Friday, February 27, 2009

Time for an update!

A great big tropical hello to everyone! These have been beautiful days, not too hot, not too cool; a mix of rain and sun, vacation from school, and much activity here at the HOH. Our numbers got up to a whopping 98 this week, two have since returned to their homes, and another has come, so we are now sitting at 97 kids! I don't think I need to say it, but I will anyway, it's a bit wild and crazy around here!
Most of the kids coming in have severe malnutrition like Jameson who just arrived today. It's sad but with all the nutrition programs being run throughout Haiti today, they only want to treat the ones with severe malnutrition. That means that when children like Jameson come to the hospitals or clinics to be treated before they are gravely ill, they are sent away with no nutritional help at all. Two to three weeks later they are severely malnourished and on the verge of death, and that's when we get them at the HOH. We usually find out quickly which way they are going to go, and in all reality they don't spend a lot of time here. It usually only takes a couple of weeks of treatment for them to be healthy again, and for most of the children we receive that is the way things turn out. For the few who don't make it, they are only at the HOH for a matter of days, if even that before they pass away. It is a frustrating reality these days, and while we wish it wasn't so, we are so thankful that we are here to receive these little ones in their time of need. We are even more thankful for all of you who enable us to give them hope.

We have had a very busy month of February, full of activity. We've had visitors or teams every day, except for 4, during this month. We enjoyed the team from East Stroudsburg, PA. They were a great encouragement to us, and helped with numerous projects around the HOH and especially at the hospital. Of course it was great having our good friend Bonita and her family here for a few days, and also the men from Wisconsin with Doug Anderson. The few days they were here were days of great encouragement for us, and we appreciated the times of sharing and prayer we were able to have together.

One of our dogs gave birth to 8 puppies, adding greatly to the general population of the HOH. Thankfully many people in our area wanted the pups and we were able to get rid of them quite quickly, but before they found homes the pups endured many hours being "loved" by the kids here at the HOH. No one "loved" them more than Nani, she was constantly carrying them around, and amazingly they never seemed to mind.

The young people of the HOH planned a Valentines party for the evening of the 14th. We enjoyed a nice evening playing games, and just spending time with each other. It was nice that it was Ernst' birthday that day too...we love reasons to have a party around here!

Our friends from Simcoe, ON have been here for a week now. They always bring a lot of excitement to the HOH, as I'm writing this update they are teaching the kids to play floor hockey in our hallway! They've brought an activity for every day including sewing projects, a number of the girls have learned to sew cloth diapers for us to use. Other fun things they've been doing with the kids is hand painting, face painting (see Jn Mary's lovely face in the picture!) lots of toys and fun games. Since the kids have been on vacation from school it's been great having activities to keep them busy, and let them enjoy themselves. The Simcoe crew hasn't only brought along fun and games, they've also brought some good times of learning and fellowship. Last night their team leader, Wally, spoke to the kids in our family devotions. He talked about how they are lights in our community here in Haiti, and how they needed to shine brightly for the glory of God. To illustrate his point he passed out flashlights to each of us, and turned off the lights and turned on the flashlights and sang "This little light of mine". It was a special time of remembering how we are to be lights to those around us, and it was great time of fellowship with our friends from Canada!

The reason the kids have been off school is because it's "Carnival" week here in Haiti. For two days this past week we opened up the HOH to the kids in the community to come and have some "fun days", we set things up almost like fair, there was games, movies, music, food and lots of fun. At times there were well over 100 people here at a time (not counting our 98!). All of the boys who are involved in our Saturday Bible club were here (you can see them playing dominoes in this picture), as well as a number of employees from the hospital, and other people from our community. Everyone was able to find something to enjoy themselves, and we were proud of our young people for their hard work in pulling off these fun days. Once again St. Germain did the bulk of the planning and organizing for the day, he really has a talent for these types of things.

In spite of all the other ativity, I've been able to get a few office/administrative type things accomplished, the biggest of which was a new prayer card for the HOH. It only took me about 40 tries to get the picture that we wanted, mostly because my subject (Lala, who will turn 4 in a month, can you believe it!) has really turned into quite the little ham (this is one of the pictures we had to scrap as she struck this pose right as I clicked the picture!). I did finally get one we liked however, but you'll have to wait to see the finished product...

I'm hoping to get a prayer letter written in the next couple of days, and also a new presentation as I'll be speaking at a missions conference at the Miami Shores Presbyterian Church during the weekend of March 5-8th. So you can keep me in your prayers as I try to get a lot done, in the midst of some already very busy days.

There's lots more I could write about, like Max who turned 1, learned to stand and then promptly broke his leg all within a few days of each other!

Or, Altagrace, who after more than 4 years of sitting in a wheelchair unable to use her legs has actually starting to walk using a walker...who would have thought this day would ever come? You'll be hearing more about this in the future!

But they've taken the power, the hockey game is winding down, and our afternoon meal is really starting to smell good, so I best get moving. It's been fun going through a recap of life here over the past few weeks with you though...

We'd appreciate your prayers as we continue to grow, shine and reflect Christ to those around us. Please pray for all the travel that's coming up over the next week and a bit, the team taht's here will be leaving, another group of visitors will be coming, then I'm leaving for Miami. I'll be back in Haiti on the 10th of March, Lord willing. Pray for a good time at the mission's conference, and if any of you live in that area and want to come and hear the presentation, and visit with me, please contact the church for more details. Pray too that God, who is faithful, would supply all of our needs during these days as we receive more and more kids needing our help.

One last thing. Some of you have written questions or requests in the comment option on this blog. The only problem with that is that it doesn't give me a way to get back in touch with you, so if you'd like to write me an e-mail asking your questions feel free to do so at:

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