the kids to go home for 1-2 weeks.  They take turns so we don't have too many older ones gone all at the same time; as that disrupts the running of the HOH too much.

This summer, St. Germain decided to take a few of the younger boys with him to visit his home community.  We do not know the families of these younger boys, and thus they have no place to go for "vacation".  So, this year St. Germain made sure they got to experience "vacation" the same as everyone else.  He took them up the mountains to his home area.  They stayed with an aunt, and enjoyed playing with the other kids in the area up there.  You can see from these pictures, they had a great time!

Fetching water from the local source

Spending time with St. Germain's aunt
Enjoying mangoes, plantain bananas and sugar cane straight from the garden

Over the past few weeks we've had a number of new children brought to the HOH.  Two little girls have come in bad shape.  Manouchka is just a month and a half old.  Her mom died of AIDS, and her dad is also positive and not able to care for her.  We praise God that she is negative, and that we have the chance to care for her in our home. 

The second little girl is Lovedjina.  She is two years old and has severe malnutrition.  Lovedjina is typical of the malnutrition cases we most often find at the HOH.  Around the age of two, her mom is just about ready to give birth to another baby; she tends to get forgotten in the shuffle.  We have insisted that her mom stay with her at the HOH, so she can learn how to properly care for her, and learn the foods to give Lovedjina in order too allow her to be healthy.

Linda is busy getting the kids ready for school.  Uniforms have to be sorted out and made, school supplies sorted and schedules worked out.  Up until last week everyone thought school was going to start on Sept. 2, but we have heard that the start of school has been postponed until Oct. 2; it gives us another month to get ready.  Which is good, because we are still trying to raise enough funds to send all the kids back to school this year.  Tuition generally costs us $200/student for the school year (we do not have free schools in our area of Haiti).  We have 43 students in school... so, you can see the need we have to raise these funds.

A few of the older kids who had to write government exams this year did not pass on the first try.  4 of them got close and have been given the chance to re-write the exams on Sept. 2. These students are Jn Daniel, Dada, Manno and St. Germain.  Please pray for them as they study over the next few days in preparation for these exams again.  Pray for clarity of thought, for understanding for the materials they study, and for good health to study hard and write their exams well.

Jenny is still traveling in the US. She had a great time with friends and supporters all over Eastern PA.  She is now back in Canada and will be heading over to Manitoba on the weekend.  There is still time to get in touch with her if you'd like to (even if it's just for a phone conversation!).

We appreciate each one of you who supports us in various ways.  Thank you for your part.  Please pray for the various projects we are trying to raise funds for over the next couple of weeks.  Most importantly is for the tuition fees for school for the year, so pray that we'd have that come in.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Moving ahead...

This past week felt much more like a normal summer week at the HOH.  For the most part, everyone was healthy and kept busy keeping the kids busy since they are on summer vacation.  The big activity last week was a soccer tournament mixing young boys from our local community in with our kids, here are a few pictures....

The only one still having some health issues has been Phania, she ended up having a Cesarean Section yesterday evening.  Phania was doing fine this morning, but the baby was having a hard time.  Please pray that the baby will start to breast feed, and will take a turn for the better.

Jenny & her husband have had a rough start to their trip in Canada and the US.  Her husband spent a number of days hospitalized last week, and they had to postpone some of their travels.  He is doing much better now, and so they will resume travel tomorrow.  Jenny will be in Eastern Pennsylvania over the next couple of weeks.  If you are interested in seeing her while she is there, please get in touch with her.

We appreciate your prayers, your support and all the different ways you help us out. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Better Days

First of all, thanks so much to those of you who have prayed so faithfully for us during these difficult days.  The weekend was a bit up and down, but this morning Linda called to say all was looking much better.

All of our kids who were admitted to the Cholera Treatment Center have been released and sent home.  No new cases have risen, and the HOH is getting a royal cleaning treatment today.  The last kids came home last night, with the last one being 9 year old Daphno.  When I asked Linda how he was doing today she said, "Oh, he's out playing soccer".  That's a kid for you!

Phania is doing better.  The Doctors had her in the operating room to take the baby on Saturday, but decided at the last minute to wait a bit and see if Phania would improve.  She did, and today is getting an ultra sound done to see how the baby is doing.

Again we appreciate your support in so many ways, but particularly your prayers through these days.  Pray that Linda and the other leaders can catch up with some much needed rest!  Pray also for those who had the cholera that they'd continue to heal and not have any negative health issues that arise from this.  Blessing...