Summer vacation has been cut short this year in our part of Haiti. Many of our kids are either taking make-up summer courses, exams or already back into classes in preparation for the upcoming school year. Each school seems to try and come up with the perfect plan to make their students get ahead and because of this we had to push the fast-forward button on our summer plans with the kids.
Now that I am living in Canada so I can help the HOH more effectively, it's always a joy for me to head back to spend some time with my very big family there. After a few days of travel -- I was more than ready for the exuberant reception when our car pulled into the HOH yard. 100 + hugs and kisses can make up for any amount of travel frustration!
I was so thrilled to see first hand how things are going at the HOH. Linda and her team of young leaders are doing a great job of the every day running of things. It is really moving to watch God using our unique individual abilities and gifts to bring hope to the children and youth in our care. On this particular trip I was very encouraged by our older boys, some of whom no longer live at the HOH taking their role of "older brother" seriously. In their distinct ways, they were an invaluable help to me while I was there. They also regularly help out Linda as well as take an active role in helping the younger kids coming along behind them as they seek out their next steps in life. It's exciting to watch it all happen.
Part way through my time there, we were joined by some friends from Miami and Colorado. Pastor Dennis and Emma from MSPC have been down to help us out previously and this year they were joined by the Georges family, a Haitian family living in Miami and attending the same church. From Colorado, James returned to the HOH -- this time with his wife Katie and their young friend Acacia. Over the years, this summer team has come to mean so much to us all. Their time was spent loving on our younger kids, encouraging the older ones and just making everyone feel special and loved as they joined in life with us.
One of the biggest activities going on during our stay was our annual Summer Camp. I'll wet your appetites with a picture of the 189 youth and children who attended the camp this year.
I still have several thousand pictures to sift through (I told everyone I needed lots of pictures and they all took me seriously). So, as I am able I'll share more with you about our time in Haiti and show some of the pictures. Keep in tune for more news and updates on the kids I saw there...
We were pleased to be able to meet up with a young lady who has spent the past number of months helping out at the HOH. Sophie comes from France and while she was supposed to serve our head mission organization at another location in Haiti, she fell in love with the HOH -- and more specifically with several of our most needy kids. She has spent countless hours caring for children like Madeline and Widson, and has made a huge difference in their lives and recovery process. She has now finished her time in Haiti and has returned to France. Her kind, caring spirit and willingness to help out wherever she was needed will really be missed. (I will include her as well as the kids she has helped the most in the pictures in the future as well).
For now, I wanted to share two of the biggest needs we came across while down there because one of them is quite time sensitive.
- As I mentioned before, for some of our kids, school is already back in session -- meaning school fees are already starting to role in making this need urgent. It costs us approximately $300 US for each of our students to cover school fees, books and uniforms for the year. Each year we send just under 50 kids to school. Can you help us out with the financial needs we have in order to give our kids the hope of a future through education?
- Our second need, while perhaps not as time sensitive is definitely urgent. We are really in need of replacing our mattresses at the HOH. Several years ago we were able to replace the crib mattresses, but we have been using the same mattresses on the beds for many years. They are really in poor condition to the point of some of them being unsanitary. Our beds are various sizes, but we need 62 mattresses ranging from trundle size up to Queen size. If anyone happens to know of some place where we could get mattresses, or has a connection for us with regards to this need -- please get in touch with us for more details on exact sizes and numbers.
We are so thankful for each of you who partner with us in so many ways. We know that not everyone will be able to help us out, but we also know we have a Father who is able to meet all of our needs. So, whether you can help us out with your prayers, sharing the news with others who might be able to help, or by giving financial gifts we ask that you consider helping us out with these needs. Thanks so much for caring about and helping us bring hope to the children and youth God brings into our home.