Monday, November 30, 2015

Getting ready for Christmas

Christmas is a special time at the HOH.  For some of the kids, they've never celebrated it before and they get all kinds of stories from the kids who have experienced it already.  We love to make it a big and exciting time!  It's the time of year we get the chance to give them all kinds of new experiences from decorating the house to giving each one gifts to call their own and special meals all together as a family with our staff.  But even more exciting is the chance tell them the great news of Jesus through the Christmas story.  They learn the songs and story and have the chance to put together a program to share with the local community.  As you can imagine these are busy days at the HOH!

This week we were able to purchase some paint to give the house a nice face-lift.  It's been a while since we've been able to paint the entire building and it was really starting to look run down.  Thanks to some special gifts from supporters we are able to do it this year.  No sooner did we get the paint then the boys started on the work...
 Rosnel helps with scraping off the peeling paint

 Evelte's job was washing walls and doors

Junior (and others in the background) sanded down the walls.

Today the actual painting was supposed to get started.  Meanwhile those with a more creative talent went to work on some wall art...

 Dieunel (pink shirt) & Reginald (blue shorts) supervise the creative corner

The final product is the name House of Hope on the right and a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. on the left.  The quote says, "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."  Then there is the verse, Mathew 5:9.

Once the painting project is finished the Christmas decorations will start to go up.  But the kids don't have to wait for the decorations to start getting a twinge of excitement for what is to come.  The gifts and other things for the season have started to arrive.  Our friends in Miami completed a shopping list with many items on it that we will need for the special party and meals.  Among those items were some nice new hand-sewn clothes from some ladies in Indiana.  As you can see by the smiles on their faces -- they loved the new clothes and with them the anticipation for what is to come is just building.

Once again Grace Baptist Church in York, PA has put together Christmas bags for each of our kids as well as our staff.  The totes filled with these gifts arrived in Miami last week and will be on their way to Haiti soon.  A big thank you to everyone who put so much work into helping us make Christmas a special time for the kids.  For some of them, this might be the only one they ever celebrate, we want it to be filled with happy memories.

Some things to keep in your prayers in the midst of all this activity at the HOH are:
  • Davens once again got sick with some disturbing symptoms (he's in the above picture on the far right).  Our pediatrician referred him to Port-au-Prince for some tests to see if they can figure out what's wrong with him. His mom took him to PAP to see a doctor a couple of weeks ago and unfortunately we have not heard back from them since then.  We are waiting and hoping to hear something soon.
  • Jamesley's medicine should arrive in Haiti this week.  We are so excited for him to start his treatment.  Wouldn't it be so great if he could be healing and even walking in time for Christmas?  Keep him in your prayers.
  • The kids will all have exams soon to finish out this trimester of school.  Linda tells me they are working hard and hope to come out with some good marks.  Pray for them as they study over these next few weeks.
  • In the middle of all of this activity is Linda.  She's incredible at keeping things running.  Pray for her health and strength.  Also pray for the young leaders helping her:  Jn Daniel (finances), Junior (communications), Iverlande (Kitchen), Mirlène and Agate (child-care). 
As we head into December we hope you are all doing well in your respective places.  We want you to know how much we appreciate your support in so many different ways.  Thank you for the part you play in this special place of hope!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Here we are!!

It is my Achilles Heel of updating the blog.  So much is going on and I always think, I should wait until this is figured out before I write.  Then something else comes up and I wait again.  Then eventually I realize if I don't just write I'll never get around to it because life just keeps on moving.

The past few months have been extremely busy for us on both sides of the ocean.  Linda has been busy keeping things going on the Haiti side, and I have been busy working things out on this side.  Together with some incredible longtime partners and some brand new ones we've managed to  achieve a lot.

First of all, some news on Davens.  Since that day he stopped having seizures, he's been fine.  There's no medical explanation, we are just so thankful for your prayers on his behalf.  Linda says he's back to the energetic and fun little boy he was.  Thank you all for your prayers and concerns for him.
Here he is on the right with his best buddy Wendjy

Another big medical issue we've been dealing with is figuring out what is wrong with Jamesley's leg and getting him the help he needs.  Our friends in Miami were extremely instrumental in helping us find a diagnosis and solution for his needs.  While in Haiti, we were pretty sure the initial diagnosis of bone cancer was false.  A radiologist in Miami looked at his x-rays for us and confirmed what we thought, it was not cancer, but rather a result of his hemophilia.  Had it just been Linda and I, we might have stopped at this point and just allowed his treatment to continue as it has been in the past. 

But one of the ladies in Miami continued to search for help for him.  We knew what new treatment he needed, but the cost was huge and there was no way we could handle that.  She searched until she found and got in contact with LA Kelley Communications, a group that works with educating people about Hemophilia and helping people with the necessary treatments.  They've already provided treatment for another child in Haiti with hemophilia, and they quickly told us they'd help us with Jamesley as long as we could get him tested to find out what type of hemophilia he had.

This might not sound too complicated.  But.... there is not lab in Haiti that can do the test!  This meant either Jamesley had to travel somewhere to get this done, or we had to get a sample of his blood to a lab that could do it.  Each option had so many logistics it was hard to see how they could be worked out.  And if we had to do it on our own, there was no way it could have happened.

One funny thing about Haiti is that when you are there sometimes 5 miles down the road can seem like it is as far away as Africa.  But, when you start working together with others it's amazing how much can be accomplished.  The LA Kelley people started by contacting a medical network they had connections with in Haiti, they contacted some others who contacted others who ended up communicating with a mission just 5 miles up the road from us.  We've known them for a long time and worked with them before but weren't aware they could help us at this moment and wouldn't have thought to bring them in on it.

In the end, after many e-mails back and forth they enabled us to get his blood sample to Miami where it was tested.  The results -- while bad in the sense that it confirmed he does indeed have hemophilia, were good in that we are able to treat it to improve his health and hopefully heal his leg and allow him to walk again.  We are now in the process of getting the medicines to another group traveling to Haiti in early December, and then we look forward to posting pictures of him walking and participating in things he can only sit and watch for now! 

Linda tells me Jamesley is doing incredibly well.  You can just imagine being told you had cancer and were going to die soon, to finding out so many people are putting their resources together to figure out that you don't.  And then going even further to hear that they are also helping you receive an expensive treatment you never could afford on you own.  He is one happy boy!

And so our days pass by taking care of issues like this that arise.  The encouraging thing to both Linda and myself is the incredible team of people we have helping us with everything from figuring out logistics for medical needs, to purchasing and shipping in items we need, to giving financial help, to praying for everything we need to make all this happen.  We are so blessed to have this team of people helping us bring hope to the children and youth in our care.  Thank you so much for your part.

I talked to Linda today and asked her for some prayer requests to post for you, here's her list...

  • Give thanks and praise for the spiritual growth and maturity happening among those at the HOH.  She says they continue to grow closer together and grow in unity as they help each other make things work.  It has taken away so much of the daily stress for her, and she's happy to be able to focus on the things she needs to take care of.
  • Pray for our students studying this school year.  They just finished mid-term exams and will write again in mid-December.  Some of the young adults:  Dieuny, Obed, Fafane, Dada and Manno will be re-writing their grade 13 exams that they failed to pass last summer.  This will happen in December as well. 
  • We continue to have financial needs in the funds we owe our partnering hospital.  Our monthly support has increased this year and we are so thankful for that, we have slowly been able to pay back some of our debt, but still have a long way to go.  Pray for God's provision in this area.
  • A couple of our other kids have some medical issues that have come up.  John-Wisly has always had trouble with his foot since losing part of it as a small child.  Lately it has become infected again and is requiring a lot of care.  Iverlande has sickle cell anemia and has struggled with a bone infection in her leg for many years.  It had healed and wasn't causing trouble for quite some time now, but has recently flared up again and she is having to receive treatment as well.   We've also had numerous new children come in with severe malnutrition.  Pray for wisdom for our nurses and doctors as they treat all of our kids.
  • Haiti has just been through elections and are awaiting the results.  These tend to be very uncertain days as far as security goes in the country, so she asked for pray for protection our kids who are out and about over the next few days and weeks as the results are announced and then a run-off election is held.
Once again, thank you for the many ways you help us bring hope to the children of Haiti.