PS 34:3

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! ~Psalm 34:3

Friday, October 28, 2011

End of October Snapshot

Bonjour Friends and Family,

Well it's been a busy few weeks here at the Hands and Feet Village in GG.  We had two teams back to back the first two weeks of October.  They were awesome!  The first team from Ventura, CA was a group of 9 guys who helped us finish up the guest houses, fix some plumbing problems, made two professional size soccer goals for our kids and gave us lot of encouragement.  The second team from Owensboro, KY was a group of 6 girls and 1 guy- almost the complete opposite from the first team.  But it was awesome because they were able to focus a little more on the girls this week.  They had a girls night where they painted nails, made jewelry and just hung out.  Our girls had a blast!!  One night we had a campfire- roasted hot dogs and marshmallows (which the kids absolutely loved!) and they told some Bible stories.  They also helped us out with a lot of painting, made some signs for the kids' bathroom and other random miscellaneous projects.   So needless to say, these groups were awesome and I believe they left Haiti changed. 
Time of transition.  Since then, we've been trying to recover and get back into a routine :-).  It was really nice the first few days to take it easy and slowly get things put back together (lots of laundry and cleaning, lots of donated things to be put away in the depot etc.).   But we realized in those first few days that we're in a transition period now.  The first 5 months of being in GG were mostly focused on construction and getting our houses put up and functioning.  We are now finished with all of our temporary houses and are shifting to focus more on our ministry with the kids.  Our village is built- how exciting!  Don't get me wrong, we absolutely loved working on the houses and all the construction projects, but it's also a nice refreshing change to be able to focus on raising these children!  Andrew is still overseeing several projects that our Haitian masons are working on (our sign and the permanent wall) but I am able to focus most of my time on Faith and coming up with ideas and things to work on with the kids.
            Our HAF Boutique.  One of our new ideas for the kids is to create a store for them to be able to buy things at using points that they earn throughout the week for doing their chores.  My parents and youngest brother, Nick, are coming down in a little over 1 week.  One of our big projects for my mom is to help us make shelves and organizing our depot.  In the depot, we'll have a little section for the store.  When teams come in and want to give candy and toys to the kids, we are going to ask them to donate it to the store so that the kids can buy whatever they want with the points that we give them each week.  They can earn points by doing their chores on time, helping out around the village and memorizing their memory verse each week.  This way, we're hoping that they will learn to take care of their belongings if they have to work for it.  We're also hoping that it will help teach them to not beg and expect things from groups when they come in.  Right now, it's just like Christmas for the kids every time a new group comes in and they learn to expect things from all Americans.  We're trying to break that habit with our store.  Anyways- it's just a fun thing that we'll be starting in the next couple of weeks. 
            Getting acclimated to the Haitian culture.  It seams to be going well with our language learning and being able to function when going out to buy supplies.  For the most part, we're able to communicate with the Haitians, it is still really helpful if they can speak slowly for us :-).   I also think I hit a missionary milestone yesterday.  I needed to go to the market to buy a few vegetables and some eggs.   Our Haitian staff asked me if I needed them to go with me and I said, "No, I think I can handle it."  Anyways, I was really excited to be able to buy vegetables and not feel like I was getting ripped off because I was white :-).   I got the same price that I did when I went with our head nanny!!!  It was exciting to know that I can now go to the market and buy whatever we need without feeling dependent upon another Haitian.  It only took me 6 ½ months to get here, but I've finally made it- praise the LORD!
            On a little heavier note.   Last week we heard of an orphanage that was being shut down by the President of Haiti about 1 hour away from us.   This orphanage had about 75 kids at any given time.  Apparently, missionary teams would come in to visit the kids and each time they came back, there were 25 brand new kids and 25 of the old kids had gone missing.  The staff completely denied having any of the previous 25 kids at all.  So anyways, one of the local missionaries started checking things out because things didn't seem to be adding up.  She came to find that they had not only been selling the children, but they had been killing some of these kids to sell their organs! !  Can you imagine someone doing that?!  It breaks my heart every time I tell the story.  Can you imagine the fear that the rest of the kids at the orphanage are dealing with right now?!?!  Heavy stuff.  All that to tell you that there's a possibility in the upcoming weeks that we might get a few more of those kids here in GG.  We have the capacity to take 3 more girls for sure.  If we needed to, my parents could help us build another building for some more boys when they come down.  SO- anyways, I would ask for you to be praying for the rest of the kids at that orphanage.  The President has given the kids to a local missionary for now and they are going to work on trying to find as many of the kids' parents as possible, and then the rest that don't have any parents will be put into other orphanages that have space. 

-       Praise the Lord for the amazing two groups that came in October!  They were such a huge help and encouragement to all of the staff here in Grand Goave.
-       Praise the Lord for His protection over Faith!  She has learned how to escape out of her (close to 4' tall) crib and has landed on the concrete floor- unharmed!  The only thing I can say is: praise the Lord and thank You, Jesus!!!  What a mighty God we serve!!
-       We also want to praise the Lord for all the construction progress that has been made since June!  WOW!  Thank you Lord for the funds for all of these buildings as well as the help we've received to finish them up. 
-       Please be praying for the kids at that orphanage that was just shut down.  Pray for safety, healing and restoration.  Pray that through all of this, they will be drawn so much closer to Jesus and lean on Him for their every need!
-       Pray with us for one of our kids, Wilson.  I don't have all the details right now, but he's dealing with some serious health issues.  He's getting a CT scan done this morning, that will help us know a little more about what's going on.  Please be in prayer for his health and that the doctors would be able to diagnose what's wrong with him.
-       We also have another one of our kids, Shivens, who has a cataract in his right eye.  We had an American eye doctor check it out and he gave us a few places to go to have it removed.  Please be praying for the details as we try to arrange this operation over the next few months. 
-       Discipline for the kids.  Please be praying for us as we continue to raise these kids.  This is a constant prayer request.  Some of the kids have a lot of baggage that we don't even know about, and it's hard to get through to them sometimes.  Pray that God would give us not only patience and understanding, but also wisdom to know how to best train these kids.

Thank you guys so much for your continued prayer support!  Without you- our ministry is not possible!  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beginning of October Snapshot

Friends and Family,

It's time for another update from Grand Goave, Haiti.   We have been having a great time getting to know the kids better over these past few weeks!  We've been learning a lot as new parents to 31 kids of a different culture :-).  It is really fun at times, but it can also be equally as stressful.  My favorite part of the day is at 12:15pm when the kids get home from school I get overwhelmed by 31 hugs and sweaty kisses from all of our kids- the most amazing feeling ever!!!  On the other hand, it's a little draining when you have to tell all 31 kids several times each AND at separate times why they are not allowed to watch the movie this week.  I guess that's what we signed up for though, right? 
The kids had last Thursday and Friday off from school because of a teacher conference.  So we helped them put their hand and foot print in the concrete of the dining area with their names underneath.  They had a blast with that!!!  They are also completely fascinated with our dryer (which some of our supporters so graciously donated to us- thank you!).  The kids will stand around and watch me take my clothes out of the washer WET and put them in the dryer and then a few hours later, they're DRY!  They all have to feel our clothes before they go in the dryer to make sure that they're really wet and then after to make sure they really are dry.  It's so cute to see their reaction after they touch the clothes out of the dryer- they always say, "It's dry!" like it's some sort of miracle. 
As far as construction goes, we were pushing and pushing to get our guest houses finished for our team that came in yesterday.  We are still not 100% finished, but enough done for them to survive comfortably :-).  We are really excited to have this group of 9 guys here from California to help us out for the week.  They are all ready to work and have many different skills to offer, which is great!  We picked them up from the airport yesterday in the big Deuce (we are still trying to figure out a name for that thing :-).  I, Angie, rode in the back with them while Andrew and Faith had some good bonding time up front.  It was really not a bad ride in the back on the troop seats.  It thought it would be really rough and not very comfortable, but it was actually quite enjoyable.  It was a totally new perspective for me to see Haiti not behind a glass window.  You wouldn't think that it's really all that different, but when you're riding in the open back of a truck all of your senses are engaged.  Anyways, it was neat to be with the team as they began to see and experience Haiti for the first time.  You could see their hearts break for the people of Haiti.  Some were silent the whole way (2 hours) as they were overwhelmed by the tremendous amount poverty. 
We had a great service this morning at church and then went down to the beach with the team and kids for an afternoon swim.  The kids (well, honestly and the team) absolutely love riding in the Deuce and ask if we can take it everywhere now.  (I'm attaching a few pictures of the kids in the deuce.)
We are looking forward to a great week with this group from California who leave next Saturday.  Then next Sunday, we've got another group coming in for a week.  So we'll be pretty busy these next couple of weeks with entertaining, organizing groups and helping to translate between the kids and the teams.  But we are also extremely excited to be able to see so many willing hearts to come and serve here.  Here are some praises and prayer requests that you can be lifting up before our Father over the next few weeks on our behalf.  Thanks again for all of your support!
-       Praise Him for the safe travels for our team from CA to Grand Goave.
-       Praise the Lord for the encouragement we've already received from the group, what a huge blessing!
-       I also want to praise the Lord for sending in some help at just the right time.  If I can be honest, we were getting a little weary with all of the work to be done.  But God knew and He provided this team at just the right time to come in and help us out and to lift us up.  It's also really neat because right now our biggest need from a team is help with construction- and who did God send us?  A team of 9 men who are skilled in so many areas and are all excited and ready to work!!!  Our God is awesome like that!!
-       This isn't part of our ministry in Haiti, but I'm so excited and wanted to share with all of you.  I want to praise the Lord with some of our good friends from SC, (the Eusey's) who have been preparing to go to Japan for the past several years.  What a long and hard process it's been for them.  God has provided all of the funds and they are now cleared to go to Japan the end of this month!!  PRAISE THE LORD!
-       Please be praying for these two teams as they minister this week and help out with various projects.  Pray that they would not only get a glimpse of God's heart for the world but that He would speak to them individually in amazing ways these two weeks. 
-       Pray for patience, grace and flexibility as we have lots going on especially this week.  
-       Michelle is a missionary from the PAP site (most recently) and is coming to stay with us in Grand Goave on Wednesday full time.  Please pray for that transition that it would go smooth and that we would be unified as we work towards one goal.  Satan likes nothing better than to divide believers against themselves.  So pray that as our team grows here in GG that we would all continue to work towards the same goal.

     Hand and Feet prints in the dining area

     Getting out of the Deuce for church!

    On the way to the beach with everyone!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Middle of September

Friends and Family,

           I can’t even tell you how excited we are to have the kids finally here with us, in their new home!  Each morning I wake up to kids running around getting ready for school- such a sweet sound!!  We love getting to know the kids more and more on an individual basis.  They are so sweet!  We’ve also begun to learn a few things (good and bad) about our kids: the boys can’t ever play too much soccer, the girls are extremely helpful and they are all destroyers :-)
We gave them 2 full decks of cards to play with last week and told them that we needed every card back when they were done.  When they were done about 2 hours later, we got maybe a deck and a half back.  I kept asking myself, where are all the other cards?  Later that day I kept finding cards randomly around our campus- some outside the fence near the soccer field in the dirt, others were completely torn in half and crumpled up.  Sowe’ve learned through this experience that they need to learn an important lesson about caring for their things before they can play with more cards. 
Last week they also kept asking us for another soccer ball because the one that they had popped.  The reason why soccer balls don’t last our kids very long is because there are so many rocks in their soccer field and often times they’ll kick it into the barbed wire on top of our fence.  So, we told them last Friday night that they wouldn’t get a new ball until they got all the rocks off their soccer field.  We woke up Saturday morning and came out of the house around 7am to find all the boys working out on their soccer field.  It was awesome!  They had been working hard since 6am to flatten it out, picking up rocks, getting rid of all the shrubs and little tree stumps.  Andrew and I helped them measure out a good size field and had them help us clear out some more land. We thought that it was a pretty good size space for them to play on, but they all told us they wanted it bigger. But in order to make it bigger, they had to do a lot more work to clear out more space.  To my surprise, they were so excited to do that because they would get a bigger soccer field.  Anyways, we worked on some other projects that day and periodically checked on the boys.  They all looked really hot, so I said, “Let’s take a break and get some water.”  They told me, “No, we need to keep working.”  They ended up taking a quick break for lunch and then finally stopped at 3pm that afternoon!  I was thoroughly impressed with their work ethic!!  Then we finally gave them a ball to play with and they had a great time that afternoon.    
Just to give you an idea of a typical day for our kids:  They wake up with the sun at about 5:30am, get ready for school and have breakfast before they leave.  Our kids go to school at Mission of Hope from 7am-12pm and they walk a mile each way, unless they are late getting breakfast, in which case, we’ll take them in the truck, which they love :-).  After they get back from school, they eat lunch and then work on their lessons (homework.)  After they’re finished with their homework, the girls do each other’s hair or play with Faith; the boys play soccer or help us with some construction projects; or occasionally they will all play with the 10 cards they have left :-).  Then they will usually eat dinner around 6pm (when it starts to get dark).  Then they have a little free time until Pastor Clairmont comes at 8pm to do a devotional, singing and Scripture memory with them.  After that- they go to bed, usually around 8:30 or 9pm.
I was just thinking about it today and we are so blessed to have the Haitian staff that we do!  God is so good!!!  We (us and all of our prayer warriors) have been praying for a great staff for several months before we even moved to Grand Goave.  We have a head nanny, Chantel, who has been with the kids for the past 3 years and is great with them.  We have a nanny who stays full time with the girls, a Pastor/elder during the day, an elder for the boys at night, three ladies who wash all of the kids’ clothes by hand, and two really sweet cooks.  The really neat thing, is that the two pastors that work for us, their wives are the cooks!  So we’ve got two Haitian families here on staff with us (something that is very rare in Haiti)- what a great role model for these kids! Praise the Lord with us for the great staff He’s provided for us!!
As far as construction goes, we’re still plugging away at our temporary buildings.  We are finally finished with the water tower.  It was Andrew's idea to put a cross in the middle of  Our head nanny, Chantel, just moved into her new house on our site as well.  We are working on the guest houses as well as a house for Michelle (another missionary with HAF that is going to be living with us for a while.)  We’ve got the houses framed and roofed.  Our masons are currently working on the bathrooms for the groups.  We’re also working on extending the fence to include these buildings inside.   Our first group comes October 1st, so we’re trying to finish up their houses before then so they can stay here on site.  Anyways, lots going on still as far as construction projects go. 

-  Praise the Lord for the awesome staff that He’s given us! 
-  Praise Him for the progress so far with the construction.  It’s such a blessing to be able to have a place for these kids to play, eat and sleep.
-  Our internet has been working great lately!  Praise the Lord that we are able to communicate with family and friends back home via skype, even if it is slow, we at least have it!  We are so grateful to be able to still feel connected to loved ones back in the states.  I don't know how missionaries did it a hundred years ago without phones and internet.  How blessed are we to be able to see and talk with family!!
- Praise the Lord for your tremendous amount of prayer support for my Mom these past few weeks.  For all who don't know, my Mom (Robin Hills) was in a saw accident several weeks back.  She lost her pointer and middle finger on her left hand, but they were able to save her thumb and ring finger.  Praise the Lord for an amazing recovery so far!  She seams to be doing great and has such a positive attitude.  It happened on a Friday night and then she went right back to work the next Monday- she couldn't sit still anymore.  Thank you so much for all your prayers for her and our family.  Continue to pray for her as she gets her pins taken out next Tuesday and as she continues to re-learn how to work with a few less fingers.  

-  Continue to pray for us as we minister to these children.  We’re trying to get the construction done before these groups come in, but at the same time, we need to remember our main focus- the kids.  We’re here to minister to these precious children, so pray that we would not loose focus of that amongst all the other things going on here. 
-  Please be praying for one of our kids, Wilson, who is 11 years old.  He’s been having lots of pain in his knees and legs.  He’s seen several doctors and they’re still trying to figure out what’s wrong with him.  We’re trying some medicines to see if it helps his pain.  Pray that we would be able to figure out what’s causing his pain, as it’s keeping him from doing things he likes to do. 
-  We will always need prayer for wisdom in knowing how to raise these children up to fear the Lord.   Please continue to pray for God to show us how to best teach these children as we walk through life with them.  Pray for patience, understanding and God’s wisdom as we work with these 31 kids.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support!  We couldn't do it without you holding the ropes for us :-)  For a few more pictures, feel free to check out our Hands and Feet Facebook page.  

Much love,
     The Suttons

Kids Moved in!!

Family & Friends,

      Well, I am extremely excited to tell you that we have finally moved in all of the kids to their new home!  We finished up today moving all of them in.  Thursday started off really busy: we met with all of the nannies, cooks and wash ladies early that morning and then moved the girls in that evening!  It’s crazy that this is the day we’ve been preparing for so many months and now it’s finally here!  The girls were so excited to say the least.  When we went to go get all of their stuff, they asked me if they were going to move over later and I said, “No, now :-).”  You should have seen their faces- they were so excited and ran to their room to get all their stuff.  They each came running back to the truck with a Rubbermaid container of clothes and a backpack.  They ended up eating dinner at the school, because it was ready, while we took their stuff to the house.  Then we picked them up 30 minutes later.  They were so excited when they went into their new house.  They didn’t fight (like I thought they might) about who got what bed.   They were really cute when picking out beds (mostly based on what sheets were on them.)  I let them get settled in with their nanny, Gadit, while we ate our dinner.  Then I went back a little later and they had unpacked all their stuff and put it in their cubby space.  Before they moved in, I put little nametags on each of their cubby spaces and they were so excited to have their own space with their name on it.  It was amazing to come back in the house that has been the tool room for the past several months to see it now filled with 7 happy girls and all their cute clothes!!  They’ve already made it feel like home.  Also, it was really funny that night, they were telling me some of the rules that we had made for them.  They were telling me that they were going to brush their teeth twice a day and bathe two or three times a day (those were two of our rules).  It was funny- they were really excited about that.  (I think they really like showers because it cools them off :-).  
Last night we had a movie night with the girls.  We watched The Princess Bride in our living room.  I don’t think they understood much of it, but they were so excited, none the less, to be able to watch a “fim.”  They kept asking me, “Does the princess die?  Does he die?”  It was so cute!
            The boys kept asking me, when are we going to live at Hands & Feet with you?  I think they were a little bit jealous of the girls getting to move first.  But finally, we were able to move them in today.  Boy, was that crazy!   The boys were adamant about what bed they wanted and they all had a huge long explanation why they should get it.  So, after about an hour and a half, we finally figured out where everyone was going to sleep.  The funny thing was- everyone wanted the bed with the spiderman sheets on it :-).  I told them we’ll change the sheets every week- but we won’t change your bed every week.  I still don’t think some of them understood, but oh well.  They are all settled in and each of them have their own bed- YAY!  We are also planning on having a big party tomorrow after church for the kids.   The girls helped me make two cakes for the party today :-).
            We also have an intern, Jeremy, who flew in yesterday.  He is a missionary kid from Turkey who is here for a little over 2 weeks to help us out with some construction projects- so that will be great!!  Anyways, lots going on.  But I just wanted to give you all a heads up that we’ve finally moved the kids into their new home.  Keep praying for us as we begin this new chapter with these 31 kids.  We know of a few extremely challenging kids, so pray for wisdom as we deal with them.  Pray that they would respect Andrew’s authority (a lot of Haitian kids don’t listen to us, because we’re American).  Also pray for patience when we’ve got 31 kids asking different questions all at the same time :-).  Thank you so much for all your support!  We couldn’t do this without all of our prayer warriors back in the States!!  Thank you for your role in these kids lives.  We love you guys!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Middle of August Snapshot

We’ve been staying pretty busy down here trying to get this place up and running for our kids to move in.  We were shooting for moving them in earlier this week, but it looks like it’ll be more like Sunday or Monday.  We finally got their mattresses yesterday and have all of their beds up.  We have a few more minor details to take care of before they can move in: putting up shower curtains, installing a door on the depot, meeting with the nannies and making a bed frame for the nanny for the boys house.   So, not too much longer and we’ll be moving these kids in.  They are so excited to move in and about half of them run down to our site each day to see what they can help us with.  They have been so helpful!  A lot of them will offer to play with Faith or take her for a ride in her “machine” or stroller (that we just got out of the deuce).  They are awesome with her and keep her well entertained so I can work on some other things around the site.
            As many of you have heard, just last week we got running water!!  Our water tower is finally finished and hooked up.  No more carrying 5-gallon water buckets to our toilet or bucket baths :-).  Praise the Lord for running water!!!  We were also able to unload our deuce this past weekend, which made it feel like Christmas in August.  Let me tell you, the first night in our own bed was AMAZING!  We have not been able to stretch out like that in a long time.  (For those of you who don’t know, we had been sharing a twin size bed for the past 3 months- which was fine, but it was a little tight.)  That was the best night sleep we’ve had in a while :-).  We were also able to unload some other items from our deuce (our couch, keyboard, crib, pots and pans, and some other miscellaneous pictures) which definitely make our house feel more homey.
            These past few weeks we were able to finish up building a tool room (instead of using the girls house for tool storage), the depot (storage for things people donate), the water tower, making shelves and storage spaces for the kids, assembling the rest of the bunk beds and clearing out a space in front of the fence for our kids to have a soccer field. 
            Another update is that we got a dog two weeks ago!  Cassie, our 9 year old German Shepherd, is a huge answer to prayer!  Andrew and I had been praying for and searching for a German Shepherd for a while now.  A few weeks back, our friend Michelle who is also with Hands and Feet, told us that some of her friends in Port Au Prince were trying to get rid of two of their dogs, one a German Shepherd.  We were so excited about this and finally picked her up about two weeks ago.  She has been amazing!  She is really good with Faith and doesn’t run outside the fence even when the gate is open (unless Andrew or I are out there).  She hasn’t even eaten any of the chickens that will periodically run inside our fence (although one of these times she might get one :-).  Our kids absolutely love her too!   
            We are really excited about moving the kids in and giving them a much nicer place to live!!  We can’t wait to finally be able to pour into their lives and get to know each of the kids, like we’ve planned on doing for so long.  Andrew already has several Bible stories prepared that he wants to teach them.  At the same time we’re a little anxious and nervous, ok, if we’re honest- a lot!  We feel a little overwhelmed, at the moment, at the thought of trying to raise 31 kids up in the Lord.  What a huge responsibility!!!  We also won’t be able to just send them home for the evening so we can have a nice quiet dinner as a family :-).  Our space on the property is quite compact, so there’s not a lot of space between all of our houses, so it’ll be pretty loud.  But overall, we’re excited about being able to be a mom and dad type figure in their lives.

-       Praise the Lord that we got our residency papers two weeks ago!!  We had gone several times to get them and they weren’t ready, but this last time they were.  Now we don’t have to leave the country every 90 days to renew our visas.
-       The progress that has been made!  Praise the Lord for the safety of the workers as they finished the water tower.
-       Praise the Lord for providing us an amazing guard dog, Cassie.
-       We were able to unload some things from our truck that make it feel more like home.  Praise the Lord for being able to have some comforts from home.
-       Pray for us to be able to finish up quickly so the kids can move in this next week!  Things take so much longer and there are so many interruptions in the day. Pray that they would stay to a minimum so that we would be able to finish up for the kids.
-       Pray for God’s grace and patience to shine through us as we prepare to care for 31 new kids of a different culture and language.  Please pray that God would give us an amazing amount of patience wisdom and understanding as we work with these kids.
-       Pray for God to give us a clear vision of how He would want us to raise these kids.  Pray that God would show us how best to discipline these children so they can become more like Him.
-       Pray for the 31 kids as they begin to transition over to their new home.  As there will be lots of changes, pray for flexibility and obedience as we begin to establish authority here.  
-       Pray for the nannies that will be working with the kids.  Pray that they would have a tremendous heart for these children and that they would show them what it looks like to follow whole-heartedly after Christ.
-       Please continue to pray for our language learning.  For the most part, we can communicate if they will speak slowly.  But pray that we would continue to pick it up quickly and we’d be able to communicate enough to teach the kids. 
-       Continue to pray for our marriage that it would only grow stronger and stronger as we both draw nearer to Christ.  Pray that we would have His wisdom in raising our own daughter in the Lord.  I pray that we would be able to maintain a healthy balance between ministering to these kids and keeping our own family a priority.

Thank you so much for all your prayers, support and love!! 

For His Glory,
   ~The Suttons

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cassie, the newest addition to the Grand Goave family!

The kitchen on the far left, dining area in the middle and the depot on the right for storage.

Kitchen, dining area & depot (from a different angle)

Kids kitchen (a work in progress)

Our awesome water tower!  We're gonna paint Hands & Feet under the cross at some point.

Our house is on the left, the girls on the right, the boys in the top right corner and the bath house is in the top center, you can see a little sink on the outside of the girls side if you look closely.

Left to right: kitchen, gate, our house and girls dorm in corner.

Our driveway heading out to the main road.  We own all the way from the water tower (where I'm standing) to the road (which you can't see here.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

End of July Snapshot

We wanted to send out a quick to let people know what we are up
to lately.  We had a great time with family and friends back in the
States the past two weeks.

Our flight back home on Monday the 25th through JFK Was pretty
interesting. We had a bomb scare which caused us to almost miss our
flight, but God is so good!  After an hour and a half of waiting
outside, they finally let us back in- what a mad house!!!  They
finally got us up to the counter 5 min before our flight was supposed
to take off!!  We were expecting them to put us on a different flight,
but he didn't.  We still had to get through a long line of security
all in 5 minutes.  The first ladies we talked to told us to go wait in
the long line. Then one of the ladies checking boarding passes took us
up to the front of the security line.  Wow- thank you Lord!!!  Then
Faith and I ran up to the gate, letting Andrew get all the bags, and
the gate agent (who was Haitian) acted like we were long lost friends.
 She just took Faith in her arms and started talking to her like they
were best friends.  Then she realized that our seats were not
together, so she, still holding Faith, got on the plane and helped us
get seats together.  What a God orchestrated time at JFK!!! Thank you
so much for your prayers- we made it back to Grand Goave safely and
only a few hours later than expected.

We got back to our house and found so much progress!!!  We were blown
away at all that had been done while we were gone.  We currently have a
group of 8 here from Wisconsin.  They have been a tremendous help as
well!!!  Just to give you a quick on the construction, the
houses are all painted, storm flaps are up on the boys and girls
dorms, all the boys bunk beds are made, the toilets are in and
plumbed, the water tower is built, the kitchen house/dining area is
framed and we're working on the roof for it today!!! So lots of
progress being made- praise the Lord!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Beginning of July Snapshot

Well it’s time for another update from Grand Goave, Haiti.  We’ve been working the past two weeks at the construction site trying to get everything ready for the kids to move in as soon as possible.  Which means we’ve been working lots of hours Monday through Saturday.  Each day we have an average of about 10 Haitian workers working on concrete and other random projects.  Our Creole construction vocab has grown tremendously over the past few weeks :-)
We’ve had a little frustration with some of the workers, mostly because of our inability to speak their language in detail.  We can tell them what we want done (for the most part), but we don’t know a lot of “detail-type” words, which I think would help clear up some of the miscommunication.  But we’re getting better at listening to, and more importantly, understanding what most of them are saying in response to our questions.
As some of you know, Andrew, Faith and I have moved into our new house at the Hands and Feet Village.  The first night was quite adventurous :-).  It was a little like camping in our house.  So we have this big 12x12 screen room/tent thing set up in our room to keep the bugs out.  After we turn off our flashlights, we hear this rustling near our screen.  I got a little nervous thinking it was a rat or something.  Andrew got the flashlight out and it was a huge 4 inch bug inside our screen!  I still don’t know what that thing was, but it was the biggest flying bug I’ve ever seen.  The day before we had just bought a bug zapper tennis racket thing.  So we thought it would be great to use that on him.  We zapped him 4 times and he was still flying around :-).  So then I thought I’d help out a little.  So I got my flashlight out and tried to help- but the bug was attracted to my brown shirt for some reason.  We finally got him with our shoe after 10 minutes of battling with this thing.  It was really funny and we had a hard time falling sleep afterwards because we were laughing so hard.  I was extremely thankful that it was not a rat and just a huge bug!!!  Anyways, that first night, we didn’t have screens up on our windows, no front door, no electricity, no running water- but we did have a toilet!  It really wasn’t too hot and was bearable even without a fan.  Now we’ve got electricity (with our 8 batteries/inverter & our big generator) a fridge, stove, fans, screens up, and a front door.  Still no running water because they’re working on building a water tower for us- so that’ll be a while.  They almost have all of the plywood up on the boys house and the bath house.  The masons are working on the showers for the kids today and tomorrow.  Anyways- lots going on!  And we love being able to have our own place – where we can finally get Faith to sleep through the night.  (We haven’t been able to really just let her cry herself back to sleep since we’ve been in Haiti- so it’s been great to get her on a little better schedule!)
Each day a few of the kids will walk down to the Hands and Feet site.  It’s been really fun to have them here.  They are so excited about moving in and they keep asking me when they will live here!  A few of the older kids were helping me put in some studs to nail some plywood into- they did a great job!  This morning we went to the school/church where they all live to meet with Pastor Lex and the head nanny about some details of moving over to the new site.  Afterwards, all 31 kids wanted to go in the truck down to the site- it was chaotic to say the least!  So we took 11 kids in the back of the pickup and when we got to our place, we counted 20!  A few of them ran down the road (a few minutes before), but I think some jumped in at the last minute before we pulled out.  Needless to say, it’s crazy chaos when we try to take just a few kids to their new home to hang out.  I’m really excited that they are all so anxious to move over to their new home, I’m hoping that will help make the transition a little easier.
I apologize for not sending a picture after the last update.  Our internet here is extremely slow and won’t let me even send a small picture.  So I have a few that I will send next week when we are back in the states. 
We are heading back to the states this coming Monday for two weeks.  We will be in SC for a week visiting friends and family and then we’ll drive up to NY to see my brother, Rick, get married to his amazing fiancĂ©, Nicole!  We are planning on being at Northside (SC) on July 17th and Northside (NY) on July 24th and would love to catch up with everyone (if you’re in town). 

-       Praise the Lord that we moved into our new house and Faith is now sleeping through the night!
-       Praise the Lord that we’ve had no injuries at the jobsite so far!!
-   We are so thankful to have Pastor Lex during this time of setting up the Children's Village.  Not only has he been an amazing resource but such a great friend!!

-       Please pray for our trip back to the States that it would be a time of encouragement and refreshment for us.  Pray that we would have a sweet time of fellowship with family and friends.
-       Pray that we would be able to adjust to life back in the states for these next two weeks.  We’ve read that “re-entering” can sometimes be a challenge for missionaries- pray for a smooth transition (as well as coming back home to Haiti).
-       Pray that God would continue to lay it on people’s hearts to support us as we serve here in Haiti.  Pray that we would have divine appointments as we meet with various people over these next two weeks.
-       You can also be praying for the rest of the construction process.   We’ve still got a lot to do before the kids can move in.  Please pray that parts and supplies would be readily available and that things would go smoothly while we’re gone.

Thank you guys so much for praying!!  We’ll see a lot of you over these next two weeks!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

End of June Snapshot

Family & Friends,
Sorry this one is coming so late, we’ve been really busy here.  Anyways, no excuses for not keeping you updated!  So, in a nutshell: we moved to Grand Goave two weeks ago.  Everything with the move went smoothly and we’re settled in to our place at Pastor Lex’s beach house.  We are still working on our new site to get it ready to move in.  We’re hoping that by the end of next week we will be able to move into our new house:-).   Our little 12x12 room for the 3 of us is getting a little cramped
Zac has been our “Big Boss” (as they call it in Haiti) on the construction site.  So far, we’ve got the boys and girls dorms framed with roofs, wires are run for electricity and plywood on the girls dorm.  We’ve also got our house framed, roofed, almost all of the plywood on and Faith’s footprints in front of our door with her name underneath it in the concrete slab.  They’ve also got the bath house slab poured and framed in and roof on.  So, we’re getting there.  It has taken me a few weeks to realize that nothing goes as planned in Haiti.  If you think you’re going to be done next week- you should just add on an extra 2 weeks.  Supplies aren’t as readily available and even if they are- they’re not what you’re used to, places are closed certain days, your friends need your help with their car on the side of the road…the list goes on.  (For example, they have no ladders down here, you make your own.  So we’re thankful that we brought some down in our truck!)  Anyways, we’re learning what it looks like to be flexible- which is hard for me as a task and time oriented person :-)
            Anyways, so the plan: we are hoping to be done next week with our house to be able to move in (enough to be able to make do.)  Then we are hoping shortly after that, to be able to move the 7 girls over with a nanny.  Then, after a few more days, move the 24 boys over.  We thought it would be a little easier to move them over in groups- so we’ll see how that goes.  The hardest part is going to be moving the kids in right before we leave to go back to the States for our two week furlough.  We’ll have them for a little over a week and then we’ll leave them.  Zac (an intern) is still here until the end of July.  So he will be here to help oversee things, as well as some of our staff from the States. 
            We’re so excited and ready to move in.   Each day after school a few of our boys will show up at the job site and help.  It amazes me how much the teenagers love Faith!  Even Romy (15 years old) seems like he has a little attitude when you first meet him, but he is the one who always holds Faith to let me work.  He loves to play with her and hold her- which is awesome!  So she’s already got 31 new older brothers and sisters who are going to look out for her!!!  I was talking to them the other day and they are so excited to be able to have their own bed, their own space as well as a fan.  They are also helping me with my Creole- which is great!  They’ll correct me and they’ll also speak a little slower so I can understand them, which helps so much!!
            Last week we were also able to attend the graduation for the Christian school that our kids go to.  Two of our little boys (Jean Bernard and Egen) graduated from kindergarten.   Boy was this a cultural experience or what?!  We were told that it was supposed to start at 9am.  So we get there about 9:30 because we got word that it would start late.  We still waited until 10:15 for those graduating to actually start walking down the aisle.  They had the K, 6th graders, and seniors graduating altogether.  The craziest difference is that they walked down the aisle to some really slow music and did a little “dance-type” step, then they would pause.  The 6th graders also did this little arm wave thing to the music too- it was pretty neat to watch.  It literally took 30 students 20 minutes to get down this little aisle!!!  That’s when I knew it was going to be long!  Haha- little did I know it was a 3 hour ceremony!  I thought graduations in the States were boring- try attending one in a different language when it’s about 90 degrees outside (with no fans :-).  I’m glad we were able to go though because it was a great cultural experience for us and more importantly, we got to support two of our own kids.    The rest of our kids just finished up with their exams this week, so now they’re on summer break.

-       Praise the Lord that the weather has been holding up for us.  We have been able to make a lot of progress on the construction these past 2 weeks. 
-       We don’t ever want to take our health for granted- so praise the Lord for good health, especially with Faith.
-       Praise God for the encouragement that we’ve received from teams that are coming in and out of Mission of Hope (Pastor Lex’s ministry).  These teams stay at the same place we are, so we share lots of meals together and they’ve been an encouragement to us.
-       We’re understanding more and more of the Creole language, thank you Lord.  Andrew’s even speaking to our Haitian workers in Creole!!!
-       Continue to pray for the transition time for these kids from where they’re at now to the new site.  Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance on our part as well as patience and understanding for the kids.
-       Pray for the construction that it would keep moving along smoothly and that we’d be able to get these kids moved in within the next few weeks.
-       Pray that we would continue to make Christ a priority in our lives.  It’s easy to get distracted with all this construction (even in Haiti J), so pray that we would continue to seek Christ wholeheartedly and that we would live our lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27).
-       There are a lot of little details that need to be taken care of before we move in, so pray that God would work all of those out in His perfect timing (ie getting internet, power, water filtration system, plates & utensils for the kids).
-   Please pray for our financial support.  We are extremely blessed to have 80% of our support!!!  But please pray that God would continue to lay it on people's hearts to help us further His Kingdom as we serve these orphans here in Haiti.