Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

I think the only thing busier than having 40+ kids in school, is having them home on school vacation! That's what has been keeping us busy these past few weeks, as the kids have been finishing up their exams and starting their Christmas vacation. We've had numerous new children being added to our ranks as well, so that helps fill in those rare empty spaces of time when we have nothing to do!

We thank you for your prayers for the two children who were extremely sick, Brianna and Alexandro. Brianna is doing much better, although it appears she will have some long term health problems, due to her very severe case of TB. Unfortunately Alexandro was not able to recover, and just a few days after I wrote, he passed away. It was difficult for us, as we were unable to reach his family, and in the end had to do the burial ourselves. We always dislike this part of the work, but know that God knows best when it comes to matters of life and death.

We did not have any success with our rabbits either. All 7 of the babies died shortly after their birth. If anyone has any knowledge on raising and keeping rabbits alive, we'd love to hear about it!

A good bit of my time lately has been spent trying to figure out the new system the government has put on us receiving things from Miami via the shipping company we've always used. They really want to shut our wharf down completely here in Port-de Paix, but are still allowing boats to unload for the moment. So we've been trying to comply with all the new regulations, and trying to get all the right paperwork in order that they want in order for us to receive the many boxes of supplies we have on the boat. I was at first, optimistic that I could do all of this before Christmas, in order to have the presents here and unpacked in time for the kids to have during their vacation, but it is becoming increasing evident that that will not happen! Nothing happens quickly in Haiti! We are thankful for the boxes we have been able to receive (some contained soccer uniforms and equipment, from friends in Portage La Prairie, MB Canada, that made our kids very happy, you can seem them trying out the gear in this picture here), and for the prayers of so many of you as I've been going through this process. God indeed made the customs officials look favorably on us, and so far we have paid far less than others have had to pay to receive things for the kids.

Our shipping company that we have used for years has now informed us that they will be shutting down their operations, as they are unable to make any money with all the new regulations with the customs in Haiti. This is indeed sad news for us, as we have always been blessed to be able to receive donated clothes and supplies for the HOH. We don't know what God has planned for us to receive these much needed items in the future, but we do know we can trust Him to give us everything we need to do His work with the needy children here at the HOH. Please pray with us as we seek out options, and watch eagerly to see just what God is going to do to supply our needs in the future. If you are among those who have been sending us supplies over the years, please do not send any more items to our shipping address. Feel free to check with me from time to time to see if anything has changed, and if we have a new way to receive things.

Tonight we are having a small Christmas party with the younger children. It won't be anything big, as we haven't received the gifts yet, and don't expect to until the New Year now. On Friday morning Linda and I and about 30 of the "Our Hope" kids are heading off for a vacation/retreat to a small town outside of Cap Haitian. This is the area where Linda is from, and it's been a while since she's been back to visit her family. They are all very excited to be receiving this group from the House of Hope, and have been planning and saving for it for a long time. We are looking forward to the chance to visit, and a chance to grow closer as we spend some quality time together. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel, and also for those staying back here to hold down the fort, our staff, and the rest of the HOH kids.

We send you all very Merry Christmas greetings and wish you a very happy New Year. God bless, and we'll be back with you in 2008! Thanks so much for your prayers and support.

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