Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Last week HOPE House celebrated its one year anniversary! All of the staff came over for a dinner party on Thursday evening. We had a Haitian feast! Mamoun (who is currently in cooking school) made the special birthday cake for us.....it was delicious! We joked that Myslene could lose her position to her younger sister. (Of course that would never happen, we are blessed to have BOTH of them!) We are so thankful for our staff and all of the hard work they put into to HOPE House everyday. They are the reason we have such a beautiful, safe, loving environment for our children.
These past few weeks Frentz and I have been busy researching and gathering paperwork for future adoptions of HOPE House children. This morning we had doctor appointments with our children. I have to admit that I was nervous sitting in the bottom floor of a four story building on main Delmas road. Most of the buildings around the clinic had been seriously damaged in the earthquake. Men were filling in large cracks with cement in the building across the street. They had already painted over some of them making it look like it was never damaged. There was a for sale sign out front. I can only hope the prospective buyers see through the painted on bandaids. It is an easy fix to a bigger problem.
Don't we do that all the time in our own lives though? The real problem is that we are all sinners. We have all fallen short and need God's grace. We need God to fix our broken pieces. And yet it is so much easier to make excuses. To live pretending to be someone you aren't. Pretending to be perfect. Pretending to have it all together. Pretending to love people when in reality you spend more time talking about them than loving them. Pretending to be honest when really you spend more time covering up lies than speaking truth. Pretending to love Jesus, when in reality you love yourself more. It's time to stop painting on bandaids and start letting the true Healer do His work! He won't just fill in your cracks, He makes you new. He gives you new life! All you have to do is accept it. Accept His love, accept His son, accept His forgiveness. Let's be honest YOU NEED IT! (And I do too!)
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Jesus. I love you.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Last night we had our first spring rain. We have been waiting for a rain to see if our containers still leak. We held our breath as the rain drops began hitting the roof. It leaked. Thankfully it didn't rain long because water was running down every wall. Frentz and I quickly began pulling everything away from the walls and into the middle of the containers. We set out rubbermaid bins and buckets around the edges to try and catch as many drips as possible. The orphanage container was also leaking. The only container that didn't leak was the guest house container...which is also the only container that the roof panels fit correctly. So frustrating! Long after the rain stopped we fell asleep to the dripping of water. Even now as I am typing water is dripping above my door and the carpet in the entrance is soaked. We need to come up with a better solution before the real rain starts!
The countertop in the new kitchen has been poured and last night Gyslee (Myslene's husband) came over to measure it to begin laying ceramic tiles. TiJean will be coming over this weekend to paint! Everyone is excited for the opportunity to work! Kisnail has been a great help to Joseph and his men at the site. Joseph and the guys really like him and claim he is hilarious. Joseph said that if there is a day that Kisnail doesn't show up for work he will take tap-tap to his house to find him and bring him here! It has been good to see him laughing with the crew. His two precious girls have his same beautiful smile!
Yesterday I spent some time in the morning at the school. We have about 8 children missing since I left for the states in October. After a long talk with our principal I began to understand why we lose to many kids. He believes that many of our children are restaveks, a Haitian term for child slavery. They children come from very poor families in the countryside. Most families in the country have many more children than they can actually feed so they send them to work in the city for another family. Because our school is free, some restavek owners allow them to attend as long as they finish their chores in the afternoon and evenings. Sometimes parents call them home to the countryside or they get sold to another family and we lose them. This is also why we have children who stop attending because they don't have shoes. When a child is a restavek they are the last ones to receive food, clothing, shoes, or rewards of any kind. As an organization, we work to provide everything the child needs to be a student to place as little burden as possible on the family. It breaks my heart to imagine what our precious children are going through. No wonder they get so excited when we visit the school and shower our love upon them!
One of our teachers at school had twin babies while I was gone. They are now six weeks old. The girl is named Ritchnay and the boy is Ritchnie. As soon as little Ritchnie opened his eyes I knew that something was terribly wrong. His head is not too swollen yet, but it is evident he has hydrocephalus. Without placing a shunt in his head to drain the fluid, his head will continue to grow and he will lose much of his brain development. His mother was devastated as I broke the news to her. I am praying for the Lord to provide a place in Haiti who can operate on little Ritchnie as soon as possible! The longer we wait, the more damage he will have on his brain. It is so frustrating that the problems we face on a daily basis are things that should be so simple. Ritchnie's nother needed vitamins. Madame Kisnail needed blood. Shellsie needed food.
While the statistics for poverty in Haiti are staggering, if you take time to focus on an individual, you will realize that there problems are not rocket science. Something CAN be done to help them. To save them. We are determined to do just that. We can help. Jesus has saved.
I feel blessed beyond measure to live here and know these people. They are truly beautiful inside and out. I am so thankful for our supporters who see the big picture. I hope you know how life-changing your donations to HFAP are! You are making the difference!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
It was so good to hold Pierreline in my arms yesterday. I hugged her tightly in the corner of our school clinic as tears of joy streamed down my face. She didn't look good, but she was alive. Things turned for the worst when Chacha died. She didn't have anyone looking out for her. She has marks from beatings all over her back. Many were scared over but several were still oozing fluid and bleeding. She clung to me with her arms wrapped tightly around my neck. It took a peanut butter sandwich to pry her off...and she ended up eating three of them! One of her sponsors sent a little gift for her that we opened together. Nothing would make her smile, but she did chow down a couple of candy bracelets and her eyes widened as she opened a new Barbie doll. She definitely remembered Keke. Her eyes lit up and she began searching the room when I mentioned her name. Right now the father's ex-girlfriend is caring for her. When she goes out to sell things on the street he comes over and beats her. (Lately her beatings are punishments for pooping on other people's houses.) The child is naughty in every sense of the word, but no one deserves to be punished like this. We are hoping and praying to have the father sign Pierreline over for the girlfriend to be her guardian. This way we could move them, allow her to enter the journal program, and know that Pierreline is being loved and cared for.
Our team this week has been an awesome help! Frentz and I are sleeping at the new property in our very own container! The container for the orphanage is just about completed and the workers are putting the last layer of cement on the kitchen walls tomorrow. This morning a group from our team set out to various tent cities to install water filters. Today 1,000 people were given access to clean water through our new filtration system!
The ladies and I have successfully completed nanny training this week. We have such an amazing staff! I am so excited to be officially moved and officially open!
Many prayer requests are being answered! About health, safety, adoption connections, finding Pierreline and construction progress! Keep 'em coming! We are feeling so blessed down here!
Sunday, February 6, 2011
The new team has finally arrived after days of traveling and flight cancellations. From city to city, bus to plane, they were determined to get here....and boy are we thankful! They are WORKERS! We have gotten so much accomplished in the past day and a half! ALL of the bins are sorted, organized and ready to move, tote bags are filled with distribution items, hygiene kits were made and stored, the containers are cleaned out, blinds on the windows, and lights in the ceilings!
We all had a wonderful morning of worship at church. It was exactly what I needed today. Our pastor spoke about faith.....a faith that withstands the hard times. It's easy to have faith when everything is going well, harder when you are facing battles. It is easy to have faith when you are guiding someone else about their problems, harder when you are the one in trouble. The road of choosing to have faith is not always a popular road. Often times people don't understand your thoughts or actions....even Christian friends. But it is the road God calls us to take. We must choose faith not because it's easy....but because Jesus died for it. I will live my life for Him. As a people pleaser it is so easy to lose days running around trying to make everyone happy. My God, the God who sent his son to die for me, wants my attention..demands my attention. I want to hear the whispering of His voice. Amidst the chaos, amidst the drama, amidst the troubles of the world, I yearn to hear His voice. In the end, that's all that really matters. I have chosen the long, difficult road of blindly believing in the faithfulness of my God. And I think I'm in pretty good hands considering his past record!
Tomorrow the ladies on the team are going over to the school with me in the morning. We will be making 500 peanut butter sandwiches and holding a food distribution for 75 families. I am hoping to find Pierreline while we are there! Please be praying for her. Needless to say, the men will be working at the new property!
Not much new is going on at HOPE House.....besides our new pet pigs....or should I say hogs. Boy do they STINK! The are entering in through the drain behind the house. You can imagine my surprise as I went downstairs below the house to find Myslene and found three giant pigs! At first I just chucked, only in Haiti! ...then IN inhaled. The stench was awful. It was time for them to go! They continue to return each day and took down a huge tree in our backyard.....have I mentioned lately how excited I am to be moving?
This morning there was a small tremor that sent people panicking. It wasn't large enough to create any damage, but it sent people rushing from buildings and into the streets. After church we took the team to EpiDor and we couldn't figure out why it was so empty! We had been in the truck and hadn't even felt it. A friend of ours was outside with his two little boys. His wife died in the earthquake and they were working up the courage to go inside and pick up the food they ordered. Most of the Haitians around us were just shaking there heads wondering when, if ever, it will all be over.
I have attached a new pictures of the ladies in the journal program....just in case you didn't believe me when I stated in the last post about the friendships and laughter resulting from our time together. One more month until our first class graduates! New journals have arrived in Michigan!
I better get out of this chair and help the ladies clean! Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
Don't forget why you are here. Take you time and pray. Thank God for each day!
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Life is good! The progress being made each day at the HOPE House property is amazing. By tomorrow we should be able to flush a toilet! (by pouring a bucket of water in the back of it because the water tank is still 4th on the priority list.) The outlets in each container are being installed today and blocks are being laid for the new kitchen walls. I will post pictures of the progress with my next blog post!
I have had many requests for close up pictures of the kids. We are having a great time together! Yesterday after the older children came home from school (Sophonie, Guerlik, and Naika) we made fluffer-nutt sandwiches...the consensus was, "More marshmallow fluff please!" They LOVED it! We played basketball and soccer in the driveway, ate fun dip on the porch, and drank Capri suns to replenish our fluids. Kimberlie is so strong she is sitting up all on her own! She rarely ever cries. She is the easiest baby to make smile. You just have to look at her and she starts blowing bubbles and giggling. Benley has been telling me all kinds of stories the past few days. He found his voice and he has a lot to share! Jivenson is drinking out of a sippy cup now and he was picking up cereal puffs from a bowl and putting them in his mouth all by himself this morning. Mika helped the ladies in journal program this morning by providing them with decorative paper and buttons. She is always so helpful. (Pictures are Kimberlie 4 months old, Sophonie 4 years old, and Benley 7 months old)
We are looking forward to a new team arriving tomorrow. (Michigan weather permitting) We have nanny training, food and clothing distributions, and more construction on the itinerary! It's hard to believe the current blizzard warnings back home as I sit under a coconut tree starring up at a bright blue sky with temperature in the low 90s. .......Yep, I'm pretty content right here!
We picked 40 water filtration systems this week that will filter water for 100 people a day.....that's 4,000 people with clean water! Thank you to everyone who donated to make this happen! We will be training a group of guys to go with us to the tent cities and communities where our families live to begin installations this week! (Kisnail, Madame Kisnail's husband has joined our staff!)
Visiting the school this week without Chacha there was sad. The school seemed a bit quieter. I kept hoping it was all a bad nightmare and that she would come walking out of a classroom with a big smile on her face... The children were all doing well. The courtyard was as clean as I have ever seen it! There were lots of smiling faces as we passed out toys, candy, and sponsor gifts. (We still have 6 or 7 children in our school who need a sponsor, email email@example.com for more information about how to sign up!) I looked for Pierreline but her tarp house was closed off and no one knew where she was. I dreamed about finding her last night over and over again. I'm praying she is safe and that we will find her next week while we are in Les Bours.
It is chadek season!!!!! Those of you who have been to Haiti know this makes me very happy! Jean brought me a great big bag of chadeks this morning and I can't wait to get home and drink some chadek juice! Wishing you were here to drink some with me! Stay safe...and warm!